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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 10/08/2009 : 05:39:45 AM
"And that's the last time anybody ever saw a mobile suit," the old, brown-and-gray-haired man rambled from his seat on his porch quietly. Though it was halloween, Icabod Mankins was still making his usual visit to the front porch of his elderly neighbor's residence. "We thought they'd never come back again, that everything was scrapped and destroyed, jetisoned into the sun or some such thing. We were wrong. Now that damned red mobile suit is out there causing all sorts of trouble." Icabod listened adamantly, the old man's stories always enticed him.
"But wasn't Justin Rayes an Oz pilot under the Lightning Count?" He asked quietly.
"Yes he was!" The man smiled. "But the purpose of Milliardo Peacecraft and the White Fang had corrupted itself by the end of the war. They lost sight of what they were trying to achieve and I fear they still haven't remembered." He looked sad, his eyes thousands of miles away. "Now Gundams and mobile suits are being used for acts of terrorism. That is not what they were intended for." And so the man once again began his usual, supremely-detailed, rant about the original five Gundams and Operation Meteor and how it turned out to be all backwards from how even the original pilots thought it was supposed to go.
Icabod listened happily, unaware of the time or date as he got lost in the senile old man's rantings and stories. He loved history, and the romance of the Gundam War held his attention no matter how many times he heard it recited by Mr. B, his neighbor whom everyone considered to be "a crazy old clown" due to his being a retired circus preformer. Icabod had never asked about that before, he was much to busy listening.
|30 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 03/08/2010 : 09:42:24 AM
The transfer ship had been saved and the Tallgeese had indeed caused a stir, luckily for Icabod the mask kept him anonymous. Little to the young man's knowledge, the Lightning Count's repaired mask caused a good few people to question the failing army of the ESUN, and it would begin hundreds of rumors over the resurrection of Zechs Marquise. Everything fit, the mobile suit, the mask, the strand of visible white hair amongst Icabod's natural hair color and the gruff sound of his voice as he spoke. The appearance of the Lightning Count, saving a transport ship full of ESUN-friendly civilians, stirred up more than a few people. In fact, Icabod was hailed almost immediately afterward by an older woman on the transport, demanding he allow her to come on board. Icabod wasn't so sure, but before he could decide, both the Tallgeese and the other suit - Mr. Barton had called it "Deathscythe?" - had suddenly begun emitting loud sensory alarms that did not cease until Icabod granted her access.
"How can I help you, ma'am?" Icabod asked politely. "I am rather busy. If you haven't been watching the news, there is kind of an invasion coming toward the earth and these two mobile suits-"
"The Tallgeese III and Deathscythe," the old woman cut him off.
"What?" Icabod seemed suprised, watching this old woman who stared at the mobile suits with a remiscent longing filled with the glow of nostalgia. "How do you..?"
"We've been waiting a long time for you, Icabod Marquise," the woman said. "Well, I have. You wouldn't believe how lazy he got after everyone was sure the Wars wouldn't start up again." She laughed, but Icabod wasn't so sure of this woman. "Don't worry, Icabod. I know this all seems strange, but I can reassure you with this simple phrase: I knew your father, just as I knew Trowa Barton. I knew them when they fought in the Christmas Battle against Marimaya Kushrenada. I also know everything there is to know about both of those mobile suits you have there."
"That doesn't mean I can trust you," Icabod replied, stepping between her and the suits, attempting to pose in a defensive way.
"Please," the lady scoffed. "I may be old, but in zero gravity you wouldn't stand a chance against me. I'm a lot more limber and clever than I look. Now are you just going to stand their stupidly or are you going to listen like a good boy and follow my instructions to a man who can teach you how to really use those weapons your father left to you."
"Weapons?" Icabod looked up. "I know Tallgeese is a weapon, but it feels more like a friend than anything."
"Tallgeese isn't a weapon," the woman snapped. "It's your instrument, the weapons you have been left are the stamina, endurance, mental accuity, and quick reflexes your father left to you. Tallgeese is simply your instrument to exercise those abilities and it will always be your friend so long as you treat it right." She smiled. "I'm Hilde - Hilde Maxwell. I figured since I knew your name, you might as well know mine."
"Well umm..." Icabod stammered. "I guess we should go wherever this guy you're talking about is then. Where to, Mrs. Maxwell?" He asked as she lead him to the bridge. Tallgeese and Deathscythe both hummed silently behind them.
"We'll be headed back to earth," she replied. "I'll put a call in to him while we change course, that way he'll get to the ESUN headquarters right when you and the mobile suits do. We wouldn't want them attempting to manipulate you because you're inexperienced, or trying to put some enlisted pilots in both the mobile suits."
"Nobody flies Tallgeese but me!" Icabod stated sharply.
"Try arguing that to a military officer my age," Mrs. Maxwell replied. "They think they know better." She reset the ship's course, putting through a transmission as she did.
"Hello?" A voice came quickly. "What's up? Who is this? What's with the secure line?" The voice was slightly annoyed and sounded rather sarcastic. "Are you gonna answer me or do I have to scramble you?"
"Hey now, you calm down old man," Mrs. Maxwell said sharply. "The Lightning Count is reborn, he carries a Goose in the arms of the God of Death." The voice was quiet.
"Well I'll be an idiot in a monkey suit," the voice chimed. "Hilde, where're we heading?"
"We'll be heading to the ESUN Desert training headquarters, meet us there will you?" Mrs. Maxwell replied. "See you soon, Duo."
The transmission went quiet and the ship kicked into full burn, moving towards the Earth at a rapid speed as if it were just some meteor heading to crash into the Earth and end all life. Icabod wasn't sure about this new course, but this Mrs. Maxwell knew where the ESUN headquarters was located and was attempting to get him there faster. Plus she knew somebody who could help him get better at piloting the Tallgeese. He had to consult his mobile suit, but the plan seemed solid.
"I'm gonna go-"
"Talk to Tallgeese?" She finished in a question. "Don't worry, Icabod. I've lived with a Gundam Pilot for some time. The number one complaint is that they can't talk to their mobile suit." Mrs. Maxwell smiled and waved Icabod along. "Go to it now, but it'll just tell you that I'm legitimate. Do what you do, though. Don't let me stop you from getting more intimate with your mobile suit."
Icabod frowned, then nodded and moved to the hangar where he quickly placed himself in the cockpit of the Tallgeese, typing in Mrs. Maxwell's name and allowing the suit to do the rest. Sure enough, labels and files and video recordings appeared on the display, sifting the information to him chronilogically to the point that Icabod knew her connections and history in relation to his mission within a few hours. As he learned the information, he felt the bond between himself and Tallgeese growing. They were buddies, partners, friends.
Icabod departed the Tallgeese' cockpit, heading to the bridge to check with Mrs. Maxwell. "How are we doing?" He asked.
"We'll be there in another couple of hours," she replied. "You go get some sleep." Icabod just nodded and headed toward his bunk down the hall. After all of his knowledge-absorbing he knew he could trust Mrs. Maxwell to do what was best for them all. He may have lost Mr. Barton and the powerful Wing Zero, but he had gained another ally and the possibility of another Mobile Suit Pilot as well as instructor for him. Things might just be looking up for the ESUN.
||Posted - 12/21/2009 : 01:08:34 AM
"Admirals, report," Justin commanded, his shoulders slouching slightly. The past few days had been exceedingly hard on his body, which was still recovering from the battle against Trowa Barton, and while it was taking a while to fully recover, his mind was even slower. The voice he had identified as Epyon still whispered in his head, small, unintelligible phrases he couldn't make heads or tails of, but he felt their messages more than heard them anyway. There was a certain level of unease among the crew, though a few small skirmishes on the outer rings of the Colonial position in space had brought a bolster of hope to his soldiers, the fact that none of them had yet to find the trajectory of the Heir's transport continued to irk their Commander. Arranged in four panels, side-by-side on his monitor display, were his Admirals were displayed, starting with the lowest ranking. They were far younger than himself, mere boys at the time of the war, but just as fierce and loyal as any from that time. They reported without wasting his time with little details, reading from their individual reports with little emotion, starting with the one star Rear Admiral.
"The outlying colonies have turned over their allegiance to our Colonial Forces, the remainder of the ESUN forces were captured and are currently being held in the Lunar Base, Sir. The meager ESUN forces on Mars resisted and were engaged. No survivors, Mars is ours now, with the extra materials found on Mars, we will be able to make our suit quota for the invasion." The elder Rear Admiral Gacheru Ballo had graying hair and a hard face, cold blue eyes peering out from under his cap. Justin guessed he was only a few years younger than himself but a talented soldier.
"L4 and L5 colonies have remained loyal to our cause, turning over six undercover ESUN operatives since the last update. Production of our Mobile Dolls has continued according to schedule, though it seems unlikely we will make our quota for the invasion due to material shortages." The younger Rear Admiral, with two stars adorning his collar, gave a confident smirk, his brown eyes and hair still holding the color of youth. Were it not war time, Justin might've envied that look.
"L2 and L3 colonies have nothing to report. All patrols have turned up nothing and we are ahead of schedule on Mobile Doll production." The Vice Admiral was an odd, sour man, looking far older than Justin despite being nearly fifteen years younger. Hard wrinkles, snow white hair and sunken, green eyes made him look nearly like a dying man grimly conversing with Death.
"L1 colonies have met their quota, we will be sending all extra materials to the L4 production center to help make the quota. Our scouts have turned over every scrap of information they were able to uncover about the remaining ESUN forces in space. Unfortunately, the information is shaky at best. We do, however, have a new class of soldiers in training. We hope to use the data captured from the recent battles to have them trained for actual combat." Justin's eyes narrowed as he focused on the live feed of his Admiral. Directly under him, yet far younger, Admiral Marco Esposito was charming, friendly, and deadly. While one of the first to join Justin's cause, Marco was also absolutely ruthless when it came to fighting. Just the sort of man Justin needed when they landed on Earth.
"Excellent work. Admiral Esposito, cancel the order to transport the materials to the L4 production facility. I will be docking in a few hours and my crew could use the extra parts for a special project, shall we say. Rear Admiral Ballo, have the extra materials found on Mars shipped to the L4 facility straight away. It will take weeks for them to arrive, so have the last two platoons of suits will be delayed until the second strike. Vice Admiral, have you completed your research?"
"Yes, Sir, I have. From what my reports indicate, colony GXR-0061 was one of the first set up in the L2 area. It is also in the poorest condition. From what we can tell, the colony only has a few more years until the life support systems give out completely. The colony currently houses less than half its potential max, evacuation measures have already been put in place without the public's knowledge. Several safety patches have been installed on the balance mechanism. Once we program the colony to drop, there won't be anyone, not even a Gundam Pilot, who will be able to stop it."
"Excellent. Carry on, we will proceed according to schedule. Admiral, have your technicians clear working space in the repair hangars. My crew gets a bit territorial with their work," Justin offered a smirk as the four men saluted. With a salute of his own, he dismissed them, the screens going blank one by one. Justin sighed, removing his cap and rubbing his temples. Without warning, the comm link clicked on, the familiar voice of his backer seemed almost happy, a drastic change from the last time they had talked.
"How are things going, Fleet Admiral?" Justin grimaced. He didn't like the Commander rank, now it seemed he was given a six rank promotion. It took effort to keep the disdain out of his voice.
"When did I get that promotion?" A distinct laugh, almost feminine in nature, came over that set the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end.
"Well, technically it is a demotion. Remember, you were titled Commander in Chief, but as we only have our space forces, might as well get used to the idea of not having a conventional multi-branched system, right? I wonder, did the Zero System gave you a glimpse into the minds of those who piloted it before?"
"I doubt it, I feel as though it has given me their eventual curse," Justin drummed his fingers along his desk, sighing. Things had changed drastically since he the battle. Not so much aboard his ship, but throughout his forces, Justin guessed it was the prospect of another great battle, like the Libra battle or the Eve War, coming up soon. Word of the Lightning Count's heir had spread like wildfire, and while some believed he was a secret agent of the Colonies Forces, most believed he was a puppet being used by the ESUN, acting as a shield to discourage the eventual Revolution. "I suppose you are here to give me some information I desperately require?"
"Naturally. I don't see why I'm helping you though, don't you have an entire office of soldiers dedicated to finding out information for you? Why not simply ask this one to do it, she seems more than capable?" Justin laughed, now that was funny, he thought, pulling a flask of whiskey from one of the drawers of his desk and taking a sip. The liquor kept the voice of Epyon from being too loud.
"Yes, and while none of them are quite as clever as Lieutenant Dunlow, she seems to be avoiding me as of late-"
"Oh, a lovers' quarrel perhaps?" Justin ignored the question, continuing without acknowledging the interruption.
