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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gundam AGE Episodes 7-9



I’m way behind on my reviews for Gundam AGE, well almost everything really. So what I’m going to is do episodes 7-9 in one review and do separate entries for 10 and 11, with episode 11 premiering today. After that I’m gonna take a leaf out of the book from Gundamn!@MAHQ and finish my “Macross Round-up.” There’s quite a lot there, with reviews pending for Macross 7: The Galaxy is Calling Me, Macross 7 Encore, Macross Dynamite 7, Zero, Macross Frontier TV series (as soon as I watch it again) and the two Frontier movies, The False Songstress and Farewell to Wings. After that, with some interspersed articles as well, I’ll start my Gundam roundup as I’ve recently got off my butt and watched the three Mobile Suit Gundam compilation movies.

So, on to Gundam AGE. In episode 7 we get the fallout from Flit’s short-lived, blink-and-you-miss-it fight with a new UE MS. He gets taken over to Don Boyage’s place and finds Captain Grodek (aka DAT BEARD, aka Cool Hand Grodek). Don proves that he’s a bit of a slimy customer, wanting to buy the Gundam from Flit so he can perpetuate the pointless battles between the Zalam and Euba factions on Fardain. At this point I have to interject and say a couple of things. First off, if you look at the Zalam logo carefully you’ll realize that it looks a lot like the ZAFT logo from Gundam SEED. Secondly I have to comment on these factions. Since we first heard about them in episode 6, I had a lot of time to ponder on their contribution to the story. I originally figured that I wouldn't be commenting on this stuff until I got to episode 10 but I been slacking. So let me say this: Zalam and Euba seem like they belong in  a different series all together. They run around the city using the worst mobile suit peashooters ever to try and fight each other with in some nod towards 1920’s gang shootouts. Don Boyage (who just happens to be part of Zalam) at first seemed like some shady arms dealer but now is this crusty old Zalam guy who wants to fight over territory. Then this guy called Ract Elfamel (and I’m really getting tired of weird, made-up names in this show) shows up from the Euba side of things and starts acting like Treize’s secret apprentice. He also seems to be related to Chara Soone from ZZ Gundam with his bi-colored hairstyle.
The one nice thing about the episode is that the new UE suit, the Baqto, shows up. Flit tries to fight it but its armor is too thick.
Luckily for our resident Gundam jockey, that magical AGE System is cooking up something big in the AGE Builder. They totally fake us out though by just having the new Gundam AGE Titus show up and just do one punch before posing for the end credits.
I also would like to make mention that they almost seem to deliberately bring in a group of war orphans, almost like they know certain people are going to get that particular joke. But boy am I glad those damn kids aren’t sticking around. Professor Grandpa has enough to deal with without a buncha dirty kids onboard the ship.
Rolling right into episode 8, the new Gundam AGE Titus delivers a smackdown worthy of The Rock. I’m liking the Titus much more than the normal mode, mostly because it’s been such a long time since we’ve had a beat-‘em-up Gundam, not since Mobile Fighter G Gundam in 1994. It’s beam spikes and lariats are pretty novel and just the sheer novelty of a Gundam dealing out REAL SOVIET DAMAGE brings a grin to my face.
Also it's interesting to note that the Titus isn't just exterior armor but whole new leg and arm units that get swapped out with the Gundam's regular units.
 
But the spotlight gets stolen a little bit from the Titus as our boy Wuulf Enneacle shows up in his brand new suit, the G-Exes. It’s a pretty awesome scene as he proceeds to charge into battle and whilst fighting lists the reasons why his mobile suit is so great. After dealing a fatal blow to a Baqto he confidently states the best reason the G-Exes is so good is because, “I, Wuulf Enneacle, am its pilot.” Okay Bandai, we get it, we’ll go out and by an HG G-Exes… not.  :p  :)
Also, our favorite Don and this Ract joker settle their differences somewhat, although I was glad that they actually didn’t shake hands, acknowledging that their little feud isn’t going to be overcome so easily. Although the story doesn’t move forward too much, the awesomeness with the Titus and G-Exes makes up for it. But as we’ll see shortly…
In episode 9 we have Wuulf dragging Flit and the crew over to the Madorna Workshop to meet the man himself and his wife Lalaparly (there’s them weird names again). It is here we see some funky customized mobile suits including the Shalldolls that everyone’s been wondering about.
There’s also a real shocker when Flit and the others find out that Madorna has a UE Zedas mobile suit that he’s been working on. Here we have mention of the mysterious Yark Dole again and that he seems to be some kind of shady weapons dealer. Um, wasn’t Don Boyage supposed to be a weapons dealer? Anywho, in a not too surprising twist the Zedas activates and begins spreading death and destruction.
But oh no! Flit and Wuulf don’t have their MS with them! Don’t worry it’s the Shalldoll to the rescue… even though it seems to be even more useless than a Leo.
But Wuulf and Flit get their suits via space mail and attack. But there’s just one small problem: The agile Zedas is making a fool out of the Titus. Looks like Flit is going to need another upgrade from the AGE System! Luckily for Flit and Wuulf, Decil pulls a Ribbons and has the Zedas back off. After that a couple more important things happen. Emily has a talk with Lalaparly that helps straighten her out a bit where Flit is concerned because that was getting kind of annoying. Although I would like more of that straightening out to be done between Flit and Emily rather than a third party. We’ve still got some episodes left so we’ll have to see.
Grodek’s secret is also reveled to the crew and he tells them he won’t drag them along, but if they want to beat the UE, he has a plan and knows where they are. All of the crew agree to stand behind them and fight the scourge of the UE (especially since the Feds aren’t doing jack-diddly about it), except for Ensign Adams aka Ensign Zinger. What will this mean for the crew of the Diva?

So there you have it, episodes 7-9. Not too shabby but a little on the slow side and I’m really not liking the Zalam and Euba stuff. I’ll get into that in the review for episode 10. When all is said and done, I give 7 and 9 three stars and 8 four stars for Titus and G-Exes action. And remember, in Soviet Russia, Gundam punch you!


Additional: There’s been some stories saying that Gundam AGE is slated for a 52 episode run. If true, that will make it the longest main Gundam series, beating out Victory Gundam’s record by 1 episode. I stated a theory about how they’re going to run this multi-generational story and now that it seems we have a statement about episode count, I think I may be right. So each generational arc should get 17 episodes to play out, depending on how the story is going to run. I’m willing to be that the third generation will get the extra episode to finish the series, or they’ll use it as a re-cap show. After SEED Destiny, as long as we only have one or two clip shows, I’m alright.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gundam Meister Grace Chapter 2


First Impressions

The four Meisters exited the simulators and Feldt Grace could tell that Tieria Erde was NOT happy. He marched right up to her and fixed her with that glare of his.
“Your performance in this last scenario was below average Feldt Grace. You need to improve.”
“Aw cut the kid a break would you Tieria?” chimed in Lockon as he doffed his helmet.
“I will not. Mistakes like that could lead to the destruction of the Angelas or its solar furnace.”
“Not too mention the pilot inside the Angelas,” Lockon muttered under his breath.
“I know what I need to work on. I won’t fail again,” Feldt said solemnly, staring right back at Tieria. He gave a curt nod and exited the room.
“Oy, that guy can be kind of a pain,” said Lockon wryly.
“But he’s right. I made a mistake,” she countered.
“Well, that doesn’t mean he has to come down on you like a ton of bricks for it,” Lockon said as they exited the room.

