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MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel: Episode 7 - Cyclone
Written by: John Nigel
Suggested soundtrack for reading:

“I DON'T WANT TO MISS A THING” by Aerosmith


MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel

Episode 7 - Cyclone



Anaheim Electronics

Black Wing Division office


Derf Dorough was sitting at his desk. He was looking intently at some mobile weapons development record, including the progress of the mobile armor, Valkyrie Gust. Suddenly, his mobile phone rang.

“Mars here. Talk to me.”

“Sir, Eagle Eye has returned.

“Tell him to report to me right now.”

* * * * *

“Sir, I was told you want to speak with me,” said Diko Sidhikoro also known as Black Wing Division operative, ‘Eagle Eye’.

Dorough gestured for him to sit down.

“Eagle Eye, I’ll go directly to the point. This is about that mysterious mobile armor, Moebius Adelphe. And come to think of it, this is also about the lady pilot that Aeolus spoke of. I recently heard rumors, albeit unconfirmed, of sightings about a red and black mobile weapon in Europe, especially after the holocaust brought by that orbital weapon.”

“Honestly, sir, I haven’t seen it yet.”

Dorough continued, “I know that you and Knight are brothers-in-arms, closely knitted like real flesh-and-blood brothers. But do you know any information of Knight having a subsequent contact about the lady and the mobile armor after the deployment of Gust?”

“Nothing that I know of, sir…”

“Meaning, Knight may have met her, as you are putting it.”

“I don’t know, really.”

“Your recent operation. Knight summoned you to help him. It even called for the deployment of Achilles. For what exact purpose was it that Achilles had to do the job?”

“It seemed that Knight had a very tight situation with some Earth Federation pilots, two, actually. He needed a window of escape, lest he be found out. But Achilles’ existence remains a secret.”

Dorough rose from his chair and went to a window overlooking the BWD hangar and repair bay. “Good. Give me the actual battle reports later. For now, we have a very difficult situation.” He passed to Sidhikoro a tablet computer. He read the documents displayed and his eyes widened in surprise.

“I’ll be damned by this. It says here that the orbital bombardment weapon known as The Heaven’s Fist has escalated the war into a whole new level. The Royal Zeon is currently mobilizing its forces towards the Federation’s lunar base as their first step of retaliation against the uncalled-for act of the Federation. I believe that there’s more to this force buildup in space. I believe that the fierce battle will also take place here on earth.”

Dorough lighted his smoking pipe and said, “Read on.”

“What?! Zeon’s Lord Clay Mardha was aboard the Empire’s cruiser? But why don’t we hear more about this in the news?”

“Media blackout. An hour ago, I received a call from the Royal Zeon’s general, a certain Tigo Trueno, hailing from the empire’s territory in Spain. They are the ones who will take over the development of the mobile armor, since Lord Clay Mardha is now dead.”

“So are they pulling out the development of Gust untimely, much earlier than agreed?”

“It seems so.”

“What shall we do sir?”

“Call the men. We will be meeting at the Burrow in 2200 hours.”

* * * * *

Burrow

Undisclosed Black Wing hideout

Knight came in late. He was wearing a sling for his left arm. Bandages were evidences that he had sustained injuries, though minor ones. Upon entering the hideout, the rest of the group did not expect him to be in this shape. They remained silent in utter surprise.

“Hi guys!” he greeted blandly. “Actually, I am a lot better than these gauzes seem to tell. Got some mishap, that’s all.” Knight noticed that no one of the guys cracked a joke.

“Seems like I’m missing something here.”

Dorough motioned him to sit down. “There’s something that you need to know, Aeolus.” He passed a folder of documents to him. Knight pored over the contents and in a sheer surprise and fury, he slammed the documents on the table.

“Wha – What’s the meaning of this?! Royal Zeon is going to seize all existing developments of the V Gust?!”

“Knight, just calm down, okay?” Nadia spoke softly.

“This can’ be serious! There must be some kind of mix-up somewhere!”

“It’s authentic, Aeolus. Blame the Peacecraft Treaty if you must. There seems to be a provision from the international treaty that in the event of a forthcoming threat to a country’s national security, they can demand certain compliances from entities and private organizations, especially the neutral ones, including us to whom they made deals for weapons development and manufacture. Royal Zeon had been a long client, probably way back when all of us here were not yet born. This is for the purpose of their reinforcing of their military might and security for their country. Now the empire is invoking their right along that line.”

Xihei added, “And we can’t do anything about it.”

“They can’t…they can’t do this! Damn!” Knight’s fist banged the table. The rest of the group was surprised at his reaction.

“Dorough said, “Don’t get mad, genius. There’s nothing to be pissed off for.”

Knight sat down between Sidhikoro and Oleg. The latter gave him a consoling pat on the back.

