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MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel: Episode 8 - Enemy
Written by: John Nigel with Keith Newman
Suggested soundtrack for reading:

“ENEMY” by 12 Stones


MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY Interquel

Episode 8 - Enemy



A GINN High Mobility Custom GINN High Mobility type was speeding over the northwestern coastal waters of Spain. Following it were three ZAKU Nightmare units. The Royal Zeon mobile suits were on their way to the empire’s Iberia Base to respond to the matters at hand. Pretty soon, the base came into view.

“Commander Diaz, I got a visual of Iberia.”

“Roger that, Ensign Clemmen.”

“This is Iberia Control Tower. Please state your identification code.”

“This is Ensign Aya Creuset of the Frontal Squadron. Identification code mike, zebra, zero, zero, six, niner, echo. Accompanying me is the Phobos squad with the Commander Richard Diaz. Requesting authentication and permission to land.

“Code confirmed. Protocol bypass authorized. You may proceed to landing pad 44. Welcome to Iberia Base, Crimson Shadow.”

As the four mobile suits landed, a military vehicle approached the area, and a man in uniform stepped out to meet the delegation. The hatches opened, with the pilots getting down through the hoisting cables. As soon as they set foot on the tarmac, they saluted to the man and introduced themselves one by one.

“Ensign Anissa Clemmen of the Phobos Squad.”

“Ensigh Eric Aziel of the same squad.”

“Commander Richard Diaz, Phobos and Deimos Squadron.”

“Crimson Shadow, reporting as ordered, General Trueno.”

Trueno saluted in return. “Please follow me to the situation room. There is an urgent matter at hand that this requires immediate attention.”

As they went to a bunker that led to an underground facility, they saw a red and white mobile armor landing onto the runway. Behind it was a Gundam-type mobile suit, armed with a huge sword. Creuset took a long look at the units and muttered, “New units…”

Diaz was the one who replied, “The High Command deems it necessary to defeat the Federantion not by numbers but by technology. While it is true that they have that abominable orbital weapon, soon we’ll be using a trump card of our own as well against these earth people.”

“Trump card? Do you mean that we have a space-deployed orbital superweapon, too, Commander?” Clemmen asked.

“You can look at it that way, but enough of this. A much more important situation needs to be addressed.”

* * * * *

In a dim-lit situation room, General Trueno motioned the suit pilots to seat around a circular table that also functioned as a display panel. He pressed a button that flashed onto the display the mission objective including satellite images of a red and black mobile armor though shrouded by a gray haze, but the shape of the mobile weapon was unmistakable.

“This,” Trueno started, “is a satellite feed taken hours ago. Obviously, the mobile armor is not of the Federation, and based on the reports and all applicable data, we have ensnared the elusive Moebius Adelphe. So far we do not have any information of its whereabouts, as it maintained a very low profile. But it is imperative that we capture this Moebius. The last known sighting was in Switzerland, though up to this time we do not know its purpose for being there. Most likely, it has a contact of some sort there, or an arms deal. It might even have connection to the explosion in a Britannian Island yesterday. But please take note that all these are but presumptions. What more important is that we will be able to intercept this Moebius this time.”

Aziel grimly muttered, “It’s that same mobile armor.”

Turning to Aziel, Trueno smirked and said, “Does it bring memories, ensign? It’s either we capture or destroy it. And I mean it when I say to capture or destroy it.”

Aziel was about to unleash an expression of anger but Diaz wisely gave him a sharp, well-meaning look in the eye. Don’t let him provoke you to anger, Ensign!

Trueno continued, “The High Command will be sending special attack groups to specific mission orders for now. So far, we are setting things up for the commencement of OPERATION: Newton. I am not in the freedom to divulge the complete details but for the meantime, all attack squads will receive orders. Your orders will be as follows; Frontal Squadron will investigate Earth Federation activity in Switzerland and Pakistan. Phobos and Deimos Squadron will head into space to find a lead concerning the mysterious red mobile suit which was reported to be manufactured in an abandoned industrial colony. We must capture it as well.”

Diaz inquired, “What kind of mobile suit is it, General?”

A gruff voice behind them answered, “It is a red Gundam-type mobile suit named Astraeus Blaze, mostly developed from space debris. It boasts high-powered weaponry, more powerful than your pathetic Nightmare units.”

The group turned and saw a man with no pupils entering the room. Behind him was another man, younger than the first one.

“Ensign Adrian Frost, of the Testament Division and Operative Richard Testarossa, pilots of the mobile armor, Valkyrie Cyclone and Gundam Axiom respectively,” Trueno introduced.