This little exchange had occurred about a month before they had had their first intervention. It had been typical of the dynamic that developed as the five Meisters trained together.
Feldt, being the youngest, two years younger even than Setsuna, often felt that it was her responsibility to be the best Meister possible, not just for the sake of her comrades, but also for the sake of her parents. Unfortunately, due to the secretive nature of Celestial Being, Feldt didn't know much of the nature of what her parents had done as Gundam Meisters. The only things she knew was that they had been Meisters, had piloted the prototypes for the Exia and Kyrios and had died in an accident. Ever since then those within the organization had raised her. The woman she had met on the night she discovered her parents’ death had disappeared, but she had met others. Ian and Linda Vashti had always been very kind to her, even though many times Feldt could tell that Ian had wanted to talk to her about her parents. Linda had become like a second mother to Feldt and Feldt had often played with Linda’s daughter Mileina. She recalled fondly that Mileina had wanted to go with her, but Ian wasn’t having any of that.
Then there was the bridge crew of the Ptolemaios. The two she most interacted with were the CIC operators, Christina Sierra and Anew Returner.  They very much felt like Feldt’s older sisters, and acted like it too, what with Christina constantly trying to improve Feldt’s “Fashion sense” and Anew acting as the long-suffering support. Although Feldt didn’t really understand why clothes were so important (not when she spent so much time in her normal suit.) but she did very much want to emulate some of older girls’ more feminine characteristics, especially the beautiful and graceful Anew.
Then there was miss Sumeragi. If there was one person on the Ptolemaios who could rival Anew’s beauty it was the tall, flowing-haired Sumeragi Lee Noriega. Although she occupied the seat on the ship’s bridge that would traditionally be held by the captain, Sumeragi was more a “commander,” being the Gundam Meister’s tactician. Sumeragi interacted with Feldt regularly what with Feldt being one of the Meisters and Feldt enjoyed her company. She would sometimes tease Feldt that she had to be careful not to distract her male comrades with her blossoming beauty, at which point Feldt would blush madly. If Sumeragi had one flaw though it was her drinking. Whenever the older woman would offer her whatever happened to be in her bottle that day, Feldt knew it was a joke, that Sumeragi didn’t seriously condone minors drinking, but she couldn’t help but think that at the rate Sumeragi drank it was a good thing modern medicine could fix the damage she would otherwise have done to her body.
The other two members of the bridge crew she interacted less with. Lichtendal Tsery was the Ptolemaios pilot and his partner Lasse Aeon was part navigator and the gunner, which was kind of redundant considering that the Ptolemaios wasn’t equipped with any guns at the moment. Lichty, as they called him, was good-natured and just a bit of a hound, constantly asking for dates from Christina and Anew. Christina would always refuse but Anew would humor him occasionally, although she made it clear that this was a “friends” thing and she wasn’t about to let an actual relationship get in the way of her duties. Lichty had gone for drinks with Sumeragi once, in her quarters, and found out the hard way that he was a featherweight where alcohol was concerned.
Then there were the Meisters themselves. Allelujah was friendly enough but very reserved. There was something strange about him though. After one particularly nasty sim, she had exited and saw Allelujah leaning against the sim machine as if he were in pain. She had approached and was about to ask if he was all right when he turned around and she saw the creepiest smile she had ever seen on his face. And then just as quickly he blinked, shook his head then asked her if she was fine.
One word could describe Tieria Erde and that was cold. Feldt didn’t talk to him much except when he had something to criticize her about. Often she wondered if Tieria was trying to find an excuse to get her booted out as a Meister but he was equally tough on all the other Meisters.
Setsuna talked as little as Tieria but almost seemed more approachable. Still, Feldt maintained a very “professional” relationship with him as when he did talk, it usually had something to do with the Gundams.
Lockon was the most personable of the four and she had to admit that she did like him the best. He was kind to her but didn’t coddle her, defended her when Tieria was being too harsh and pushed her to the best of her abilities. Still he seemed just a little hesitant about her being a Gundam Meister and she’d never been able to get a straight answer out of him. At first she thought it was because she was the youngest, but now she wasn’t so sure anymore.

When all was said and done, Feldt very much regarded the people onboard the Ptolemaios as her family. Celestial Being had given her parents a dream and a mission and she was determined to give back to the organization and especially the people around her who were also part of Celestial Being. She was still a private person though and Christina’s and Anew’s attempts to draw her out and make sure she had passions in her life other than being a Meister were going very slowly.
“Feldt.”
She turned her head, straightening up from where she had been leaning against a tree. Lockon had walked over and she had been so lost in her thoughts, she hadn’t heard him. Well, that and the sounds of the jungle around them and the sound of the GN Condensers bleeding off.
“Time to get ready for the next mission.”
“Mission Briefing! Briefing!” chirped Lockon’s orange Haro.
“Roger,” she replied, standing up and smoothing the wrinkles out of her pilot suit. She began to follow them back to the combat containers where their Gundams were stored. Haro bounced into her arms and she cuddled the ball-shaped robot against her.
“Smile Feldt! Smile Feldt!” it chirped.
“He’s right you know. You should smile more,” said Lockon, grinning at her. She nodded back… but didn’t smile.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gundam AGE Episode 6



Hot on the heels of the latest episode of mobile suit demolition derby aka Gundam Unicorn, AGE continues to inspire RAGE. Trolls on both sides of the ocean are trying their level best to tear it down and I really have no idea why. I really don’t know why they feel so insulted that it’s trying to capture a new, younger audience. That said, unfortunately, AGE hasn’t been succeeding on that front. The general ratings have been way up and down (going UP with the last two episodes thankyouverymuch) but the ratings for the target audience have been pretty poor. This might possibly be why they’ve changed Flit’s son’s age to 17 for the second arc of the show (assuming that’s true) and have revealed what the Gundam Age-2. Again, I’m not hot on this design; I think it looks a bit too much like the 00 Raiser.
In any case, low ratings for the target audience are bad news to producers, so we’ll have to see what happens. As I said before, the ratings for the last two episodes have been going up. Which leads me to this week’s gangbuster (literally) episode, the Light and Shadow of Fardain.

Again I’m just going to touch on the main points of the episode rather than go into a full-blown summary. Emily finally confronts Flit about what he wants to do, but still isn’t as direct about it. I’m hoping that as the next few episodes go, they’ll talk more and Emily will start to evolve out of the Fraw Bo Syndrome she’s got right now. Would go along with the themes of the show wouldn’t it?
Wuulf takes off to a nearby space station where a husband and wife pair of mobile suit designers hangs out. I find this interesting because I really don’t think we’ve had something like this since Wing. Y’know, almost kinda a MS chop shop feel. Actually now that I look at this guy Madorna and Howard from Gundam Wing, they could almost be brothers. Therefore I shall call him Howard 2.0. 

Anywho, Wuulf asks Madorna to make him a mobile suit that’s better than the Gundam (probably the G-Exes). Another oblique Wing reference?
Cool Hand Grudek aka DAT BEARD, is getting very shady! I like it! We see a flashback that yes, he did have a wife and daughter and that they died in the first UE attack on Colony Angel. And Grudek is making deals with shady Al Capone type weapons dealers. Obviously he wants to take the UE down any way possible and that includes making deals with criminals. How much y’all wanna bet that this attitude is coming back to bite him in the butt?
Flit and Emily also find themselves in the colony underground, situated between the outer and inner walls of the colony. An extremely, practically comically disproportionate man named Iwark Bria saves them from a bunch of Zaku-esque mobile suits having a shootout in the Fardain streets. 
Must have been a bad day because as Iwark leads them into the Fardain underground, he explains that these mobile suits are a remnant of a war decades past. Back then the population of the colonies grew so large that they tried to form two independent countries. And as we humans tend to fight for the stupidest of reasons, they went to war with one another. Eventually an accord was reached called the Silver Chalice Treaty and the two nations (Zalam Union and Euba Alliance) were disbanded but as Iwark points out, hatred born of bloodshed doesn’t fade easily. This probably goes further to show the corruption of the Federation, unless the Earth Federation in AGE is literally just concerned with the Earth and doesn’t bother with the colonies too much? We’ll see. Anyway, it seems that the fighting between these two former factions continues sporadically to this day and funnily enough, flares up just when Flit the Gundam Savior shows up. Also Iwark’s adopted daughter goes wandering up to the surface with Haro, so that Flit can conveniently pull a Superman and try to get the two factions to stop fighting. But then a new UE mobile suit called the Baqto literally appears out of nowhere and starts to fight him. 
Just when the fight gets good, the Baqto literally pulls a ninja vanish and Euba suits try to arrest Flit. They seem to think that Flit was shooting up Fardain. Was the Baqto invisible to them? Did they just not see it? More and more curious.

