The final battle for the fate of earth. What more can be said? Good Guys, Bad Guys and explosions as far as the eye can see!
OH MY GAWD. IT'S HERE!! Seriously, I couldn't STOP writing. I almost got grounded for being up at 1 am. I'm such a nut.
Note, the main antagonist in this chapter is not fully of my creation. It is a Non canon mobile suit from the universal century series, but never appeared in the anime. It appeared in the anime novel `Beltorchika's Children'
I tried very hard to Make Graye not a Mary Sue. Sure, she is way past the average human, but nevertheless she's still a kid. You'll see what I mean later.
Phew! 17 pages and almost all of it is combat! I think my brain exploded.
Enjoy! I don't think I need to say my disclaimer again!
Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10
9. Overdrive the Limit
Graye looked mournfully out to the bleak surroundings of Las Vegas, anxiously taking apart and putting her gun back together. It was so close, she thought. The battle was so, so close. She couldn't keep still at all.
Even overlooking the once bright city, at the base camp, she could see the very edge of the Zako force in the distance. It was like an ominous wall of breakers, something to overrun the tide of Earth soldiers. It made her jumpy; she was going to be right in the middle of it. It was a lot for one high school student to handle, excessive Reiki, gunsoul or no.
Looking to her left, she saw the neat tents in rows for a massive army of Earth. France was next to Japan, Mexico was next to India, so on, and they were all fighting there, side by side. Spying two soldiers, one from North Korea and the other from South Korea embracing each other in a brotherly hug at the prospect of combat, she smiled. Even if things went wrong at least the people of Earth went down together, as brothers and sisters of the planet.
The Stratosphere Casino, spiked with red horns could be seen looming high above the field of war. To either take or level that stronghold, that was their goal.
“You're scared too?” Charon noted as she walked up, noticing Graye's concerned expression, “I don't blame you. You've been through a lot in what, one month or so?”
“Gah!” Graye yelped. She didn't hear Charon the Sabercat sneaking up on her.
The tactical expert shrugged. “Oops, didn't mean to startle you.”
“Nah. It's okay,” Graye shook. “You're right; a lot's happened to me. But, that's okay. I'm over it. I am who I am, it's not like I can change that. And what happened, happened. I can't do anything about that either. But what I can do is change what's going to happen, and that's what I'm going to do.”
Charon shook her head. “Geez, you must have thought this over a lot. You couldn't sleep either, could you?”
“Ha. No one could. I'm just glad I'm going to be staying here. You've got to go and kick some butt out there!”
“You know, this is just really, really ironic.” Graye grinned, “It's funny that way.”
Adjusting her mask, the older woman blinked. “Huh?”
“It's like a bad fanfiction that came to life. We're dealing with something from a TV show. But it's going to wipe out Earth if we don't stop it. If this was published on Mediaminer, people would be laughing their pants off. But it's not funny now, is it?”
Charon gave a giggle, “Hey, if we're lucky we'll all make it into the history books. Forget Fanfiction.net.”
“Let's go make this a happy ending. Coming? I'm going to go get back into uniform. We're mustering in an hour.”
“Okay. Let's not leave this a terrible, terrible cliffhanger. I read enough of those online.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, people of Earth, this is truly the final battle!” FennFeatherDragon announced as she paced in front of her rank of troops. It contained the Gundam Force, most of the combatant Gundamaniacs and some forces from the US Army.
A chorus of cheers from the troops echoed in the crisp air, stirring the steadily falling snowflakes.
“She's really a hero, Captain! They love her!” Shute whispered quietly. He was ready, and was going to be by Captain's side the entire battle.
FFD paced back and forth again. “Today, we're going to determine our fate, the fate of the world, and the fate of the Dark Axis. I know that many of you are shaking in your boots right now; forces will be clashing together in a way that they have not in nearly two hundred years, but remember this! You are the people of Earth! Are you going to let a bunch of tin cans overtake your planet?!”
“No, ma'am no!” The soldiers replied.
With a grin, the woman yelled louder, “I can't hear you!”
“NO MA'AM NO!!!!!”
“Much better!” the woman in command grinned. “It's time to show them what we, the people of Earth can do! I know each and every single one of you out there wants a piece of the Zako army, so to be short and to the point… Let's rock their world!”
Agreement rang through the air in the form of triumphant ovation at FFD's speech. Graye fingered her plasma pike in anxiety.
“Restless?” Bakunetsumaru asked her, noting her expression. Entengo pawed the ground as if to echo the question.