Aya smiled at Frost, since they were acquaintances back at Asgard a few months ago, but he just ignored her. Aziel did not like the tone of Frost’s voice so he said, “With all due respect, General, but I am intrigued to know how the Ensign know about this vital information.”

“He was once the test pilot for it.”

Creuset was surprised about what she heard. Who is this Frost?

“For now, Frost and Testarossa will handle the case with the Moebius,” Trueno said.

Diaz spoke up and offered, “General, I would like to ask your permission to participate in the hunting down of the mobile armor as well. I can have the Phobos and Deimos prepare for sorti –!”

“I do not want to sound rude but you can’t handle the pressure,” Testarossa interjected. “Presently, your Nightmare units cannot perform well in the atmosphere as well as with the presence of gravity. You should leave this concern to us.”

“So why are we summoned here, if we’re not to sortie?” Aziel heatedly exclaimed.

Testarossa replied, “Your experience with the said mobile armor is valuable for planning and tactics. You are summoned to provide information only, and not combat assistance. We know for certain that you failed to even subdue it in your first encounter with Moebius in space.”

“Yeah, can you handle the disappointment now?” Frost commented, staring at Aziel in the eye. “You arrived too late to save Lord Mardha and the Solstice! We don’t need such unreliable comrades.”

Aziel fumed, “KISAMA! Why don’t we settle this, you and me one on one?! My ZAKU against your paper plane?!”

Frost said, “You should have gone with Lord Heimlich back in space and do your job like a bloodhound. You’re obviously not fit to be here.”

“Why, you fu –?!”

Diaz rebuked Aziel, “That’s enough, Ensign! Don’t fall for his provocation!” Turning to General Trueno, he apologized, “Pardon my squad member’s impertinence, General.”

“Oh, I don’t mind, actually. I prefer that our soldiers are war-shocked and wild like stallions, especially in the battle. Might can overpower numbers.”

The meeting ended thirty minutes later. As they went out, Creuset moved toward Frost and said, “Hi! Don’t you remember me? In Asgard, with the Crimson Striker?”

“Why would I care to remember? If you’re weak, you’ll die and will eventually be forgotten.” With that, Frost stepped out of the room. Testarossa gave an acknowledging nod to the ensign and followed frost.

He’s different from before… What could have happened to him? Aya pondered.

* * * * *

Aziel gritted his teeth in anger, while Clemmen tried to comfort him. “Eric…”

“Don’t start with me Anissa!”

Turning to Diaz, he said, “Why did you stop me, Commander?! Can’t you see that he’s mocking our squad?!”

Diaz took a cigarette from his front coat pocket and lit it. Drawing in the menthol smoke inside him, he exhaled slowly and sighed. “Now is not the time, Ensign. We’ll have a second chance to get our dignity back, I assure you that.”

* * * * *

Pyrenees Mountains

Kingdom of Francia

Diko Sidhikoro landed the golden Gundam-type mobile suit known as Achilles onto a mountainous terrain. Earlier it searched all over the island for his comrade, Knight, who was the pilot of the blue and white mobile armor known as Valkyrie Gust, including the rest of his comrades who were in the vicinity of the Isle of Man, which disintegrated due to a nuclear blast from a mobile suit’s reactor. He grew worried by the minute.

While taking a rest, he contacted Derf Dorough, their group’s leader.

“Sir, Eagle Eye here. Still no sign of Knight or any of the rest of the team. I’ve almost searched every inch of the island but still, nothing.”

“Is that so? At this rate…” Dorough did not finish his sentence. “Only you are accounted for as of now. Silverlight is currently checking all available sources but to no avail. But I know that she’s worried of him.”

“Where could he be? With your permission, I’ll continue the search, sir, after this brief pit stop.”

“Very well, Eagle Eye. But you should know when to give up.”

“I am not giving up on them, sir! A Black Wing member does not accept…” Sidhikoro closed his eyes.

Dorough sighed. “Be careful. You are within a tight circumstance right now. Britannia is neutral while Communist Irish Republic is an empire sympathizer.”

“Rest assured, sir. Eagle Eye, over and out.”

Sidhikoro opened the hatch to freshen the cockpit a bit. In the afternoon sky, he took a deep, long breath but his thoughts wandered off to his comrades. Where could all of you be?

A soft electronic beep caught his attention so he put the radar onto display and saw an airborne unidentified craft represented by a blinking dot.

Hmmm… Judging from its speed and varying velocity, it’s not a mobile suit. Could it be…?! I better check it out!

The Gundam started to power up and rose into the sky.

* * * * *

Royal Zeon Iberia Base

Control Hub

Few minutes ago, General Trueno was summoned by an officer to the control hub of the base to inform him about an “unknown” coming across the empire’s radar network.

