|MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel: Episode 6 - Irony|
|Written by:||John Nigel|
|Suggested soundtrack for reading:||
“A THOUSAND FACES” by Creed
MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel
Episode 6 - Irony
Where…where am I? What is this place?
Why am I floating freely?
I am choking…
Is this the end for me?
Is this how death feels like?
Why am I here?
…and where exactly is “here”?
Huh? All of the sudden, the voices, the people instantly vanished… Just like that.
Is this really the end?
A light…I want to be in that light…
…ah, the warmth of the light embracing me, and it feels good… but, but ARGH!
What is this jolting pain? ARGH! ARGH!
LC 0041, December 01
Royal Zeon Iberia Base
The cardiogram monitor displayed a flat line indicating that the patient was undergoing cardiac arrest.
“The defibrillator is not working, doctor!”
“Increase to 800 joules. Everybody clear!”
The patient’s lifeless body jerked violently as electric current passed through him, trying to revive his heart that had stopped beating two minutes ago.
Amid the pandemonium among the medical personnel attending to this patient, an old Royal Zeon VIP grimly watched the whole scenario. A gruff voice was heard inside the intensive care unit room. “Do everything you can, doctor, to reawaken him! Use whatever means necessary, because we can’t let him die at such a time as this! The Empire has endowed much in creating him, do you hear me?”
“Y-Yes, I understand well, Lord Heimlich,” the doctor timidly stammered.
With that, the old man turned his heels and went out of the room.
* * * * *
LC 0041, November 30
A gunshot echoed through the forest, followed by a sound of a ricocheting bullet after it hit the fuselage of the Moebius Adelphe. The slug zipped past the left cheek of Amber Leigh La Flaga, almost grazing her skin. She felt the heat of the bullet. She stood there, petrified.
“I said nobody moves! Now, be a dandy and toss over your guns to me. Believe me, guys, the next two bullets will carve a socket for your third eye on each of your foreheads if you don’t!” Knight declared, still pointing his Desert Eagle against the lady.
“B-But Amber-sama, this lowlife shot at you!” Lue stammered, still directing his gun against Knight.
“Do as I say, idiot! I can’t carry the burden of having any of you die just because of me!”
As Amber had pleaded, both of them tossed their handguns at Knight.
“Now, let’s retrace our steps and answer my question. Are you the pilot of this mobile armor?”
“I AM THE PILOT OF THIS MOBILE ARMOR!”
“LUE!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU KNIGHT?!?”
“DAMMIT!! You shot my arm! ARGH!!” Lue yelped.
Dre was about to move when Knight cocked the hammer. “I was not talking to you dude! And you fat guy, make like a tree and stay there. Now, it’s your choice because I can’t do this all day, as my patience is obviously wearing thin. Amber, are you the pilot?”
Dre held his breath. Don’t answer, Amber-sama!
“I AM! Now, can you please point your weapon away and let us help our friend? PLEASE!” Amber sincerely pleaded.
Knight obliged and gestured Dre to help Lue. Amber took her scarf and tied it inches above the gunshot wound. With the tourniquet in place, the bleeding dramatically lessened.
“Lue, are you all right? It seems that the slug went through but you’d be okay,” she softly told him.
“Can I fetch the antibiotic syringe from the backpack?”
“I’ll do it,” Knight offered. He did not put away his Desert Eagle. Using his free hand, he rummaged through her backpack and found the first aid kit. He tossed it to her.
“What exactly are you doing here on earth? For all I know, you are spacenoids but definitely not from the Royal Zeon.”
Amber hesitated for a while until she gave in and answered, “We are instructors from the La Flaga Institute in Capricornus, from which my father is the founder and director. The reason why we’re here is that we are being pursued, no, we are being hunted down by the empire because of this.” She nodded toward the mobile armor. “We have to keep this from the hands that will eventually use this for their selfish motives.”
“Just as I thought. This mobile armor was illegally manufactured.” Knight shook his head in disbelief. They thought that this is just a game! Idiots!
