THE LOST WAR CHRONICLES Chapter Four: The Gift
"Biometric scan complete. Acknowledging pilot identity: Zyann Nigel . Initializing mobile suit operation."
The monitor screen in front of the hazel-eyed eighteen-year old girl came into life. She flicked switches and pushed buttons on the dashboard console before her. Flashed on the screen was the following:
“GUNDAM 3.1.5, initialized. Global Unrestricted Neutral Deployer Aletheia Mission System.”
Mechanical hums, hydraulic hisses, and the unmistakable high-pitched sound of a fusion reactior powerplant are all telltale signs that a mobile suit is about to go. Seconds later, 5 vernier thrusters on the MS’s HiMAT pack expels off tremendous propulsion, thus marked the first deployment of the red mobile suit known as Astraeus Blaze.
November 2, Lost Century 43
L5 abandoned industrial colony, PROMISED LAND
A Royal Zeon Nazca-class cruiser approached the colony and deployed 9 mass produced ZAKU Nightmare MS known as the Phobos and Deimos Squadron, equipped with beam rifles, beam sabers and an additional flight module equipment for combat mobility a notch higher than the usual Zaku MS unit. The squadron commander’s MS was a Dreissen Threat Custom unit, armed with a particle launcher, along with its usual 3-barrel beam cannon on each of its forearms and a beam tomahawk. They were entrusted with the unofficial covert mission known as OPERATION: Davey Jones, the seizure of a rumored MS development. It was reported that a file found in a recent Royal Zeon elite group “Frontal Squadron” operation in Pakistan contained blueprints for a red MS currently developed from a discovered unknown technology. MS development had been banned and outlawed since Royal Zeon came into power.
“Gentlemen, we are given special authority to destroy this colony if we experience potential resistance from Earth Militaire,” said the squadron commander, Richard Diaz.
“That’s good enough, Commander Rick. This is a good day for this Earth scums to die,” replied Ensign Eric Aziel.
“Yeah! Besides, this is a once-in-a-lifetime operation given directly to us by no less than the Striking Crimson himself, Captain Magnus Alexandersson,” said Rubin Lobsenz, another squadron member.
“Hmp! All that guy saw was that effing Frontal Squadron led by that moron lady!” added Marik Faqadh, still another member.
“Can we get over this now, sir? You know that I am officially on leave because I just got married,” complained Aziel.
“You blockhead! All you have in mind is--- Hahahahahaha!!!!!!” humored Anissa Clemen, the only woman member of the squad.
Commander Diaz grunted. “THIS IS NOT A GAME, gentlemen! Keep your guard heightened, especially as some newbies will be joining us in this operation. Besides that, we do not know for sure whether the MS is operational.”
The squadron chorused, “Yes, sir, Commander Rick Diaz, sir!!!!!”
The commander closed his eyes for a moment and thought to himself.
“…ten years. Is it that long already? I remember that day when we chased that ship of BASURA Inc. I didn’t know back then what we were after, and why we had to attack and capture a defenseless space garbage collector ship. Had we known before that the ship’s captain discovered an unknown precious technology, we would have done it far better. Now, because of the failure back then…we had to comb this vast space to find this valuable “scrap”. But why can’t I shake this eerie feeling? These lowlifes will definitely pay for the wasted effo—“
His thoughts were abruptly stopped when his radar monitor detected a high energy beam shot from the colony.
“What the f--?!?!”
Commander Diaz rammed the propulsion pedal that allowed him to dodge a direct hit. In the process, two of the squadron’s MS were obliterated instantly. Horror came to Diaz’s face to see that the intended target was their transport ship, which exploded before his wide-open eyes.
The communications monitor went off. “A long-ranged positron beam shot, sir! An unidentified mobile suit is closing in!! Distance, 50 clicks…It’s a red Gundam!!!!”
Diaz zoomed his MS’s telephoto camera. Indeed, a red MS was soaring at a tremendous speed and was closing in to them.
A Zaku flew towards the red MS head on, shooting off its beam gun. Six others followed suit. Meanwhile, the Gundam stopped, hoisted its right weapon on its shoulder. Little did they know that it was preparing for another pre-emptive strike using its twin-barreled hyper beam rifle, which can be configured for a long-ranged sniper shot.
“Team, fall back!!! We don’t know its capabilities yet! We have to regro—”
Diaz stopped in mid-sentence when the Gundam delivered a shot from a distance. Three Zakus were hit immediately on the torso that meant the instant deaths of his three squadron members.
Ensign Aziel cried in anguish, “NOOO!!!!! You bastard! You may think that we’re out of your league but…..DON’T MOCK THE PHOBOS AND DEIMOS SQUAD!!!!”