Arriving at the hub, Trueno barked, “Report!”

“General, radar sweeping in points foxtrot 5, 6, and 7 relayed the alert. Its nature is a detection of an unknown airborne object, possibly a mobile weapon in the Pyrenees mountain range. Remote air defense station Astra at the border was activated and engaged the “unknown” but it was destroyed in a matter of ten minutes. Fortunately the station transmitted a series of telephoto images before it was devastated.”

“Display the images.”

A photo slide showed a red and black mobile armor deploying its wire-guided cannon barrels and attacking the station. Trueno rose from his seat in surprise.

“Confirmed! It’s the Moebius Adelphe! Contact Frost and Testarossa. Have them sortie immediately, lest this Moebius manages to get away again. Relay to their units all vital and applicable information using Hammurabi encryption protocol. Have Creuset prepare and give assistance to them as well.”

“What will be the Phobos and Deimos Squad’s orders, General?”

“Have them put on stand-by.”

“B-but General…”

“They’re a bunch of incompetent and useless soldier. I do not intend them to do the job this time around.”

* * * * *

Three mobile weapons launched from the base en route to the area where the Moebius was detected. Aziel cursed under his breath as the Valkyrie Cyclone, Gundam Axiom, and GINN High-Mob set off.

“DAMN!”

* * * * *

Testarossa made contact with his companions, “Judging from its current trajectory relayed to us, we will be able to catch up and intercept the Moebius in the coordinates that I am sending to you now. Cyclone will engage the Moebius into combat. The GINN will provide high ground while Axiom will secure the perimeter. I’m reminding you that this mission is also to test the neuro-link control system of the Cyclone, so you need not hold back. I’m sure you understand, Frost.”

“Roger that!”

“After this, we will refrain from using audio commlink unless utterly necessary and crucially called for. In the meantime, we will use wire communication only. Axiom, over and out.”

The GINN moved closer to the Cyclone and made a wire communication connection to it. Their conversation was beyond Testarossa’s hearing. “Frost, why is it that a mere operative barks orders to an ensign like you?”

“If you don’t understand, Creuset, you should better stay silent. We’ll be entering combat situation soon, so you better focus on what is at hand. If you don’t, you will be a liability. If you’d be a liability, you better RTB.”

With those snide remarks, Creuset reeled back the communication wire. He’s changed! What happened to you, Frost?

Pretty soon, all their radars confirmed of the Moebius’ presence in the vicinity. Axiom’s green eyes blinked four times, signaling Frost to commence operation. Conduits in his seat immediately connected neuro-electronic probes onto the five points on his spine. This system allowed Frost to fully control the Valkyrie Cyclone through neural linkage. The Cyclone went supersonic and started to pursue the red mobile armor, while the Axiom followed behind. Creuset proceeded to a high ground vantage point.

Before coming into firing range, Frost prepared the Cyclone’s weapons and defense systems. “Neural linkage ion concentration switching to maximum level. Mobile armor response optimal. Weapons hot. Let’s see what you got, Moebius pilot!”

* * * * *

Aboard the Moebius, Amber Leigh La Flaga was in a deep contemplation. Whew! I shouldn’t have left Raba and Lue behind. Now, I keep on worrying about them. What will happen next?

As if to answer her question, an alarm alerted her of three heat sources coming fast within firing range.

“Oh, no! Why did I space out?! There’s no end to this!” She noticed a blinking dot speeding up towards her direction. Immediately, she brought the Moebius into a steep nosedive and sped up.

“Hmmm. Going ballistic, huh? But I can do that too!!!”

The Cyclone followed suit.

* * * * *

Sidhikoro had a visual contact of the Moebius Adelphe when Achilles caught up with it at a calculated rendezvous point, but he was all too surprised to see that another mobile armor was firing at it.

“What’s this?! It looks like the Valkyrie Gust!”

Even further, he detected two mobile suits trailing behind. Immediately he activated the radar disruptor whle hiding the golden Gundam in the thick vegetation. As the mobile suits passed overhead, Sidhikoro thought, It’s the Royal Zeon. Three against one! This might be too much for the Moebius pilot to handle. I must help her!

Checking the onboard database, Sidhikoro exclaimed, “A high mobility type GINN and… What the heck?! It’s the Sinclair!!”

He immediately sent an encrypted transmission to Nadia at their base. “Silverlight, I need an emergency information about AEP010 Sinclair Gundam immediately!”

Nadia replied, “Collecting data now, then I’ll send in over as a text message. Why? What’s wrong? Did you find anything about Knight?”

“Not yet, but something’s up and it seems to be coming out of hand now. Hurry!”

“Acknowledged!”

