THOSE WHO FIGHT
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?”