“It’s exactly what that General Tigo Trueno said,” Tomino spoke. “War is ultimately securing vital positions. He said that ‘this little toy’ of ours wasn’t going to tip the balance of the war in any major way.”

“And yet they’re sequestering the Gust?”

Abacus inputted, “So it seems. With the existence of the Heaven’s Fist, the deciding battle is going to be out in space, of course, unless Royal Zeon has still something up in their sleeves.”

“What do you mean, Abacus?”

“Please call me by my call sign, Tinker. As I have said, I don’t think that the empire’s just gonna let them get away with it. I can almost anticipate that something dreadful will happen in retaliation.”

“Yeah, just to think of it gives me the creeps.”

Knight grunted, “Nevertheless, I disagree about giving the Gust to them.”

“Are you dumb, Aeolus, or just plain stupid? We have an arms deal with them; they just want our end of the deal. End of the story,” Dorough harshly said. “Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t hand over the mobile armor to them. Or do you want international sanctions be placed on the whole corporation? Besides, AE executives already gave the consent.”

Everyone turned to Knight and waited for his answer. Instead, he took a beer bottle and drank it bottoms up. Finally he muttered, “We can’t do this business. The moment we hand the Gust over to them, people are going to die.”

“Well, boohoo, Aeolus. Somebody needs to wake up to reality. Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along?” Dorough disagreed.

* * * * *

The next day, Knight spoke with Sidhikoro and Oleg about his plans concerning the Valkyrie Gust. He realized that he has contributed much to a mobile weapon designed to search and destroy Moebius Adelphe of which the pilot was Amber Leigh La Flaga. The trio met in a secluded area where Knight thought of putting up a plan.

“Are you out of your freaking mind, Aeolus?! Dude! You got a lot of really stupid ideas but this one’s for the record! Besides, how do you think can we manage to take the Gust out fo the facility without being noticed?” Sidhikoro exclaimed.

“We can think of something. Loki, will you help me?”

“I don’t know, young man… Depends on what drives that passion of yours. Do you know, or do you have any idea about the repercussions that this intervention will bring down on us? If I have to help you, then tell me the reason.”

Knight closed his eyes and heaved a sigh. “Okay. I came into contact with the lady pilot of the Moebius and her friends on the day when the orbital weapon was used. It turns out that she was just a victim of this whole mess between the Empire and the Federation; she was just doing the wrong thing at the wrong place and in the wrong time.”

“Victim, you say?” Oleg mused.

“You…met the pilot? As in, met her face to face?”

“Yeah, Eagle Eye. The reason why I was in that mess on that day was because I tried to protect her and her friends. Some freak coincidence that is, actually.”

“Okay, okay. So you’re saying that the Gust being your creation will kill the one you’re trying to protect? Ironic, man.”

“Well, obviously, the plan went from impossible to insanely ridiculous. So how do you think are we gonna pull this off, ‘Knight in bloody armor’?” Oleg impatiently asked.

“Here’s the plan. I need your expertise as a saboteur and we’ll need bombs; lots of bombs. Also, we need V1ru5’s handiwork to leak bogus information to the Federation concerning the dry run test of a mobile weapon for the Empire. That way, we can fake the Valkyrie Gust’s destruction and thus prevent the Royal Zeon’s hand to get a hold of it.”

“Hmmmm… Suddenly, I became interested. What’s my role?”

“Achilles will also play a major part, but in the shadows, of course. It’s too early for Achilles to come out in the open, bro.”

“What about Mars?”

“I’ll think of something to distract him.” Oleg just shook his head.

As they started to leave the place, Raijin said, “Hold your horses, young man. There’s one more thing that is missing in the puzzle, Aeolus. Why would a ‘god of war’ like you go to great heights, depths, and lengths to help save a woman?”

Knight glared at him but his face started to redden.

“THAT,” Sidhikoro exclaimed grinning while pointing at Knight’s reaction, “is what I am talking about!”

* * * * *

Mediterranean Sea

Aboard Magna Carta

A communications personnel received a mission order via an encoded transmission from the Earth Federation headquarters. He patched through a private intercom to Admiral Carl Zeiss’ room.

“Admiral Zeiss, a mission order from HQ has arrived.”

At last,time for some action! Zeiss replied, “Okay, I’ll look into it at the bridge.”

Later that day, the admiral personally headed the strategy outlay at the briefing room. There were twelve pilots in the room; all of them had been recently assigned to the ship after Zeiss’ mobile suit units were all decimated by Gundam Axiom during the fateful day of the Heaven’s Fist. Unsurprisingly, there was media blackout ordered by the Federation; every news outfit that tried to investigate the chain of events was “silenced”. All information that Earth Federation released was about the detonation of Solstice over Apsalia. Evidently, no one believed them.