Another thing I really liked about this episode was Iwark’s Desperado construction mobile suit. THIS SHOVEL OF MINE IS BURNING RED!! ITS LOUD ROAR TELLS ME TO SHANK YOU LIKE SOME SLASHER MOVIE STAR!! 
I also liked the Euba and Zalam fleets they showed, very sci-fi.
 Did anyone notice that the Zalam symbol seems a lot like the ZAFT crest?  :)
Also I liked how the Fardain interior had a very New-York/Art Deco style to it.

Okay, so one last thing. Now that we’re six episodes in, there is still no official episode count that I can dig up. Considering that AGE has had a very rocky start (curse you trolls), I can see why Sunrise doesn’t want to reveal this yet. If they do, they’ll probably also have to reveal how many episodes are in each generation of the show and I’ve heard rumours that the Japanese Gundam nuts want the second generation to hurry up and debut.
Now assuming that we’re going to have fifty episodes in the series just like SEED, Destiny and 00, and if each arc is broken up evenly, we’d get 16 episodes per arc with two spare episodes. I really, REALLY hope they don’t use these spares as clipshows. Who knows. Let’s assume in my Candyland version of the show, Flit’s arc gets seventeen episodes to set up the world and the war, Asem’s Arc gets sixteen episodes and Kio’s arc gets seventeen episodes to finish things up. They might not now give the first arc an extra episode, but we’ll see.
In any case, I now think that this first arc is going to wrap up with Grudek’s assault on the UE strong hold and the fallout from that before going into the next arc. Oh and next episode we get the Titus armor! Yay! But seriously, if they only have ten or eleven more episodes to wrap this arc up, they better step on it a little more.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

MSG LEGENDS Chapter 2


Mission 2: Allies and Enemies

The Unicorn Gundam was surrounded. The pilot, Banagher Links, was trying to figure out what his best option was when he received a hail from the red, Sinanju-like mobile suit that led the Geara Dogas.
“To the pilot of the unidentified mobile suit. You’re tough, I’ll give that but you are surrounded. I’d advise you to consider surrender.”
Sounds like Full Frontal, thought Banagher, but that isn’t the Sinanju. What’s going on here?
The mystery pilot was right however and Banagher wasn’t nearly so foolish as to try anything in his current predicament.
“Very well. I surrender, but I’ll warn you now, my suit won’t be any use to you. Only I can use it.”
“Brave words,” replied the red pilot, “But why don’t you come back to our base and we’ll discuss things from there.”
Banagher had no choice but to follow.

A short time later he found, much to his surprise, that they had arrived at a large military-looking installation. Banagher was taken to the hangar area and then ordered to get out of the Unicorn. As soon as he exited, a pair of Neo Zeon guards escorted him to a ready room. It was sparsely furnished and the air had a strange smell to it, something Banagher couldn’t quite identify. It was like this base was brand new but people had only just come there.
There were three other people in the room, two men and a woman in addition to four more armed guards. The woman had shoulder-length honey-blond hair and wore a dark red uniform. She and one of the men were sitting next to each other when Banagher was escorted in and they rose to face him. The second man was sitting in a chair to their side and just lazily turned his head in Banagher’s direction. Banagher regarded him with a bit of shock; it’s not every day you meet someone who has pastel green hair. His outfit was also kind of strange as well.
“So you’re the pilot.”
Banagher turned to look at the man who had spoken and got another, much more violent shock. The man, dressed in an elaborate but functional red uniform looked like Full Frontal! But this man had much shorter blond hair and seemed to carry himself differently.
“I admit, I want to be surprised but I’m not. Young men seem to have a way of finding themselves in Federation mobile suits,” he said evenly.
“Were you… the pilot of that red mobile suit?” asked Banagher cautiously.
“I am.”
“And your forces are Neo Zeon right?”
“They are.”
Something clicked in Banagher’s memory.
“Then you must be… Char Aznable, the Red Comet.”
“In the flesh,” replied Char. Banagher doubted the statement just a bit as to his knowledge Char Aznable had been dead or missing for nearly three years know. The green-haired man chuckled at this sudden pronouncement.
“You’re famous. He’s a little star-struck.”
“I think the important question here is, what are we going to do with you?” said the woman. Banagher started to tense. He’d been held prisoner by the Neo Zeon once before and had only escaped thanks to Commander Daguza and the Nahel Argama.
“Relax,” said Char, “We mean you no harm. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’re in the same predicament that we’re in.”
“I… don’t know what you mean,” said Banagher, still unsure of what he should and shouldn’t tell this man who claimed to be the legendary Char Aznable.
“Let me enlighten you,” said the green-haired man, “You were investigating a strange signal that was likely coming from space. When you went to investigate, you blacked out and suddenly found yourself here. Am I correct?”
Banagher cast a startled glance at the man. That was in fact his very story.
“The same thing happened to myself, Nanai, and our Neo Zeon forces,” added Char.
“I am also assuming that you might think that the date is different from what we think it is, correct?”
“It was UC0096, why do you ask?”
“Because I thought it was 2312 AD,” replied the man.
“UC0096? That would account for why your mobile suit was unfamiliar. I’m sure you can guess where Nanai and I think we’re from?” added Char. Banagher nodded.
“Now that we have all that cleared up, I think we can get to the business of figuring out how to get home. It really doesn’t matter where or even when we think that is, as long as we can get back there.”
Char walked over to Banagher.
“We got off on the wrong foot, but I hope you can understand that we don’t need to be enemies here. If we’re going to survive this, we need to pool our resources. What do you say?” Char held out a hand. Banagher wasn’t sure what to make of all this, but as long as he wasn’t a prisoner, he might as well help. Especially if what they said was true.
“All right, I’ll help out, but this doesn’t mean I’m part of Neo Zeon,” said Banagher as he clasped hands with Char, to which Char grinned sardonically.
“I don’t believe your mobile suit really matches up with ours in any case.”
“Then we should finish exploring this facility. I’ll go see what I can get the computers to tell us,” the green-haired man said lazily as he strode out of the room.
“Who is that man?” asked Banagher, Char frowned a little.
“He calls himself Ribbons Almark and that’s about all I’ve gotten out of him. If I were you, I’d keep on eye on him, rather than us.

Elsewhere Garrod Ran helped Minevea Zabi to her feet.
“Sorry if I startled you,” he said, “I thought you were a friend of mine.”
“It’s all right,” she replied, brushing dust off of her sleeves.
“The name’s Garrod Ran,” he said cheerfully, holding out a hand for her to shake.
“I’m… Audrey Burne.” Not knowing where she was or what was going on, she had decided to keep using the name she had introduced herself to Banagher with. “Do you know where this place is Garrod?”
“Well, it seems to be Earth but I’m not so sure…” Over the course of the next few minutes, the two of them discovered that their stories were almost identical, with the exception that “Audrey” had been onboard a ship when she blacked out. Garrod also told her what he knew of the installation they were currently in.
“I guess I should take you to our leader… at least I guess that’s what he is. When I woke up here, there were already a bunch of us lying around, so we’ve kinda joined forces. But all I really want to do is find Tiffa.”
“Who is that?” asked Audrey.
“She’s… a close friend of mine that I have to find.”