"-and none of them have your resources. Besides, I have them chasing leads on where the ESUN is hiding their remaining forces, that seems to keep them more than occupied. Now, about those details?"
"Always to the point, aren't we? There's the part you already know, Ezechiel Mankins, a prominent factory owner and all around mechanical whiz, was a secret ally of the ESUN and trusted with the son of Zechs and Noin, named Icabod, keeping the boy safe and raising him as his own. From what I've found, he had reports doctored to provide the young man with education and other civilian services, but he obviously did this himself, without the aid of Barton or any other Gundam Pilot."
"How can you determine that?" Justin took another sip from the flask before setting it back in his desk, pulling up a short notepad file with everything he deemed important about the Heir, this Icabod.
"Because the reports aren't doctored very well. They don't have the proper file dates, gaps in history and paperwork, slight variation in standard protocol. Little things the Pilots wouldn't overlook. The earliest he appears in any system is approximately two years after his birth. However, it is apparent there was a connection between Mankins and Barton prior to the arrival of his so called son. Mankins was one of the workers on Heavyarms, the Gundam created specifically for use by the late Trowa Barton, the real one. The one you killed must have kept tabs on all his old buddies, he moved in next door to the Mankins barely six months after Icabod's arrival."
"So the next step is finding out why Barton. Yuy was Zechs' rival, his worst enemy and probably closest friend. Why wouldn't he trust the well being of his son to Yuy?" Justin got up and started pacing, the other end of the comm line remaining silent. There was no good reason for Trowa Barton to keep an eye on Icabod, no logical one anyway. Given their connections, Zechs should've trusted Yuy or his sister Relena, who would also be on the top of Noin's list for trusted allies, no doubt, along with fellow Preventers Lady Une and Sally Po. That would make sense, in Justin's mind, but Barton? "We know there were a total of three mobile suits onboard when the transport shuttle left the Mankins facility. One was Wing Zero, have you been able to determine the other two?"
"You aren't going to like what I have to tell you. One of the two is the Deathscythe Hell, Gundam used by the Pilot Duo Maxwell. The other is the Tallgeese III, Zechs' suit during the Eve War. From the files your men sent me, I can determine two things. One is that these suits are a bit more advanced than their namesakes, so they will be tougher to defeat. The second is that they contain a unique feature, something akin to an artificial intelligence based on the data collected from their respective former pilots. Basically meaning, these suits have the ability to, er, teach their new pilots how to mimic, and eventually become, their true masters. Even if you kill the Heir, if that transport falls into ESUN hands, you're screwed."
"Thanks for putting it delicately," Justin replied grimly, passing a hand over his face. His time was running out, and without the full strength of his forces risking an early invasion would probably back fire. What was he going to do now? "Is there any sign that Duo Maxwell is aboard the transport?"
"None that I can see. The transport left with only two biosignatures, but don't rely on that. Maxwell could have met with them while in space. Anything else, Fleet Admiral?"
"Could you just call me Rayes? Or Justin? Please, that rank, I don't deserve it." That feminine laugh again, Justin wondered what his backer found so funny.
"That isn't your concern, Fleet Admiral Rayes. History will determine if you are worthy to bear the title. This war needs to be finished before that part of History can be written."
"Duly noted, Seaman," Justin smiled, hearing a grunt of indignation come over the comm, though softly.
"Ah, you have the highest title and I the lowest, is that correct?" That voice had an almost cold, dead tone to it.
"No, I at least promoted you to E-3," he joked, laughing a bit. "Fine then, you're a Master Chief Petty Officer. How does that sound?"
"Hmmm, I have been called worse than Petty, I suppose." The comm line went dead and Justin gave a small smile. Epyon's voice was back, whispering into his head. You need practice. Use the Sanc Kingdom file. There's a simulator there.
Justin shook his head, furrowing his brows. No doubt Dunlow would be in the bay, working on the Taurus or Wing Zero. Epyon's repairs had been finished for a while, but Justin hadn't dared to step back into the suit. However, Epyon was right, he desperately needed practice. With a soft sigh, Justin went down to the bay, lightly floating along the high catwalk. Dunlow was easy to spot, working near Wing Zero. Luckily, Epyon was on the far side of the bay, and Justin could avoid the confrontation altogether. It wasn't hard to notice she had intentionally avoided him the past few days, and he wasn't the only one to notice her sudden absence on the bridge and extended periods spent in her quarters. Little did they, or she, know that he already knew what she was slinking off to do, how she had been pouring over the same information his backer had found and looking beneath it for what he had just learned. As he reached Epyno's cockpit, Justin noticed it opened without prompting. As he settled into the seat, before putting on the helmet, Justin took a deep breath.
Epyon, what do you want?
To finish what was started.
Justin shoved his helmet on and instantly the screens lit up, a bright green washing over him. Without thinking, he retrieved the file Epyon had told him to, the screens crackling slightly before displaying the serene, peaceful Sanc Kingdom moments before attack. He didn't close the cockpit, opting to allow the data to be recorded on the terminal still hooked up to the Epyon's core system. As the simulation started, scores of Virgos began dropping, landing all around him. It would take a while to clear the hordes of suits. Then again, he had a few hours to kill anyway. His hands settled on the controls with sudden calm; he knew what to do. Three... two... one... simulation start.
||Posted - 12/09/2009 : 10:53:47 PM
-=Lt. Jasmine Dunlow=-
The young woman’s eyes opened slowly, and she sat up from her desk, obviously she had fallen asleep while researching on her computer. Jasmine stretched uncomfortably, glancing at a recording of the aircraft that the Wing Zero had emerged from. She had highlighted a company ensigna on the side of the carrier, and began searching for it before the arms of fatigue welcomed her.
The screen flashed, ‘Mankins Industrial’ in front of her now, the light from the screen playing over her eyes as they dance over the information her search was providing. Owner Ezechiel Mankins was recently found dead in his factory a few days ago (same day as the battle), and his wife has filed a missing persons for their teenage son. Yet, there was no record or birth certificate of any children by Mrs. Mankins. Jasmine Dunlow’s eyes narrowed, that was strange. She began pulling up all the press releases from the company, a strange young man always appeared in the background.
Beep, Jasmine? Ya there?
Jasmine touched her com, “That better be you Darcy,” she warned. This man she worked with was the only one that dared to call her by the first name, he had know her intimately for a short period, and when she became the head of the crew they broke it off. He still insisted on addressing her informally.
Of course...Did ya get enough beauty sleep there love cause we could sure use you down here. Got somethin’ you should see.
“I’m on my way,” she closed the com and cleared her screen. She’d have continue her research later, maybe cross reference to see if Mankins had any involvement with the old wars, if that would give her any leads. She stood up stretching, trying to work out the stiffness that had claimed her young figure from sleeping in a chair. Throwing her head band over her hair she left her private quarters and made her way towards the work bay. Things at been a little tense on board since Wing Zero’s detonation, or at least it seemed that way to Jasmine, something changed that day.
As Jasmine entered the bay, she kicked off towards the skeleton remains of the Wing Zero, the zero gravity letting her land smoothly on the catwalk near the body.
“What ‘cha got Darc?” she asked the towering man in front of her. He was easily twice her size, about a foot and then some taller than her petite 5’4”, with sandy dirty blonde hair and ice blue eyes. He flashed he ra handsome smile and handed her the chart he was looking over, perhaps if he didn’t have such a problem with her being his commanding officer they’d still be together but as it stood, to Jasmine, he was just another one of her subordinates.
Repair on Epyon had been first priority, of course, then the completion of the fourth container ship of operational Taurus suits...now Dunlow’s attention was solely on saving anything she could from the Wing Zero. She had made an effort to avoid Rayes as of late, she had been unsettled by his lies, and was secretly trying to find out what he knew and thought to hide from them.
“See if the spare pieces for the Epyon will work, if they don’t get Lucas to take measurements and cast me one that will,” she replied cooly and handed the charts back. Darcy smirked slightly and took off to do as he was commanded, leaving Jasmine to marvel at how far they had come with the ‘scraps’. Still unsure if they had what it took to complete the suit, it gave her hope.
||Posted - 12/08/2009 : 03:08:24 AM
"S-sir." Rayes snapped his head in the direction of the hesitant Sergeant before him. With unintended agitation, Rayes barked at him, demanding that he speak up. The rest of the bridge was watching him, seeming worried. "Sir, you were, uh, mumbling to yourself. Should you be taken back to the med bay?"
"You damned fool, I'm sixty years old. I have every right to talk to myself!" Rayes returned with a comforting grin, standing up. He laughed a little and some of his men seemed put at ease. A wave of his hand, as if dismissing something unimportant, and he briskly left, allowing the feigned mirth to fall the moment those doors closed behind him. Was I really talking to myself? I thought I was just thinking. Barton must have done something to Epyon when I wasn't paying attention, opened the wrong prompt, something...
Rayes thought about requesting some pills to ease the pain in his side but scoffed at the idea. He couldn't afford to be drugged up, he had an enemy to catch. Besides everything else he had to worry about, Rayes had foolishly put himself in a bad spot. Convincing the men who had served with him of a lie was easy; convincing a boy who won't trust him from the start will be impossible. Effectively, in order to ensure the destruction of Earth, the new Lightning Count must be killed. Trying to explain that one to his men would be difficult. No matter, the easiest way to avoid the issue was to press on with the invasion of Earth before he had the chance to receive proper training. If he got killed in the crossfire, oh well, just another name to add to Hades' list.
Instead, he returned to his private quarters, ready to rest. The battle had been hard and apparently the damage reached farther than just his side. Rayes started to lay down and find some peace but stopped dead. His comm station was on.
"Things didn't go over so well, did they, Commander?" Rayes thought a moment how much he hated that title. His backer was trying to deliberately put the pressure on him, or blame as it were. The temptation was so strong to reach over and turn the blasted thing off but Rayes instead sat his chair and spoke, as cool and even as before.
"Every war has its share of complications, Sir. If this was too easy, they'd call it a massacre."
"I didn't know you cared so much about the classification of our little venture. For me, this is a strictly business proposition. One I plan to capitalize on and one you are making increasingly difficult, Commander." There was no masking the implications being made and Rayes grit his teeth at the thought.
"I am not God. Until Barton showed, even the Zero System couldn't have predicted this. We will just have to push through with the invasion ahead of schedule," Rayes moved his hand ready to send the command to his highest ranking officers, the Generals below him, mobilizing the Colonial Army in its attack on Earth.
"No, you will finish what they started. Track down and kill the boy." Rayes turned his eyes on the blank screen. Of course it would come to that.
"You are asking me to kill the son of our leader!" For a moment, Justin was a boy again, learning to pilot a suit, idolizing the Lightning Count like he was a god. How could he kill his son, flesh and blood to two of his greatest heroes?
"Last I checked, you have no son. No legitimate heir, anyway. Don't fool yourself, this war is yours. You are the leader now. Zechs had his shot and he failed. What is your mission, Commander?" Justin's mouth opened but he couldn't make a sound. What was his mission? His moment of clarity ended and Rayes responded.
"To destroy the Earth. At any and all costs."
"That's right, that's what I am paying you for. Now, to keep earning that check, and to keep this war alive, you will complete your mission with the added objective that you find and kill the Lightning Count's heir. Am I understood, Commander?"
"Yes, Sir." The comm line went dead and Rayes stood, thinking nothing as he shrugged out of his stiff uniform. Lying down, staring at nothing, he could almost hear Epyon breathing in the hangar. Maybe I'm not strong enough to handle the full Zero System. Will I go insane like the rest of them? Rayes keeps wondering until he falls asleep.
||Posted - 12/01/2009 : 5:46:42 PM
-=Lt. Jasmine Dunlow=-
Lt. Dunlow’s frame stiffened a little as Corporal Jacobs explained the orders she had given to retrieve whatever parts of the Wing Zero they could. She had hoped Raye’s wouldn’t have known about her interest in the Wing Zero, or at least taking a closer look at it. Her face though remained calm as she awaited orders, despite her fatigue.
"Very well then, hold this position until we've retrieved everything. Lieutenant Dunlow, please lend your expertise to our crews in the bay. The Wing Gundam was once rebuilt from scrap based solely on video data and the Tallgeese's own designs. Perhaps Epyon can be the key to rebuilding Wing Zero," he looked at her intently as he spoke.
Jasmine fought the urge to explain that it would be near impossible the rebuild the suit due to their lack of resources. The Wing Zero was NOT rebuilt from scrap as he called it, the gundams are built from a substance called gundanium alloy, a rare metal that they’ve been desperately collecting for repairs for the Epyon. Jasmine nodded her head in acknowledgment to her orders.