The pilots were whispering among themselves.

“Did you hear about the rumors concerning the previous mobile suit units assigned here? Especially during the day of the Heaven’s Fist?”

“Yeah, but when I asked a few of the personnel here, they remained mum about it… Scares the hell out of me.”

“But what if it’s true?”

“What if the same thing happens to us? What if the Sandman, who is reputed to sacrifice his pawns when necessary will do the same thing to – !”

“I’ll fight.”

Everyone looked at a man sitting at the back row, eyes closed and arms crossed in an apathetic manner. He was a wiry man in his 30s, with narrow eyes and icy expressionless face. He wore a pair of spectacles.

“Such arrogance! What would you know, stranger? And who are you? You’re not from the division where we all came from.”

The man simply answered, “You’ll know soon enough.”

Few minutes later, the door slid open and Admiral Zeiss entered the room. Immediately the pilots stood and saluted.

“As you were, gentlemen.” The pilots took their seats.

“As you all know by now, the mission order from HQ arrived this morning while we are on a patrol mission in the southern European territories. It seems that our intelligence division intercepted valuable information about Royal Zeon putting their newest mobile weapon into a test. It is hailed as “Gust”. The coordinates are 54 15o N, 4 30o W. We are heading over to The Isle of Man in Britannia as we speak.”

The room darkened as a map display was flashed behind Zeiss. He moved over to the left side and continued.

“As you probably have heard, the secret concerning the orbital bombardment weapon is out. But we need to destroy our enemies and inflict critical damage on them fast and hard.”

Pointing a red laser onto an island image, he said, “This is the Isle; it had been deserted since Lost Century started but the gathered information indicates that Royal Zeon held its weapons tests in the area a number of times already. The isle is also a strategic place for their European stronghold in Spain. While Britannia remains largely neutral, they granted us unlimited air space. This is where we will crush some Zeon nuts.”

A liaison officer handed out mission strategy information stored in hand-held computers.

“Your designation for this operation is stored in these modules. You are to upload the information manually onto your new Jugho units to prevent leakage. As for your group, from henceforth, you shall be known as the Zeiss Disciples.”

Gesturing the wiry man sitting at the back to come forward, Zeiss said, “This is Lieutenant Litzner Edge, and he will serve as your commander in this attack unit.”

All the rest of the pilots were surprised and whispered among themselves. Edge said, “My rules are simple yet firm: you act when I say so. If you don’t, I will personally shoot you down. Understand?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Operation: STAMPEDE, begin! Standby in your units!”

* * * * *

Xihei gave Raijin a thumbs-up sign. “I’m done here, Loki! Better inform the man!”

Raijin called in, “This is Loki, reporting. The packages have been planted.” He was referring to the sonic bombs prepared for the group’s elaborate plan to fake the Gust’s destruction to prevent it from reaching Royal Zeon’s hands. Three days earlier, the Black Wing Division unfolded a very crucial plan just to save the Moebius’ lady pilot. At first, the group was hesitant to play a role because they had to keep their division head, Dorough, out of it. Upon hearing Knight’s reason, the rest agreed to help.

“Roger that, Loki. V1ru5, any sign of the vulture?”

“V1ru5 here. The big vulture is detected heading our way. The propaganda worked.”

“Good. Tell Tinker to place the RC now.”

“Doing it already.”

Back at the Black Wing Division hangar, Knight took his phone and called Sidhikoro. “Eagle Eye, how’s everything in your end?”

“I’m on my way, bro. But you’re utterly demanding this time. Not to mention that this is insane.”

“You just have to, bro, you just have to. I’m placing my whole life on your trigger finger. That scares me enough, so please refrain from saying crazy nonsense.”

He hung up and helped Tomino in controlling the mechanical cranes hoisting the Valkyrie Gust onto the linear catapult. After that, Knight began donning the pilot suit when Nadia came running into the hangar bay.

“Knight, Lexxis! We have a serious problem!”

“What?!”

“Not what. Who.”

A gruff angry voice demanded, “What is the meaning of this?!”

Knight shockingly said, “Dorough!”

* * * * *

Royal Zeon Iberia Base, Spain

A nurse came running through the halls of the infirmary. “Doctor! Doctor! The patient has awakened!”

“What?! Somebody contact Lord Heimlich, quick!”

The two of them run back into the ICU room. Inside, the patient was ripping off the intravenous hoses and the biosensor probes from his arms and body. He angrily glared against both of them and while leaping from the bed, he grabbed the nurse’s throat. Gripping it tight, he choked her in spite of the doctor’s efforts in trying to stop him. The patient released his grip of the nurse only until she slumped flat on the floor dead.

The doctor ran to the intercom unit on the wall and shouted, “Call security!!! We need to subdue the – gakkkk!”

