The day before the fight to end all fights... and no one can sleep. Figures.
Ok, quick update! This chapter sort of is mellow, with little action but a lot of insight.
I HOPE I got everyone right. There's a lot of cameo action here, and deep cameo action at that. I really, really hope I didn't mess anyone up.
The next chapter will be the last real chapter in part one. The chapter after that will be aftermath, and then I get to start a new part! Woo!
Disclaimer: do I need to say this by now?
Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9
8. So Close You Can Almost Taste It
You know, I always wish people told me these things beforehand.
It's not a tall order. I mean, my parents split to go to Asia for their job without dropping me so much more than a note on the counter and their credit card number for food. My brother got carted off as a soldier almost before I got a chance to kiss him goodbye. I've had just about as much control over things as, well, a blind person driving a car.
I think I have the right to ask for information. Our government probably knew everything, about the Zakos, about the fact that other countries were attacking each other, and they definitely knew all about Las Vegas. But they didn't tell until it was almost too late. I have to say the SDGundamaniacs are a big help; they've answered some of my questions pretty well.
But that's not good enough. `Some' just doesn't cut it. Not even close.
The big picture's pretty big all right. I know it's said that not many can handle it and that's true. Now that I know some more of it, I half wish I didn't.
Reiki. Bakunetsumaru says it's spirit energy, and it's pretty weak in most people.
Key word MOST.
I thought it all was coincidence. The gundams popping up in my backyard, me going along with them and everything converging in on me. I've noticed my improvement in combat, and I just I thought I was just getting better at all of it. You get a lot of practice when you're on the run from the Dark Axis. But no one could get that good that fast. But I did.
I should have recognized the signs right away. It's sort of a DUH moment right now, I feel really dumb about myself but also sort of relieved it's not something worse. Deflecting bullets? Not even my brother can do that. He probably never will be able to, either. But I can. Strike a Zako so hard that it is pushed back? They must weigh twice as much at least as a normal human. Where did I get the strength to do that off the bat? I didn't really notice at first. It was like for some reason I felt it was normal. I guess for me, it must be.
In a way, I might be able to say I sort of knew all along. It was that split second back at my school. No hope of escape, no one to help you. Adrenaline doesn't even come anywhere near that moment. It was that instant I felt something, and I knew it was all going to start. That `click' in the back of my head that says `you know how to do this; you have the strength'. I've heard it, felt it so many times in the past week or so. And after each time I'm a little faster, maybe a little stronger.
Intuition is something human, and it always has been and probably always will be. Back at the peace conference, that wasn't intuition. It wasn't anywhere close to even being remotely human. That rush that comes with being in a fight, humans get it whenever they are in danger. I wasn't at the time, but I felt that at the same time I was. It was almost intoxicating. Instinct is something very, very hard to ignore.
It's a little freaky like that. It's like there's been something sleeping in me since forever, and only now is it just starting to wake up. Like a pinpoint of warmth in my chest, something I can hold on and call to when I need my courage.
Captian Gundam says I have something like a gunsoul. I have that much Reiki. When I think of it, it must be an astonishing amount to even come close to something like that. Does this mean I'm like a weird gundam in disguise or something? That's a scary concept.
What's going to happen now? I know I must save Earth. There's no way I can let myself fail. I made a promise to Cyrus, the force, heck a promise to all of Earth. I won't fail. I can't fail.
A human with a gundam's soul. Dark Axis, I really am your worst nightmare.
“Graye? Are you down here?” Shute asked a little warily as he walked among the boxes of supplies in the storage area. He had been looking all over for her. Soon after their little meeting, she had seemingly vanished. They were sure she hadn't left, but she was nowhere to be found. Shute felt that while she may need time to think things over, sulking wasn't going to do anything. He hated to see people sad, including Graye.
There was no answer, only a hiss of steam from one of the machines used for packing.
“C'mon, I know you're here!” Shute piped, “I've checked every other place you know!”
A slightly depressed voice came from on top of one of the big piles of boxes and a grim looking girl jumped down, “Okay, I guess you found me. What?”
