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MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel: Episode 2 - Betrayal
Written by: John Nigel
Suggested soundtrack for reading: “THE BEST OF TIMES” by Dream Theater

MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel: Episode 2

Betrayal
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Adrian Zowih Frost, undergoing genetic alteration under the Royal Zeon's Sixth Day Protocol. Art by John Nigel.

LC 0040 October 31 Middle East Royal Zeon territory


In a barren land, a close quarter combat exercise among the Royal Zeon’s SDP Special Division force was taking place. It was a regular activity for all soldiers who volunteered to undergo the Sixth Day Protocol, a genetic experimental program to heighten the soldier’s overall abilities, akin to a Newtype emergence. There were 30 units that took part in the activity. The participating combatants were using the base unit for ZAKU Nightmares, armed with solid steel rods, to simulate beam sabers.

As the training progressed, the combat exercise became rowdy, as many units ganged up against one particular unit. A ZAKU Nightmare caught the eyes of the top echelon of the empire, as it was able to subdue other units participating in the training. Suddenly, a ZAKU unit exploded as it was pierced on its lower left torso, killing the pilot instantly. With that mishap, the other units tried to overpower the rampaging unit.

One pilot barked into the commlink, “He’s into a frenzied rage again!! All units, bring him down!! I don’t care even if he dies, just do it!!”

Aboard the ZAKU, a long-haired pilot with white eyes smirked, “Even if I die, huh?” He fought all other units coming at him, until he subdued all of them instead. The pilot moved toward the decommissioned unit of the pilot earlier and said, “Can you say again what you said earlier?!?”

He lifted his unit’s right leg and posed to stomp the downed unit’s torso where the pilot was situated.

“DAMN YOU, FROST!!! Stop this, I beg you!!!!”
Www

Adrian Zowih Frost, art by John Nigel

The pilot known as Frost just cackled in a crazy manner, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

But in his mind, a flashback from 20 years ago became vivid as if it was reality.

-----------------------------

April 12, LC 0023 Frost Residence, Zeeland

BRRRRRRRNNNNNGGGGG!!!!!!

The sound of the alarm clock reverberated throughout an 11-year old boy’s room. It was then followed by his grandmother’s nagging yell.

“Get up young man! Don’t make me come up there and drag you out! Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”

A clenched fist landed on the snooze button atop the clock which brought back the silence along the halls of the house. It was cut short by a shrill shout.

“ADRIANNNNN!!!”

At the call of his name, Adrian stretched a little and got off the bed.

“Coming!” he called back.

Downstairs, Adrian joined his father reading the morning paper at the dining table. Turning to him, the boy greeted, “Good morning, Dad. Are you gonna fulfill your promise today? Can I come with you to your work?”

His father was staring blankly at the paper and said nothing.

“DAD!”

“Oh, what is it, son?”

The boy frowned. “I said, can I come with you to your work today? What is it that you really do that you don’t bring me into your workplace? You made a promise to me for a million times already!”

His father chuckled and said, “Ohoho! I think I haven’t gone past a thousand promises yet. You naughty boy! Come here, you!” He grabbed his son playfully and started a rough play with him.

“No, Dad, stop it!!” Crisp laughter filled the house on that Thursday morning when fate had already determined what was about to happen.

*****

The reason why Dr. Soren Frost never brought Adrian into his work was the nature of the work itself. Dr. Frost was a senior bioengineer and a genetic researcher for the Royal Zeon Empire. A decision from the High Command deputized the Ministry of Collective Science Research to develop ways in augmenting the problem of human resource. Ever since the War of Pride began that marked the genesis of the Lost Century, Royal Zeon was always plagued by resource problems, of which the worst was the lack of significant number of conscripts.

In response to this, the MCSR experimented with a certain group of Royal Zeon soldiers who volunteered for genetic enhancement and alteration in order to make them highly adaptive and effective against the overwhelming number of Earth Federation forces. This decision was known as the Sixth Day Protocol, but it was a extremely classified information, kept among a handful of loyal scientific personnel, including those who volunteered. The expected outcome was that the protocol would enable a successfully “enhanced” volunteer soldier to take on 15 Earth Federation soldiers in all fields of battle: mobile suit combat, mêlée, etc. To put it simply, these “enhanced” soldiers will be tantamount to pseudo-Newtypes.

However, due to the inexperience of the research group, a large number of volunteers mysteriously died. Since it was in an early and experimental stage, unforeseen consequences followed – intense psychosomatic behaviors, unexplained pain and seizure from time to time, hallucinations, memory loss, and sudden death. It was found out that the volunteers were subjected to too much mental, emotional, and physical pressure, akin to torture. Conscience finally caught up to Dr. Frost because constant cover-up to failure specimen was done to great extent to save face, and ultimately, finally suppress the Earth Federation.

How can I show all this evil to my son? he groaned inwardly.

*****

Dr. Frost coughed after too much laughing. He embraced Adrian and said, “Son, there are many things that are of higher importance than going with me to work. But how about some malling today? I am sure that we can buy many additions for your plastic model kits that you’ve always been collecting. How’s that?”