Garrod led her through several non-descript hallways until they reached what must have been the central control room for this installation. Monitor stations with flat panel displays ringed the rectangular room, which was centered around a large holographic display table. There were four other individuals in the room, a brown-skinned boy dressed in a white button-up shirt, jeans and suspenders (whom Audrey mistook as a girl at first glance), a tall, beautiful woman in a white, red and grey uniform that Audrey didn’t recognize, another, violet-haired woman in a dark uniform…
Audrey stiffened as she realized the woman was wearing the uniform of the Titans, the renegade Federation taskforce that had oppressed the space colonies and whom the AEUG had fought against. And the last person in the room was wearing a white uniform and also had violet hair. As he turned to face her, Audrey felt a shock pulse through her as she saw that he was one of the last people she cared to run into in this situation. Paptimus Scirocco, the Man From Jupiter, schemer, mobile suit designer, unearthly powerful Newtype and second leader of the Titans… after he had the first one, Admiral Jamitov Hymem, assassinated. And as far as Audrey/Mineva knew, Paptimus Scirocco was supposed to be dead, killed by Kamille Bidan, pilot of the Zeta Gundam.
“Ah Garrod, I see you’ve found another guest. And who might you be, young lady?” asked Scirocco, smooth as silk.
“I’m Audrey Burne. Garrod here told me about what happened to all of you. I assume all of our stories are similar?” she asked while trying not to be unnerved by Scirocco locking eyes with her. She’d stared down many powerful people in her time, but she almost got the feeling that Scirocco was trying to read her mind.
“You would be correct miss Burne. I am curious though, where did you come from?” Audrey frowned slightly; she should’ve expected something like that from Scirocco.
“I’m originally from a colony called Industrial 7,” she replied.
“Hmm, then perhaps you’re affiliated with Anaheim Electronics? I believe they maintain their technical college there?”
“I was a student there, yes.”
“Interesting then, that some of us here are military, some civilian, and at least one a royal.”
For a moment Audrey thought he meant her, but then realized he was speaking of someone else and cast a curious glance at the white-haired boy. He grinned back at her sheepishly.
“He doesn’t mean me. I’m just pain old Loran Cehack. Queen Dianna is who he means, but she’s resting right now, you can meet her later.”
“I see,” replied Audrey, wondering who exactly this ‘Queen Diana’ was.
“As I was saying to Captain Ramius here,” said Scirocco, “obviously wanting to steer the conversation back on course, “We need to do two things. We need to figure out where we are exactly and we also need to set up patrols. Some of our allies may be out there and there may also be enemies. I hope that everyone with a mobile suit will help out. Captain, I also hope that your ship can help as well?”
“Once we get the Archangel back up and running, we’ll see what we can do,” the lady captain replied. Audrey could tell that she wasn’t completely comfortable with taking orders or “suggestions” from a man like Scirocco and Audrey couldn’t blame the elder woman. From everything she’d heard, this man was a master manipulator. She’d have to be very careful here.
“All right! The sooner we get going, the sooner we can find Tiffa!” said Garrod happily as he left the room with Loran and Captain Ramius. Audrey made to go after them but was stopped when Scirocco said, “Miss Audrey, I hope that you too will give us your support,” with a hint of smirk.
Has he figured me out?
Audrey merely nodded in response and went after the three that had already left. She caught up with them and tapped Garrod on the shoulder.
“Excuse me Garrod, but if you and Loran are going out, could I ask a favor of you?”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“While you’re out, could you also keep an eye out for a friend of mine? His name is Banagher Links. He’s a mobile suit pilot like you.”
“Don’t worry Audrey, if he’s out there, we’ll find him!” replied Garrod enthusiastically.
“We’ll definitely do our best,” added Loran.
“Is this Banagher your boyfriend?” asked Captain Ramius with a knowing smile.
“No! No, he’s just a very close friend and if he is out there, I’d like to know that he’s okay.”
“Great! Let’s get going!” said Garrod as he bounded out of the corridor’s exterior exit.

Elsewhere, Treize Kushrenada regarded the masked man in the strange red uniform on his monitor carefully.
“Let me propose a theory to you. Suppose this was not the Earth that we know, nor a colony for that matter.”
“A preposterous supposition…” replied Full Frontal, “Yet hard to refute.”
“Indeed. I find it hard to believe this is all a coincidence. We’re completely isolated and cut off from help here. In that case, I believe it would be beneficial to join forces.”
“I’m more used to giving orders than taking them, but I agree, there’s no need for us to be enemies. We should try and see if we can find something that will help us.”
And so Treize Kushrenada and Full Frontal joined forces.

Cagalli continued to stare up at the Destiny Gundam, which was pointing its beam rifle down at her un-phase shifted Strike Rouge, not that the PS armor would have helped at this range.
“Are you going to kill me Shinn?”
There was a very pregnant pause as the beam rifle continued to hover over her cockpit.
“No,” crackled Shinn’s voice finally, “Not like this. Not when you can explain to me what’s going on. Last thing I knew, I was in space, I blacked out and now I’m on Earth.
“How would I know, the same thing happened to me!” Cagalli shot back, her temper flaring again.
“What do you mean the same thing?”
“Just like I said! My comrades and I were investigating a strange signal, I blacked out and then woke up with a killer headache and you!”
“You were investigating a strange signal as well?”
“Yes! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see if I can find my friends,” said Cagalli as she turned on the Rouge’s PS armor and started to guide it to its feet.
“Not so fast Attha. You’re not going anywhere,” said Shinn sternly as he pointed the Destiny’s rifle at the Rouge again.
“What?! Shinn, what are you playing at? Do you really want to fight here and now?”
“No matter the situation, we’re still enemies.”
“Enemies? Shinn, I’ve never been your enemy!”
“ORB is a part of the Alliance and I’m assuming you’re technically still the leader of ORB. So yeah Attha, we are enemies.”
“Ugh, if I didn’t have a headache right now, I’d take you up on it. Okay, listen to me Shinn. What if your friends on the Minerva are here and in the same situation we’re in? What if they need your help? Don’t you think they’re more important than settling this grudge you have with me and our nation?”
“It’s your nation, not mine… and I suppose you may have a point. Huh, first smart thing I’ve heard you say Attha.”
“Don’t push it.”
“Heh, not like that old piece of junk you’re piloting would even stand a chance against my Destiny,” Shinn shot back with a sneer.
“Just go before we both find out if your shooting is as good as your boasting,” Cagalli said irritably as she launched her Rouge away from Shinn.