“I hate the way you put things but you can say it like that. But we do not have any intention to use this against people or even mass-produce it. It was purely experimental, meant as an application for the students back at the institute.”
Amber started to clean the wound, while Dre held Lue down. She searched among the available medication but she did not find any topical antiseptic. “Oh, no. We don’t have anything to clean the wound with. What to do?”
Knight frowned and said, “Use gunpowder.”
“ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND, YOU MURDERER?!” Dre angrily disagreed.
Knight grunted. “I didn’t kill him, so that doesn’t qualify me as a murderer. The gunpowder will burn the bacteria and kill them, now that’s murder. The sudden heat will also dry up the wound. Trust me, I know.” He pulled his gun’s chamber, and from the slot on the side came out a bullet, to which he offered to Dre.
“We’re not about to trust someone who just tried to kill us all,” Dre countered. Nevertheless he caught the bullet after Knight tossed it to him. Dre bit the slug and twisted the casing. At last, it came loose. Dre spilled the powder around the wound.
Dre asked, “Lue, remember when my leg was injured?” Lue nodded. “You let me bite onto a plastic rod to endure the pain. Now endure this.” Lue said nothing but bit hard.
Dre took a fluid lighter from his pocket and lit it. Amber cringed at the thought of the pain so she looked away.
The powder ignited into an enormous ball of flame that came up in a sudden flash. Lue started to jolt in utter pain. “Hold him down, Dre! Use your weight!” Amber pleaded.
After a short while Lue passed out. Amber bravely turned to Knight, “What is it that you want from us Knight? Clearly, we are not handing the Moebius over to you.”
“It depends upon how you will answer my questions.”
“You could just have shot us down earlier and took the Moebius for yourself, which would make this situation far easier for all of us, but why didn’t you do it? As far as I am concerned, you are but a dog of the Empire.”
“Oh, so you ask me questions now, huh? First of all, I am not of the Empire.”
“So you’re a Feddie, then?”
For the first time, Knight chuckled after the volatile situation they were in. at this, Amber calmed down a bit. “No, of course not!”
“Then which side are you?,” Amber squarely challenged.
I am a neutral scum, a god of war, Knight said in his mind. In his mind played the faces of the Anaheim Electronics executives and his superior, Derf Dorough.
Knight shrugged and replied, “This is the point when I am supposed to say ‘If I tell you, then I would have to kill you’.”
Amber countered, “Then why don’t you? There is no point of helping us when in the end you’ll kill us all. Probably, you’re an assassin or something, you have killed a lot of people more than I could ever imagine.”
A sudden chill ran down Knight’s spine. Actually, you are right about that, Amber.
“Shut up! You don’t even know anything about me!” Knight retorted.
“Oh, but I do, Knight! I do know the likes of you who look at another person down the barrel of the gun!”
“Well, what about you? Don’t give me this entire self-righteous attitude. You’ve even pulled a trigger against a Zeon mobile suit! Yes, you’re those fugitives whom the Empire hunted down!”
Amber flared, “Well, I don’t know how you manage to know that but we were just trying to protect ourselves! They were hunting us down, trying to kill us! Yes, I may have pulled the trigger without hesitation against another human; I may almost have killed the Zeon pilot, but it was all because I have to protect my friends, protect our lives!”
“No! It was because you illegally manufactured a mobile weapon, this Moebius Adelp –!”
“I told you, we were just fighting to protect ourselves!”
Knight irately responded, “Fight to protect, huh? Even if it means taking someone else’s life? What a narrow-minded person you are! While you have that kind of mentality, you are actually admitting that there is no difference between you and those who want to take your lives!”
Amber’s face reddened at what Knight said. “KISAMA! What would you know? We did not ask for your help when we met an accident! You don’t even know us, so don’t judge us!”
Knight sneered, “Oh, so you’re saying that everything is fair in love and war? You thought that it’s all right to create a weapon, but in the end, you placed yourself unnecessarily into the middle of this whole conflict! Now you’re griping at the fact that you’re hunted down. Quit your whining and grow up!”