“I've gotta talk to you,” Shute said firmly, “Here, sit down or something.”
“Sure,” Graye sighed, taking a place among the boxes.
Shute frowned and sat next her. “You really gotta pull yourself together, Graye. I know you feel a little…um… lost but there's going to be a really big battle soon. People are already getting ready. The Force kinda needs you, Graye.”
“I bet they do,” Graye replied hazily, “I just wish I knew sooner about… everything. No more secrets.”
Shute inched closer and gave a smile. “It's not like you've changed or anything. You're still the same person that told us that you didn't have `moody gundam insurance'. Just because you know more about, well, everything now doesn't mean you're not our friend! You're cool exactly the way you are, Reiki issues and all!”
Grave now gave a small smile too. “I guess. Hey, thanks Shute. I really needed that. C'mon. Let's go get ready to kick some butt and take some names.”
“Now THAT'S the Graye I know!” Shute laughed, jumping up. “Let's go find Captain!”
Graye smiled and ruffled the boys' hair a bit. “Thanks for being a pal. You've got no idea how much I owe you for that.”
“No problem!” grinned Shute and with a thumb of his nose he set off running, “Race ya!”
“Ah! Wait up!”
The roof of Noir base is said to have a beautiful view. It's situated in a relatively uninhabited area of the white mountains, staring down to a beautiful view of the land all the way out to the Atlantic ocean. It's not on a peak, but nothing is in the way of the view.
While this makes it perfect for viewing the sunrise, as many people who have the early shift preach about, there's one more thing it's wonderful for.
All of the cities near by are evacuated. No one lives there, save a few eccentrics out there who camp out. There's no urban glow whatsoever and there's no lights on for miles.
The stars at night are amazing, stretching far into eternity. Of course, it's a little chilly out there, but for some people that kind of thing's not an issue.
Not much of anyone goes out there, and only one person really has ever made it a habit in the short months the base has been operational.
And so, the female pilot known as SilverBellsAbove stood on the sheer wall as usual, just quietly observing the stars. It's bad when you can't sleep, but no one could really blame her.
All the nations of the world had decided to mount a battle on the Dark Axis base at Las Vegas. Tomorrow. It had been three days since the peace conference, and the SDGundamaniacs were to rendezvous with the allied forces the next day. No one could sleep. It was impossible; what might have been the greatest clash of combat in the history of the world was going to come to pass tomorrow.
It was almost ironic. Most warfare fought before the arrival of the Dark Axis among the people of earth had been fought in trenches or even from afar with bombs and missiles, even the occasional nuke in the case of Hiroshima. Tomorrow it was either a siege of a great stronghold, or the clash of two vast armies on the wide, sweeping plains of battle if the Dark Axis had received the transmission. Such tactics had not been used for more than a hundred years.
SilverBellsAbove had always been told by her parents to `do good and fear no man'. It would make her father proud, she thought, if he could see her now. About to partake in a battle for the life and people of planet Earth.
A chill breeze whisked about the musing girl, swept down from the mountains. The soft rustle of trees below just made its way to the roof of the hall, a quiet sound that might not be there tomorrow if they fail.
“I know you're there, Zero,” she tartly informed, broken from her relaxed state. “Don't even think of hiding.”
The knight gundam glided down from the top of the balcony, hovering in midair. “An excellent perception, Lady Bells.”
“It's not hard. I could find you in the dark with my hands tied behind my back. You reek of flowers like a two cent perfume parlor.”
With an amused guffaw he settled down beside her and offered her a princess rose. “Are the matters at hand troubling you, milady?”
“Yep.” She nodded and took it, “I just want to look at these stars again before I go tomorrow. If we lose, there's a chance that I'll never see them again. That would be horrible.”
“You seem rather attached to the heavens,” he noted. “Pardon my inquiry, but what exactly is it that makes you want to come out here where there is no one to offer comfort? You could just as well be spending these hours down below with your comrades.”