Seconds later, a text message flashed on his screen. “Updating database.” Sihikoro cannot help himself but grin and say, “Sweet.”

* * * * *

Testarossa was intently keeping watch on two monitor displays in his cockpit. Suddenly he spotted an indiscretion of data when he compared the conventional radar and thermal radar where he detected a heat source dead ahead. A discrepancy!

He used the commlink to relay a message to the Cyclone and GINN. “Frost, continue as planned. Creuset, you provide perimeter and cover for the Cyclone. Someone’s joining the party without invitation.”

Both ensigns replied, “Roger!”

Testarossa glanced quickly at the radar screens but both radars registered nothing. “DAMN! I shouldn’t have taken my eye off it!” He brought the Axiom to a full hover while carefully keeping watch. Suddenly a heat source registered on his radar followed by a yellow flash of a beam shot from a significant distance. He followed the path and saw the GINN hit on the joint point of its left arm, severing it away.

“I’m hit! I’m hit! Enemy not detected!” Creuset warned.

She pushed the throttle and brought the GINN to a high speed dash forward while aiming the automatic rifle toward the area where she thought the shot came from and fired several rounds.

DADADADADADADADADADA!!

Testarossa armed the repulsor beam rifle and prepared for a shot. Axiom sped to where the GINN was. “Creuset! Stop wasting your bullets! Better take advantage of the terrain while we don’t have a visual of it yet! Careful now!”

Another yellow flash streaked through the sky, this time hitting the GINN’s right flight binder. Creuset tried to control it but the right thruster was shut down. She desperately maintained an upright position, thanks to her skills and combat experience.

¡¿Que rayos?! At this rate I’m gonna be –!”

“THERE!!” Testarossa fired Axiom’s rifle.

PHOOOM!

The rifle sent a compressed elemental energy that violently dissipated around the area, thrashing vegetation and dirt all around. But no mobile suit was revealed.

“TSK! He’s fast! Creuset, you better withdraw from this region. Obviously, your suit is nowhere near the unknown mobile suit’s capabilities!”

“Sorry, Testarossa, but you are not my superior! I will not desert my comrade, especially in the battlefield.” As the GINN landed safely on the ground, it went forward to the nearest patch of thick foliage.

“Gotcha!” Creuset yelled, firing the GINN’s machine guns to an area where she thought the enemy was hiding. Sparks flew all around as the solid bullets ricocheted.

A SHIELD?!? Testarossa screamed, “Creuset, watch your front!!!” Another yellow beam shot zipped from the vegetation, hitting the GINN’ right shoulder.

“ARGH!!!”

Testarossa pulled the trigger that launched the stinger on its left arm. The stinger clamped onto the ground near the source of the shot. Seeing that Aya’s GINN was still aloft, he reeled back the stinger’s cable, dragging the Axiom forward. It reached for a beam hilt and powered it up for a slash attack, swinging the saber downward.

To avoid the attack, a golden mobile suit ascended from the thick foliage. It wielded two weapons on its hands. Using the Raytheon beam rifle on its left hand, the golden unit shot several rounds in retaliation. Axiom immediately blocked the shots using its own Trikeros M shield. Looking around, Testarossa saw that the other mobile suit flew into a safe distance.

A-A golden Gundam?! That’s definitely a Gundam!

He immediately opened a commlink line. “Who are you?! Why are you engaging us?! I am not planning to take the life of an opponent without reason!!”

* * * * *

Sheesh! I’m not here to chat, dude! With the Achilles armed and ready, Sidhikoro switched the beam rifle configuration into burst fire mode and sent a barrage against the Axiom while using the diversion to relocate and hide. While Axiom was engulfed in smoke, the golden Gundam dived into the lake nearby. Placing back the beam rifle on its striker pack unit, Achilles grasped the sniper beam rifle and aimed against the Axiom which was directly above the water. A power cable automatically attached to the weapon, which connected it to the power generator’s main conduit. By doing so, Sidhikoro can use the sniper rifle effectively even shooting from underwater.

“Raytheon beam sniper rifle power level raised to 250% output. Initiate auto-recharge upon cycle completion. Divert power to beam rifle.”

The computer responded, “Charging complete.”

Sidhikoro adjusted the scopes and the camera. Muttering to himself, he said, “Digital super zoom enabled…. Light bending discretion adjusted… Eat this! TEMBAK!!!”

Testarossa detected a flash of light in the water below him and blaze past. “Below me?!” He rammed the pedals and soared, barely avoiding the beam. Another shot came. This time, he fired the repulsor rifle twice, causing a massive havoc in the water below.

It can shoot beams even when submerged?!