Amber argued, “You don’t understand…”
“Then, how would you explain your actions of trying to destroy an unarmed aircraft which did not have a means of defending itself?!?”
H-How did he know about that?! T-That is impossible! Amber was genuinely astounded. “A-Are you the… You’re the pilot of the blue and white mobile armor?”
Knight flustered in anger that he did not bother to answer the question. He gave her a hard stare.
“I-I don’t…” Amber helplessly placed her hands on her legs as she knelt on the ground. “I didn’t mean to, Knight. I mean, who the hell would intercept an unknown aircraft head on? I didn’t… I’m sorry… I tried to take your life without knowing.” She picked something from the ground under her and concealed it behind her.
Suddenly an epiphany came onto her. “Wait a minute! If you are that mobile armor pilot, then just as you declared over the commlink back then, you are KNIGHT OF ANAHEIM ELCTRONICS!! Right?! ANSWER ME!!”
Knight kept a stiff upper lip.
She gave out a mocking laugh. “Wow, you got some nerve to go preachy on me Knight! When you yourself are a…”
“SAY IT!! Say it, Amber, I dare you!”
“Or you’ll what? Kill me? At least, I don’t pretend of being someone who I really am not! You’re rotten to the core! So I’ll say it to your disgusting face, YOU, GOD OF WAR!!!”
Knight became silent.
“She went on, “You produce weapons of war; weapons that kill and destroy. You sell them to both the Empire and the Federation, and wait in the sidelines, hoping for them to destroy each other while prolonging the war because regardless who wins, you get filthy rich nevertheless!”
At this assertion, Knight reacted. “That’s where you’re wrong, Amber. You have much to learn. We sell to people a means to defend themselves. Everything I said is the truth. I am not telling you lies to make myself look good.”
“Oh, like fighting to protect? Or, as you’ve put it earlier, killing to protect? In that case, your judgment on me boomerangs back to you!!”
Knight did not notice that while they were debating, Amber had already picked up one of the guns that Lue and Dre threw away earlier. She raised the gun, aimed at Knight and pulled the trigger.
The speeding bullet hit Knight’s gun, knocking it off his hand and landed at a distance. He raised his hands and said, “Amber, calm down! Let’s try to peacefully talk this over and –!”
“No, Knight. You can’t have your way, now that the tables are turned. Please leave now, and I do insist that you do it quietly.”
Knight tried to convince her so he stepped forward but suddenly Amber fired at the second time.
The slug hit the ground right before where Knight stood. It embedded itself into the ground with a trail of smoke rising from it. Had he moved a single step further, he would have surely been hit.
“Pleases Knight, everything is clear up to this point. The fault may not be on us; it may not even be on either the Federation or Royal Zeon but on the likes of you who give both sides the means to kill each other.”
Knight had no choice but to step back and walk away. Glancing back, he was about to say something but Amber immediately said, “Don’t count on anything, Knight. This will be the last time we’ll see each other. May you do well what you do.”
With that, Knight left the clearing and ran back to the highway.
* * * * *
Amber let out a sigh of relief. She hurried to Lue’s side and handed the gun to Dre. Dre fetched the other gun, including Knight’s Desert Eagle.
“For a moment, I was deeply worried of you Amber-sama. What if you really haved killed him?”
“That’s no big thing, Dre. I’m not such a bad shooter, modesty aside. What is important is that we’ll get out of this place. I’m sure that he’ll be doing something later.”
She climbed onto the cockpit canopy and started the engine. “We must leave soon and find this Keith Newman quick.”
* * * * *
Knight kicked a rock in frustration. He entered his car and slammed the door shut. Punching the steering wheel, he growled, “Amber, you fool! You pointlessly dragged yourself deep into the whole conflict!”
His gaze drifted to the sky, where he saw two bright objects moving over toward the forest. He squinted against the late afternoon sun. Olive green mobile suits! He quickly got out of the car.