“Yes, Sir”, she left the bridge swiftly and head towards her quarters to change. Lt. Dunlow entered her private quarters and stripped herself of her uniform thankfully, it seemed to be weighing on her more than usual as of late. She slipped her legs into a pair of coveralls, and pulled a white tank top over her head, tying the arms of the protective fabric around her waist in her usual fashion. Jasmine felt more like herself this way, she pulled a head band over her forehead pushing back her chocolate coloured corkscrew curls.
Giving a quick glance at her bed, Jasmine sighed slightly, oh how sleep would help her right now, but it would have to wait. Jasmine would oversee the collection of scrap that was coming in from the battlefield, take a look at the progress made on Epyon, and she she was satisfied, she’d sleep. She was not needed for gathering supplies and so she would sleep after they docked with the resupply base orbiting the L1 colony.
||Posted - 12/01/2009 : 04:01:48 AM
Just like Noin, Rayes thought, his eyes narrowing. Noin had a knack for saying what was on her mind, even to superior officers, without fear of repercussion. Due in part to everything she said being a dead fact. However, the similarity between the two women had little to do with Dunlow's demeanor. She now seemed hostile towards him, unlike before. He watched her a moment, considering. There were a lot of options before him but each presented its own form of negative side effect. After considering very carefully, Rayes sat back in his seat.
"They don't. Thank you, Lieutenant," he turned to the men at the ship controls. "Set a new course for our nearest resupply base. There should be one orbiting near L1. We will need more supplies if we are to continue with the invasion of Earth, as planned."
"Uh, Sir, Crews have been sent out to retrieve the debris from Wing Zero's self detonation. They will need another two hours to finish, Sir," one of the Corporal spoke up, throwing a nervous glance in Dunlow's direction. Rayes wasn't surprised; of course she'd be a step ahead of him. He turned to her instead.
"Very well then, hold this position until we've retrieved everything. Lieutenant Dunlow, please lend your expertise to our crews in the bay. The Wing Gundam was once rebuilt from scrap based solely on video data and the Tallgeese's own designs. Perhaps Epyon can be the key to rebuilding Wing Zero," he waited until she was off deck before standing, looking back to her work station with a bit of a grimace. He was so close to realizing his dream, he couldn't afford to take chances. One of the other Lieutenants made a comforting gesture.
"You know, she was really worried about you. Stood up and screamed, everything. She's probably just taking it hard." Rayes looked at the man with a blank face. Behind it, he was laughing. He didn't believe fore a moment Dunlow was concerned for his safety. No, but it brought something to mind. He rose and walked forward, watching the crews gather the remains of his opponent silently, contemplating. It had never made sense to him before, why both of his mentors, Zechs and Treize, kpet a single female officer by their side, Noin and Une respectively. Never until now.
Men would look up to a superior officer and wish to be like him, to emulate him and devote themselves to his ideals for no better reason than it felt like they could too reach that state, to have that devotion of others. Women, however, could rationalize, and think straight when men allowed their testosterone to better them. Zechs was a great pilot, but the only reason he topped Noin was because she let him better her. She and Une both allowed themselves to serve, blindly, a man whom others emulated, but they loved. That is where their devotion came from: love. He had seen it, time and time again, when a man of power would feed lies to his underlings, so devoted to him, they would blindly follow without question. He had done just that, and it had worked, for the most part. Except for Dunlow. She wasn't devoted to him, she still could question his actions, could still call his lies, things the officers now surrounding him would never consider.
He caught his reflection in the screen and a grin touched his lips. He was not Zechs or Treize though. Rayes was probably old enough to be her father; no way for her to fall in love with him as Noin and Une had for their superior officers. He would have to find another way to earn her trust and devotion. Her knowledge was too valuable to just out and kill her, and were he to have her stationed elsewhere, she might turn into a bigger threat to the Colonial Forces than the Son himself. No, he would have to keep her close, where Rayes could watch her.
He walked back to his seat and punched in a few commands, ordering back logs be created on all Lieutenant Dunlow's files and work stations, including the personal one in her quarters. He would have to watch her without her knowing, lest she be a spy in disguise. He passed a hand over his face. He had never felt a sort of paranoia like this before. Was Epyon still in his brain? Could the Devil still be putting things in his head that weren't there? Rayes sat, quietly weighing the possibilities. There was a shorter route, through Epyon, but he couldn't risk using the system again so soon. Instead, he just sat in his seat, thinking...
||Posted - 11/30/2009 : 7:12:38 PM
-= Lt. Jasmine Dunlow =-
Jasmine had watched the battle intently, having every known test, and statistical record being ran. Her heart raced hard in her chest, the excitement of watching two of the greatest, if not in fact ‘the greatest’ gundams, battle each other.
Their beauty in both appearance, and operations memorized the Lieutenant’s the bright green gold eyes. The Angel and Demon, the only two machines to ever operate successfully with the Zero system, the two machines of the greatest pilots the world has ever known. Jasmine finally felt like a part of history.
The Lieutenants eyes narrowed as Barton stopped, the Wing Zero began to give off an eerie golden aura, and her eyes flew wide and glossed over. While others on the bridge took a moment to realize what was about to happen, Jasmine screamed at the top of her lungs and standing to her feet, as if making an effort to stop it herself.
Others on the bridge were commanding Rayes to fall back which he was already attempting. That’s not why Jasmine had screamed, at that very moment she could care less about Rayes or Barton. She had known one would win, one would lose, perhaps die even. But now, she heart ached as the light from the exploding suit lit up the bridge, her eyes flashing gold, and a look of despair was etched across her face.
She sat down slowly, her limbs were shaking and her eyes were glossed over threatening to spill over, much to her frustration. It was destroyed, Wing Zero was gone.
Dunlow grabbed a nearby Corporal and brought him down to her level, still being seated. Eye fixed on the battlefield before them, a low snarl of an order left her.
“Get out there and collect every piece of scrap you can find, leave nothing!”
Jasmine reluctantly let the poor man go, they all knew there wouldn’t be much to find, the gundams self-denotation systems were like no other, they weren’t meant to be salvageable. She had to try, to see what they could find.
Lt. Dunlow had done a quick run over the damage done to their Epyon, and commanded her team to help Raye’s original hand-picked team of several older officers. She had been snarlier with her orders than usual, and most tried to avoid her for the time being, she had obviously been upset by the battle. Some whispered she feared greatly for Rayes’ life, others said she was angered by their ‘defeat’, but very few of those aboard knew of her love for those great machines and witnessing the destruction of one the greatest pained her above all else.
The young woman sat herself on the bridge, pouring over the recorded video feed and inputs. Jasmine leaned forward, putting her forehead on her hands, elbows propped up on the control board.
I need a break, I’ve been at this for more than three hours. I’m starting to see things and I wasn’t even exposed to the blasted system!
The Lieutenant moved to her feet swiftly saluting Rayes as he appeared on the bridge. He was covering himself well, but she could tell him was in pain, despite his time in the med bay. Jasmine remained standing, through the ships moment of silence, though her eyes flashed up at the mention of Zech’s son. The whole situation set her uneasy, she had seen the video broadcast of the man himself...she didn’t believe a word of Rayes’ lies.
Lt. Dunlow played back the video from the battle as she was ordered, she almost avoided eye contact with Raye’s.
"Lieutenant Dunlow, what can you tell me about the command prompt? Is there any way to simulate the data to reflect Yuy's abilities?"
The Lieutenant’s eye never left the screen as she spoke, “I’ve been trying to figure that out myself sir. All I’ve been able to come up with is there’s something unique about those two suits, besides the Zero System.” Her eyes met his now almost thoughtfully. “It’s almost as if the systems were imprinted with the fighting style of their original pilots. There is definitely some sort of neurological input that these systems can access that are beyond my comprehension. I’m a mechanical engineer not a psychiatrist. And the only one who seemed to know the secret into accessing that frame of mind necessary to operate the machines to their full capacity committed suicide three hours ago, taking the counterpart of the Epyon, Wing Zero with him.” Her voice came across slightly bitter as she finished.
“As for simulating Yuy’s abilities, sir? The programming for the mobile dolls were taken from the pilots Heero Yuy, and Trowa Barton, they are the closest anyone had ever gotten to replicating their abilities. And from what I’ve witnessed today...they’re nothing.” She stared hard at Raye’s preparing for the backlash that her next words may cause.
“Let us pray they have no more Trowa Barton’s, Sir”
||Posted - 11/29/2009 : 11:10:32 PM
Rayes exited the medical bay with a grimace. Unsure of what to do next, he stood there a moment, glaring at the wall opposite him. He turned the options over in his head, much like he had replayed the battle during the few hours he had been recovering. There were several issues to be attended, several loose ends that needed tying, and Rayes wasn't quite sure he could take them all on by himself. One thing was sure, he needed to track down the Heir and destroy him before the ESUN could properly train the boy. He also needed to advance his armies to the crucial points needed for the Colonial invasion of Earth's major hubs, to be swiftly followed by the destruction of all military might the Earth had managed to attain. Besides all that, he realized, there was the matter of instilling faith into his troops once more, to remind them they were fighting on the right side of this war.
That seemed to settle it. He turned on heel and headed to the bridge. It somewhat soothed him to see his officers salute him as crisply as they had before the battle. One too many times, Rayes had been the defeated warrior returning home, battered and bruised. The feeling almost felt like home as he took his seat. He opened the comm line for the whole ship, addressing everyone in a somber tone, trying to keep the doubt he felt about his men buying the story he was about to feed them out of his voice.
"Today, we lost a great hero. Trowa Barton, along with the other Gundam Pilots, once fought for the Colonies, much like we do today. He took his own life, after giving me the ability to defeat the Earth Sphere United Nation. Now, as we stand on the eve of a great victory for the Colonial Forces, we must bear recognition to his brave sacrifice, that the greatest threat to our victory has been eliminated, the mobile suit Wing Zero. All personnel are now ordered to render a salute and a moment of silence, to honor his brave sacrifice in the name of the Colonies," Rayes stood and saluted, pleased the rest of the soldiers on deck did the same. The pause was well needed, as he still hadn't completely worked out what he was going to say in regards to the Heir of Zechs. He knew he had to address the issue delicately. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him, and a small smile touched his lips as he ended his salute and returned to his seat. "Furthermore, we send our fondest wishes to our secret ally, the son of our great leader, Zechs Marquis, whom I am certain will follow in his father's footsteps, to join the Colonial Forces once the Earth Sphere has taught him all that they can, and use that knowledge to win us our decisive victory. We are the will of the Colonies, protectors and allies to all who seek Justice."
A loud cry erupted from several officers that turned into a cheer. Rayes tried to hide the satisfaction on his face. It was a hard trick to pull, but he was certain it would keep most of his soldiers occupied for the time being. He himself wasn't sure about his words. Zechs had once fought on both sides of the war, had been both teacher and enemy to Rayes in his younger days. Would it not be fitting, that his son would walk in his father's shoes, though backwards, acting first as enemy, then later as ally? As he punched in some codes on his console, Rayes though back to those glory days, when all he did was obey orders given. Back when life was easy. He saw a message on the comm, a reminder from his backer to contact him.
Great, like I need a lecture from him... it can wait, I have other matters to attend, he thought, looking over the reports. Satisfaction crept in as he saw the chart detailing Epyon's repair log. It was about half way finished, which meant his crew was working double time, as Epyon had been severely rocked by the Wing Zero's detonation. At least one thing had gone right in his absence. Another thought occured to him and he set the repair data aside, pulling up Dunlow's annotated version of the replay, calling out to her.
"Lieutenant Dunlow, what can you tell me about the command prompt? Is there any way to simulate the data to reflect Yuy's abilities?" he was watching in slight fascination. Somehow, the replay he was watching now was slightly different than the one Epyon had shown him. Was it possible that Epyon was showing him the outcome of the battle had it been Heero Yuy he was fighting? Or was it simply that he had recovered a bit from the defeat and was unable to catch the minor flaws that stuck out so painfully before? Rayes contemplated going back to the hangar and demanding Epyon answer him but instead lifted his eyes to Dunlow.
||Posted - 11/28/2009 : 7:38:32 PM
The alert beacon on the Tallgeese' combat system woke Icabod. His hands instinctively started the monitors, checking to see what could have caused the alarm trigger to set off. When the monitors lit up, it was indicated that the alarm was started because the transport's proximity alarm had set off. Icabod stretched as much as he could in the cockpit before it opened, allowing him to float out into the main hangar. He smiled up at the Tallgeese, the recordings imprinted in his mind. He was meant to have that mobile suit, he knew this as truth now. Why else would all of that information be so readily accessible to him?