The patient shoved a metal tray against the doctor’s head, slamming his face hard against the wall. As he fell down to the floor, blood trickled on the wall’s surface.

“GAAWWWRRRR!!! Take these voices outta my head!! What have you done to me?!?”

Lord Piotr Heimlich came into the room and faced the patient. His eyes glowed with a reddish halo around the pupils.

Calm down, Frost! Everything is fine now!

“W-why are you inside my head?!? Get out!! Get out!!”

You have this power, too, Frost. You will use this power to kill and destroy your enemies… All of them.

Frost was greatly astonished by this phenomenon that he did not notice that he responded using brain waves.

A-all of them?

Yes, Frost. And I promised before that I will provide you the means to do it. You, Frost, will crush all your enemies to attain true peace.

Heimlich gave out an evil grin.

* * * * *

“What is the meaning of this?! Answer me, Knight!”

Knight faced Dorough sternly. “I said before that I will not allow the Empire to take hold of such weapons because lives will be at stake if we do!”

“Stupid! How then will you explain this to the Royal Zeon delegation that is coming today?”

“What?! They’re coming…?” Knight’s voice trailed off.

“With General Tigo Trueno from Iberia Base. Stop this nonsense at once! Initial information had already been given to Lord Clay Mardha last November 18. All your efforts will be in vain!”

“The day when the Gust was first deployed…”

“The AE execs gave over everything, Knight; schematics, operating system, data logs, performance notation, everything! So give it up already!”

Knight became silent. Tomino was about to reverse the cranes and remove the Gust from the catapult when Knight placed his hand on the lever to stop him.

Tomino muttered, “There’s no sense in going on, man.”

He just smiled and winked. Turning to Dorough, Knight said softly but pleadingly, “Taisa, we’ve been through a lot of hell and back in this kind of work. I did very proficiently everything you ordered without question in every single operation. It’s true that there are times that I’ve pissed you off and all that but please, let me do this… just this once, let me have my way.”

Dorough searchingly stared at Knight, Nadia, and Tomino. “Why, Knight? Why the sudden change of heart? Why now?”

Knight put up a stern face and boldly said, “Because I care for her.”

Silence.

A few moments, Dorough demanded, “Who else is on board?”

It was Nadia who answered, “Everyone else, sir, except you.”

“Now, why the heck did you automatically exclude me? Who will do the role of stalling the Zeon general?”

At this, Knight beamed in relief and tried to hug his leader.

“TAISA!!!”

“Whoa, whoa! Easy there, boy! I’m not about to give you some love anytime soon. Well then, I need to get going as well. And Knight…”

“Yes?”

“Be sure to cleanly pull this off.” With that, Dorough left the hangar.

Knight, Tomino, and Nadia hurried on with the plan. Tomino proceeded with loading the catapult, while Knight and Nadia hastily went to the hangar platform. As he was about to climb the ladder to the cockpit, Nadia said, “Knight, you need to tell me something.”

“About what?”

She stared on the floor for a moment, and then faced him.

“What is she like?”

“Who?”

“This Moebius pilot… what is she like? A man like you would willingly throw away his life for her.”

“Why would you want to know?”

She suddenly gave an outburst. “I HAVE TO KNOW! I… I… I just need to know.”

Knight was surprised at her display of emotions that all he could ever think was to touch her cheek with the back of his hand. He immediately slid into the cockpit and closed the canopy hatch.

On the commlink, Tomino said, “Ready when you are, Aeolus. Launch control has already been transferred to you.”

“Thanks, Grease Monkey. I’ll take it from here. But I have a request.”

“Yep?”

“Please look after Silverlight.”

“I understand, man. I will, don’t worry.”

XMAF-1102vg Valkyrie Gust. Test Pilot #8. Launching!”

Hums from the mobile armor’s engine went to a high pitch as it sped out of the hangar into the afternoon sky. Nadia remained where she stood. Two precious drops of water fell onto the dusty and oily floor.

“Idiot.”

* * * * *

English Channel

Aboard Magna Carta

Admiral Zeiss issued the launch order for the Disciples to sortie. There were 12 Jugho units all in all. Unlike the earlier Jughos, these units come with assault shields and beam swords. What made these units better was that the assault shields were mounted with two-barreled beam cannons. These shields were also capable of sub-flight and could be used as a separate attack unit.

Lieutenant Edge gave out his strategic commands. “Contact Maniac Control. Patch data to all assets. Contact Britannia armed forces. Have them initiate an immediate evacuation in the vicinity of coordinates 54 15 N, 4 30 W and provide a 20-kilometer radius clearance. Otherwise we will engage them into combat. Confirm that the area has been cleared.”