Graye nodded sheepishly, “Just a little. I may have been training my butt off the past three days but I'm not used to this yet.”
“You'll pull through. I am sure of it.”
Graye shifted uncomfortably and gave a small sound of agreement. “I hope so. I don't want to die yet!”
From afar, Zako cries of war sounded, screechy on the chill air. Bakunetsumaru drew his blades in a ring of bright steel and to the amazement of many soldiers onlooking, Zero summoned his sword. Shute gave a cheer of excitement as Captain turned the `safety' off on his beam rifle, in sync with Graye cocking her pistol.
“Men, women, MOVE OUT!” FFD ordered, drawing her viroblade and pointing it to the ruined city, “Do battle today for all of Earth!”
The unit advanced hastily and was soon caught in the already hectic fray. Missiles and grenades soared overhead, the sky black with smoke and other flying debris. The sound was almost deafening, the screams of battle and the blasts of gunshots ripped through the air, creating an environment that was hostile in every form of the word. A good many Zakos already lay dead at the hands of the massive army of Earth, but the human forces were matched in number by the Zako swarm.
There is no rush like the rush of war. And it was even stronger for Graye. Within a second she forgot about what the consequences of death were and was soon taking out as many Zakos as she could manage. One, two, three four they fell in succession to her laser pistol. Idly she saw Shute ducking in and out of some very confused Zako soldiers trying to figure out where their weapons went. Bakunetsumaru was doing a fair impression of a tornado, his twin swords flashing and slicing a path through his foes at a speed comparable to a force five hurricane. Winged Knight Zero attacked a great host of them, cutting sweeping swathes out of the air and aiming them at the enemies who were promptly sliced in half. Those that did not succumb to the destructive magical attack were neatly eliminated by a neat swipe of his sword.
The enemies were too close to Captain now for him to use his rifle effectively, so he had resorted to his beamsaber. Tens upon tens were falling before the Gundam Force, and many more were destroyed at the hands of the newly united military of Earth.
And where was Graye in all this? War is chaos. That's all that can be said. It requires awareness on all sides, all at once all the time. It requires nerves of steel, and an iron will to match.
Of course, these are all things that Graye recently required. As the wails of confrontation echoed among the rubble, she had resorted to her melee weapon and was skewering Zakos along with the rest of the Force and holding her own to boot.
“Ha!” Baku grinned, throwing away yet another broken opponent, “That brings my total to 39!”
Zero grinned and severed the head of a Zako threatening to sneak up on Captain, “I'm afraid you've fallen far, Bakunetsumaru! My count of fallen foes tallies to 43!”
“Aw man,” Graye breathed, her heart pumping, “I'm only on number 27!”
Zero nodded to the girl in their midst, “An admirable effort, Graye. And not a scratch, well done!”
“As of 2.4 seconds ago, my count of neutralized hostilities numbers 52,” Captain informed neutrally, leaving a bewildered Bakunetsumaru felling Zakos even faster than before.
Graye almost chuckled, but when a large explosion rocked the ground two inches from frying her crispy, she jumped back in surprise, “WHOACRAP!!! WATCH IT!!”
The Zako forces parted briefly to a short view of Melady, blonde hair flying and black jacket a little torn. She seemed to be wielding five different types of guns at once, exchanging weapons as soon as she fired. Missiles, lasers, red hot flames and even electrified needle shot exuded from her person as she left a trail of mass destruction in her wake “AHAHAH!!!! BURN! DIE!!! BEGONE!!! AHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!” she laughed psychotically, backed by the Dark Axis trio. A formidable power to be reckoned with!
“Geez!” Graye pouted, smacking a random Zako that was about to fire at her, “She's a nut!” and was about to finish it off…
A fist covered in a metal gravity cuff shattered the shiny green dome of the Zako soldier, and TDAT-CrystalDragon streaked onto the scene in a whirlwind of fists and ice. Frozen mecha shards began to litter the ground as she hastily did away with her enemies. Making herself known as a formidable opponent, some of the Zako squad converged on the female pilot… she was overwhelmed, no chance of suvival-
Or not. More than half the Zakos attacking Crystal suddenly were cut into small pieces. SilverBellsAbove wove and intricate whip dance through the battle, Zakos overloading with electricity and then being sliced into scrap in neat whipcracks. Crystal and Silver seemed to waltz through the battlefield, perfectly synced attacks leaving adversaries defenseless and most often, dead.