Reaching the main bridge of the transport, Icabod checked the monitors and computers. They were nearing orbit, but it seemed there was a ship that had attempted to issue a short-range distress signal. The transport's computers indicated that the ship was experiencing a total system failure. That was odd, especially since that ship looked like one of those earth/colony shuttle things. Icabod attempted to think and theorize, knowing he had the means to assist this ship yet he was unsure how he could communicate with them. He thought for a second and then remembered the ship's exploration lights.
Moving the transport closer, Icabod moved it into the ship's line of sight and started the lights, flashing a revised version of emergency morse code on a four-time repeater loop. The message saying simply: Friendly vessel. Attempting to render assistance. Icabod hoped in would do as he fired up the Tallgeese, the ship's docking bay opening to reveal space. Suit and pilot felt the slow drift of space as they settled in, a cargo shelf in the Tallgeese' cockpit, designed to store food, opened as the suit beeped revealing the Lightning Count's mask. Icabod had left the suit behind but he shrugged, slipping on the mask for effect and in case their were spies of the Colonial forces on that ship. He couldn't afford for them to see his face.
Tallgeese righted itself in space, gently approaching the ship. Icabod holding back to be sure they had seen the message and giving them more time to recognize the code and translate it. He did not want to startle or cause a panic amongst already scared innocent people.
||Posted - 10/29/2009 : 2:45:59 PM
Checking the small engine emergency room, Amalia began to notice some steam coming from one of the side engines. Quickly, she opened the top case, checking it out, realizing something was wrong. And surely, this wasn't some accident. Reaching to the drawer below, she pulled out a thick glove made specifically for such a job. Putting it one, she reached inside the case with the engine and pulled out a large metal bar. Instantly noticing someone had damaged the engine on purpose, and this was the weapon of choice. Damn it.. Amalia hissed in her head, rushing out of the engine room and down into the flight team's room. By the time she stepped in and called out the head flight captain's name, the engine seemed to rattle and roar. The shuttle shaking a bit. Lights began to flicker on and off, and in the background, you could hear the passengers begin to panic. Thankfully the passenger assistants were on the ball, calming them down and reassuring them everything was okay.
"Sir, the engine. Someone damaged the right engine." Amalia held out the metal bar. "I found this inside the case with it. Seems the culprit used this." The captain began to curse about and called in on the radio about the issue they were facing now. As they assured him they would send someone along their way to pick up the passengers and recover the shuttle, the entire shuttle came to a complete system shut down. "What the hell.. this is right.. Only one engine was damaged!" Amalia alerted and rushed out from the flight room and back into the engine emergency room. As she opened the door, she jumped back, startled by the smoke and flames that roared up from both engines now. Mostly covering the floor of the room.
Amalia thought quickly, spotting the glass case with the fire extinguisher on the right inside the room. Reaching her arm around, she used the metal bar and broke the glass, pulling it out and tossed the bar to the floor. Pulling around the hose she quickly, she pulled down the trigger and the foam and spray from the extinguisher blew out from the hose and covered the engine room. As the fire went down, one of the flight team members rushed up behind her, hearing the commotion.
"What the-.. Oh man." He sputtered out and she turned to him.
"Well this was fun. How long do we have to wait now?" She asked the man, rechecking the mess that was caused by the fire. "I wonder if this is what they were hoping for. Whomever broke the engine in the first place that is." The man shrugged his shoulders and sighed.
||Posted - 10/29/2009 : 08:30:13 AM
The transport rumbled silently in space as he sat in the hangar, attempting to learn Tallgeese's mechanical structure through tinkering. It was much like taking apart the large equipment his guardian's company had often shipped in this very hull. Icabod smiled to himself, learning the inner workings of his mobile suit as the distance to earth grew smaller and smaller. He wondered if he would have time to take Tallgeese out again before he reached earth. He was unsure, but maybe if there was another asteroid field between him and earth he would try it again.
The days ticked by unnoticeably due to the lack of a sun-and-moon rotation and Icabod's transport moved closer and closer to the Earth. Soon he would be at the ESUN Military Headquarters and he would turn over the other suit, which he had yet to even take a look at. Trowa had said it had once belonged to a man who referred to himself as "The God Of Death" which made Icabod feel kind of funny inside. Who would want use a suit like that? Then again, who would want to use a mobile suit like Epyon? Icabod frowned and went to the main hangar to tinker on Tallgeese more.
Fiddling in the cockpit of his mobile suit, he found a back recording of the last time the Gundams had been in combat with Tallgeese on their side. He heard the combatants speaking, watched them fight as they fought off the strange suits that the Tallgeese's computer identified as Serpents. Icabod delved further into this backlog of knowledge until a female voice caught his ears and made him tingle just as much as hearing his father's had.
"It's been one year and two days, Zechs," the voice said, Icabod felt goosebumps as he pressed the continue button on the log, hearing what he was sure were conversations between his parents in the time that Tallgeese had been with his father. After the recordings were spent, Icabod continued to watch the battle movements of the Gundams. He watched in awe as the Wing Zero destroyed the presidential residence's battle shield before falling from the sky. He was amazed and afraid at what he saw and he heard the voice of a pilot that sounded so fearless, so unemotional.
"Your shelter shield is secure?" It felt so dead, so unreal, as if this person had not truly been a person at all. A female voice replied but Icabod cared little. He watched the recording until it ended. The backlog was used up and Icabod sighed, he was growing tired but he knew the ship's autopilot would drive it toward a decent orbit with earth before halting the ship in orbit. Icabod closed his eyes, growing comfortable within the pilot's seat of Tallgeese. The door closed on him, keeping him quiet and secure inside the small space. Everything seemed so much more silent and peaceful inside. Maybe that was why his father loved the suit so much.
Time passed in the darkness as the ship drifted closer to Earth's orbit and Tallgeese bonded with its pilot as he slept in the stillness of its cockpit. It wouldn't take long for these two to truly become partners as man and machine warmed up to eachother in the silence of space. Yet with only an inexperienced pilot and a second mobile suit with no pilot, would the Earth stand a chance against Justin Rayes and the Epyon?
||Posted - 10/28/2009 : 12:12:17 AM
Time passed as it always did day after day when she was at work. Every morning, greeting her bosses, gathering her daily paperwork and plans, checking flight schedules, and her daily mail. As she walked to her station that morning, she skimmed through her papers and mail, throwing all the junk mail she had in the trash can along the way. Amalia then smiled, noticing her co-worker, Shawna, standing at the gate waiting for her and with an extra coffee in her hand.
"Well, good morning Shawna." Amalia cheerfully noted to her with a friendly smile, which they both always gave towards one another. Shawna was one of the few she got along with well here, well, amongst them women anyway. The rest seemed to be a little more snobby or just stuck up.
"And good morning to you as well, Ami. I brought you your favorite blended coffee since it was my turn today." Shawna noted. Ami. That was Shawna's nickname for Amalia. Sorta' cute, she thought, since no one else ever called her by that, she didn't seem to mind it too much.
"Why thank you." She nodded to Shawna and gently took her coffee off her hands. Bringing it to her lips and taking a very slow, soft sip from the lip opening at the top edge. Making sure as to not burn her mouth in any way. The taste filled her mouth and tingled her taste buds. An English Toffee with a dab of Hot Cocoa, and an added two spoons of both Vanilla and Cream powder flavoring. "Mmm, just how I like it. You're the best Shawna." Amalia smiled, passing her and heading into the gate, Shawna following right behind her, sipping her own coffee from time to time as well. Passing the gate dock and motorized extending hall, the managed their way into the large shuttle that was due to depart in ten minutes, approximately. The passengers already boarded and informed of their emergency procedures, Amalia stepped her way back into her service pit, putting her cup in the holder on her small stand and took her seat once the doors closed behind them upon the ten minute departure clock. Buckling in, along with the other crew and passengers, she could hear the engines roar up to a start and begin to slowly rise into position. The passengers on the shuttle talked amongst themselves, quietly, waiting for lift. Which cam upon the final thirty second clock countdown. The shuttle rattled some and shook upon lift off. Though once passing through the Earth's atmosphere, it passed by quickly and the vibration slowly came to a stop. Everyone relaxed and Amalia unbuckled, following her usual procedure of checking the back engine room and fuel tanks. Making sure nothing raddled loose in the take off.
||Posted - 10/27/2009 : 4:43:55 PM
Justin groaned as Epyon tried to keep up with the Wing Zero. The Wing Zero had activated its Zero System and he could barely match, Barton's attacks teasing him, testing him, pushing him to a point he couldn't stand. His heart started beating erratically and as he heard Barton's words, he grimaced, fearing the stress of trying to match Zero would be enough to kill him. However, Justin was not one to give up, especially not to Barton. Epyon had told him he would survive and he intended to, so he pushed back, starting to match the Wing Zero's blows. The screens started to light, an eerie green washing over Justin as one of Barton's blows bit into Epyon's armor. Enraged, Epyon awoke in a new and frightening way, pushing its pilot harder into the fight. But it was too late for Justin to prove himself, too late for Epyon to fully awaken.
"I hope you enjoyed our fight, Justin Rayes." Justin's eyes grew wide as Epyon blasted away, though not quick enough. The force from Wing Zero's detonation rocked him in Epyon's cockpit and he bit back a curse as the taste of blood filled his mouth. Eypon hummed in triumph as it surveyed the battlefield, making sure its rival had fled. The battle was over but it was not won. He had survived but nothing more. Justin stared at the screen and roared in anger, setting Epyon whirling around the battlefield, looking for Barton.
"You denied me my revenge, Trowa Barton. But I still have Earth to destroy... and another enemy to face," he mumbled as he finally left, flying back to the ship. Epyon groaned a soft reply but Justin brushed it aside, putting a hand on his head. There was a dull pain at the back of it, like a soft hammer pounding him, a side effect, he assumed, of pulling G's and fighting a... superior pilot. Justin bit his lip as the thought came and Epyon stayed silent. He had been outmatched. Even in the Devil's suit, he had been outmatched. "Epyon, why didn't you awaken? Why didn't you fight?"
The suit's eyes glowed green and the screens displayed a replay of the battle. From the third person, it was obvious from the start he was being outmatched. Then again, he noticed with a sort of grim satisfaction, it also seemed Epyon wasn't trying. Had the suit purposefully held back, knowing Wing Zero would detonate, to keep its secrets a while longer, as it had a new enemy to face, and a final Angel to slay? Justin couldn't tell and as the replay ended he had to content himself with the thought that somehow, someway, Epyon knew what it was doing far better than he. As Epyon docked in the ship's hangar, he winced, feeling again the blood in his mouth and the wounds he had earned, broken ribs. Without prompting, the cockpit opened and he floated out, drifting in front of Epyon. The suit glowed a moment before shutting down, silently making Rayes one more promise.
"I guess we shall see, my friend," he made it to the catwalk and pulled himself along, groaning as he made his way to the medical bay. A few officers who tried to help him were waved off, instead given orders to repair Epyon. He sat down on one of the beds in the medical wing and felt a tad bit ashamed. His heart wasn't too old to fight, but his body seemed bent on proving him otherwise. He divested himself of his space suit and shirt, laying on the bed as one of the medical staff tended to his ribs. He simply stared at the ceiling, turning the replay Epyon had showed him over and over in his mind.
||Posted - 10/27/2009 : 4:09:20 PM
Wing Zero suddenly blasted forward, second guessing every move Epyon and Rayes could give it. Trowa smiled as he typed the last key of the command. Suddenly the camera screens turned gold, shinning against his skin as he activated the full potential of the zero system within Wing Zero. He could see every outcome, every motion, even those of the people not here. He set himself at Epyon easily, mind at Peace with the Zero System as it showed him the ultimate result of his actions.
"The Zero System will only come to its ultimate potential when it faces itself in combat," he said quietly. "Epyon will only truly reach its ultimate level when it faces Heero Yuy...or Zech Marquise' combat data. It will never open up against anyone else!" Zero pushed harder against Epyon, suddenly outmanuevering it on a whole new level as he sliced and hacked at the mobile suit before him, teasing him with the true power of the Zero System. "Do you see it now? Has it opened up to face its rival?"
He awoke to an eerie feeling as he looked at the box that had been left out for him. He picked up everything and looked it over, trying the mask on and looking in the mirror with a sigh. It was then that Icabod noticed matching streaks of silvery-white in his hair. No doubt from the stress of flying the Tallgeese.