When Amuro, Kou and Setsuna returned to the mysterious base after their scouting, they reported that they didn’t have much to report. They still weren’t sure exactly where they were and no towns, cities or other bases seemed to be nearby. They had run into a patrol of mobile suits that they couldn’t identify. They had fired on them and they were forced to destroy them. The one interesting thing they had gotten out of the exchange was that Amuro had determined with his Newtype abilities that the MS weren’t being piloted. They were either being operated remotely or had some kind of AI pilot system. On the other hand, the crew of the Minerva had made many more discoveries concerning the installation. Its extensive hangar facilities housed actual mobile suits. Upon examination, it was discovered that these suits had no cockpits. At first they thought that the suits were remotely controlled but it turned out that each suit had an onboard AI control system. The suits could receive general commands from the installation’s command center but were capable of fighting on their own. This explained where the enemy suits that Amuro and Kou encountered may have come from.
In addition to these AI mobile suits, the installation also had a factory block that contained all the necessary materials to create more mobile suits. Even more amazing was that the factory was fully automated and could operate without any human workers. The Minerva’s chief engineer also found plans for multiple types of mobile suits in the factory’s computer, some familiar (like Strike Daggers and GINNs) and others utterly alien. Attached to the factory were numerous supply bunkers.
The installation also had a large communications complex, which they didn’t fully understand the meaning of yet. All the Minerva engineers could determine was that it was broadcasting something, they just weren’t sure what yet.
The entire complex was protected with a well-placed network of beam cannon turrets, missile launchers, CIWS Vulcan guns and mobile suit mines, ensuring that, once activated, the installation was a veritable fortress.
“And it seems to all be controlled primarily from this room,” Captain Talia Gladys said, gesturing at the command Center that she, Arthur Trine, Meyrin Hawke, Amuro, Kou, Setsuna, Tiffa and several other Minerva crewmen were gathered in.
“How many mobile suits could this factory block make?” asked Amuro.
“According to our Chief Engineer the supplies here are finite, but depending on the complexity of what you wanted to build, you could make up to a hundred GINNs. Those are a basic mobile suit that our ZAFT forces use,” she added.
“Interesting,” replied Amuro, crossing his arms thoughtfully. The tech geek in him really wanted to get a look at all this.
“It almost sounds like this was left for us to find, as if someone wants us to fight,” said Setsuna, “We should destroy it.”
“But what if we need it to defend ourselves?” argued Kou, also eager to see more of the secrets of the installation.
“What about the communications complex?” asked Amuro.
“It’s controlled from over there,” said Talia, pointing at the consoles in question. During the conversation, Tiffa had wandered over to them and was now examining them closely. Suddenly, she began punching something up on the console.
“Miss Adill, please don’t do that,” said Talia in alarm, “We don’t know yet what all of the equipment…” she tailed off as a burst of static blared over the command center’s recessed speakers. A voice could just barely be made out.
“This… please respond! We’re under heavy… can’t hold out much longer! Please, if anyone can…”
“Meyrin, see if you can get a better signal,” said Talia. Meyrin immediately ran over to the console,
“Excuse me Tiffa,” she said as she sat down and began examining the unfamiliar layout. After a minute or so, she began pressing button and adjusting a digital dial. The static began to clear and the voice was finally understandable as a woman’s voice, high with panic.
“If anyone can hear this, this is Technical Officer Chan Agi of the Earth Federation Forces. I’m pinned down with another mobile suit pilot and we’re under heavy attack…” she was cut off as what sounded like an explosion blared over the speakers and the transmission dissolved into static again.
“Chan!” cried Amuro, startled.
“Someone you know Captain?” asked Kou.
“Yes! She helped me build my Gundam.” Amuro turned to Talia. “Captain Gladys, I know I really can’t ask this of you, but Chan is very important to me. Would it be possible for us to take your ship to where she is, if we can find the source of the transmission?”
Talia appeared deep in thought for a moment, but then nodded at Amuro.
“We need all the help we get I think. And if she’s an ally of yours, so much the better.” She turned to the Chief Engineer.
“If we leave you here for awhile, can you protect yourselves?”
“This defense grid can be computer controlled, so as long as we make sure it doesn’t shoot you down when you come back, once we turn it on, we should be good,” he replied.
“Meyrin, can you trace the source of the transmission?” asked Talia.
“I can Captain,” she relied.
“Then let’s move out.”
As the others began to exit the room, Amuro noticed tat Tiffa was hurrying after them.
“Tiffa, how did you know to do that with the computer back there?’ asked Amuro. Tiffa didn’t meet his eyes but replied, “I can hear the thoughts… the thoughts of this world.”
To anyone else this would have sounded cryptic or nonsensical but Amuro knew immediately what she meant.
“Tiffa, are you a Newtype?” he asked.
“They call me that, but I think of myself as just Tiffa.” Amuro smiled at her.
“That’s not a bad attitude. But don’t worry too much about your abilities. If I can, I’ll try to help you.”
“You mean…?”
“Yes, I’m a Newtype as well.”
For the first time, Tiffa met his eyes and Amuro felt the familiar spark of Newtype intuition flash through him.
“I thought so. You remind me of Captain Neate.” Amuro had no idea who that was, but he supposed it was a good thing.
“Well then, are sure you want to come along?” Tiffa nodded in reply.
“Garrod might be out there,” she said.
“Well then, you better keep up!” Amuro replied jokingly as he sped up to rejoin the others. Tiffa’s eyes widened slightly and she hurried after him. For his part, Amuro felt grateful to the young Newtype girl. If it wasn’t for her, they might not have known Chan was in danger.
Chan… please be okay. I’ll be there soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gundam AGE Episode 5

 The Demon Child
Well, I went into this episode with trepidation because of the previous previews. I KNOW this series is being targeted to a younger audience because Bandai/Sunrise practices a little thing called franchise sustainability. Well... I really, really don't like this kid. He is FAST moving up my list of Gundam characters which I hate. Everything about this kid just irks me. And I was right, he does steal the Gundam and take a joyride in it. Now Flit I can believe piloting the Gundam but this kid? What is he, some abnormal super child genius?

Alright enough about Decil (perhaps Basil with bad Japanese pronunciation?) Besides the discovery of Decil the only other things of import that happen in this episode are Emily finally confronting Grudek and Grudek further evading the Federation.
First of all, Grudek's actions in tossing out the Diva's intended Captain come back as the Investigation Bureau of the Federation issues a warrant for his arrest. But when the local Inspector for the Forces shows up to carry out the arrest, Grudek, cool as you please, reveals that he has evidence that the Inspector has been allowing ships to dock at Colony Fardain illegally. Score another one for Cool Hand Grudek. In fact that's what I'm going to call him from now on. So we have Flit, the Doogie Howser of Gundam (courtesy of Chris Guanche), Wuulf, the White Wolf, Ensign Zinger, Pretty Milly (the comm officer), Cool Hand Grudek/DAT BEARD, Emily "Fraw Bow Syndrome" Amonde and Soul Bro's Man, Dique. Lotta nicknames in this show. Oh and Decil the Red-Headed Menace.

Also Grudek explains to Emily that he took command of the Diva because the Federation forces have become corrupt. Not a tremendous surprise there (also explains why the Feddies have already been fighting the UE for 14 years). They would have left the civilians on Nora to die just so they could save the Diva and the Gundam. Emily accepts that but doesn't want Flit fighting in the Gundam, especially when Grudek reveals that he has determined the UE's base of operations and wants to attack it. Boy does Emily have Fraw Bow Syndrome bad. It's getting a little annoying. Also we get a look at what at that picture he keeps on his desk. Definitely a younger Grudek and his wife and daughter, which I will bet you dollars to yen are dead.
One last mystery presented in the episode is Decil being confronted by a bunch of black-robed wizards that say that Decil is an inhabitant of EDEN and that he isn't supposed to mix with "normal" people. I really hope these guys aren't the real UE, that would almost be too cheesy. Then again, the Diana cultists in Victory Gundam had funky robes...
Oh and Wuulf is definitely growing on me as the typical cocky sempai. Shall we begin speculating on the manner of his death and if it will involve pineapples?

All in all, this episode really didn't impress me, except for the parts with Grudek, and as I said, I REALLY don't like this Decil kid. It's been said that maybe he'll continue on into the next generation as a recurring antagonist. By that point he'd be in his thirties, so if they do that, I think I'll forgive them. Unlike the trolls I'll reserve final judgement until at least the first generation's done. But I still give this episode a two out five. I just hope the next episode doesn't introduce some rival family thing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Check Out My Ride

 Pictures of my newly-acquired 2000 Pontiac Bonneville. It needs a little work but it's good to have wheels!





Ghostbusters Mania

I recently had the opportunity to see Ghostbusters in theaters, as seen in a previous post. Well, I made the most of the opputunity and shot some bad photos when I went to see it again. I suppose technically this is a no-no, but they're just pictures and Sony/Columbia has made oodles of money off of GB already. Besides it's a fan thing.