The repulsive force sent shockwaves against the Achilles, jarring Sidhikoro on his seat. He shook his head and mumbled, “That was a bit unexpected but amusing. What kind of weapon is that?” He switched to the beam rifle and brought the thrusters into life, lifting the Achilles above the water. All of a sudden, a stinger dashed against it.

“Gotcha this time!!”

Achilles immediately blocked the pincer using its shield and shoved it aside. “You have to do better than th –!”

A second stinger with its pincers open clamped onto its rifle of which Achilles released quickly. A repulsor blast followed the attack, releasing its energy in front of the golden suit. Sidhikoro increased the power output of the hover thrusters to compensate for the repelling force. Suddenly, his radar warned, “Incoming mobile suit!”

“Man, this dude is something else!”

Axiom rushed toward the Achilles with its Trikeros M shield extended forward. The beam saber on the shield spewed a claw-like beam energy. Immediately, Achilles reached for its own beam saber using its left hand and parried the attack just in time, preventing the beam claw to rip its torso. Grabbing the wire cable of the stinger that caught its beam rifle drifting nearby, Achilles pulled itself toward the other unit, firing the rifle in close range.

BAM! BAM! BAM!

Axiom defended itself with its shield that was coated with non-ablative anti-beam layer. “No, you don’t!” Testarossa sent an electric current to the stinger and caused the beam rifle to overload and explode.

BLAM!

The Gundams veered away from each other. Both pilots were amazed at each other’s skills.

“Obviously, this dude’s still young and trigger-happy. Rough on the edges, but he has skills. I give him that.”

“He’s using an outdated Gundam design but where does he get all that raw power and flawless suit control?!”

* * * * *

“Cannon barrels, go forth!” Amber commanded. The four remote weapons detached from their mountings and started to shoot proton beams against the Cyclone at all angles but Frost managed to keep clear. She sent the barrels to surround the Cyclone at different points. “Converge line of fire!”

BZZZT! BZZZT! BZZZT! BZZZT!

The Valkyrie, however did a barrel roll maneuver.

“I’m not giving up! METEOR SHOWER!!!” Amber flicked a button that activated a preset control string that made the cannon barrels fire rapidly while they moved in a spiral motion, the beams sprayed all around the Cyclone.

“Evade this!!” Multiple beam shots managed to hit their marks but glowing green hexagonal barriers had negated every connecting beam. In the end, the barrage did not damage the enemy.

“T-That’s impossible!! What kind of protection is this?!”

This is the ultimate defense system, Aegis du Ciel. With this, I will crush you!!!!

Instinctively, Amber glanced behind her. W-what was that just now? That voice…?!

Suddenly the Cyclone started to shoot back with a different scheme. Amber was taken aback, “What kind of mobile armor is this? This is so much like the one that Knight piloted but… the pilot’s so quick!! It’s like… it’s like he can read my thoughts!!”

That’s right, Moebius pilot! I can sense your thoughts crystal clear! Frost smiled, his eyes glowing red. We’ll see if you’re strong enough to live through this!

He powered up the Cyclone’s Einherjar beam cannons and launched an attack against the Moebius’ barrels and successfully got one.

BOOM!

“Carwennan offline!” the computer alarm warned.

“I know! But I’m not giving up still!” Reeling back all the barrels onto their base, she switched the Frostmourne rail gun on and loaded it with an double action armor-piercing projective. “Take this!!”

BLAM!!

As the smoke cleared, amber was shocked to see that the projectile exploded but did not inflict any damage on the Cyclone. A series of hexagonal barrier array prevented the attack from piercing the mobile armor.

“It stopped a solid projectile?!”

I believe it’s my turn now!!

Amber was confused, “Who’s talking to me!!! Who are you?!”

Your nightmare!!!

The Cyclone blasted its Aurora beam gun mounted below its fuselage, sending a direct streak towards the struggling Moebius. Amber instantly activated the H-Field that managed to shield her from the attack. However, the beam concentration started to rise until it was high enough to knock Moebius back.

“AHHH!!!!” Amber screamed. She struggled with the controls to keep the Moebius upright. Upon powering the thrusters up, she disengaged the H-Field. Unexpectedly, another powered volley came, and she had no time to react and evade.

BAM!!!

The topmost barrel was hit and started to catch fire. A synthesized voice alerted her, “Excalibur offline! Alert, 32% damage sustained.”

She released the damaged barrel and raised the throttle. Using the momentum, she reversed the mobile armor and swung the burning barrel toward the pursuing Valkyrie. Frost fired the projectile gun against the burning object and obliterated it.

You can’t run away forever!!

“W-why am I hearing voices?! Who are you?!” Amber was puzzled by now and was losing concentration. In desperation, she released the remaining barrels but the enemy destroyed them in no time.