Icabod quietly placed the video message in the drive on the main cockpit control pannel. He couldn't figure out how to run it no matter how hard he tried, being more used to displaying messages on all open channels, which is what he did now. The screen sprung to life, revealing the unmasked face of Milliardo Peacecraft.
"Icabod," he began in a voice that tweaked the young boy's memories. "It seems inappropriate to appologize now after all this time, as I do not doubt that you have grown greatly since the time I gave this message to your neighbor. I want you to know that I left you the Tallgeese with the hope that you will never have to use it, though if you are watching this then the time has come." The man closed his eyes, smiling to himself. "Before we separated, the Epyon vowed to me that it would destroy the Wing Zero and rise again to become the nightmare of Earth. I need you to stop the repetition of History Icabod. Become strong enough to use the Tallgeese and protect the earth from the evil I nearly let destroy me."
With that, the message ended and the communications shut off. Icabod raced to the main hangar, only to see that the Wing Zero was gone. It was there that he stumbled upon its last known coordinates, the very place that the message from Justin Rayes in the backlog had said he would be. Something within Icabod told him he shoud go, but he looked up, confused and upset. His eyes set on the white mobile suit before him and asked.
"Tallgeese, what should I do?" The mobile suit's main camera lit up, beeping loudly. "You're right...we must continue on to Earth!" He ran back inside the main cockpit and fired the auxilary thrusters, shooting them toward their destination even faster. "Goodbye...Mister Barton." He said with a pained sigh.
"It's time," he came over the communications. "I hope you enjoyed our fight, Justin Rayes." The Wing Zero appeared in Epyon's camera at a close distance, lighting up as he pushed the self-detonation switch. Wing Zero lit up in space as it exploded, taking its technology and power along with Trowa Barton to the grave. It would seem the end of the last Gundam Pilot had come.
||Posted - 10/27/2009 : 3:31:18 PM
-=- Lt. Jasmine Dunlow -=-
Jasmine’s eyes darted upward to the main screen as the man accessing their com announced himself as a gundam pilot. Her train of thought was left completely forgotten as she listened to the challenge made to Rayes.
As the man, Trowa Barton, continued her stomach lurched at the mention of the son born of Lt. Noin and Zechs Marquis. Her face twitched, she wasn’t sure if it was from feelings jealousy or curiosity, but the knowledge left her uneasy. Her mind raced with absurd thoughts.
The son of Zechs? Am I on the right side of this whole thing?
She was unaware of the orders being barked from Raye’s mouth above her, but she was brought to attention quickly at the sound of her name.
“... And Dunlow," he rounded on her, pausing a moment contemplating something, "Work on unlocking that command prompt. I'll need it for the next battle."
Jasmine swallowed hard as he left the bridge. She watched video feed of the Epyon leaving the docking bay. Her eyes flew to another focused on the opposing mobile suit, her eyes widened slightly and brought her to her feet looking at the screen.
What a magnificent suit, the build is remarkable. Similar to the Epyon in build...but at the same time it’s very opposite. I heard the Wind Zero was angelic, but I couldn’t have imagined something like that.
Another gut wrenching feeling grabbed a hold of Jasmine, she took her seat once more, and forced her eyes to the incoming data. Looking up and seeing the machines connect was a breath-taking experience. They clashed repeatedly in great spectacles of light and power. Jasmine looked down at this moment and went to work furiously. Zero was speeding up, but how?
She had a ear on the conversation between the two. Barton caught her attention with mention of the glitched command prompt.
So, he knows about it. Meaning, it was most likely purposely built into the system. It’s not a safety precaution, more pilots went insane then were actually able to pilot it. So what made Yuy and Zechs different? Everyone always thought it was their superior skills, but Barton claims different. Keep him talking Rayes...
Her fingers pushed down keys at lightening speed as the battle went on, she froze the screen studying the numbers and symbols. To anyone less educated it would seem like gibberish. She brought up the screen from the previous flight tests...
Glancing over at the incoming data from Epyon she noticed quickly that it’s speed as well was increasing. She brought up the command screen and drug it over to compare with the test flight.
“Zero’s unlocking Epyon’s abilities,” her words were a little surprised. “The command prompt comes from the opposing suit with the same system!”
||Posted - 10/27/2009 : 2:50:53 PM
Justin grit his teeth as Barton taunted him, pushing the Epyon as far as he dared. He was still an old man and though Barton was just as old, he had always been the better prepared. Even as Barton effortlessly pushed him back and deflected time and time again, Justin couldn't help the small, cold smile creeping along his lips. He knew he wouldn't lose this fight. Rather, Epyon told him he wouldn't lose. In listening to the demon suit, he felt Epyon move just a little bit quicker, responding a little faster. Overall, he still felt sluggish as Epyon's attacked were easily blocked but that he was matching Barton was enough to invigorate him. He let out a low chuckle.
"I don't remember you being this talkative, back in the day. What's the matter Barton? Have you turned senile as well?" Epyon and Wing Zero waltz effortlessly, the Demon and the Angel flowing smoothly through the freedom of space. Justin set Epyon against Zero, the beam sabres meeting and burning brilliantly in the cold deadness, and he dared answer the question posed him as smugly as he could muster.
"Say what you will, Barton. Speak your piece now for we both know how this is to end. We have always known how this will end!" he shoved Epyon back and swung the whip at Wing Zero. Sweat had started to form on Justin's brow as his heart pounded in his chest. Fighting a real pilot was certainly a different experience than massacring hundreds of ill prepared soldiers or running simulations in asteroid fields. His body was starting to feel the pressure of Epyon's movements but Epyon told him to disregard these feelings. Justin trusted the suit and, with grim determination, set again towards his enemy, his mortal enemy.
||Posted - 10/26/2009 : 7:07:38 PM
"Too slow, Oz pilot," he smiled as Wing Zero moved from the path of attack at full throttle, twin sabers lighting up in the darkness of space as the suit's Angelic wings propelled it forward to strike. "Have you come to kill me, Rayes? If you do so too soon, we will both be in a horrible position." The suits danced, Trowa still waiting for the right moment to engage at full capacity.
"Firstly, if you kill me too soon you will never know the secret to unlocking the Zero System's true full capacity. Furthermore we mus wait to allow the fight to end until just the right time, or even knowing how to unlike Epyon's full power will be useless knowledge to you," he was smug, matching the blows of an inferior pilot easily without even the use of the Zero System as the mobile suit he piloted was superb enough without it. Having been built fifteen years before all the other Gundams in its original days of creation, and it stood as the most powerful of all mobile suits ever built. That was why today had to happen.
Falling back momentarily, Trowa paused and opened his mind. "Catherine..." He thought of how far he had come since that first time she had tried to stop him from causing his own demise for a cause. Zero retaliated continuously, requiring little input from Trowa considering its opponent. This was what Trowa had to teach to Rayes, Epyon would only ever work at maximum capacity against the battle data of its greatest rival or its greatest Master. Without Heero or Zechs at the helm against it, Epyon would never fight to the ultimate level of the Zero System.
After a few moments, Trowa knew he had bought enough time. "Would you like to know the way to open that glitched command prompt, Justin Rayes?" He asked.
||Posted - 10/26/2009 : 01:49:06 AM
Justin watched as she set to her work with such speed he couldn't help but feel impressed. He threw a glance around the bridge, noticing that everyone was listening, if not watching, as Dunlow rattled off the information. He was again reminded of Noin but pulled himself away from those memories as she looked up to him. He frowned as Dunlow explained the prompt, unsure if unlocking it was such a keen idea. The full Zero System had killed some and driven others to the point of insanity. Even in this milder form, his piloting abilities were far beyond what would be expected of a man his age. As he weighed the risks against the gains, the comm line opened and a voice he remembered all too well rang into the quiet bridge and a face, though worn by the years like his, had every bit the stillness it had in his youth.
"I am Trowa Barton..." he heard and his face turned cold as stone. His eyes filled with a fire, the same one that burned all those years ago, when the Gundams were killing his brothers in arms like they were flies. He had seen that face, along with four others, time and time again in his deadliest nightmares, and he never forgave them their sins. Justin's fists clenched at the proposal of taking revenge upon Barton and he felt a smug satisfaction that he had abandoned the beam rifle, as Yuy had when he dueled Milliardo aboard Libra. He turned to order the beam rifle be taken off Epyon when Barton's next words stopped him cold. "...that hope is the son of war heroes Lt. Noin and Zechs Marquise..."
"Speak of the Devil," he mumbled, thinking back on his earlier reminiscing of Noin. Now, he would have to slay her son to fulfill his plans. As Barton's transmittion ended, Justin whirled around and proceeded with his orders, knocking the ship's comm line on with a fist. "Have the beam cannon removed from Epyon! Make sure it is completely refueled and ready for battle. It had better be running at 110%."
He paced a moment there, thinking of the vengeance he was so close to attaining. He looked over at Lt. Dunlow and thought a hard moment. He watched her face, thinking about unlocking the command prompt. Barton was able to cope with the Zero System, though he had never mastered it like Zechs and Yuy. Without the full system, he didn't stand as good a chance of winning, but with it, he wasn't sure he stood a chance of surviving.
"Sir, we are almost to the coordinates, what are your orders?" he blinked and turned to flash a smile to the rest of the crew.
"Hold here. I will go on in Epyon. Do not engage Wing Zero under any circumstances, this is between us. Fire on any ships that appear. And Dunlow," he rounded on her and thought a moment. With a shake of his head, he made his choice. "Work on unlocking that command prompt. I'll need it for the next battle."
Confident, he strode from the room, a chorus of 'yessir!' echoing after him as he left the bridge. He thought about the battle all the way to the hanger and as he put on his space suit. He donned the helmet with a grim smile. Epyon seemed more than willing to fight, a deep glow to the mobile suit's eyes as Justin floated into the cockpit. A few seconds of adjustments and he was cleared to leave the bay, setting out to meet his enemy. As he closed in on the spot, he caught sight of the Wing Zero floating, waiting for him. Epyon pulled its beam sabre free, the green flash being Barton's only warning as Epyon hurtled towards its mortal enemy. Justin felt Epyon come to life, the lights dancing in front of his eyes as Epyon showed him the possibilities. As Epyon's sword slashed towards Wing Zero, he felt as though it was his own arm falling towards Barton. How he relished the thought of slicing his bloody head off.
||Posted - 10/25/2009 : 7:47:02 PM
"Okay Icabod, I know this can be scary at first, but you must be ready for combat and the only way to do so is train," Mister B said over the com screen. "It's just you against the asteroid field, you've learned all you can without piloting it for real and our battles will mostly be in space. Are you ready?" Icabod shook his head.
"If Wing Zero is so much more powerful, why am I learning to fly an inferior suit?" He asked with a whine. "I should be learning to pilot it so we can bring a quick end to all of this! I can't get revenge in this old hunk of junk!" He tapped the side of the control pannel and some metal strained making a groaning noise, the suit was unhappy with that statement.
"Icabod, don't even think about Wing Zero," Mister B said. "That suit is as evil as the Epyon. The Zero System in it would drive you insane." He chuckled. "Besides, you should not doubt the Tallgeese. It will speak to you as it spoke to your father. You'll also find that once you stretch its legs, you'll be the one found inferior. At least in the beginning. Let's go!" The bay doors opened and Tallgeese launched at a basic speed, floating into space as Icabod adjusted, just as Mister B had told him too. He made his way toward the asteroid fiel and Mister B chimed up. "The first Tallgeese actually defeated the original Wing Gundam in combat. It is the fastest suit ever built, utilized by both Treize Kushrenada and your father, Zechs Marquise."
"...Tell me about my father," he said quietly.
"No, focus," B said. "The Tallgeese 3 is capable of eluding and clearing these asteroids in a fraction of the time of any other suit. I don't expect you to go that fast, but I want you to step on the gas a bit. Let's shoot for a decent time!" Icabod just laughed.
"If Zechs did it, I can!" The levers went forward and Tallgeese suddenly flashed toward the floating rocks. The pressure instantly effected Icabod as he tried to maneuver in the debris, his reflexes were hereditary and amazing, but the speed was so great that Icabod was unable to pilot at full capacity. Mister B was over the com in an instant.
"Icabod! Slow down! The G-forces will kill you if you go too fast without adjusting them!" But Icabod just grit his teeth and pushed for more.
"I will get my revenge..." He growled quietly. "FATHER! I AM THE LIGHTNING COUNT!" Throttles maxed, Icabod was flipping and tossing the Tallgeese at maximum capacity, the computer charts and sensors red-zoning as it moved as readily as if Zechs himself were inside. The forces pressed in on Icabod, but the pain made no difference just as Mister B's warnings and shouts did nothing to slow him until...