Also I wanted to post what i thought were the ten best bits of dialogue in the whole film. I'll try not to post all of Bill Murray's lines.  :)

10. "Hee-hee-hee, GET HER! That was your whole plan? Get her? It was scientific."
--Dr. Peter Venkman

9. Oh that's very fascinating to me, I read a lot myself. Some people think I'm too intellectual but I think it's a fabulous way to spend your spare time. I also play raquetball. Do you have any hobbies?"
"I collect spores, molds and fungus."
--Janine Melnitz and Dr. Egon Spengler

 8. "You know, you don't act like a scientist."
"They're usually pretty stiff."
"You're more like a gameshow host."
--Dana Barrett and Dr. Peter Venkman
 7. "Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light."
"Total protonic reversal!"
"Alright that's bad. Okay, important safety tip, thanks Egon."
--Drs. Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz and Peter Venkman
 6. "Do you want this body?"
"Is this a trick question?"
--Zuul and Dr. Peter Venkman
 5. Well let's say that this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning's sample it would be a Twinkie... thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds."
"That's a big Twinkie."
--Dr. Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore
 4. "The whole building was designed and built expressley for the purpose of pulling in and concentrating spiritual turbulence. Your girlfriend lives in the corner penthouse of Spook Central."
"She's not my girlfriend. I find her interesting because she's a client and because she sleeps above her covers. Four feet above her covers. She barks, she drools, she claws..."
Drs. Ray Stantz and Peter Venkman
 3. "This city is headed for a disaster of biblical porportions!"
"What do you mean biblical?!"
"What I mean is Old Testament Mr. Mayor. Real Wrath of God-type stuff! Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling!"
"Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes!"
"The dead rising from the grave!"
"Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!!"
"ENOUGH! I get the point! What if you're wrong?"
"If I'm wrong, nothing happens, we go to jail, peacefully, quietly, we'll enjoy it. But if I'm right and we CAN stop this thing... Lenny... you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters."
--Mayor Lenny and the Ghostbusters
 2. Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES!!"
--Winston Zeddemore
1. "Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!"
--Dr. Peter Venkman

And of course, honorable mention goes to "We came. we saw, we KICKED IT'S ASS!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gundam AGE Episode 4

White Wolf

Well, things were action-packed last episode and now we get some character development and a few mysteries as well. The guy in the above picture, Wuulf Enneacle, gets a shower scene, which is sure to send the fangirls into fits of squee. The man also seems very particular about his cologne. He comes off as pretty arrogant and womanizing (poor Ensign Milliais... or is it lucky Ensign Milly?) kinda like Roy Focker but a little more abrasive. He doesn't believe that a kid like Flit can fight and fly in the Gundam. Captain Grudek doesn't think so either because he appoints Wuulf as the head of the Mobile Suit team and doesn't seem to care if Wuulf wants to take the Gundam. Speaking of DAT BEARD, we finally see what he looks like without his cap and visor. And was it just me or was he looking at some kind of family photo on his desk? Perhaps Grudek has lost family to the UE?
In any case, Wuulf swaggers into the lounge acting like he's all that, blowing off Ensign Zinger (no that's not his name, just a nickname I picked up from MechaTalk) and hitting on Ensign Milliais (with help from possibly clueless Dique). Then we see him in the hangar where he gets into an argument with Flit and it all winds up culminating in a duel with paint guns at 40 asteroids. Something to be noted here: Emily doesn't seem to like the fact that Flit now considers himself the Gundam's pilot and she actually volunteers Flit to fight Wuulf for possession of the Gundam, secretly hoping he'll lose. She seems to be the kind of main female protagonist that's going to spend a lot of time worrying about the hero Gundam pilot. I know this show is intended more for kids but I really don't hold with this attitude much, given that not a lot of the Gundam females I've seen have not been subject to it. Maybe Relena to a point and/or Flay.
In any case, the duel between Flit and Wuulf is highly reminiscent of the fight between Kou and Monsha in Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories, but Wuulf doesn't set off my douchebag alarms like Monsha does. And just like in the training sequence in Macross Frontier, enemies show up to interrupt the fun. And this time they're accompanied by a big, BIG, honkin' mothership/battlecruiser of some kind, equipped with a cloak.
This thing looks mean enough to blow up several colonies on its own and it might even have been present when Nora went down, just under cloak. Flit and Wuulf escape with their skins, with Flit actually impressing Wuulf some. He plays it cool though and I really think that he'll be an okay guy, just with a jerk-streak in him. The Diva is on course for a new colony? So we'll see where we go from here, especially with Grudek's ominous pronouncement in his quarters that he's figured out what the UE are. I doubt that we the audience are going to be told but it'll be interesting how this secret knowledge plays into the narrative.

Other things: Why has the original captain still been forgotten? Did Grudek blow him out an airlock? Maybe it'll be solved in the next episode.
The Genoace Custom seems to be a lot more effective so far than normal Genoace suits
I'm really not looking forward to the introduction of this little red-head kid in the next episode. Something about this kid just sets off ALL my threat alarms. He looks younger than Flit, Emily and Dique so I really hope he doesn't turn out to be Yurin's gratingly annoying little brother or something. And why do I get this feeling that he's going to steal the Gundam and take it for a little joyride? Time will tell...

 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

MSG Legends' First Mission


MOBILE SUIT
GUNDAM
LEGENDS

BOOK ONE:
THOSE WHO FIGHT


Prologue
The four figures gathered in the semi-darkness, glowing eyes starring down at the swirls of light and color below them. Images, fleeting in form, of distant wars and giant machines rippled across the whirlpool of light.
Why do people fight? Even the smallest of skirmishes can erupt into conflicts that ravage entire worlds.
An image formed below of green, mono-eyed mechs fighting against a fleet of space battleships.
These fought for supposed independence but in reality spread misery and death and perpetuated a warmonger’s thirst for power.
Another image came into being, that of numerous city-sized cylinders falling through the atmosphere and impacting on Earth’s surface.
Here the fighting nearly succeeded in wiping out all of humanity.
Another image showed yet another time and place, a massive orbital battle between tens of thousands surrounding a space battleship shaped like a four-pointed star.
Is humanity destined to destroy itself? Can its conflicts ever create something, rather than destroy?
This time the swirling light showed a machine that was glowing with power. It was hard to make out where it was, its surroundings possibly even alien in nature.
Can humanity reform itself?
They now saw an image of what seemed to be an asteroid being pushed away from the Earth by a greenish, iridescent cloud of light. The image rippled and was replaced by images of several humanoid machines. Although these machines were all of different designs, they all shared one design aesthetic: Each machines face bore a resemblance to ancient armor from Earth’s warrior past.
We will watch the warriors of this tale, to insure that they accomplish their task… in the battles that are to come!