“No! No! You can’t… you mustn’t kill me!!”

Frost continued to taunt her. It’s your fault of being weak! People like you are not fit to live because true peace belongs only to the strong like me!!

He pulled a series of triggers that made the cyclone fire its weapons simultaneously.

* * * * *

Achilles moved in an inverted soar over the water, causing a haze of water vapor in the area. While doing so, Sidhikoro dropped cluster missile pods into the water. These missiles were remotely controlled and primed for an extra deployment speed. He kept a close eye at the energy capacitor charge for the sniper rifle while making a mental calculation. As the Axiom stared to dive for the pursuit, Achilles reached for its Armor Shredder combat knives and threw them in succession against the other Gundam. Testarossa used the Angel’s Cleaver to cut away the solid weapons.

Suddenly, Sidhikoro’s commlink broadcasted, “No matter what you do, Axiom will be always faster than you!”

Sinclair was renamed as Axiom, huh? And that looks a real badass sword, too!

“Chillax, dude! Don’t be overly hypertensive! You need to hit me first, though. Go ahead and try that!” Sidhikoro mocked.

By the time Axiom was about to deal a high speed cleave, the cluster missiles deployed and blasted out of the water.

“What the – ?! Reinforcements?!” Axiom instantaneously reached for the repulsor rifle and fired six rounds to defend itself from the numerous missiles.

BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!

Testarossa brought the Axiom to a complete hover. He can’t detect the other Gundam unit anywhere in his radars. In frustration, he shouted, “KISAMA!!! How could have I lost sight of him?!”

* * * * *

Sidhikoro was careful to keep Achilles in low profile. He retreated to a mountainous area and hid among the dark cliffs where he was pretty sure that he was beyond Axiom’s detection range. Adjusting the sniper scope, he set the crosshairs against the Axiom’s head and lower torso. After adjusting the particle concentration, he said, “This will put you out of your misery, boy. But don’t worry, your life will be spared, trust me.”

Putting his sniper eye onto the optical scope, he grinned, “Eagle Eye, Achilles Gundam. Sniping at –!”

He was distracted by a sudden alert of radar registering two mobile weapons in his vicinity, followed by a resounding explosion.

The Moebius!! It didn’t fare well against the Valkyrie?! I must help her! She’s about to be done for!

Sidhikoro cancelled all predetermined targets and aimed at the Cyclone instead. “It’s about to attack the Moebius! There’s no hesitation here!” He pulled the trigger and shot a highly concentrated yellow beam shot at the Valkyrie.

* * * * *

The attack was sensed by Frost. “HUH?! Incoming!”

He brought the Cyclone to a steep bank to the left and activated the Aegis du Ciel to a multiple array and blocked the shot. Its intensity caused a strong jolt to the Cyclone, which somehow caused a chain reaction of pain to Frost.

“ARGH! How dare you?!”

“Frost, continue your mission! The Gundam gave away its position! I will destroy it now!”

“Roger that!”

This time, Gundam, you’ll pay! Testarossa’s eyes gleamed with a red halo. He typed a code onto the computer and activated the Axioms Havoc Drive. It is a system that amplifies its palladium reactor’s power to exponential levels. The system utilized the excessive energy generated and channeled it to all weapons system. With enormous amounts of impetus, Axiom sprinted towards Achilles.

* * * * *

“Incoming enemy!”

Sidhikoro knew that the sniper rifle will not complete the charging cycle, so he armed the Gundam with its beam sidearm, trying to shoot Axiom down.

“Oh no, you don’t!”

Though it did not have enough power, it was starting to inflict partial damage on Axiom, which was lightly armored.

“Take this!!” Testarossa shouted and brought the Axiom to a sudden jarring halt, at the same time releasing its anti-beam grenades, engulfing the whole area with beam resistant particles. Before Achilles could react, Axiom went to a steep dive.

“Below me!” Sidhikoro followed his crosshairs to where he thought the enemy was and pulled the trigger but it was rendered useless. The grenades’ flash somehow contributed to Axiom’s movements.

“Energy capacitor charging complete.”

“He’s a formidable opponent!” Sidhikoro said, smiling. “I never had this fun since my 77th Strike Team days! For that, I’ll give you a memorable fight, dude!” He pulled the control stick and stepped on the thruster pedal. Achilles started to fly away the particle haze but he was surprised by a loud bleep.

“A-Above?!” he instinctively aimed the sniper rifle against the intercepting Axiom, but the other Gundam was very fast, combining the Havoc drive’s thrust and pull of gravity.

“This is one of the rare moments when a spacenoid thanks for earth’s gravity, so DIE!!”

Axiom rammed its shield onto Achilles, which raised its own shield in defense. The impact was so sudden that both pilots could have been thrown around had it not for their seatbelts.