A sharp pain in Icabod's mid-section, mixed with a sickoning crack indicated that the G-fores had broken his ribs. He screamed and the suit suddenly halted, Mister B having hit a remote brake in his moment of fear. The old man brought the transport around and slowly piloted the suit into the docking bay. He sighed and helped Icabod to a room, where he bandaged the unconscious boy and did the best he could to make sure he would recover. It was then that Rayes' message came through on all open channels.
"A duel..." Trowa sighed to himself, he knew what this would mean. "I'm sorry Icabod." He left the room, leaving a box that contained a recording as well as a suit and the one thing the Lightning Count needed the most: the Mask of Zechs Marquise. The note on the box said "You'll need these, Icabod Marquise."
Wing Zero lit itself to life, the hangar opening to allow it freedom into space. Trowa quickly kicked it into high gear, blasting into space and heading for the coordinates, his communicator opening quickly as the angel-winged mobile suit flew through the gravity-free environment of outer space. He sighed as he revealed himself to the world once more, not only opening his channel to Rayes' but to everyone willing to watch and listen.
"I am Trowa Barton," he said slowly. "I am the Gundam Pilot of Mobile Suit 04 HeavyArms. I was the fourth pilot of operation Meteor and fought along side those who defeated Milliardo Peacecraft and Mariemaia Kushrenada. I accept the challenge of Justin Rayes and will face him in this mobile suit Wing Zero. For all respective purposes I will not be bringing nor using the suit's powerful Buster Rifle. I will however reveal the secret of the Zero System to Rayes and Rayes alone upon his arrival." He paused for a moment. "He should also know that mobile suit 02 Deathscythe and the Tallgeese are still in possession of the ESUN's One Hope. For all those watching, that hope is the son of war heroes Lt. Noin and Zechs Marquise - the Lightning Count. Do not despair, for the Lightning Count is reborn and he requires the assistance of all true loyalists. I await Epyon at the requested site."
Trowa waited now, Wing Zero in full readiness as he floated in space, arms crossed and eyes closed. This battle would not end in a way that would be fair to Icabod, but it had to occur and the boy needed to see what he was truly getting into before he would be able to unlock his full potential. The Lightning Count could not die, he had heard Zechs say that after coming back from the dead as a Preventer. That had to hold true now, he only hoped he had not left a fool's hope to the universe.
||Posted - 10/25/2009 : 02:31:39 AM
-=-Lt. Jasmine Dunlow-=-
Jasmine watched a little nervously as Rayes nodded and approached her. He may be close to thirty-five years her senior, but he looked good for his age she had to admit. Take away the lines creasing over his face and add that light of youth back into his eyes and he may have been handsome back in the day. She blushed slightly as he clapped her softly on the shoulder as if she was an old acquaintance.
"You remind me a little of Lt. Noin, during the war. She was a great pilot and a great leader... but she got overly attached to her men. I remember my days training under her well. They say she died during the Eve Wars but I don't believe that," he paused and began laughing at the memories. It seemed he realized his growing age and found it humorous.
Lt. Dunlow’s face was a little shocked at his compliment, she knew Noin’s name naturally, and understood her so called ‘attachment’ very well. She had served his excellence Zechs Marquis the Lightening Count, later known as Millardo Peacecraft. It was very well known her devotion was not completely out of loyalty, but of the love she bore for him. Not much was known of the pair after the Eve Wars.
Colour rushed to Jasmine’s cheeks as she remembered the school girl crush she had on the historical figure growing up, often fantazing about being in Lt. Noin’s shoes. So close to the one she loved so dearly, but it hardly ever being acknowledged.
The Lieutenant quickly pulled herself together as Raye’s motioned for the door, and led the way towards the bridge.
"Don't worry about testing the Zero System quite yet. We've barely got it working on Epyon, no need to rush things. Unlike the ESUN, we have time. Not to mention superior officers,” his smile faded as the bridge door slid open. He stepped through and started barking orders. "Hughes, set a course for the coordinates I sent earlier. Jacobs, bring up the Zero System test data on the terminal's screen. Everyone else, find something useful to do!"
She followed Rayes to Corporal Jacobs’s terminal, which he quickly vacated after turning bright red after making eye contact briefly with Lt. Dunlow. She smirked a little at his embarrassment. Rayes offered her the seat in which she took without hesitation. She glanced at the screen momentarily before searching back to the section she remembered seeing a reappearing spasm in the command processor.
"I felt like the suit was dragging, almost like Epyon was holding back. Is that a mental error on my part or a glitch in the system? There's a good chance we won't have time to fix it, so I would rather know now what to expect next time," her commanding officer chimed as her hands flashed over the key boards before her. Light from the screens flashing over her sharp eyes making them glow more gold the green at the moment.
“While I was watching the demonstration earlier I noticed something strange kept popping up. It’s encoded through the very foundation of the system,” she spoke she worked to somewhat explain what she was doing. Quickly she froze the screen in place and highlighted a few rows of symbols and numbers. ”Right here! It’s a command prompt I don’t recognize...it seems to be requesting input from some outside source.”
Jasmine’s face looked concerned, her brows drew together slightly and lips tightened as she thought of what it meant.
“Sir,” she looked upward at the older gentleman beside her, “I believe this is the prompt that unlocks the Zero Systems prime abilities to work from the pilot’s instincts and wants...it’s requesting some kind of input from the pilot. But it’s not connected to anything on the control panel or sensory indicators.”
This is the part, if unlocked could make the pilot delirious. Opening one’s mind to a machine with no conscious of how far to go.
Jasmine kept her thoughts to herself; she knew he had seen it happen. Pilot’s driven mad fighting things that weren’t real.
||Posted - 10/25/2009 : 12:22:05 AM
Justin couldn't help but smile as Dunlow's expression changed, ever so slightly. She had answered as he expected, for the most part, and her fire and passion reminded him of those days long gone. Female soldiers always held a deadly charm, he found, and she reminded him of the woman who had trained him, kind but strong. He nodded and stood, clapping a hand on her shoulder. "You remind me a little of Lt. Noin, during the war. She was a great pilot and a great leader... but she got overly attached to her men. I remember my days training under her well. They say she died during the Eve Wars but i don't believe that."
He stopped there and laughed. It didn't happen often, but sometimes Justin acted his age, rambling on about nothing in particular for no apparent reason. He often caught himself wondering if he was going insane but, he reasoned, if he was lucid enough to contemplate it, he must not be there quite yet. But it did bring up another point. He motioned for the door and started out, leaving his quarters.
"Don't worry about testing the Zero System quite yet. We've barely got it working on Epyon, no need to rush things. Unlike the ESUN, we have time. Not to mention superior officers," he lost his smile as the bridge door slid open. He stepped through and started barking orders. "Hughes, set a course for the coordinates I sent earlier. Jacobs, bring up the Zero System test data on the terminal's screen. Everyone else, find something useful to do!"
He walked to the terminal, which Jacobs quickly vacated, and stared down at the information, offering the seat to Lt. Dunlow. "I felt like the suit was dragging, almost like Epyon was holding back. Is that a mental error on my part or a glitch in the system? There's a good chance we won't have time to fix it, so I would rather know now what to expect next time."
He listened intently to her analysis. For someone who had never seen the machines as he had, she seemed more than well versed in the protocol regarding them. Other officers carefully listened in, eager to hear how the Colonial secret weapon was holding out.
||Posted - 10/24/2009 : 11:39:55 PM
-=-Lt. Jasmine Dunlow-=-
Jasmine silently stood at attention as Rayes addressed her specialities with mobile suit dolls. She nodded her head gently in thanks for the recognition as he continued.
“I fought against Mobile Dolls a long time ago. Their one true weakness seemed to lie in that we, as humans, were able to out manoeuvre the computers," she watched as he closed his eye and looked as if he was reminiscing about the great wars.
“It’s true you lived in the glory days of creation. Magnificent devices called mobile suits were common among young men in arms such as you, aiding their learning abilities in the easy access. Since the banning of such weapons the art of battle and control of the relics has been limited to few privileged souls, until recently anyway. I am confident that we have a strong advantage of the ESUN,” her words were softer than usual, almost soothing as she explained her low opinion of the ESUN’s resources and abilities.
When again he opened his eyes they bore deep into hers, making his next words sound vital, "We will need every advantage in this war. We have every tool and it is up to us to use them. I will be relying on people like you who can bring back the old weapons. So don't be surprised when I ask you some questions that border inhumane.”
“Sir, I am aware of the problems with the system in the past and have done as much as I could to overcome such obstacles, but as I have no need to remind you sir, you fought alongside and against the great pilot’s history have ever known. The recalled statistics and information recovered from various suits pertaining to those battles was saved and reprogrammed into each and every suit that has past my inspections. These machines sir, like yourself remember it all...and as you know they incorporate what they’ve learned.” Confidence radiated off of the young woman before him, she was truly passionate about every ounce of information they had obtained, studied it, and watched in awe in many of the recorded video that they managed to salvage.
"In your opinion, could you wire the Taurus to run on the Mobile Doll system while using the Zero System? If not, who of your team would you give to test a modified version of the System to run at half capacity?" his words were slow as if making an inquiry he was unsure of.
Jasmine’s lips parted to answer, then hesitated brows drawing together slightly trying to think the question over a moment. She knew the dangers of the Legendary Zero System, how it could only be controlled by a select few, not even all the Gundam Pilots could control it.
“In my opinion sir? The system could not be wired into the dolls due to its dependence on the pilot, a computer program, even one as advanced as our mobile dolls cannot fill the emotional and mental draw that a pilot provides to the system,” she watched his face for a change of expression, none came. “As for testing a modified version of that particular system, I would not trust anyone from my team save myself sir,” a knot tied itself tight in Jasmine’s stomach as the words left her mouth. She had just volunteered herself for testing of a modified Zero System.
||Posted - 10/24/2009 : 10:21:39 PM
Justin nodded, leaning forward in his chair. He had hoped the Taurus would be fully equipped before using them in battle. More importantly, he wanted to have them equipped with the very system he had fought against, all those years ago.
"Now, Liuetenant, the type of officer you are, I assume you were watching the Zero System test and making your own analysis of its abilities. I also know you have a certain... expertise in the Mobile Doll system. I fought against Mobile Dolls a long time ago. Their one true weakness seemed to lie in that we, as humans, were able to out manuever the computers," Justin closed his eyes and sighed, remembering that it was by little skill and mostly luck he survived the battle on Libra. He still sometimes saw the White Fang painted Dolls in his dreams. When again he opened his eyes, he gave her a hard look. "We will need every advantage in this war. We have every tool and it is up to us to use them. I will be relying on people like you who can bring back the old weapons. So don't be surprised when I ask you some questions that border inhumane.
"In your opinion, could you wire the Taurus to run on the Mobile Doll system while using the Zero System? If not, who of your team would you give to test a modified version of the System to run at half capacity?" Justin knew he hadn't worded the question correctly. But he also knew what he needed. He needed soldiers capable of using the Zero System or a milder form or Dolls capable of outperforning whatever the ESUN could throw.
||Posted - 10/24/2009 : 8:04:45 PM
-=-Lt. Jasmine Dunlow-=-
Beeeep, Lt. Dunlow report to Bridge,
Beeeep, Lt. Dunlow report to Bridge.
Jasmine wrapped a towel around her slender frame as she stepped from the clouds of steam pouring from the shower head. The female officers locker room was quite smaller then the male counterpart due to numbers onboard ship, and she had it all to herself at this time. The light stepping of bare feet echoed a little as she crossed the tiled floor to the vidlink on the wall. Slamming her hand on to the communicator, the video opened and Jacobs was the lucky operator receiving her. She assumed she must look like a drown rat, her hair soaked and weighed down, a grease smear still on her cheek with a towel wrapped around her torso. But, that is the opinion of a mere woman.
“Lt. Dunlow reporting,” she snarled at the link.
“Rayes, requests your presence on deck with a full report on the Taurus suits,” he spluttered out quickly, trying not to offend the lieutenant by staring.
Jasmine frowned, “I’ll be there as soon as possible”, with that she turned the communicator off without waiting for a reply. She quickly stepped across the floor once and turned the water off, drying as quickly as possible. It was a good thing that she had brought her uniform with her, she quickly changed and looked all of a sudden formally presentable. Fixing a few loose stands, the rest of her hair lying in calm waves as they air dried. She grabbed her belongings and stopped at her quarters just long enough she thought to drop them off.
Beeep, Lt. Dunlow? Jasmine turned on her heel as her private com went off on the desk beside her bed.