Mission 1: The Lost And The Scattered
Amuro Ray decided he wasn’t dead. He based this conclusion on the fact that thinking about trying to decide if he was dead or not would be impossible if he was actually dead so he must then, logically, be alive.
            Opening his eyes, which was an effort in and of itself, he found that he was still strapped into the cockpit of Nu Gundam. The systems were down, the 360 degree panoramic view screen blank. Though his body felt completely drained, as if he had just gotten over a bad case of flu, Amuro reached over his right shoulder and pried open a small cover plate, revealing a single red button. He pressed and held the button until he could hear the familiar sounds of Nu Gundam starting itself back up. One by one the various cockpit displays came back online and Amuro was immensely relieved when the screens came back on and he could look around him. What surprised him the most was that he was on Earth! It seemed that Nu Gundam had come to rest back down on the side of a small hill overlooking a green field with mountains and forests visible in the distance.
How in the world did I end up here?
He didn’t have much more time to think about that as a large explosion rocked the Nu Gundam. Streaks of light flew past the viewscreen and the comm suddenly lit up with confused chatter.
“Hey! Hey you in the Gundam!” a voice crackled through Amuro’s headset. Amuro was about respond when a green mono-eyed MS landed right in front of him. Reacting with instinctual speed, Amuro raised the Nu’s left arm to bring its shield into place but too late he saw that the shield wasn’t fixed to the arm anymore. The green MS swung a glowing, bladed weapon down… which promptly shattered on the Gundarium armor of the Nu’s left forearm. Amuro blinked in surprise, finally processing which MS was attacking him. It was a Zaku, a genuine MS-06J Zaku II from the One Year War. What in the world was going on here?
The Zaku pilot, recovering from the loss of his heat hawk, pulled out the Zaku’s machine gun. Even though the weapon was utterly useless against Nu Gundam’s armor, Amuro didn’t feel like having the paint messed up so he activated the thrusters on the Nu and slammed into his opponent, knocking the Zaku to the ground. Amuro pulled out the Nu’s large beam saber and promptly sliced off the Zaku’s legs and arms then slashed it across the chest just enough to wreck the cockpit some. Just as he pulled back, Amuro felt the familiar flash of Newtype foresight and a distinct pressure coming from the rear. He whipped the Nu Gundam around, but it was a second or two slow under gravity. He saw the mobile suit that was coming for him, an almost antique Marasai and was just beginning to wonder how he was going to get himself out of this one when the Marasai was blasted from above. Amuro looked up and saw another Gundam swooping in. It was colored in the familiar red, white, blue and gold and carried a seemingly older model beam rifle and had large engine pods on its back. The newly arrived Gundam kicked its legs forward and knocked the exploding Marasai away from both of them and touched down in front of the Nu Gundam. A beeping noise caused Amuro to glance at a status pane that had opened up on his monitor. The Gundam in front of him was indeed broadcasting a Federation IFF but was being identified as the RX-78GP01Fb Gundam Zephyranthes Full-Vernian. Amuro frowned; he’d studied different Gundam designs that had come after his long-dead RX-78-2 and the GP01 had been built and used in UC0083, during the Stardust incident. The only reason Amuro even knew about it was because an engineer at Anaheim at had sent him a report at one point. The question now was what was a mobile suit that was an antique compared even to the RX-178 Gundam mk. II doing out here?
“Are you alright?” crackled a voice over Amuro’s comm, obviously the pilot of the GP01.
“I’m fine, thanks for the save. Who are you?”
“Ensign Kou Uraki, pilot of Gundam Unit 1.” Amuro frowned again; the name Kou Uraki was not familiar.
“I’m Captain Amuro Ray of the Londo Bell taskforce. Do you know where we are?”
“Amuro Ray? THE Amuro Ray? Pilot of the original Gundam?” Kou responded excitedly. Amuro sighed and cut in before things could get out of hand.
“Yes, that one. And I asked you a question Ensign.”
“Oh right. Well we seem to be on Earth but I can’t get an exact bearing. None of the GPS satellites will respond and the terrain isn’t synching up with any of my onboard maps. I was flying around a bit before I ran into you and these other guys started shooting at me. I’ll send you what I have.”
Amuro’s onboard computer beeped as it received the data from Kou. Just as Amuro was about to start analyzing it, a new voice came in over the comm on a general channel.
“This is… warship Minerva… in need of… under heavy attack… most of our systems are non-functional… need help… or we’ll be overwhelmed! If… friendly forces are nearby…” at that point the transmission began to repeat itself.
“Should we go find them?” asked Kou. Amuro thought about it. It had been a young woman making the call for help and she sounded pretty scared. Plus the transmission source was very close.
“Yeah, let’s go help ‘em out. We need to figure out what is going on here and it seems like we’ll need all the help we can get in that regard.”
The two Gundams took off, thrust-jumping over a series of large hills. What was beyond those hills threw them for a slight loop. A large military-looking complex was spread out below them on a grassy plain. Just outside of the complex’s perimeter, right below them, was the unidentified warship. It looked like nothing Amuro or Kou had ever seen before but it was clear that it was under attack.

On the bridge of the Minerva, Captain Talia Gladys was trying to keep order as her crew frantically tried to defend their partially disabled ship.
“There’s too many of them Captain!” cried out Meyrin Hawke, the girl who had called out for help earlier, “I don’t think the main guns and CIWS can hold them off!”
“Get me Engineering! We need to get off the ground and back in the air!” Talia barked to her second-in-command Arthur Trine.
“Captain! Incoming!” yelled Maliq Yardbirds, the Minerva’s helmsman. Talia looked over at the forward viewports and saw a Jet Dagger swoop in past the inadequate CIWS fire and pull up in front of the bridge, leveling its beam rifle right at them. Everyone on the bridge gasped. Talia couldn’t help but think, so this is how it ends?
And then the Jet Dagger was blasted out of the way and a new mobile suit halted in front of the bridge.
“It’s Shinn!” cried Meyrin, but her delight faded a bit as the bridge crew realized that while their savior was a Gundam, it wasn’t Shinn’s Impulse. A comm window opened up on the general channel and the pilot of the new Gundam was revealed to be a young man in a white helmet.
“This is Captain Amuro Ray of Londo Bell. Ensign Uraki and I will assist you.”
With that, Amuro flew the Nu Gundam over the Minerva and landed in front of some of the attacking Dagger MS.
“This is Captain Amuro Ray to unidentified mobile suits. We ask that you cease this attack until we can determine what is going on here. We all seem to be out of our element here…” he cut off as the Daggers charged at him, beam rifles blazing. Amuro and Kou had no choice but to fire back, destroying many of the Daggers. But as Amuro flew over the Minerva to attack some Daggers that were coming from the rear, he realized that they had a lot more to deal, and they were coming from the complex.
“I wish we could get that ships’ big guns to target the attackers, we just had a whole bunch more come out of that base,” Amuro said as he drew Nu Gundam’s beam saber again and swooped down to engage the new Daggers. Kou followed suit but just as they slashed the first few Daggers in two, their threat boards wailed, indicating a new incoming.
“1 ‘o clock high!” said Kou. Amuro looked up and saw the silhouette of a mobile suit against the sun and it was… glowing? And then a new voice crackled across the comm.
“Setsuna F. Seiei, intervention commencing.”
The mobile suit rocketed downwards with incredible speed, wreathed in a stream of glowing green particles. It leveled a pair of rifles at the attacking Daggers and sprayed particle beams across their ranks, decimating most of the incoming force. The rifles then transformed into blazing beam swords and the 00 Gundam charged into the remaining Daggers, slicing them apart with almost ridiculous ease. Not to be left out, Amuro and Kou charged in as well. Setsuna noted their arrival and regarded them with some surprise.
“Gundams? Are they from Celestial Being?” he said to himself. But his sensors weren’t picking up Celestial Being codes and the unidentified Gundams had no GN Drives. He didn’t have much more time to think about it, as he had to dice up a few more Daggers.

Thanks to the timely intervention of Setsuna, the attacking Dagger force was completely destroyed and the Minerva was saved. Setsuna landed the 00 in front of Kou and Amuro, beam emitters on his GN Swords deactivated but still held in a ready position.
“What are your Gundams?” he asked the two coldly.
“I’m not sure what you mean,” replied Amuro.
“Are you part of Celestial Being?” asked Setsuna. Amuro regarded the strange Gundam carefully. It was like no design he’d ever seen before and he felt a strange pressure from it. It was like he could literally feel the iridescent glow that was flowing from the suit.
“I’m Captain Amuro Ray of the Earth Federation Space Force’s Londo Bell taskforce. I’ve never heard of Celestial Being before and I’d guess by the look of your Gundam that you probably don’t know what Londo Bell is either?”
There was a short pause and then Setsuna responded.
“No, I don’t.”
Amuro was about to reply when he received a transmission from the Minerva.
“Just a moment.” He opened the transmission window and the face of Captain Gladys appeared on his screen.
“Thank you for your assistance earlier,” she said, genuine relief reflected on her face, “But did you say you were from the Earth Alliance?”
Amuro frowned. “No, the Earth Federation. I don’t know anything about any Earth Alliance.”
“It sounds like you might be in the same situation we’re in. There is certainly something very strange going on here. I suggest we meet on neutral ground, perhaps that facility nearby?”
Amuro considered it for a moment. While it might be some kind of a trap, this Minerva captain might know something he didn’t.
“Very well, we’ll meet on the grounds of the facility.”
He contacted Kou about it and also sent a note to the pilot of the mysterious glowing Gundam.