Aziel led three other Zakus and assumed an attack/defense formation. Two of them fired consecutively using beam guns while the other two, equipped with beam saber in each hand closed in for a close quarter combat.
The Gundam dodged and blocked every incoming attack, unable to have a chance to counter. The girl piloting it was struggling to control the MS from the barrage. Plus straining against the G-forces, she was breathing profusely.
Gasping, she said through her intercom line, “U-Uncle Bill, (cough, cough) I can’t—”
A communication screen lit up and an aged man spoke to her.
“These Zeon pilots are skillful. They are trained well….charged with an unbreakable attack and defense stance. Well then, use the Aletheia System, Zyann!”
Zyann pressed a command button and said, “Aletheia System, activate!”
A voice recognition program of the suit’s OS commenced the command protocol, Aletheia System. It is a modified “ZERO System” that originally existed on board the Gundam, integrated within its previous OS. It is prompted to be compatible with a Newtype pilot through a mental-physical interface named SOUL DRIVE, allowing Zyann to increase her spatial awareness and overall battle periphery so that she can respond and react effectively during combat situations. Unconsciously, Zyann was now nimbly dodging all the attacks, as if she can predict where a beam will be shot or a swipe of a beam saber will come from.
“It’s now activated, Uncle. What do I do next?”
“Select the 'Remote Weapons' option on your monitor screen. Now, you can control them by projecting thought patterns. The Soul Drive will read your thoughts and convert them into battle movement commands automatically.”
"The Gundam's moving rather.....weird, Uncle! It's responding better and faster to me now!" Zyann replied.
The obvious difference of the Gundam’s movement and agility than when the battle started was a surprise to Commander Diaz. Despite the conditioned normal suit that he wore, he was sweating now, his heart pounded rapidly.
He thought, “…had I known back then that this was what we’re after…”
The two weapons from the Gundam’s pack detached and moved in an unimaginable speed and mobility.
“Confirmed remote weapons ability, sir!!!” reported Aziel.
“This is…this is…”
One Zaku was shot down and exploded.
“Am I seeing things?!? I can’t believe that there are still….”
BOOM! Two others were destroyed in one positron beam sweep.
“…is the pilot a...? Is the pilot…?”
The word didn’t easily slip out of Diaz’s mouth.
The remaining Zaku piloted by Aziel, equipped with two beam sabers, strafed and eluded the two remote weapons of the Gundam and was now directly behind it, poised to strike.
“The difference of our MS is great but…a MS alone does not ensure victory!!!” Aziel shouted.
Commander Diaz was horrified on what was about to happen. He called, “Ensign Aziel!! STOP!! You're breaking formation!! You can’t defeat him that easily! The pilot might have been a NEWTYPE!!!”
But before Aziel could react on Diaz’s warning, the Gundam’s green eyes blazed luminuously. It reached for the two beam saber hilts mounted on top of its pack. The Zaku tried to inflict a slice damage on the Gundam but it was just in time to block it using its beam saber, held by the right hand.
“Don’t think that’s all there is!!!” Ensign Aziel gripped his left control stick and gave all his strength to push it forward for a full power beam saber pierce thrust. He floored both the foot pedals to propel his Zaku for additional attack strength. The beam sword was aimed for the Gundam’s torso where the cockpit was. Zyann, being fully aware of the impending attack, made her move.
“As if I’m just gonna let you pierce me!!!!!” Before the enemy’s beam sword could hit, all the Gundam’s flight thrusters on its left shoulders and legs flashed into life that made the MS pivot sideward to the right.
Aziel shrieked, “What the--?!?” He realized that the table was now turned; he was now wide open for the Gundam’s retaliation. Together with the Gundam’s pivotal momentum, Zyann swung its left hand and successfully connected a slash that cut the Zaku into two. Its right hand followed a downward diagonal chop that severed the Zaku’s head. Inside the cockpit, the damaged circuitry sent off sparks of electrical current around Aziel.
“Is this the power…of a…?” Four seconds later, the Zaku exploded, disintegrating Ensign Aziel in the process.
Heart rate going haywire, Diaz thought, "...Is this some kind of voodoo? No, this is something else...something..."
Diaz was helpless as he witnessed the downfall of his squadron. All emotions drenched him now, and caused his mind to snap. He then charged the particle launcher mounted on his Dreissen’s back. He adjusted the target coordinates which aimed the weapon against the colony.
“For my comrades’ sakes, I’m dragging you all down to infinite hell!!!!!”