“Yes, Jacobs?”, she replied eyes fixating on the com.
“You are no longer required on the bridge. Rayes requests you instead to report to his private quarters,” his words were a little unsure at how she’d reply to the strange request.
“Thank you Jacobs,” her words dismissed the Corporal. She sighed slightly as she left her room and headed off for the higher ranking officers wing.
My mechanical teams are going to have quiet the laugh at this if they hear. I can already imagine the snickering and comments I’ll receive. “Wow, Lieutenant we never get called to Old man Rayes’ room...”,”Must be nice being the boss”, ”Always thought you liked older guys, never imagined that old”. How embarrassing.
It wasn’t long before Lt. Dunlow stood directly before of Rayes’ door. Catching her reflection she wiped her cheek clean of the determined grease smudge. She pressed her palm to the communicator.
“Lt. Dunlow reporting,” she said evenly a bit of colour coming to her cheeks. The door slid open with the slightest ‘whoosh’ of hydraulics, she stepped inside and saluted Rayes who was sitting in a chair behind his desk. He motioned her forward, dropping her hand she preceded in giving her report.
“Three container ships of Taurus suits are ready and at your disposal, Sir. My teams are currently finishing a fourth, testing is all that is needed to be done on less than five of the suits,” formal and practiced the words poured naturally from her mouth like water.
||Posted - 10/24/2009 : 4:26:26 PM
"Status report, now!" Justin commanded as the door slid shut behind him. He quickly claimed his seat on the bridge as everyone busied themselves studying charts and reports, the large display screen showing flight routes around Earth and flashing lights to indicate ships. One of the tech officers turned to salute Justin, which he waved off, and reported.
"Sir, we have confirmed reports of an unauthorized ship leaving the colony. It's a transport ship, similar to the ones at the factory. We think we have a projected flight path.," he selected a section of the screen and magnified it, showing a bright blue line appear from one flashing dot to Earth. Justin shook his head.
"They aren't escaping. They aren't running. They know we'll be coming, so they'll be taking the Gundams to the safest place. We have to intercept them. Set a course for ESUN Headquarters. Send out a message to all units, put them on alert. This extermination might turn into a full war." With that, Justin got up and walked to the side of the bridge, looking out into the vast emptiness of space. Up to this point, the 'war' had just been practice. Now, with the threat of real enemies who could do real damage, he stood preparing to face those challenges head on and to fight for the cause he knew to be the right path. As the rest of the crew went about their business, Justin decided his plan. "Corporal, notify Lieutenant Dunlow that I want her on deck with her full report on the Taurus suits. I will be back on deck in about twenty minutes, until then I will be in my quarters... I have a report to make."
Justin turned away and stalked back through the sliding door, heading down the hall with a grimace. He understood war and soldiers. The man who had put such an elaborate and expensive interest in the war had asked for status reports. He had been particularly interested in the development of the Zero System. Once Justin entered his officer's quarters, he looked around with a small sigh. It looked the same as it had years ago, during the war. Nothing had changed, though he had grown older. In his mind, the war had only ended yesterday though, and as he sat down at his desk, flicking on the vidscreen, he did his best to appear like that same young man who had signed up to fight for the 'right' cause of the Earth.
"This is Rayes, reporting in, Sir," he spoke in a cool, even tone. The screen blinked on and opened a secure channel. He had never seen the face of his backer, and he chose to keep it this way. The less he knew about where the money was coming from, the less he had to care about who he destroyed when the time came. A green light flashed and a voice came back over the black screen.
"You don't have to be so formal. I am not your commanding officer, just your... financial adviser, as it were," a crisp tone cracked back at Justin. Disregarding the comment, he proceeded with his report.
"We tested the Zero System today. Not against suits, we used an asteroid field for the test, but it went along quite well. We haven't finished compiling the System's data. I would expect it to be finished before anything happens."
"Have some complications arisen, Commander?" Justin's face tightened. He hated that expression, and this man chose to use it often. He was no commander, just a soldier fighting an unfinished battle. With a stern tone, he continued his report.
"Our men were... ambushed while attempting to retrieve Colonial property from Mankins' factory. The cargo escaped. From the plans we found, three combat ready mobile suits. Our initial reports show they could be Gundams, Sir." There was a long silence. When the man spoke again, he seemed almost amused.
"And what are your plans, Commander?" Justin thought a moment, then smiled.
"I'll do as the great men before me have done. I will report back tomorrow." With that, he ended the connection and stood, brushing his coat. He brought up the communicator again and set it to record, and in a smooth voice, delivered his message.
"I am Justin Rayes, leader of the Colonial Military. You have taken something that belongs to us. So, if you are going to be brazen enough to steal it, you will be bold enough to use it. I will be waiting for you, in Epyon, to fight in a one on one duel to the death. If you defeat me, the Colonies will surrender to the ESUN. The coordinates are enclosed in this transmition. I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield."
With that, Justin saved the file and ordered it to be sent to the transport ship heading on its way to Earth. He sat back in his chair and thought a moment, wondering idly what would happen if he lost. Then he smiled, thinking back to his test run with Epyon. There was no way for him to lose. He opened the channel again and asked for Dunlow to be redirected to his quarters. He planned on sticking to the one on one duel he proposed... but when you're fighting a losing opponent, it was wiser to assume trickery than honesty.
||Posted - 10/23/2009 : 10:26:34 AM
His palms were sweating, his body slowly shifted, right hand pushing a hand mechanism forward just as he would at work. Icabod dialed in everything he needed, the transport continuing on toward the destination that Mister B had set in for them at the start of the trip. This little boost should get them there faster, at least by a couple of days. He set the autolocks on and headed back into the main cargo portion of the transport. Mister B had refused to let him see what they were carrying, but he was asleep now and Icabod was going to find out why his father had been murdered.
The old man had security locked the hangar, but Icabod managed to get around the codes and the door slid open. He snuck inside as quietly as he could, heading for the main cargo hold. He rounded a corner, entering the vast area used for storing various large objects such as equipment or machines when they needed to do an expedited job outside the factory or their main area of business. What Icabod saw in that hangar changed his life forever, and it nearly gave him a heart attack on the spot.
Three massive robots, encased in metal and glass shells, were lying in the bay. Each seemed impossibly unique compared to the next and Icabod could feel his adrenaline rising into the atmosphere as he looked down on these massive mobile suits. These looked exactly like the things that Mister B had described in his stories about the old war. Icabod couldn't believe it, he was sure that he had been told millions of times that all Mobile Suits had been destroyed.
"Pretty fearsome, aren't they?" Icabod froze as Mister B spoke from behind him. "The mobile suits known as Gundams were salvaged after the defeat of Mariemaia and Deacan Barton. They had been self-detonated but certain specialized mechanics, and a few ESUN experts managed to rebuild them in time to retaliate against Epyon and the Colonies, but there were none capable of piloting them left alive. Your father's only option was to turn them into mobile dolls - non-piloted robots that run on an artificial intelligence. That was going to happen until those men showed up, now it is up to us to get these suits to the ESUN Military Headquarters."
"...And they have pilots there?" Icabod asked.
"Negative," he replied. "It will also be up to us to be ready to pilot them ourselves. There are none living that can pilot these mobile suits to their full capability save for myself, Justin Rayes, and one other individual who is unreachable at this time. It will be up to you to pilot one of these Gundams and help defeat Justin Rayes' army of mobile suits. I will train you, it will take time, but you must rise to that challenge. Can you do it?"
Icabod was unsure, it seemed like suddenly there was a large universe out there that had just opened itself up to him. He would have to fight in a war he had not started. What could he do? Why should he die for something he did not believe in? He shook his head.
"I'll do it," he said quietly. Mister B smiled.
"So..." He chuckled. "The Lightning Count has been reborn."
||Posted - 10/14/2009 : 11:54:32 PM
-=- Jasmine Dunlow -=-
Wiping sweat from her brow, the lean grease covered body of a mechanical engineer crawled carefully from the within the paneling of an old Taurus suit. Moving to her feet gracefully without effort in the zero gravity environment the young woman looked over the charts handed to her by an assistant. She was truly a sight to behold, the top half of her issued cover-alls tied around her waist, white plain muscle shirt, mid length chocolate brown hair curling unruly around her face, and bangs hanging loosely to one side of her face. Her golden green eyes searched the charts rapidly with precision of someone twice her age.
Graduated from one the most prestigious universities the colonies have to offer in mobility engineering and a keen interest in historic appliances called mobile suits, lead her quickly into the recruiting arms of a military group headed by a man named Justin Rayes. She had heard his name mentioned briefly in her political history classes, he served for Treize Kushranada. She accepted their offer hesitantly, though rose within the ranks quickly given her specialized areas were both mechanical and logistical. She had the ability not only to take these machines apart and make modifications/repairs, but to put them to use in battle, maximizing the total abilities of the pilot.
Lt. Dunlow’s eyes rose upward hearing a familiar voice rising at the other end of the bay, she turned her head up slowly listening intently as did everyone. It was Justin Rayes voice.
“It is now our task to rip open these wounds, that the world may once again pay witness to their own devils, and vanquish them. We are doing the work that was left us by Treize and Zechs, by the Gundam Pilots and their opponents. We will rid this Universe of the scourge of Earth's greed and hatred, and strike not the spawn of Evil, but it’s very source. We are the Revolution, the Colonial Force, to followers of Epyon, and we WILL HAVE VICTORY!"
Jasmine’s face stiffened slightly as all those around her cheered in a thunderous applause, making the bay echo disturbingly. She turned slowly back to the machine she was working on without a second thought. Turning on the com-link to the control bridge.
“Jacobs, I want the field cleared for testing of the new modifications on the Taurus suits...” her voice was firm and evenly toned as she spoke not looking up from her paperwork.
A man roughly the same age as her if not older, stiffened notably on the screen before her, his silence grabbed her attention causing her sharp eyes to flash upward waiting for a response.
“Is there a problem Jacobs?” her voice asked coolly, hinting towards annoyance.
“M’am, the field is being prepared for Mr. Rayes test flight...” he said nervously, he had obviously heard of her famed temper.
Lt. Dunlow, looked up locking her eyes on the screen before her then quickly glancing down the bay. “And what would it be he’s going to be testing Jacobs?”
“I believe the calibrations have been finished with the Zero System m’am, it’s being installed into the Epyon now,” his voice faded as he finished. She didn’t stick around to listen to it anyway. She leapt from the catwalk straddling the Taurus suit she had been working on, landing softly on the main deck and continued walking without so much as breaking stride. She marched herself onto the observation deck, saluting her superiors momentarily before seeing Epyon step from the launch bay.
“Why wasn’t I put in charge or even notified of the Zero System’s revival?” she asked, reining in her tone a little as she spoke to an outranking officer.
“Because, as brilliant as you are Lieutenant you still lack understandings of the system’s history, Raye’s oversaw and assembled the team himself” was the answer she was given.
Speaking to no one in particular, she preceded to give orders to those operating the simulation, “I want the video feed recorded, as well as the Epyon’s vitals and sensory responses in the highest detail available...as well as Raye’s”. Her eye focused on Epyon intently as the simulation began.
Jasmine’s eye glanced at the readings pouring through the computer screens before her periodically as the test went on, nothing completely out of the norm besides the responses were indeed dramatically increased as well as accuracy. The Lieutenant’s eyes narrowed, she focused on a glitch that kept interfering with the system’s processing of the pilot’s commands, as if refusing to go further. The simulation ended, leaving Epyon perfectly still out before them all in the black emptiness of space. She sat watching as Epyon was loaded back into the docking bay.
Lt. Dunlow looked over the screens again, more focused on the recurring spasm of information being fed to the Epyon’s Central Response system, frowning slightly in doing so. Justin Raye’s voice suddenly came over the main com’s making Jasmine look up at his face now before them on the screen.
"Listen up, I need this information quickly. Check all routes for standard ship re-entry to Earth and cross reference with all known flights. Set a flight path for Earth orbit. And if anyone has any reports of a Meteor or shooting star, inform me instantly."
Jasmine’s eyes lit up, and a mischievous grin appeared on her face at the mention of shooting stars. Operation Meteor, she read the historical facts and did a large amount of private study on the pilots, as much as she could find anyway. She leaned back in her chair slowly; her cheeks flushed a slight colour of red as she remembered one in particular. She turned her chair and left the bridge, heading towards her quarters to get cleaned up.
So, we’re going to Earth.
||Posted - 10/13/2009 : 02:58:27 AM
"Sir, all modifications have been completed and the data compiled. You're ready for your test flight, but sir, are you really sure you're going to be able to handle the mental side effects of the Zero System?" the mechanic seemed very worried over the comm. It wasn't unusual, Justin realized, and he quickly responded.