Having parked their Gundams on one knee in front of what looked like some kind of hangar complex inside the facility, Amuro and Kou climbed out of their suits and were able to meet face to face for the first time. Both of them were a little surprised that the mystery pilot had elected to get out of his Gundam and come and meet them. What surprised them even more was when the pilot walked over to a door in the side of the hangar, opened it, made a ‘come here’ gesture and out stepped a petite young woman in a white dress. She had long brown hair gathered in a ponytail behind her with twin forelocks that framed her face.
“Why is a girl like that in a place like this?” asked Kou. Amuro could only shrug. A mechanical hum and the crunching of tires on concrete announced the arrival of the captain of the Minerva in a jeep-like ground vehicle. It pulled up next to Amuro and Kou and Captain Gladys and her first officer Arthur Trine climbed out. Two of the Minerva’s marines stayed in the car, but would like jump into action in a moment’s notice if needed, if Amuro was any judge.
For their part, Amuro and Kou were slightly dismayed by the appearance of Talia and Arthur, only for the fact that their uniforms didn’t look anything like Federation uniforms, nor Zeon or Neo Zeon.
Talia smiled and held out a hand, which Amuro and Kou both shook.
“I apologize, I didn’t introduce myself earlier. I am Captain Talia Gladys of the ZAFT Battleship Minerva. This is my first officer Arthur Trine.” Amuro wondered if that was why this Trine fellow’s uniform was black.
“Again, thank you for rescuing our ship. We were investigating a strange signal in space and suddenly we all blacked out and woke up here with a half-functional ship and under attack. We’d probably be dead if it wasn’t for you!” said Arthur as he enthusiastically pumped Amuro and Kou’s hands. It was at that moment that Setsuna and his female companion finally joined the group. Arthur made to shake his hand as well but Setsuna just fixed him with a cold glare and he backed off abruptly.
“That was great piloting out there,” offered Amuro by way of cover, “I didn’t catch your name.”
“I’m Setsuna F. Seiei, Gundam Meister of Celestial Being,” Setsuna said curtly and that seemed to be all he was going to say on the matter.
“And who is your young friend?” asked Talia.
“I don’t know. I found her here when I was scouting around just before those mobile suits attacked your ship.”
Very conscious of all the eyes that were now upon her, including Setsuna’s, the young woman bowed her head slightly and said, “My name is Tiffa. Tiffa Adill.”
“Um, excuse me,” said Kou, “but did I hear you right when you said that you had been investigating a strange signal in space?”
“Yes we were,” replied Talia, “It was like nothing we’d ever seen before, so on the off chance it might be an enemy, we investigated. We suddenly blacked out and found ourselves here, as Arthur said.”
“Now that IS strange. The same thing happened to me,” said Amuro, relieved to finally hear something that may be useful, “I launched from my ship, blacked out and found myself under attack.”
“Same here,” said Kou.
“It would seem we at least share this much,” said Setsuna, “I was also investigating a strange signal.”
“We’ve come here from different worlds,” said Tiffa abruptly in her demure voice. This got everyone’s attention.
“What are you talking about?” asked Setsuna sharply.
“No, I think she may be on to something,” said Talia, seeing how Tiffa had flinched at Setsuna’s tone, “Captain Ray, what is the last date you can remember?”
“It was March 11, Universal Century double-oh ninety-three,” Amuro said cautiously.
“0093?” said Kou who was shocked at the pronouncement, “It was November 9, UC0083 last I checked!”
“The 74th year of the Cosmic Era,” said Talia calmly, “And you, Tiffa?”
“I don’t really know. It’s been 15 years since the Space War, I know that much,’ she said meekly.
“And you Setsuna?” asked Amuro.
“Twenty-three twelve AD,” he replied.
“It would seem that young miss Tiffa is correct. It would certainly explain many things,” Talia said.
“But Captain, it’s preposterous!” said Arthur almost hysterically, “It sounds like bad science-fiction!”
“Calm down Arthur and think about it. It would explain the differences in dates, uniforms, mobile suits…” Talia tailed off as she looked up at the sunlight glinting off of the Nu, GP01 and 00 Gundams.
“If that’s the case, then the question we have to ask,” said Amuro carefully, “is how did we get here? And how do we get home?”
“I suggest that while we try to figure that out, we use this facility as a base of operations,” said Talia, “We were able to scan some of it and there seems to be room for the Minerva to dock here.”
“Ensign Uraki and I should scout the area, see if we can find anyone else and at least get the lay of the land,” said Amuro.
“That would be a big help,” replied Talia, “We launched some of our suits to investigate the signal, but they all have disappeared.”
“I’ll go with these two,” said Setsuna, gesturing at Amuro and Kou with his helmet.
“Um, what should I do?” asked Tiffa timidly.
“You’re not a soldier are you?” asked Talia. Tiffa shook her head in response.
“I was with Garrod before and he pilots a Gundam, like those,” Tiffa said, pointing up at the Nu Gundam.
“Well in the meantime, you can stay on the Minerva,” replied Talia kindly.
“Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Amuro, “Hopefully we can figure this all out without too many more unexpected surprises.”

Elsewhere, the aforementioned Garrod Ran opened and stepped through a door, discovering what he thought was a familiar figure on the floor of the dark room he had entered.
“Tiffa!” he cried as he raced to her side and propped her up in his arms. He was unfortunately disappointed when he found that this young woman had short, orange hair and was most definitely not Tiffa.

In yet another place, Full Frontal of the Sleeves piloted his Sinanju mobile suit over a barren landscape. Crossing a rise, his sensors alerted him to the presence of mobile suits on the ground. They weren’t like any mobile suits he had ever seen and were being led by a blue and white suit with a golden crest. They didn’t react aggressively, so Frontal landed in front of the crested mobile suit. A communications screen opened up on his viewscreen, revealing a handsome man in a strange uniform.
“Greetings. I am General Treize Kushrenada of OZ. Perhaps you might be able to explain to us what’s happening here?”

The sun blazed down on the desert as the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam trudged across the baking, barren landscape. Inside the cockpit, Banagher Links was troubled. His story was the same as the others, but he was not about to give up in the face of strange events.
“Audrey… I felt you were nearby when I woke up. Please… wait for me.”
Suddenly his threat alarm went off. He boosted up over a cliff and to his dismay saw a number of Neo Zeon Geara Dogas headed straight for him.
“I don’t have time for this! I’ll break through them!” he cried as he punched the Unicorn’s thrusters up to full.

Cagalli Yula Attha had a headache and that kind of ticked her off. She had just woken up, strapped into the cockpit of her Strike Rouge and had just gotten it to turn itself on and what she saw as the viewscreens flickered to life wasn’t helping her mood. The Destiny Gundam was standing above her, the Strike Rouge itself laying on it’s back unevenly, and it was pointing its beam rifle right at her. The comm crackled and the unwelcome voice of Shinn Asuka assaulted her ears.
“Now this is a surprise. I never imagined I’d just bump into you like this Attha. And completely defenseless too, it seems.”
The Destiny’s rifle tracked downwards, now aimed squarely at the Rouge’s cockpit. Cagalli mentally prepared a blistering retort for the arrogant ZAFT pilot but her headache flared up again and she wearily sank back into the Rouge’s pilot seat and gazed tiredly up at the Destiny.
“So, are you going to kill me Shinn?”