She shook her head and smiled. “It's nothing. It's just… This is one of the few places that you can see them right. Almost everywhere else, light and things have blocked them out. One of the reasons I went into the Air Force was to just be a little closer to what everyone pushes away.”
“You would have appreciated my homeland, lady Bells,” Zero shook. “It truly is a beautiful land…”
SBA just grinned, “I'll have to visit sometime, when this is all over. There are some people in the science and research division that are working on a dimensional transport device. I just hope that they're less lazy than Bell Wood.”
“Any of this world would be more than welcome,” Zero replied.
“And that's why we're not going to lose,” SBA suddenly put in, her eyes darting back up to the pinpoints of light above her. “That's why we can't lose.”
“Pardon my confusion, but I fail to see the connection.”
With a slightly cryptic smile, the girl hopped off her perch on the wall back onto the balcony and started for the door back inside. Halfway there, she paused and turned over her shoulder, brown hair fluffing out of the way to let her speak, “These stars WILL be here tomorrow. I'll make sure of it. If they're not, than how can we traverse them? A few days ago, Earth was a wreck; it was like a playground fight on a global scale. Now that everyone's working together, it has to last. These are all our stars, and I'm going to protect them with my life, Zero. Anything less would be falling short of my duty as not only an SDGundamaniac, but as part of the Air Force and a woman of Earth. I can't fail.”
The winged knight was speechless, and in the distance a glinting swath of light streaked over through the mottled sky. A shooting star fell from its place and disappeared in a wink, casting a dim radiance on the backdrop of night.
“Make a wish, Zero,” SilverBellsAbove whispered as the door closed quietly behind her, leaving a very bemused knight of Lacroa to ponder her words in silence.
“Holy frick… Sleeping hasn't ever been this hard,” the woman known as TDAT CrystalDragon cursed, rubbing her head. “Not even Kingston. I got an hour or two, that time for pete's sake!”
She punched the coffee table in the lounge in anger. The DVD player refused to play The Day After Tomorrow, and she couldn't sleep! What else could go wrong?
Bakunetsumaru the Blazing Samurai walked into the deserted rec room, a little bleary himself. “I see that I'm not the only one who gave into unrest. What is the problem?”
“Stupid DVD player won't play the movie, that's what! I'm totally psyched for tomorrow, and I can't sleep!” The woman frowned. “Oh whatever, at least I'm not alone now. You don't know how to fix a DVD player?”
“No, I'm sorry,” Bakunetsumaru apologized. “Ugh, tomorrow reminds me of my homeland. I can't sleep either.”
Crystal shook her head. “Epic battles, armies clashing, a possible siege. Yeah, you're probably right. I hope I survive to see the afterparty.”
“What, if you die are you afraid what will become of your airship?” Baku prodded, a snide grin stretching along his face.
TDAT narrowed her eyes and hissed, “Hey, leave the RAGE out of this. What I'm saying is that it really would suck to be taken out by some dumb Zako. That's not the way I want to go down.”
“Given the chance,” Baku asked idly, “How would you die?”
“Me?” the woman blinked. “Uh, if I have to go down for the count in the battle, then I'll die in a great flare of glory; one against a thousand, or some odds like that. No one could ever say that I didn't die fighting. If I don't have to die tomorrow, I'd love to die of old age, and after that they can tell the stories of the Legendary Water Titan and how she triumphed over all odds!”
At once Bakunetsumaru burst out laughing. “A good answer! I can safely say that my homeland would respect you!”
“Hey, honor's not just for mushas you know. If I went to war tomorrow and did anything other than my best I'd never be able to look at myself the same way again. And you know what, if everyone else fighting tomorrow feels the same way there's no way we can lose!” Crystal informed, fiddling with the DVD player again.
“We'll teach those dogs a lesson or two in the field of combat tomorrow, either way,” Bakunetsumaru put, “I've never seen any faction, let alone one of humans be this on edge for the battlefield, save in Ark.”
“YES! I ROCK!” TDAT cheered, “It's working! Hey, want some popcorn Baku?”