"I'll be fine. I may be old, but this old dog has a few tricks yet, my friend. The Zero System is designed to delve into the minds of its pilots. For me, Epyon has always been here, in my head. It already knows me a little too well."
As the bay doors opened Justin smiled, greeting the cold emptiness of space. He gently pushed Epyon out, feeling the Zero System kick on and the machine roar to life in a new way. Without further delay, he set the suit into an asteroid field. Without thought, he started dodging asteroids, knowing his flight path before he had even seen the obstacle. The Zero System showed him his choices and without even exherting effort, he took the course of action both himself and Epyon wanted. Once in the dead center of the field, he changed Epyon's identification keys, marking the asteroids as enemy mobile suits. Again, he pushed the suit forward, but this time, he activated the beam sword and took hold of the cannon mounted on the left arm. Over the comm, he commanded special bombs to be detonated, setting the field into movement. Now, with targets flying haphazardly around him, Justin set Epyon against them, a seemingly endless horde of enemies. As the data poured into the ship's bridge, the entire crew merely stared, watching with undeniable admiration as he sliced through asteroids and shot others, destroying his "enemies" before they could even touch him.
Justin wasn't impressed. He wanted to push himself further. He also didn't want to die. Once he had run a successful test of the Epyon's modifications and the Zero System, he made his way out of the field and back to the ship. As he began docking, he recieved a transmition.
"Sir, we just recieved word from the men sent to take out Mankins," a video feed popped up on his screen. The man looked grim and Justin braced himself for bad news. "They succeeded in silencing Mankins but hit a sort of... unexpected problem."
"What problem?" Justin replied coldly. It was a simple mission. It shouldn't have been so easily botched.
"They were ambushed, sir. They claim a man attacked them and rendered them unconcious. One said he heard something about the Lightning Count... I thought he was dead..." the man's voice trailed off. Justin made a sort of growl.
"Did they confirm Mankins' involvement with the ESUN?" By this point, Justin had already docked Epyon and had just opened the cockpit doors. He was watching the video feed nervously. The grim officer replied in a low tone.
"They confirmed he had designed three units for use by the ESUN, sir. It's not confirmed, but they claim that all three were Gundams, based on the designs they found. We haven't confirmed which three were recreated, or if they are even operational, but by the time our men came to, the suits and a transport plane were gone."
"Did they track their vector? Have we obtained their predicted flight path?" Justin growled through gritted teeth. Again, the officer spoke grimly, shaking his head.
"All computers at the facility were wiped clean, and every attempt to track down the transport has been met with either an encryption code or a scrambler. I don't know who would be able to do this besides--"
"I'll tell you who did this," Justin cut him off, standing. The screen melted away as it swung open to allow him out. He stepped forward and looked up at the green eyes of Epyon. "It was one of them."
He turned and quickly tapped the comm in his helmet into the bridge. "Listen up, I need this information quickly. Check all routes for standard ship reentry to Earth and cross reference with all known flights. Set a flight path for Earth orbit. And if anyone has any reports of a Meteor or shooting star, inform me instantly."
Justin floated over to the catwalk and started for the bridge. He would have to contact his backer, a thing he didn't enjoy doing. If one of the Gundam Pilots or the Lightning Count had returned, their mission would be in jeapordy. They had to move quickly.
||Posted - 10/10/2009 : 09:59:08 AM
"But why is Epyon such a terrible weapon in comparison to all of the other Gundams?" He asked, enthralled in all he was learning. He had written a twelve-page essay in history class on the Gundam War, all from what Mr. B had told him and he had not only scored perfect marks, but also destroyed the learning curb. He hung on the old man's every word. "I mean, every Gundam was special, but why was Epyon so feared?"
"Epyon..." The old man closed his eyes, quiet as he paused. "Epyon was a special mobile suit, designed only to be used in the personal pursuits of those who dared to pilot it. The Gundam was outfitted with no long-range weapons, merely one beam and one heat weapon. Everything a pilot in the Epyon suit did had to be up close and personal. Yet what really made the Epyon terrible was its combat software. A system designed to tap into the brain's neural network and calculate all possible future outcomes. Basically, the mobile suit's pilot was able to predict the moves of his opponents and their strategies. It made for a terrible combination, the power of the Zero System and skills of a pilot able to handle the mental stress involved."
Icabod frowned, Mr. B had never mentioned the Zero System before in his stories. It was odd that it should be brought up now. He was about to ask the old man another question when his mother called from their kitchen window. The smell of baked goods wafted heavily from their kitchen as she leaned forward, calling for her son.
"Icabod," she called. "Icabod you leave Mr. Barton alone for one day! You have a halloween party tonight and you still don't have a costume! And where is your father? He should have been home an hour ago!" She was always fussing over her boys, like a mother should according to his father. The realization hit him that he really didn't have a costume.
"No costume?" Mr. B asked. "I think I might have something in my spare room you can put on, just give me a moment." Icabod smiled and thanked the old man as he hobbled slowly on his cane into his home, returning with a box that had large, polka-dotted pants and a shirt with a fluffy collar that looked strangely like it was from a whole other era. Icabod grinned when he picked up the half-face mask and gloves, realizing it was a clown's outfit.
"I thought the rumors the adults said about you being a clown weren't true?" He asked, trying on the gloves and glancing at his hands. The old man just smiled and gestured for him to go inside and change. A few moments later, Icabod emerged from the house, unknowingly dressed as the Deadpan Clown. He stretched and smiled.
"You look good," Mr. B complimented. "It fits you better than it fit me when I was your age. Now about your father, do you think he's at work?" Icabod shrugged quietly, unsure if his father and supervisor was out at his job site or not. "Well maybe we should go look. I'll give you a ride."
Within a few minutes, Icabod and Mr. B were at his father's machine factory, passing the gates upon recognition and heading down the halls to Mr. Mankins' main office. They didn't find him there, so Icabod headed into the main equipment pool and continued looking. It was there that he and Mr. B heard a sound that was distinctly like loud, arguing, voices. Icabod attempted to enter, but Mr. B held him back.
"Let's listen first," he whispered, moving in closer to the source of the noise. They hugged close to the wall and waited quietly as the words drifted towards them. They didn't sound like the friendly banter of the work place that Icabod had grown accustomed to. It sounded like a robbery or something.
"You knew that if you decided to betray us, this would happen!" A voice echoed, unfamiliar to Icabod. "And now we cannot let you live, knowing that you have helped the Earth Sphere - our most despised enemy - develope these weapons against us!" There was a gunshot and Icabod jumped ship. running into the next room in time to see four armed men in masks and his father on the ground bleeding.
Icabod knew the men would shoot him as soon as they noticed he was there, but what never even - in a million years - crossed his mind as a possibility happened. The tacky green jacket and blue jeans of Mr. B came vaulting over his head, landing amongst the armed men and lashing out faster than Icabod had ever seen him. The men where unconscious and writhing on the ground in pain within moments.
"Mr. B!" Icabod exclaimed. "I've never seen anyone move that fast!" But there was no smile on the old man's face, he seemed far more fierce than Icabod could believe. He pointed to Icabod's father and they rushed to his side. "Dad...? What happened?" But the dying man focused only on Mr. B.
"Barton..." He choked. "They're in the adjacent basement...hangar..." He coughed and Icabod avoided the cliche 'try not to talk' phrase. "Must get them to Earth military...stop Epyon." His eyes closed momentarily. "Icabod...stay safe...piloting is just like your station...at work..Avenge...your real father. Milliardo.." The man died with the name on his lips as his final words. Icabod didn't know what the old man meant, but he looked at Mr. Barton.
"Icabod," the old man sighed. "I know you have questions, but I cannot answer them until later. Hurry up and ready one of the transport crafts. I have a feeling that we'll be moving very precious cargo." Icabod stood there, motionless for a moment, unable to comprehend what was going on until a sharp impact to his face woke him from his stupor. "DAMNIT BOY! YOUR FATHER DIED SO YOUR PLANET COULD REMAIN FREE! NOW GET THE TRANSPORT CRAFT READY SO WE CAN AVENGE HIM!"
Icabod moved in shock and excited fear as he ran to the next hangar over, starting the transport craft he had operated so many times. The company had nearly gone broke when they first bought the ship, but it had paid for itself twice over in profits within a year. The ship shook soundly as Mr. Barton loaded three overly large connex containers onto the vessel. Icabod got on the intercom.
"What are we transporting and where?"
"Icabod, you're never going to believe me when I tell you," he buzzed back. "But we're taking our cargo to the Earth Sphere Military Headquarters. We're transporting three combat-capable Gundam Mobile Suits and the descendant of the Lightning Count himself. Now get a move on, we're ready to go." Icabod obeyed quietly, starting the ship and opening the hangar door before taking off, the hovership moving quickly across the ground. The only thing they had now was time and the open planes ahead of them. Icabod didn't know how to get to the Earth Sphere military headquarters, but he was sure Mr. B did.
||Posted - 10/10/2009 : 12:23:24 AM
The modifications were still being done, Justin noted, calmly floating near Epyon's head. They had reconstructed the mobile suit nearly exactly as Treize had designed it but added a few special abilities to account for his new pilot. Epyon had been designed as a dueling Gundam, specifically for Milliardo and Heero to fight through their personal demons honorably. However, for its new purpose, the strictly close combat suit needed weapons to aid in taking out the paltry Mobile Suits being created to stand against it. He had been successful so far, but he was too old and too crafty to rely on skill and luck alone.
He reflected on his victories. Odd that this suit would be brought back but, in his old age, Justin knew the raw power of Wing Zero would be enough to kill him. He had seen Epyon's abilities quite well in the battle against it, serving as one of the human pilots in Treize's army, standing against legions of Mobile Dolls, headed by the dreadful Epyon. That battle still haunted him.
Now, so long after, while this demon may have slept to the eyes of the public, he saw the suit every day, each times his eyes closed. This suit had a true purpose, beyond that of Milliardo and Heero. This demon was meant to scourge the Earth, the Universe, of the true scum, that which still remained. He hadn't understood it then, when Milliardo had turned him back to OZ and Treize. He belonged on the battle field, had fought alongside Milliardo, and Treize, and knew that fighting would only end with Earth's destruction. It was the source of all evil, where Mobile Suits were first produced and used in military attacks.
"Sir, you may want to check out these calibrations!" a mechanic called out over the intercom. Justin turned and jumped towards the platform, the zero gravity allowing his actions to be carried out smoothly. He landed with a soft thud and used the rail to pull himself to the mechanic's work station. He studied the calculations to be used on Epyon's newest addition: a cannon based on the designs from Tallgheese. It was actually closer to the type created for the land bases Leos, as it was not nearly as powerful due to the extreme pressure it would exhert on Earth. That was his ultimate goal: to take the suit to the Earth and destroy it before ending its existence completely.
"Looks good, but make sure it's focused. We won't need power if the blast is accurate. I'm certain the schematics for Mercurius were destroyed, and even the Mobile Doll shields couldn't stand up to a well placed shot. Have we made any progress on the Zero System?" Justin asked calmly. The mechanic looked uncertain.
"We've tried compiling the data, but I'm not sure what we're looking for, sir. I mean, you pilot the suit well enough without it, and it was cause for so much distress, records indicate that only two pilots have ever been able to handle the Zero System's capabilities, and even then they were pushed to extreme mental breaking points by it. How can you be so certain you'll be able to master such..." the mechanic seemed lost for words as he stared at the data displayed on his screen. Justin put a hand on his shoulder.
"It's a demonic technology, this is true. But I am a Demon from another time, here to rectify the mistakes made then, and to wash the Earth of the sins it tried so hard to forget. It is now our task to rip open these wounds, that the world may once again pay witness to their own devils, and vanquish them. We are doing the work that was left us by treize and Zechs, by the Gundam Pilots and their opponents. We will rid this Universe of the scourge of Earth's greed and hatred, and strike not the spawn of Evil, but its very source. We are the Revolution, the Colonial Force, to followers of Epyon, and we WILL HAVE VICTORY!" his speech had started quietly, but as he continued, he raised his voice that all in the small docking bay might hear, and with his finally, a cheer went up from his men. They had started constructing suits of their own, of the normal material, as all Gundanium created went straight into reinforcing Epyon's armor or building a new weapon. The new suits, modeled much after the purple demon itself, were strictly to be outfitted with beam cannons, remniscent of the Mobile Dolls. Their illustrious backer spared no expense; he wanted to win this war and end all other thoughts of rebellion, permenantly.