Few minutes later, a pilot reported, “Britannia confirms are being cleared. All applicable assets online, sir!”

“Gentlemen, it’s time to dig in. I want the target stopped in its tracks. I got the target on radar. Mark target designation, ‘Gust’. Take formation RX78. Team A, take left. Team G, right flank. Team E will follow me. Show Royal Zeon what we’re made of! IKUSO!!”

* * * * *

Abacus received a tripped alarm warning. “V1ru5 calling Test Pilot #8. Alien swarm detected 80 kilometers from southeast. Count, eleven or twelve!”

They acted sooner than expected! Knight radioed back, “Roger that. Have Tinker power up the RC.”

“Eagle Eye reporting in. I am experiencing turbulence up here.”

“Does it pose a threat to you?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

“There’s a good lad, bro.”

“Yo, #8! We’ve set the bombs as you initially said but that gives you a very slim margin. Can you handle that?”

“It’s fine as it is, Loki. Tell Satsugaisha to move to high ground.”

“I understand!”

“#8, this is Silverlight. Trueno is furious, but Mars is dealing with them now.”

Sidhikoro was amused and surprised. “Oy! How did you get Mars to agree to your idea?”

“Long story, dude. Head’s up! I got a visual on the swarm. They’ve taken the bait! Clear the area now! Get to the designated safe distances!”

* * * * *

The Valkyrie Gust banked sharply to the right, its thrusters spewing off tremendous power. Teams G and E immediately set high speed pursuit until they flew parallel to Gust’s.

“Open fire! Fire at will!” Edge screamed.

Eight beam carbines spurted off red beam pulses that rained down on the mobile armor. Knight said to himself, “I need to fool them. And the key is the H-Field array.”

* * * * *

“Shousa! The Gust seems to be covered with anti-beam coating!”

“Keep on firing! It can just tolerate few hits in the same spot. When its surface temperature increases, it will ablate. Then it becomes vulnerable,” edge replied.

“Okay!”

“Team A, advance! Converge your attacks with ours! Let’s perforate this scum!”

* * * * *

Inside the Gust, alarms blared around Knight. Despite the air-conditioned cockpit, he was breaking sweat.

“Keep your calm…” he said to himself. “They’re but randomly targeting.”

On the radar, four bleeping dots were nearing him from the left.

“Uh-oh. I got to show them some tricks, too.”

Pressing a couple of buttons, he released missiles from the pods stored on the Gust’s hovering system. The first two pursuing Jugho units immediately were hit. But luckily this time, they were equipped with sturdy shields. The missiles virtually inflicted no damage other than scratches and burnt discoloration.

“Unrelenting bunch! Let’s see if you can keep up with me!”

He brought the Gust’s nose upward, causing the mobile armor to rapidly brake.

“Watch out!! Break left, dammit!”

“Evade! Evade!”

“What the –!”

Some Jugho units collided against each other, causing their formation to fall apart. Knight immediately brought the thrusters to life and flipped to the opposite direction.

Edge braked, “Team A, intercept the target. Switch to beam cannons! Team G and E, regroup formation and continue pursuit! Don’t fall for the same trick again!”

* * * * *

Back at the Royal Zeon Iberia Base hangar, two men walked along the hoisted catwalk inside the huge shed.

“Frost, I need to show you something.”

“What is it, my lord?”

“Your sole means of attaining true peace.”

They came upon a control panel monitor with a biometric scanner. Heimlich placed a palm on it that set alight a green glow. He pressed a button that opened a huge metal door on a wall and a red and white mobile armor slid out onto the raised platform below them.

“This is… this is…”

“This is your weapon, Frost. True peace can only be attained as an outcome of war. Your father died because of war. Many people died because of war. You may ask why there is a war in the first place. Humanity as we know it has degenerated to a pathetic existence. Wars refuse to cease because of the weak people. They infect the survival of humanity into its evolution. It is the weak that depends heavily on the strong, draining them with strength, dragging them down. It is the weak that refuses to break free from the earth’s gravity. It is the weak that fears the vastness of space because they cannot adapt. True peace will result from purging the earth of the weak. In the end, the strong will live, the weak will die.”

Heimlich placed his hand on Frost’s shoulders. “But you, Frost, have an enormous power within you! And with this as your weapon, you will be unstoppable!”

* * * * *

The Gust shook violently as successive shots from four beam cannons managed to hit it. Knight activated the H-Field fully to prevent any substantial damage to the mobile armor.

“Shousa! The Gust is equipped with a force field!”

Just as I thought.

“I can see that, idiot! Load the launchers with armor-piercing heat seekers! Its defensive barrier won’t work against physical attacks.”

“Aye, sir!”

Team A fired their launchers against the Gust. Knight realized that they switched tactics this time.