“Oh, crap! It’s the Federation! They’re bound to find the Moebius at this rate… Amber!” he exclaimed concernedly.
He pulled a latch under the steering wheel that opened the car’s trunk. Hastily, he took a bulky casing out and set it on the ground. He also pulled out his satellite phone and speed dialed an important contact number. After a couple of rings, the other line answered.
“Yo, bro! I need you to do something really quick… It largely depends on whether you’ve gone rusty or not.”
* * * * *
A sudden rocket roar overhead startled Amber. “What was that?!”
Dre ran into the center of the clearing and saw the unmistakable humanoid shape of mobile suits.
“Amber-sama! We need to leave now! Those are the Federation’s GM IIIs!!!”
Amber was not able to do something because out of nowhere, one of the GMs landed on the clearing with such force that shook the area. Amber quickly climbed back onto the cockpit and slid the canopy shut. “The railgun’s offline?!?” she exclaimed in surprise to see that the weapon did not power up.
The GM, however, moved toward the mobile armor and aimed its beam rifle against it.
“It’s gonna shoot at us point blank!!”
The beam rifle’s barrel end stared to light up when a rocket-propelled projectile hit the GM’s right knee.
The GM lurched backward, thrown off balance by the shot. As it slammed on the ground, another shot came and directly hit the GM’s face, destroying it main cameras.
Amber opened up the canopy and peered outside. “Where did those shots come from?”
“Amber-sama! It’s too dangerous to stay here, we need to get off!” Dre warned, climbing into the Moebius.
Amber craned her head and saw Knight in a kneeling position to support the prtable anti-mobile suit bazooka he was carrying.
Both their eyes met, and as if in sheer coincidence, both of them thought exactly the same thing. EVEN A GOD OF WAR HAS A CONSCIENCE, AT LEAST SOMETIMES.
Knight let go of the weapon, stood up and ran toward the fallen GM. He climbed on its torso and screamed to Amber, “What are you still doing here?! You must get out now!! The other unit is circling ba –!”
The other GM made a flyby after it saw its companion subdued. Blasting off its Vulcan guns against them, it nosedived over the clearing. Knight was just in time to jump off and duck under the GM. Sparks caused by the slugs bouncing off against metal were all around him.
“HRG! I must stop the other unit, but how? Unless…”
When the other GM flew by, Knight climbed back onto the mobile suit. He pulled a small lever that produced a hissing sound of air pressure vented. The cockpit hatch instantly opened. He warily sneaked a quick look inside.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Knight was just in time to dodge the gunshots from the pilot inside. Without warning, Knight jumped inside and forcefully landed his feet onto the pilot’s chest, pinning him down. Before the pilot could take another shot, Knight immediately followed up with a solid right hook against the pilots left cheek, knocking him unconscious. He then pushed the pilot out of the cockpit and strapped himself onto the seat. The hijack was successful. “All right!”
He moved the levers that controlled the arm and leg actuators. Creaking metal sounds indicated that the mobile suit struggled to rise but soon it was able to stand.
“Hmmm…” Knight pondered, as he checked the GM’s overall combat status. “Hydraulic pressure for valve no. 3 is fluctuating. There must a fluid bleed somewhere. Right knee joint is stuck. Main cameras malfunctioning.”
Knight pushed a switch that brought a rifle scope right beside his head. He reached for it and strapping the scope to his head, he used the rifle’s camera as monitors.
He called to Amber, “Switch your frequency to 55.55 megahertz. This way we can communicate. I’ll try to stop the other unit while you try and get away!”
“Wait, Knight! We don’t need your he –!”
“There’s no time to lose! Lift off already!” Knight closed the hatch and stepped on the foot pedals. The hijacked GM moved forward and swung its rifle around, panning the area.
Knight said through the commlink, “DORK! This won’t work! The vision is very limited! Amber, do you have a visual of the – !”
“KNIGHT, WATCH OUT!!”