“Activate G-Dampener!”

Testarossa cringed at the force of impact but he pushed a level that smashed a stinger against the sniper rifle’s nozzle, clamping tight onto it.

“ELECTRIFY!!!!” The sniper rifle exploded right in the midst of the two mobile suits, slightly damaging both Gundams. Axiom was knocked back while Achilled slowly veered away.

Sidhikoro was the first to gain hovering stability and immediately drew the sidearm but Axiom shielded itself from the blitzkrieg. Seeing that Achilles’ sidearm was starting to drain its reserved energy, he angrily muttered, “Now, you made me draw my most forbidden weapon!”

Achilles reached for its Grand Slam sword and powered up the striker pack’s thrusters with all it can manage. The golden Gundam dashed toward Axiom at a rapid pace. He opened a commlink line and said, “You’ve set the embers of war within me into an uncontrollable blaze! So sad to see that this fight of fire against fire is beyond putting out! Diko Sidhikoro, Achilles Gundam! Don’t hesitate, boy!!!!”

“Escalation is unavoidable! It took you long enough to realize that the real battle has just begun! Richard Testarossa, Axiom Gundam! Prepare to die!!!!”

Axiom tossed away the shield and unsheathed the Angel’s Cleaver once more. A loud and sharp metallic sound was heard when both swords collided.

SHHHNNNNNK! SHHHNNNNNK!

Because the Havoc Drive was still operational, Axiom was starting to overpower Achilles with a downward cut off the striker pack’s left stabilizer wing. Another lunge attack came but this time Achilles managed to parry it to the right. Holding the hilt with the other hand, Achilles continued the parrying momentum to a retaliation attack. Axiom’s side thrusters went to life and made a quick turn, avoiding the Grand Slam’s slash on its body. Instead, it cut the lower left leg.

“You can keep it!!” Axiom used the pivotal momentum and hacked off a portion of Achilles’ right shoulder armor.

Sidhikoro jerked the leg control stick forward that sent a solid kick at Axiom. Being knocked back, Testarossa launched the remaining stinger for a pincer attack. Achilles shoved its own Desert Claw grappling anchor just in time. Both the pincer and anchor became entangled.

“This is awesome, boy! You’re giving me a hell of a fight that I’m running out of trump cards already! But then…”

Achilles took hold of the cable of its grappling anchor.

“…there’s no way that you can escape now!!!”

"The same thing goes for you, Oldtype!!!"

The golden suit set foot on an exposed bedrock. Positioning itself for leverage, Achilles tugged hard and fast on the cable and slammed the other Gundam onto the ground with such an impact that made an impression onto the soil. Achilles tugged for the second time and dragged Axiom toward itself. Instead, Testarossa activated the multi-thruster system and reversed the attack. With Achilles pulled toward him, Testarossa made his unit lunge forward with the Cleaver aimed to stab the enemy.

Achilles held the Grand Slam upright and countered. The Cleaver’s pointed tip slammed onto the flat side of the other sword with a sickening crunch. Circumventing the lunge to the left, Achilles raised its sword to inflict a diagonal close quarter slash. Axiom made a maneuver that bent it at its hip joint to an angle that could stretch and damage the unit. The Grand Slam swung safely, just inches away. Seeing an opening, Testarossa lanced the cleaver forward, blocked by Achilles’ shield. A significant crack was sustained onto the shield.

“What an amazing weapon! With his suit being light, it obviously lacks mass for additional destructive power but it can deflect my attacks!”

Testarossa griped, “What’s with this mobile suit?! How does it manage to come head-to-head with Axiom?!”

Axiom moved forward but Achilles seized the cable and flicked its arm, sending a whiplash that formed a loop on Axiom’s arms and torso.

“Gotcha!” Sidhikoro shouted.

“Not yet!”

Axiom twisted itself in all sorts of awkward manner until it was finally free. An alarm caught Testarossa’s attention to the incoming missiles up ahead. “These tricks won’t work!” Reaching for the repulsor rifle, he fired two shots. It sent the missiles back to Achilles and detonated right before it. Meanwhile, Axiom was knocked back by the sheer force from the repulsive blast. Both Gundams fell on the ground.

Both units got up and reeled back the anchor and pincer, dragging both Gundams toward each other. Wielding their swords, the Gundams attacked each other with an ear-splitting impact.

A loud bleep warned Testarossa of the Havoc Drive’s time limit. “DAMN! At a moment like this?!”