At this, Adrian’s eyes beamed with delight. “Really, Dad?”

His father smiled. “Sure! Not only that but let’s do the assembly together afterwards!”

“You’re not joking, right, Dad? Oh, boy! This is wicked cool! I’ll definitely buy a couple of Master Grades for my collection! Hurry and finish your coffee, Dad! I’ll go get dressed now. Yay!”

Dr. Frost beamed as he followed his stare on his son running up the flight of stairs to prepare. He thought, I will protect you, son, from the evils of reality.

His mother-in-law came in and said, “Soren, it’s good that you’re spending more time with him these days. I know that you’re hurting the most among all of us here, but Adrian is just a child. For that I am truly grateful even if my daughter…”

Her voice started to trail off. “…if only Vashti…why…” Tears welled in her eyes. “You’ve been so good to her, and I know that…but…” she sobbed.

Frost became teary-eyed as well but he managed to give her a smile instead. He pulled out a handkerchief and handed it over to her. “Don’t cry, mother. I’m sure Vashti has her reasons for leaving all of us, but let’s leave it at that. Besides, If we want to move on—“

Their conversation was cut off because his mobile phone rang. He got up and walked out to the foyer. It was Lord Piotr Heimlich, the director of the Ministry of Collective Science and Research.

“Good morning Lord Heimlich. What can I do for you?” Frost acknowledged.

“Dr. Frost,” started Lord Heimlich. “I will go directly to the point. I understand that your role as a father will always rise above your role as a dedicated scientist of the Royal Zeon. But how come you dare falsified the documents concerning the results from the Newtype Bureau with regards to your son?”

Blood drained from Dr. Frost’s face. How did they find out?

Lord Heimlich continued, “I have in my possession the hard copies of your family’s records. Name, Adrian Zowih Frost categorized as “Type F” emergence. You have always been aware that for the fulfillment of Royal Zeon’s, no, our ideals, we need to pool in everything that we can and have for this purpose. By everything, we know it meant everything literally!”

Dr. Frost responded, “With all due respect sir, but the Newtype Bureau gave my son the lowest status. Isn’t it clear that with the result, it is tantamount that my son is not a newtype at all?”

Lord Heimlich argued, “That is not the point that I am trying to ram into your dimwitted brain! Your imprudence and deceit will not be overlooked by the High Command, as I will recommend a direct action over this matter!”

Frost heaved a sigh. “I will accept with no regrets the demotion that—“

“You still don’t get it, do you?! Your deed has already cost you your most valuable possession! Your son will be forcefully conscripted into service and will be subjected to Sixth Day Protocol, and you yourself will see to it that his category will at least upsurge to two levels!” Heimlich shouted.

At this, a horrified look registered into Dr. Frost’s face. “Sir, t-this can’t be!!”

“We expect you to bring your son into the research center today. A military service escort will fetch the both of you and bring you into the Center. Otherwise, you will be dealt with severely. Take note of this, Dr. Frost, that this serves as—“

Dr. Frost hung up upon hearing the dreadful words. He became anxious and fearful that he was already experiencing cold sweat. He went inside and told his mother-in-law.

“What?!” she exclaimed.

“There’s no mistake, they would eventually be all over this place in no time, so we don’t have much to spare! Mother, please help us!” Dr. Frost pleaded.

“O-okay, okay! I’ll get Adrian and you go ahead and prepare whatever you think is necessary. Oh, why does it have to turn out like this?” she despaired.

Dr. Frost dashed into his study and opened a desk. Inside, he took a small leather pocket filled with travel documents and necessary checkpoint passes. From another drawer, he grabbed a .50 caliber Action Express Desert Eagle, locked and loaded and placed it in a duffel bag. Looking outside the window, he saw a black van that came into a screeching halt outside his home. Oh, no!

A voice partially startled him. “Dad, what is going on, and why are you making a mess in your study?”

His grandmother, trailing behind him, retorted, “Hush child! There is a—!”

Frost interjected, “It’s all right, mother!”

Putting up a façade, Dr. Frost said to the child, “Son, something came up suddenly that Daddy has to go somewhere else, but—“

Adrian whined, “Oh, so you’re breaking your promise again, huh?! How could you, Dad?!”

Frost came to his son, who shoved him away. “Leave me alone, you liar!”

“It’s not what you think it is, son. This time, you are coming with me. I won’t leave you behind anymore.”

Relief filled the boy. “Yipee!”

I’ll make sure that no one’s going to hurt you, so, hang on tight, Frost resolved in his mind.

*****

Outside the Frost residence, Royal Zeon operatives were taking their positions. They had been dispatched when Lord Heimlich call was cut off. He suspected that Dr. Frost will make a drastic move of escaping, so he ordered to arrest Dr. Frost and apprehend his son immediately.

“Gimel in position.”

“Daleth, all set here.”

“Samekh here, covering high ground. All green!”

“Aleph One, this is Zayin reporting in. W’ere good to go.”

Aleph One radioed back, “Roger that!” Then he called up Lord Heimlich. “We’re ready, Lord Heimlich.”