“Oh, shoot! Now, they’re thinking!” He reached for the flare release button. The Gust left a trail of blazing flares to counter and confuse the heat seekers. Some were successfully destroyed but a significant number were still trailing behind and getting closer by the second. Knight eyed the radar constantly until before the projectiles could hit, he called, “Eagle Eye! Target all bogeys! NOW!!”

Up above, Sidhikoro flashed a delighted smile and said, “No matter how big or small or fast the target is…”

He peered into a sniper scope. “…EAGLE EYE ALWAYS GETS HIS TARGET!!!”

Knight heard the statement and smiled. “I know you always do.”

Seven high-energy beam pulses flashed from above them, hitting all the remaining heat seekers. Enormous explosions followed, causing dismay and confusion among the Jugho pilots. Knight tugged at the control stick while pushing the thrusters to the limit. The maneuver sent the Gust to an inverted loop and brought it above the enemy units. The pursuing team was by now right below it. While the Jughos were still distracted by the explosion, he then activated the “Sango Yasha”, a twin-barrelled hyper beam rifle mounted on the Gust’s fuselage that functioned like a turret .

“Take this!!”

PSHOOM! PSHOOM! PSHOOM! PSHOOM!

BOOM! BOOM!

He managed to take down two units by hitting them on their blind spot: above their heads. He then maneuvered the Gust to hover in mid-air while priming the Caliburn. The other two Jughos were still struggling to gain control from the loss of momentum. Knight pulled the trigger and the Caliburn sent a consistent stream of particle blast.

BLAM! BLAM!

“Piece of cake, actually. No new tricks there!” he pleasingly cheered on himself. Seeing the other group approaching, Knight met them head on.

* * * * *

Edge was furious to see the Team A completely annihilated.

Four units in 20 minutes?!

“Fools!! Allowing a single armor to make fun of them! Team E, follow my lead!”

The Gust started to spurt beams against the lead unit. Knight muttered, “This must be the leader.”

“You won’t get me that way!” Edge sent his unit’s assault shield flying directly towards the Gust. Instinctively, Knight pulled up, only to meet head on the Jugho’s kick on the Gust’s fuselage’s midpoint.

BLAG!

The impact sent the Gust into a flat spin and it started to descend rapidly, spinning at its axis. Warnings followed.

“WARNING! Rapid descent! Losing altitude!”

Knight’s mind went haywire. He tried to gain control of the mobile armor but to no avail. Suddenly, the power plant turned itself off.

“Wh-what?!?! A system glitch?! Power generator shut down!!”

The mobile armor plummeted towards the ground.

* * * * *

Frost strapped himself into the mobile armor’s seat. He rested his hands on the console.

My weapon.

“Place your palms on the monitor for a biometric lock.”

Upon doing so, the system scanned his palm print and stored the data into the mobile armor’s operating system.

“Biometric scan complete. Pilot identified as Adrian Zowih Frost. System booting.”

Five neuro-electronic modules automatically connected into the conduits along Frost’s spine. As the electricity flowed into it, he felt a weird sensation.

“I… I feel that this mobile armor is…is a part of me. I can feel it… I feel that I can control it as easily as I can control my arms and legs! It feels like… like it’s my body’s extension!” he said, genuinely amazed by the unique system. “This is my weapon… my weapon to destroy the weak…to attain true peace.”

Heimlich let out an evil grin.

* * * * *

“COME ON, GUST!! WAKE UP!! YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP!!”

By chance, the mobile armor’s power generator suddenly became online, as if responding to Knight’s coaxing. He immediately set the hovering system into full scale deployment, preventing the Gust to be smashed against the ground. The maneuver, however, caused a tremendous stress on him.

“ARGH!!”

Meanwhile the Earth Federation mobile suits were forming a tactical position.

Edge commanded, “The Gust is coming about! Hit it with all you got! Fire!”

The Jughos blasted against their sole enemy, but the mobile armor was fighting back, shooting against the nearest Federation unit and hitting its leg in the process.

BOOM!

“G4 is down! Provide cover before he tears him apart!”

“I’ve got no clear shot! G1, do you have a line of fire?”

“Negative on that G2. Watch it! The enemy’s turret is aiming at you!”

PSHOOM! PSHOOM! PSHOOM!

“AHHHH!!!”

“Mayday! Mayday! G2 is down! E Team, get him off us!”

“Team E lead unit here! It’s just one opponent! All weapon systems hot! Fire at will!”

“But Shousa! Team G is still in the line of fire!”

“Then tell them to get away!! I don’t care, just fire! I have no use for allies that can’t move! Knock them together with the enemy if you have to!” Edge angrily commanded.

“G team! Pull back!! Clear the line!”

“Shousa, all lines are clear! Enemy unit has descended into the canyon below. It’s hovering among the crevasses.”