* * * * *

Explosions disturbed the clash of the Gundams. Nearby, the battle between the mobile armors was progressing. The Moebius was in a bad shape; all its cannon barrels were destroyed. The Cyclone continued its barrage against it that by now it was running low on power reserved for the H-Field. Without the barrels, the Moebius lacked adequate thrust and stability. Inside the losing mobile armor, alarms of all sorts confused Amber.

“Warning! Low energy! Warning! Aerial mobility dropping! 67% damage sustained!”

If you’re strong, you live. If you’re weak, you die! Be gone!!

“It’s that voice again! What do you want from me?!?”

Frost sent a supercharged Aurora beam that hit the Moebius at its tail, since there was no ample power to activate the barrier. The blast knocked the wind out of Amber, as she was hurled forward against the control panel. Another shot came and split the mobile armor into two, severing its front fuselage from its main body. The cockpit started to drop to the ground while the rest of the Moebius disintegrated into an engulfing ball of flames.

Sidhikoro gasped when he saw the plight of the Moebius.

Gotta hurry! She will not survive the crash!

Releasing a beam saber hilt from its mounting, Achilles shot it until it exploded that somehow surrounded the area with smoke. Immediately it dashed for the plummeting cockpit with its hands reaching forward.

“I know I can make it!!! I will make it!! I’m Eagle Eye!!! AHHHHHH!!!!” Sidhikoro clicked a red button that discharged the whole striker pack from the hard points of the Gundam, sending it toward the Axiom. It was then followed by the Grand Slam sword spinning toward the pack and splitting it into two. It caused the striker pack to blow up directly in front of the Axiom. The other mobile suit’s swift momentum made it unable to dodge the explosion. Luckily the GINN suddenly zipped past the Cyclone in the rear and hurtled into Axiom, pushing it away from the blast. Both mobile suits descended onto the ground.

* * * * *

Southwestern Pyrenees

Cradling the severed fuselage of the Moebius, Achilles, though damaged and beaten down, hovered along the dark ravines of the mountain range. Inside the cockpit, Sidhikoro removed his helmet, wiped off the sweat from his brows and let out a deep sigh.

“This is Eagle Eye calling the Hive, Eagle Eye contacting Black Wing Division control under Delta-1 encryption. Can you read me over?” All he heard was static.

“Sweet. The battle must have fried the long range communications system. Talk about a lucky day.”

He checked the systems and reviewed the damage report.

“As always, you’ve been one reliable suit my friend. You saved my hide a countless times already. Now, you paid too high a price but I’ll definitely give you a proper upgrade this time.” He patted a control console as if commending a person. Suddenly a noise tripped off from the radar alarm. He immediately focused a rear telephoto camera and saw a red and white object among the haze, closing in quickly.

“HRG! This is a tight situation I’m into! But I won’t give up! Achilles, let’s fight to death!!”

The only available weapon was a single beam pistol on Achilles’ calf. Three rays of concentrated energy flashed through the area. Had Sidhikoro not nudged the control stick to the right, the first shot would have hit right through the suit’s body. Instead, the shot managed to hit the Gundam’s left heel. It somehow triggered a massive systems failure.

“Warning! Altimeter error! Power flow fluctuating! Losing altitude!”

“Shoot! I’m not going down! Not yet! Not until I finally brought you to him!!” Achilles brought the cockpit close to its body and crossed its arms to protect it and started to move erratically forward.

Frost was cursing under his breath when the Gundam started to move away. “Your unit is outdated! I’ll turn you to scrap metal!” Pulling the trigger, frost shot a dual attack of a beam ray which was immediately followed by a solid projectile shot.

“Take this!”

By this time, Achilles was struggling to stay aloft without the striker pack. Sidhikoro closed his eyes and broke into a child-like smile. “I’m sorry Miss La Flaga, I won’t be able to bring you to him… Is this it? Archer, Smanova… Welcome me real soon…”

He counted the slipping second but imminent death did not come. He opened an eye and saw a luminous green light surrounding his mobile suit. Adjusting all available optics, he saw that Achilles was engulfed in a protection array caused by shield bits which formed a particle force field.

Sidhikoro could not believe his eyes. “These are… these are shield bits from a… Hey, I recognize that prototype Gundam unit!!!”

Instantly, a communication wire clamped onto Achilles.

“Are you okay, Gundam pilot?”

It’s a young kid! Sidhikoro responded, “You came along just at the right time, boy! I have an injured pilot over here. I’d be glad for some help.”

“Leave it to me!”

* * * * *

Where will this incident lead to? What will the young Gundam pilot’s role in the conflict be? What is Royal Zeon’s OPERATION: Newton? Will Diko and Amber be all right? And where is Knight in all this? Find out in the MS GUNDAM: THE LOST CENTURY INTERQUEL Episode 9 – FRIEND. You wouldn’t want to miss it.

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