“I'm brave enough, Captain! Honest!” Shute whined as he tried to goad Captain into letting him with him on the battlefield.
The Gundam shook his head. “I am sorry Shute, but it is not a place for you. You would not be safe.”
“I'll be careful, I promise!” Shute begged, “And you'll be there to protect me!”
“My decision stands. You will not accompany me.”
“But… what if you run into real trouble, Captain?” Shute put. “What if you need the Soul Drive?”
“I…I…” Captain started lamely. “I do not know what to say.”
“Face it! You need me! Please, let me come along! I don't care if there's blood and that! I'll be brave!”
for a second, Captain said nothing, but then sighed and flipped a bit of the hair that he still hadn't gotten completely used to out of his face. “I am 78 percent positive that I will regret this later, but you have made me reconsider, Shute.”
“Thank you! You're the best!” Shute grinned.
A subtle `shwoom' told the duo that someone had entered the dormitory that they shared.
“Uh, excuse me?” a female voice asked, “Is this a bad time?”
“Negative,” Captain replied.
The woman smiled happily and walked in. “Anyway, I have your phone back for you, Shute. I did what I could to help.”
“Cool,” The boy piped, taking it from the lady. “What's it do now?”
The woman in the white coat blushed. “I added something. I was tinkering with a dead Zako, and I found a glitch in their programming. I used that in your phone; as long as you have the option switched on you will be cloaked to all Zakos… but I think the trio might be affected too. Don't prank them please.”
“That's awesome!” Shute cheered.
“But you're not invincible; stray shots'll still come your way. Just be careful and wear a shield ring, okay?” the scientist requested. “It will deflect most of the bullets; you're one of the only ones that I can give it to. Firing guns disrupts the vibration it uses, so it won't work for most soldiers. But you're fine.”
Shute nodded to Captain, “See, I'm safe.”
“I see that Shute,” Captain nodded. “I have not archived your name. What are you called?”
“Oh, I'm Talec.” The scientist grinned, “I WOULD have been at the meetings, but I've been so busy with a prototype of our own transport device that I've been a little antisocial lately. But because everyone's been so caught up with the battle tomorrow I've got some free time. Well, good night you two. I hope I'll see you after this is all over.”
“Bye!” Shute smiled, and Talec exited.
“There's just NO WAY I'm going to lose tomorrow!” Melady cheered, “It's just me, my pockets, and a million things to blow up in all directions! YAY!”
“Geez, shut up already meatbag!” Zapper spat. “Any more and you'll sound like Dom, and I get enough of that in one day, darnit!”
The blonde woman laughed, “Why should I? Tomorrow, you guys'll be going up against your own guys WITH the Force! Any you're saying I'm messed up!”
“Look, just shut up.”
“You guys switch sides fast.”
“JUST CAN IT ORGANIC!!!!”
“Oh, look it's Grappler! YAOI YOU GUYS! NOW! KISS, SLAVES!”
“WHAT ARE, YOU, INSANE?!”
“You're not going to be at the lines, Charon?” FFD asked the tactical officer that night.
Fixing a slipping mask, it was clear that she was grinning nervously and sweating like a pig in a ham factory. “N...no thank you. I'm going to be commanding the troops from base camp.”
“Why? You've seen tons of battles.”
“Uh, you want the real answer or the dumb answer that makes me feel better?”
“The real one. Duh.”
“Okay,” Charon The Sabercat sighed. “Telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I am scared out of my mind of guns.”
FennFeatherDragon blinked and pulled out her automatic and fired it at the practice target on the other side of the room, leaving a smoking hole in the wall. “Are you kidding?”
“I'm not kidding! I hate fighting! Put that away!” Charon gasped, “You'll shoot someone in the head!”
“Wow. No kidding.”
Not much more to say. Next chapter is the HUGE OMFGBBQHAX action conclusion chapter to this little miniarc!|
Keep cool all you fans! It'll be here sooner or later! Hopefully sooner than later!
Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9