The other GM was at the other side of the clearing, directed its weapon against the other GM. An energy beam darted toward the other GM, hitting the right arm. It was severed and fell onto the ground. Knight had no choice but to open the hatch so that he could see in front of him. As the hatch fizzed open, the enemy unit fired another round.
Knight gasped in disbelief and closed his eyes. Will I die here?
Suddenly, a bright bluish green glow engulfed the GM right just before the beam shot hit it. Subsequently the energy dissipated.
“An H-Field?! The Moebius is….!” Knight muttered in relief. He flashed a thumbs-up sign to Amber, who smiled back.
“Now we’re even, Knight!”
As soon as the mobile armor was aloft, it immediately engaged the GM III, deploying the cannon barrels.
* * * * *
Knight moved the damaged GM from the clearing to a high ground. He intently watched the Moebius fending off the enemy. She’s got the moves.
As he observed the battle, he noticed that the GM was constantly avoiding aerial attacks. Instead, it would evade the cannon blasts and wait for the Moebius to fly by after attacking before it would unleash a highly rapid barrage of energy beams.
* * * * *
Aboard the GM, the pilot muttered, “Hmmm, this mobile armor pilot is becoming more and more predictable, like flying by the book. Okay, so judging the angle of attack and banking directing, I should be able…to…hit…it…right…THERE!!!” He pulled the trigger.
* * * * *
“Amber, the pilot can see through your tactics! He’s predicting your moves!”
But the warning was in vain. The enemy beam from the GM’s rifle managed to hit and damaged Carwennan, but luckily, the Moebius sustained no other damage and still managed to fly. A thick black smoke trailed behind it.
“You should escape now, Amber! At your situation, you can’t properly handle the combat against it!”
“But what about you, Knight?! I’m sure he’d attack you!” Amber reacted. Why am I suddenly concerned of him?
Knight took his satellite phone from his pocket and answered back to her, “No worries. Someone’s got my back. I’ll distract him! Now, go!”
“I-I didn’t actually expect us to work together but… Take care, Knight. Ganbatte!”
The Moebius Adelphe turned west toward the sea and sped away.
* * * * *
The GM pilot griped, “Leaving so soon huh?” He tried a few shots at the escaping mobile armor but it was way out of firing range. He noticed that the other GM unit was standing on a hill. “How dare you hijack that suit! I will teach you a lesson!”
Dashing forward, the GM grabbed a beam saber and lunged at the other unit. Knight in turn made the Gm crouch, then ramming the thruster pedals, he tackled the enemy. But the other pilot was not about to give up. When both units fell onto the ground, the GM swung its beam saber and cut off the left arm that held it. Without any limb, the GM was unable to stand.
The enemy GM stood up and kicked hard at the disabled unit, sending it tumbling down the hill. It toppled and spun over until it landed flat face up. The enemy GM made a booster aided jump from the hill and landed on the downed GM, stomping the legs. Reaching for the other hilt, the enemy unit’s wrist suddenly spun quickly, creating two spinning sabers like a rotor of a helicopter.
ZZZT! ZZZT! ZZZT! ZZZT! ZZZT!
“I will hack and slash you into a metallic mincemeat, you scum! I am called The Slayer for nothing! Hahahahahaha!!!!” said the pilot mockingly. He zoomed the main camera onto the opened cockpit and saw Knight, who was apparently hurt when the GM rolled down the hill.
“Ahh, there you are, you rat! Now, smile, for you’re on camera!” he said as he took a photo of him.
The spinning sabers started to cut the disabled GM’s legs. Globs of molten metal were sputtering all over the area.
* * * * *
“Eagle Eye, w-where are y-you? Talk to me!” Knight called through the satellite phone.
“I’ll be there in approximately fifteen minutes, bro! Just hang on tight! I’m doing my best to hurry!”
“No, no, no! I don’t have much time! You need to get into position now! It’s now or never!”
Eagle Eye exclaimed, “Are you crazy?! I’m still at least a thousand miles from your – !”
“Can you do an aerial shot?”