Diaz clicked the trigger on his right control stick. Immediately the particle launcher blasted a wide particle beam. The colony was hit on target and exploded. Though the beam concentration was not that powerful, nuclear reactors of the colony were destroyed in the process, which caused the colony implode into a burning hell.
Zyann’s voice reverberated as she saw the colony destroyed into oblivion. Then an audio communication was established. It was the enemy!
“Now, it’s only you and me. Let’s end this right here, right now!!”
Diaz’s Dreissen moved swiftly towards the Gundam and attacked.
“You are no different from those in Pakistan!!! You are no more than an empire of murderers!!! You can’ allowed to be in power!!!”
Diaz was shocked to hear a girl’s voice. “…the pilot’s a girl???”
In the blackness of space, sparks from a beam saber crossing blades against a beam tomahawk can be seen.
“Had we destroyed completely that doomed BASURA ship before, this could not have happened to us!” Diaz shouted in frustration over the communication line. Zyann heard this and realized the truth behind her father’s death ten years ago.
“You… you were the ones…who killed my father….??”
“Hahahahaha!!!” Diaz sneered. “So you’re a child of that stubborn bastard? Now you know, foolish brat! Serves him right for conspiracy with these damn rebels and illegally developing MS like yours!!! We killed your father back then, I will kill you now!!!! Time to meet him in the afterlife!”
Diaz set the particle launcher to spread burst mode, shooting beam pulses all over the battle perimeter. But no matter how he tried, he cannot land a clear damage on the Gundam. He used both the beam cannons on its arms but to no avail.
“Hit it, dammit, hit!!!!”
Zyann deployed the remote weapons for the second time before she rushed towards the Dreissen, armed with the beam sabers. She threw them towards the enemy, who by instinct shot down the spinning beam sabers using the beam cannons. He was enveloped in a haze of smoke due to the blast.
“What?! Trying to distract me, huh? You have to do more than that, fool!!!” Diaz charged the launcher and tried to shoot among the haze of smoke, but the Gundam was nowhere to be found. He scanned his 360o screen but he cannot locate the missing MS. Suddenly, the radar beeped and warned of an object right behind him. The Gundam quickly took hold both of the Dreissen’s arms.
“An eye for an eye!!! YAAAAHHH!!!!” Zyann screamed on top of her voice. The Gundam’s right leg actuator moved, that sent a solid kick on the Dreissen’s back and severed its arms as well as damaging its propulsion. Diaz couldn’t move away.
Inside the Dreissen cockpit, a voice-synthesized warning was heard, “ALERT. Propulsion system offline! ALERT. Propulsion system offline!”
"I know, I know!!! Dammit!!! Move, you piece of junk, move!!!!" Diaz shouted, slamming his fist into the monitor in front of him. He was disoriented by the jarring kick. Suddenly another alarm set off. Two heat sources both from his left and right were detected. The flash from the positron cannon and the hyper beam rifle blinded Diaz. He realize that his damaged MS was on the crosshair of the remote weapons’ targeting system.
Before he was hit, Commander Richard “Rick” Diaz was heard inside Zyann’s cockpit screaming, “Sieg, Royal Zeo—”
Zyann managed to survive her first real mobile suit battle. But she can’t help but mourn for her Uncle Bill, and the reality behind her father’s death. She set the Gundam into autopilot and was now traveling towards her next destination.
She noticed a flashing message tab on the console monitor. She tapped the screen and it revealed a video recording by her father, dated October 31, LC 33.
“Test… Test… Is this mic on now? Are we recording already???”
Zyann couldn’t fight the torrent of tears streaming down her face as she watched her father’s video.
“Hi, Zyann, my girl. It would still be until two days but HAPPY EIGHTH BIRTHDAY!!! I KNOW, I KNOW… It’s been three years that I haven’t been with you… and I know that I was not always there. You were right to say that your daddy is a stranger to you. Hahahahaha!!!! Please don’t get mad at your Uncle Bill for telling me this!”
“Sorry for leaving you under your Aunt Melinda's care for too long, but I am trying my best to support you adequately. Ever since your mom died, a part of me died as well, but I realized that I still have you, my greatest treasure… So I decided to quit this salvaging business. I’m gonna sell Basura Inc. and be with you. I know that you can’t be pleased that easily, but your Uncle Bill and I are assembling a mobile suit that we discovered in space. Now we’re developing it just for you BUT! There is a big BUT! You can only have it on your eighteenth birthday. So, until then, wait for daddy to come home and make amends to you, ok?”
“I love you Zyann. Rest assured that Daddy is always with his little baby. Advance Happy birthday!”