Hearing a whizzing, falling sound tear above her head, Graye jumped out of the way.
Soldiers and Zakos alike in the immediate vicinity froze to stare at the cloud of dust. Something big and heavy had just landed there. As for what it was, no one knew.
The grit died down and the figure of a very large robot formed out of the haze, a representation of the peak of 2012 technology. Perched on its massive shoulder was the figure of a man in a black raincoat… or robe. If one played videogames, it was recognizable as the garb of the legendary Organization XIII of Kingdom Hearts. A hood covered his face, but a voice escaped the man as he surveyed the scene.
“I can't believe you guys started without me!” he announced tartly, hopping down from his lofty elevation and brandishing a red flower print umbrella that no one saw him enter with. “Trevor, let's get the party started.”
A lone Gundamaniac gasped, “Oh my god! It's Cybertoy00!”
At once the android started bashing through the Zakos like they were tissue paper. Many enemies tried to plant control horns but either they could not reach the head, or if they did the foul device simply fell off, inactive. As for Cy, he was streaking through the crowd of Zakos, smacking one after another with his odd weapon. It seemed a complete mystery how beings of metal could ever be damaged by a simple umbrella, but they fell one by one all the same. But Graye was too caught up in the battle to stay. She was soon swept away, but not before she heard the faint words `Fist of the eclipse!' and witnessed a discharge of searing but freezing force destroy a good twenty Zakos in one go.
Graye moved on through the maelstrom, and she realized the Force were nowhere in sight now. But she didn't care. All that existed was what was going on around her, her weapon, her allies and herself. It didn't matter that her friends weren't by her side. They were still HERE, and that was good enough for her.
Barrage whizzed overhead as she found herself farther and farther into Dark Axis territory. Only the bravest soldiers ventured out here, and the Force was still occupied with the larger host back in the main battlegrounds.
There were fewer Zakos here, and more places to hide. Realizing she was a little out of it, Graye took the opportunity to hide behind an old gas station and take a breather…
Huge bursts of beam light erupted from the top of the Stratosphere Casino towering overhead. The same color as the light that she had seen the day her brother had been petrified.
“That's not an EMP. We've got our own electromagnetic pulse generator that will neutralize any dark axis attempts at using the Bagu Bagu. And they know that; they won't try that tactic. What the frig WAS that?!?!” Graye thought in alarm as the light crashed into the warring forces some way away, obliterating both Zakos and humans equally and without quarter.
“It came from the tower,” she whispered in recognition. That was where she had to be. That was where she could stop it all. And she was going to get there.
She burst from her resting place and she spied a hoverboard in use by a Zako medic to shuttle a damaged squadron leader back to base.
“Sorry, but I need that!” she yelled, aimed her laser pistol at the medic and disposed of both mechas. Climbing on, she sped over to the lofty building, but was careful not to look down.
Shute shivered as he followed Captain Gundam through the battle. Cringing, he mentally yelled at himself to wanting to be here. War was gruesome, and not for children. Yet here he was. He internally forced himself not to throw up, remarking that he'd have nightmares for months.
They had lost Graye a while ago, and the Force was a little concerned but sure that she could handle herself. Slowly, they were making their way to the Zako base of command and were encountering fewer and fewer Zakos. The Gundamaniacs had pulled back to regroup and figure out a better strategy, but were due to enter the fray again any time now. Not surprisingly, they had sustained few injuries. It figures, them having more than twice the normal amount of Reiki and while not up to gundam standards, they certainly were capable in battle.
“We're getting closer guys! We can make it!” Shute nodded, skating in zigzags to avoid fire.
Bakunetsumaru nodded, “Yes; the leader is close. It's made its presence known; the dog was still in secrecy when we were here last.”
“Still, thy words are but half true. While the villain is here, it is nowhere to be found on the field of battle!” Zero replied, performing an aerial maneuver to avoid being targeted.
Captain pointed at the tower, “There is a 99 percent chance that the commander is inside the complex.”
Huge bursts of light erupted from the very top of the building, smiting the warring armies below.
“Negative,” Captain clarified, “There is a 100 percent chance that the commander is inside the complex.”
Shute, who had been scouting the territory a little ways away rushed back in a hurry, out of breath and in a panic. “Captain! Captain!” he wheezed.
“What is it, Shute?”
“It's Graye! She's here! And she's headed for the tower; she's gonna take on the big bad guy, I know it!”