“I think I can. Why?”
“BECAUSE I NEED YOU TO IMMEDIATELY HIT THESE COORDINATES, DAMMIT!!! I’m sending them over to you now!”
* * * * *
A golden Gundam-type mobile suit hovered 20,000 feet in the atmosphere, with its thrusters on the striker pack emitting a bluish white glow.
“Anchor position!” the pilot gave the voice command.
A synthesized female voice responded, “Position locked.” The thrusters compensated for any minute change in position due to the strong winds in high altitude.
The pilot moved a lever forward. The Gundam’s left arm reached for its weapon of choice stored at the striker pack. It was a Raytheon Sentinel beam sniper rifle. Two modules unfolded onto either side of the pilot’s head. A green holographic sniper scope appeared before him. The pilot took hold of two control sticks. The left one adjusted the zooming in and out of the scope while the right one had a trigger and controlled the rifle position.
“Disengage automatic targeting. Reset marginal error to plus minus zero. Increase e-cap power output to 250%.”
The voice again responded, “Shifting to manual targeting. RSSR power output set to 250% as default.”
The pilot heaved out a sigh and closed his eyes. Amid the hum of the Gundam’s power plant at a chamber behind him, he calmly breathed and meditated. He excluded any unnecessary thoughts. Concentrate! You wouldn’t want to hit the wrong target. But can I do it?
He opened his eyes and used the telephoto camera. He saw the target; a GM unit spinning its beam saber crazily while chopping and slicing a damaged unit. He delicately moved the crosshair and locked it against the GM’s leg and torso. Must not hit the reactor… or brother-in-arms will be toast.
At the click of the trigger, two high-energy beam sniper shots flashed through the overcast sky.
* * * * *
Knight could feel the heat generated by the beam sabers inching nearer by the minute. Suddenly two powerful yellowish shots hit the GM. The first shot dismembered the left leg as the second one bore a hole on its torso.
The attacks sent the GM tumbling backward. An explosion followed afterwards.
“You just MISSED THE POWER REACTOR, Eagle Eye!! But that is a relief…” Knight said through the phone.
“Hmmm. I guess I am not yet rusty like you, Aeolus. So, do I need to save the ‘damsel in distress’?”
“Nah, I can manage, thank you! I will do the reports tomorrow, okay? If Mars inquired of anything, tell him to take a walk in the park.”
Sidhikoro laughed and said, “He’ll definitely eat you alive, bro! Eagle Eye, over and out!”
* * * * *
Knight found his way back to the highway and retraced his steps, limping along. He came to his car and started the engine. Pleased with the turn of events, he can’t take his mind off Amber.
Is she all right? Where could they be right now? I forgot to plant a tracer probe on the Moebius! Tsk!
As drove along, he still could not help but worry about Amber.
What am I missing here? Why can’t I forget the Moebius? I am sure it’s safe by now…that lady is a capable one, I’m sure she’ll be fine…
Hmmm… I need to clear off my mind and concentrate on the report…and the orbital bombardment weapon… oh, and the final development of the Valkyrie Gust that the Royal Zeon is – !!!
Knight exclaimed, “Oh, shoot!!! Valkyrie Gust was developed to destroy the Moebius!!! I DEVELOPED THE WEAPON THAT WOULD KILL AMBER!!!”
* * * * *
Out from the flames and embers surrounding the burning GM came a silhouette of a man. He angrily said, “Out from the ashes, I rise once more! And I will take revenge on that man who humiliated me!!!”
He took out a portable long-range radio transmitter and sent a distress signal. The radio began to crackle, “Lieutenant Litzner Edge, help is on the way. We have determined your location. Please stand by!”
The Slayer gave out an evil laugh.
* * * * *
How will Knight handle his realization that he developed the mobile armor that was designed to destroy Amber? Where will Amber, Lue, and Dre go from here? And what will The Slayer contribute to the whole mess? Find out in the next episode of the MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel Episode 7 – Cyclone. You wouldn’t want to miss it.