You won’t escape this time, you rat! Edge irately thought. “All units, salvo all! Turn the entire area into a desert land!! FIRE!!”

With beam carbines and cannons blazing, the Jugho units caused a massive destruction on the terrain. Had it not for the need to recharge their weapons’ energy capacitor, the Federation pilots would have continued to fire. Upon clearing from the dust and smoke, Edge ordered, “Investigate!”

One Jugho approached the flattened area below them and reported, “Shousa, your desert is ready. I am sure it did not survive the –!”

BOOM!!

A particle cannon shot hit the Jugho unit before its pilot could even finish his statement.

“What the?! Be advised, target’s not destroyed! He’s on the move again!”

* * * * *

Admiral Zeiss made a direct and sole contact with the lieutenant via an encoded line transmission,.

“Did you get him?”

“Not yet, Admiral. It’s too feisty, but we’ll –!”

“I don’t need excuses, lieutenant, I need results! Now, think! I’m sure you can think of something!”

Edge gritted his teeth in frustration but dared to ask, “What are you suggesting, sir?”

“Why, in a battle, sometimes it can’t be avoided that mishaps do happen, right?”

Edge mulled over the possibility of the admiral’s suggestion. Upon realization, his eyes widened. “What?! Are you saying, Admiral, that we’ll blow out one of our own mobile suits? The nuclear powerpla –!”

“Whatever it takes, lieutenant! It really doesn’t matter at all because a person’s life is about what they’ve accomplished. Or do you want all this as your failure?! You should know by now that in order for Earth Federation to win this damn war, failure is never an option!! Do you understand, Lieutenant? Or are you plain coward?”

“I fully understand, sir!”

“Then run along and finish it already! Sandman, over and out!”

* * * * *

Die already, you freak! Edge reconfigured his unit’s carbine and set it to a medium-ranged sniper mode. He tugged at the sniper scope that slid out from behind and zoomed into the Gust’s cockpit, which was hovering below them. He was surprised of what he saw.

It’s him!! It’s the man who humiliated me and my ZAKU! Why, you?!

Edge’s Jugho dashed forward and fired at the mobile armor. “How dare you show yourself here?!?”

DADADADADADADADA!

* * * * *

One tail rudder was hit by the Jugho’s barrage. Knight was having a hard time.

“Oh crap! Now this one’s persistent! All right, joker! Let’s see if I can give you a run for your money here!”

He looked at the power level and saw that it was running low. Pretty soon, he would have to recharge the power system for the weapons system.

“I’m using more power than what Gust can actually provide. This could be a problem later. I’d better go with the plan now.”

The remaining six units started to pursue him. Knight turned toward the place where the sonic bombs were deployed earlier and did a sudden supersonic flyby over the area. As the sonic boom passed through, caused the bombs to set off, sending a mixture of fire, dust and earth all around the vicinity, engulfing all the approaching Jugho units.

“Spread out! NOW!!”

Edge was by now furious. Don’t mock me, fool! Giving out an order, he said, “E3 and 4, pursue the target. I’m sure it’s nearing its breaking point now!”

“Roger!”

As the two units left and moved forward, Edge sent an encrypted text message to the other three Jugho pilots. On their monitor screen, the following message flashed.

“Retreat from here as fast as you can. Prepare for a nuclear detonation!”

* * * * *

Knight noticed on his radar that there were only two dots keeping the pursuit. One blinking dot became stationary while the other three went the other way as if retreating.

Hmmm… Is this some sort of a trap or plan? What are you bamboozles up to now?

He sent a direct laser transmission to Eagle Eye, who was in a very high altitude above him.

“Eagle Eye, do you have a visual of the lead unit marked with upsilon code on the radar?”

“Setting scopes… got a visual now. Yes, it’s crouching and hoisting it carbine weapon for a snipe at you. Better be careful down there! There’s no time for horsing around. Uh-oh, I think he’s starting to shoot. Do you want me to take him out?”

“No, no. It’s fine. Thanks for the assistance, by the way.”

* * * * *

PSHOOOM! PSHOOOM! PSHOOOM!

A highly concentrated beam shot zipped through the air. After firing, the Jugho immediately took off, taking an abandoned assault shield with it in addition to its own. Slipping into a deep crevasse along the terrain, the Jugho drew the two shields tightly together against its torso and braced for the disaster that was about to happen.

The target was not the Valkyrie Gust. The carbine shot hit one of the pursuing Jugho, causing its nuclear reactor to heat up and overload. Crackling electricity was followed by an instant detonation.

KZZZZT! KZZZZT! KABOOOOM!

A bright flash was seen over the island followed by a shockwave and a deafening roar. The other Jugho, being mere meters away, disintegrated from the intense heat until its own power plant overloaded as well and detonated.