Bakunetsumaru scowled. “Has she gone insane?! Gunsoul or no, she's a novice warrior! It's madness!”
“No, Bakunetsumaru,” Zero said darkly. “If my qualms are indeed correct, it is a promise to her kinsman.”
A stray bullet hurtled by Graye as she hurtled up story after story, rapidly approaching the top.
“This ends now. I don't want to see Earth lurching along like a half dead animal anymore. It hurts. And I'm going to stop it. I don't care how.” Graye thought. Truthfully she doubted she could really do anything, but to her anything that might save her planet was worth a shot. Not even the fear of falling down to the ground far below phased her much. But while she may not have looked it, she was scared out of her mind of what could happen.
Pausing to look groundward, she gulped. She was nearly at the top now, and the battle down underneath seemed like a mad ant farm. “Ohcrap… that's a looong way to fall…” she gulped, and finally she reached the top floor. Red spikes spiraled out from the domelike roof and the rollercoaster that was once there was removed. Carefully, she climbed onto the narrow observation deck. The indoor portion of it was much expanded into a red dome with a single horn spiked out the top. Upon closer inspection, the dome was made with red glassy windows arranged around the horn in a circle at the top, almost like stained glass. A lone door like a gaping mouth into the unknown lay in front of her, the last room to enter in order to end it all.
She paced quickly into the structure, persuading herself that what she was doing needed to be done.
“Okay,” she whispered, “Come out, wherever you are. I didn't come all the way up here for nothing.”
The almost circular room had a floor of black marble that almost seemed so dark that it would swallow her. There were no lights, but the crimson stained windows sent scarlet light everywhere, everything seemed to be in shades of rose and cherry. Even the walls were painted dark mahogany, enhancing the effect that the room was going to consume her.
“Then maybe it was best if you hadn't come up at all, foolish girl,” a deep but feminine voice sounded from nowhere. “Maybe it was best you stayed behind with the rest of your weak breed.”
Graye whipped around, her dark hair appearing even more pitch in the absence of cool light. “H..hey! Come out where I can see you, and then you can feed me all the villain BS! Are you the Assistant Deputy General?”
“Is it possible for you to refrain from the thoughtless questions? What do you think, human?”
“You are! Get your butt out here, I've got a few words for you.”
“I think not.” The voice laughed in a tone that made the girl's blood run cold. “But I suppose I'll play with you a bit… it might prove amusing to me.”
At once a thin beam of bright ruby light erupted from somewhere unseen and Graye just barely had the initiative to dodge it. “Ah!”
Jumping back, she took the chance to look more closely at what was firing at her. Hovering midair, there were six remote funnel lasers… and they didn't look like they were going to be friends with her.
“Having fun yet, human?” the voice grinned, the funnels firing repeatedly in all directions. “It really WAS irrational of you to come up here…”
Graye bit her lip and attempted to evade as best she could, but a beam still struck her chest. Thankfully it wasn't a very powerful hit, but it was enough to leave a burned, smoking hole in her uniform. “Urgh!” she grunted in pain. “It's a riot,” she spat and thought about what she could do.
Leaping out of the way of yet another wave of onslaught, she started to think. “These things can fry me no problem, and if I get hit it's nix for me. No way I can take them out with my pistol, that's for sure. Man, these remind me of Sazabi…” her train of ideas was interrupted by a very near miss. “Okay, focus. I can't kill these things, so how am I going to take them out, I'm no Guneagle… that's an idea, if only I can get them low enough.”
With a wounded expression, she pretended to trip and fall. “Ow!” she yelled convincingly (which was not surprising, because the chest wound was rather painful). The funnels converged in a menacing fan over her, hovering only feet away from her prone form.
“Well, it was fun while it lasted. Goodbye, organic.”
The funnels charged up for an extra powerful attack and just as they were about to fire…
Graye dived to the side, rocketing straight in front of the first remote weapon. The firing ends of the cones all immediately snapped in her direction, and in the direction of the backs of each other. Every single one fired in unity, destroying one another. Graye hit the back wall of ruby crystal, braced herself and jumped away, causing the last remaining beam (which was red) to reflect off the red glass instead of hitting her, thus acting like a mirror and obliterating the last funnel in line.
“Yes, I'm good!” Graye quietly breathed, “Thank you Guneagle and your weirdo tactics.” In truth, she had done it by the skin of her teeth, and it was a miracle that the General had been simply firing warning shots to toy with her instead of fatal blasts.