Back at the research center, Lord Heimlich lit his smoking pipe and inhaled deeply, allowing the smoke to permeate inside of him. As he exhaled, he gave out the command.

“Do it.”

*****

CRASH!

A smoke grenade shattered a glass window and sent off smoke with a pungent odor. Frost pulled Adrian into the study room. Before he could reach out his mother-in-law’s hand, gunshots blared from among the haze. She was shot and died right then and there. Frost dove into the room straight away and kicked the doors shut. Shots continued all around, sending debris and fragment everywhere.

Dr. Frost crawled beneath the desk to where Adrian was crouching. He hugged the boy but sadly the boy was in a state of shock and cannot respond. Frost picked him up, cradling the boy in his arms. Pretty soon the shots momentarily stopped. They’re reloading, he thought.

He reached for the duffel bag and moved a false wall behind the shelves. He then entered into a dark pathway which led to a secret garage at the edge of his property. He knew he had to move fast, as he was certain that the soldiers were by now following him.

Oh, son, why does it have to be this way?

At last, Dr. Frost arrived at a seemingly dead end. He gave a solid kick on the wall, which resulted to a hissing sound. A trapdoor opened and Frost went inside.

“Adrian! Adrian! Come to your senses, son, come on!” he begged. Still the boy remained wide-eyed. “Hang on, son! I won’t let any of them get you!!”

Inside the garage was a sports car. Dr. Frost pulled the latch and opened the passenger door. He placed Adrian inside and hurriedly went to the driver seat. As soon as he got inside the car, there was a deafening explosion that split the whole ceiling open. Above him, a mono-eyed mobile suit leaned over, peering closely at them. Its hand moved and reached in to take hold of the car.

“A Kämpfer?!? It’s the Empire Police! Like I would just let you have your own way!” Frost angrily shouted. He started the car and upon first gear engagement, they darted out of the garage, crashing through the wooden door.

The Kämpfer followed the speeding car, its verniers spewing off flames. The pilot used a PA system and said, “Resistance is futile, Dr. Frost. You are to stop the car, step out of the vehicle and put your hands behind your back!”

After the terror you’ve caused? Frost argued in his mind. He stepped on the gas pedal that sent the car up to 150 kmh. Immediately the Kämpfer flew further. At a distance, it hovered and landed right on the car’s path, with the intent of stopping it. Frost gripped the steering wheel and made a sharp turn to the right. Unluckily, the sudden turn sent the car to turn over.

*****

What happened? Did I pass out? Where’s Adrian?

Dr. Frost opened his eyes and tried to move but his legs were pinned down by the dashboard. Intense pain was felt over his body, his face was covered with blood. Amid his situation, he still cried out, “Adrian!!!! I’ll save you!”

Outside the overturned car, Dr. Frost saw that his son was injured and bleeding, being attended to by the Royal Police personnel. Adrian was still in a state of shock but Frost knew that he was looking at him in a pleading manner. Aleph One arrived at the location and gave a report to Lord Heimlich.

“Lord Heimlich, we have subdued the target.” Aleph One reported.

“Then, what are you waiting for? Kill him already.”

“W-what, my Lord?”

“Do I need to repeat myself, commander?!”

“N-no, sir! We’ll carry out the mission, Lord Heimlich!”

Hesitating in disbelief, Aleph One radioed the Kämpfer pilot and said, “Lamedh, under the authority of the High Command, you are to exterminate the target.”

The pilot radioed back, “Are you sure sir? Can you reconfirm the order commander?”

Aleph One groaned, “We have no choice, boy. Do it.”

“B-but how?”

“DON’T ASK ANY STUPID QUESTION ANYMORE, SOLDIER!! Please be done with it, lest we regret all this later!” Aleph One barked. He stepped away from the wreckage. The Kämpfer raised its right leg and with a forceful stomp, it destroyed the car further, including Dr. Frost who was inside.

At the sight of that, Adrian’s mind snapped back into his senses and screamed horribly.

“WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!”

“DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!”

-----------------------------

Frost reemerged back into the present, with his ZAKU unit still posed to stomp the downed ZAKU. With a scream, Frost pushed the mobility level forward and flattened the mobile suit underneath. No explosion took place but after the ZAKU removed its foot, dripping blood could be seen from the destroyed ZAKU’s cockpit.

The other remaining units crouched and all the hatches hissed open. The soldiers were scrambling away from the area, fearing that Frost will go after them.

*****

From the observation tower, the high echelons of Royal Zeon were discussing what just took place.

“We can’t have someone like that in the battlefield! He might kill our own forces upon impulse!”

“This specimen must be removed, or better yet, destroyed!”

An older Heimlich suddenly snapped, “Gentlemen! Don’t you see? This is what we exactly need in the force! Someone who fights without reservations, someone who will do the order without hesitation, someone who is not afraid of death! If any more can be produced, I believe that Royal Zeon will have its victory in no time!”

The group was hushed.


What will Adrian Zowih Frost’s role be in the thickening conflict? Find out in the next episode of MS GUNDAM: The Lost Century Episode 3 - REENTRY

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