KABOOOOM!

Upon witnessing the act, Knight realized the imminent danger of meltdown. He fully expanded the protective array of the H-Field while feeding enormous power to all the Gust’s thrusters. In a matter of seconds, the mobile armor moved from subsonic to hypersonic, as atmospheric aerodynamics would permit.

His radio cracked, “Aeolus! What was THAT?!”

Knight screamed in reply, “ABORT! ABORT, EVERYBODY!!! CLEAR THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY NOW!!!”

“Oh, shoot!”

* * * * *

English Channel

Aboard Magna Carta

A beaten down and barely flying Jugho unit returned to the ship five hours after the tragedy. It was in a very bad shape; some extremities were burned to crisp, the head unit was deformed. Its arms were awkwardly fused onto the shields. The shields themselves also were fused together resembling a melted candle. As it came aboard, one Jugho pilot who survived cursed.

“Kisama! You dare come back?!” He ran toward the deck platform and as soon as Lieutenant Edge got out from the cockpit hatch, the other pilot immediately took a wrench and swung it toward him.

“YOU KILLED THEM! YOU MERCILESSLY KILLED THEM!!”

Instinctively, Edge ducked and strafed, kicking the pilot at the shins and bringing him to fall forward hard on the hangar floor. As he tried to stand, Edge sent a solid punch to his stomach. He them took his sidearm holstered behind him and pointed at the downed man cowering in pain.

“What is done is done. Why, did you ever think that you could defeat it with your pathetic skills and determination? Or you might have not noticed that the pilot was toying with you all?! If you don’t have the balls to do what is necessary, then there is no point of having you in my team!”

“There’s no point in being part of your team because you kill your own!!!”

Mechanics and other people started to gather around them. Edge raised a hand in warning. “No one’s gonna interfere, you hear?!”

“You killed them without hesitation!”

“Yeah, I did. Do you have any problem with that? Because if you do, probably a single bullet can shove some sense into this thick skull of yours. What do you say? Let’s find out!”

Edge slid the pistol chamber and pulled the trigger. The pilot closed his eyes tightly.

CLICK!

There was no gunshot. Edge cleverly released the magazine before pulling the chamber. “Hahahahaha!!! Got you right there, didn’t I? Somebody give him water to drink. And a diaper, too. He pissed in his pants. Oh, and by the way, pilot. Everything is fair in love and war. In order to win the war, survival of the fittest is the only way. If collateral damage is necessary to grasp victory, I’d deal more than two collateral damages with a smile on my face.”

* * * * *

Royal Zeon Iberia Base

Tarmac

Inside the control tower, Lord Piotr Heimlich and General Tigo Trueno were talking.

“It seems that the chemical concoction that was administered to the ensign works, my lord. Based on the conclusive reports from the Newtype Bureau, Frost is elevated from a type F to a type B enhanced. This is a day of the Sixth Day protocol, and of course, the Ministry of Collective Science Research. Congratulations, my lord.”

“You’ve done your work as well, General. You have done a great job in developing this Valkyrie prototype. It is a pity that seemingly the original and initial prototype was destroyed during its final testing procedure.”

“Anaheim reported that while they were conducting some final tests for the blue prototype, they were ambushed by the Federation. Apparently, the mobile armor was destroyed, missing in action, or worse, captured. Damn these Federation scums.”

“But look at the brighter side, General. It’s a good thing, though, that through your visionary efforts, this red prototype will do the job. I look forward for its mass production. Kudos to you.”

On the tarmac below, the red mobile armor that the Royal Zeon developed based on the Gust was set for its initial deployment. A soldier wearing red and white pilot suit and helmet started to walk toward the mobile armor. Once seated inside, he started the engine and prepared for its maiden flight.

“Overall mobility control, complete. Neural linkage ion concentration, nominal. Full extent movement parameters updated. Nuclear reactor and power flow, normal. Systems, all green.”

A technician working on a monitor console at the control tower reported, “General Trueno, prototype mobile armor is all set and ready to go. Awaiting orders.”

Heimlich said, “Let’s do this, General.”

“Authorize,” Trueno commanded.

When the pilot received the authorization order, he directed the mobile armor to the end of the runway. XMAF-1103vc, designation callsign changed to Valkyrie Cyclone. Adrian Zowih Frost. LAUNCHING!!!”

* * * * *

What will happen to Knight and the rest of the Black Wing Division? Have they survived the nuclear blast and fallout? Where could Amber and her friends be at this time? Where will this conflict head, now that Frost has his own mobile weapon? What will the Earth Federation and Lieutenant Edge’s next move in the coming days? Find out in the MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY INTERQUEL Episode 8 – ENEMY. You wouldn’t want to miss it.

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