The voice gave an appalled choke, as if it didn't believe what happened. “Those were due for an upgrade, anyway.” She spat angrily, “So, you're one of… those organics that inhabit this bothersome world. While valuable for your Reiki, they really are a pain to track down… what are you called, human? I prefer to keep track of my kills.”
Despite the wound, she stood up proudly, a blatantly determined, defiant look exuding from her expression. “My name is Graye Tyrone Kenneth, sister of Cyrus David Kenneth, SD Gundamaniac, friend of the Gundam Force and… defender of planet Earth. That good enough for you or do I have to go into distant cousins?”
The door to the outside slammed shut, destroying all daylight in the red stained room.
“Ah, so you're the little pest that's been aiding the gundams. I was wondering,” The voice said, and a door that she didn't notice before opened up at the back of the room. “Then it's appropriate if I grace you with a personalized sendoff. Look upon your death, Human; I am Assistant Deputy General Nightingale, and I will destroy you!”
“C'mon! We gotta hurry!” Shute begged as the elevator refused to go any faster. There was no way Zero could fly them all up all the way, so they had fought their way into the relatively deserted base and were currently taking a large service elevator up as far as it could go.
Captain blinked. “Shute, the device will not operate any more efficiently if you request it to do so.”
“But really! We have to be up there! Graye could be dead!”
Zero shook his head, “Lady Graye will persevere. It has been scarcely five minutes from the time when we spied her ascending to the zenith on the flying machine.”
“Zero, this is no time for formal speech,” Bakunetsumaru criticized. “We have no knowledge of this `Deputy General'. We have no idea what she could be facing.”
They burst out into a crude loading dock only two floors from the top. It was simple for them to climb/fly/jump the rest of the way. But when they arrived there, they found only a closed door and the sounds of burst fire.
“No!” Shute cried, “she's in there, we can't get in!”
“We have other problems to be dealt with before that, Shute,” Zero informed as a large host of Zakos advanced up onto the roof with them, all bearing down viciously.
“Then it is decided,” Bakunetsumaru nodded, dismounting Entengo, “That this is her battle to fight. We are unable to interfere. This is her test.”
“Good luck Graye,” Shute whispered sadly and them turned to the huge patrol of Zakos. “Let's get 'em!”
She was BIG for a Zako.
Standing nearly a two heads taller than Graye, Nightingale looked to be a complete terror. Modeled vaguely in the form of a woman, she had a jutting powerful chest and feet that looked to be built for stabilizing herself when firing the massive beam rifle she carried. A large fin stuck from her streamlined helmet out the back, like a bloody red pennant. Two pairs of `wings' that obviously had storage for the now destroyed funnels jutted out to enhance the illusion of grand size. Nightingale was painted a bright sanguine vermillion, the garnet hued light falling on her armor seemed to cause her to glow eerily. Gold edging decorated some parts of her armor, and it was clear that she was of high importance.
“Ohcrap,” Graye mumbled, taking a step back. If her memory of the Gundam series that she had ever seen or heard of served her right, the canon Nightingale was the RELPACEMENT for the canon Sazabi, and was even more powerful. “I'm screwed.”
With something resembling a crooked smile on her faceplate, she aimed her mega beam rifle. “Very much so.”
Graye's not stupid. It doesn't take a genius to know to move when a gun larger than you are is aimed at you. A powerful flare ricocheted where she would have been a second before. Shots poured after the evasive girl, keeping her at a distance and disabling any hope of offensive strategy. They crashed on the stone floor, leaving smoking pockmarks in their wake. Graye's forehead was soon covered with sweat and her breathing sped up to a frenzy. She was pretty fast on her feet, quite a bit faster than the average person that was for sure, but this was pushing it!
“Oh, flighty are we?” Nightingale sniggered. “This might be more fun than I thought.”
A single pulse of the beam rifle seared her flank, another part of her uniform charred black.
Graye winced, but that pain wasn't really too bad. But it made her more angry. She was being TOYED with.
“Shut your face!” The girl yelled and pulled her plasma pike in stride. Her opponent paused for a split second to analyze what she might do, but that was just long enough for Graye. Rebounding off the other wall, she sprang at the Assistant Deputy General and her plasma pike met metal…
The barrel of the mega beam rifle was sliced clean off and it fell to the ground in a sharp clank. A look of deviant triumph rang around on Graye's expression as her gaze met her foe's one-eyed stare.
“Brazen pest!” barked Nightingale as she brought the butt of the now useless gun around to strike Graye in the face, causing her to stumble back.
A second strike to her middle connected and a distinct `crack' was heard as a few ribs went down for the count. Graye screamed. The blow flung the girl back, skidding on the floor and lying to rest there for a few painful seconds, gasping in agony.
Slowly she dragged herself up, obviously hurt but still going. “…Ow…” she spat and lifted her head. A great purple bruise blossomed from her forehead and where the skin was broken by the sharp metal edge a trickle of blood ran down just to the left of her eye. “That hurts like heck.”
“You are sturdy, girl,” Nightingale noted, discarding her now useless beam rifle. “I have broken every single bone in a man's body with a similar blow.”
“I'm made out of tougher stuff than that, you nasty piece of work,” Graye replied. “Try me.”
Laughing, a hatch opened up on ADG's chest to reveal a huge particle gun. “Gladly. Dodge this!”
The hostile mecha powered up for an attack, searing energy building up. Graye tried to dodge, really and truly, but the pain in her chest was just too much to bear. She could not move fast enough-
This was not a click. This was something far louder, like the mental sounds before were simply the manipulation of tumblers and now something had unlocked. Graye barely knew what she was doing, but her body drove forward with a will of its own, as if to show her how it was done.
“Omni Bolt!” she cried, though Graye was not sure if it was herself at all, and a green glow flooded from her hand into her Plasma Pike. She brought it up as to cut through the obliterating discharge from the particle cannon and released a slash through the air. A pulse of energy cut the tide of the searing energy attack and passed straight through. Rotating in on its target the shining emerald blast hit its mark, dead center on the particle cannon, the remnants of Nightingale's assault crashing harmlessly on the walls behind her.
“Urgh!” the officer of the Dark Axis grunted as she was pushed back a little. The cannon in her chest was sparking and would work no more. Covering it up, she glared. “You plan on disarming me, one weapon at a time. It's not going to work, especially when I have these!” she cried, pulling twin beamsabers out of compartments on her arms.
Graye shifted her weight with her plasma pike in hands, but winced as her middle throbbed. A drop of blood fell off her chin as her vision blurred a little. She was hurt, and badly too, while in comparison Nightingale didn't even have much of a scratch besides her weapons being eliminated! As her foe advanced into melee combat, she grunted, “Not very original, you've got a lot of the same crap as Sazabi, you creep. I'll… keep up with you! I can!”
Sabers crashed on a pike for several minutes. The room was a whirlwind of dodging, parries and evasion. But slowly, Graye was wearing down. It was not that her stamina was depleted, but it was because she began to accumulate more and more minor injuries. White uniform was streaked with blood and black hair was matted with sweat. Vision became hazy for greater and greater durations, and she slipped and made mistakes more often. This was her limit, and she could go no farther.
“You know, it is ironic,” Nightingale sneered. “You earth humans predicted your apocalypse in ancient times to fall on the date December 23, 2012. As luck would have it, that is exactly today's date.”
And with one fell swoop, Nightingale backhanded Graye with all the strength bestowed upon her. Flying through the air, the mecha jumped after her and delivered a punch with a beamsaber fist, accelerating Graye's descent. The girl crashed into the black marble so hard it splintered and cracked beneath her, creating a shallow crater.
Graye was still.
And Nightingale laughed.
“Captain!” Shute yelled as he heard a crack from within the dome “We're done with the Zakos; now we can help Graye!”
“That depends if we can reach her,” Zero reminded and the whole force ran up to the metal door.
Baku shook his head, “I cannot do away with the door using Tenkyo-ken. That would destroy the girl within.”
Captain had crashed the door in with one well-placed kick. A beam of light entered the bloodstained haze within, falling on the figure of a prone and lifeless girl.
“Graye!” Shute cried, half wanting to run up and check his newest friend, but was halted by Captain as a large red android blocked passage.
The commander of the Dark Axis on Earth gave an eerie mecha grin. “So this is the infamous Gundam Force. Pity; I expected something more than a few ragtag fighters in human morph.”
“Lay down your weapons and withdraw at once,” Captain gave monotonously, brandishing his beam rifle.
Shute blinked at the still smoking remains of funnels, a bisected mega beam rifle and the sparking hole in the chest of the red Zako leader, “I think Graye took most of those out already.”
“A honorable effort,” Bakunetsumaru sighed. “What is your name, dog?!”
With a snicker, a name was given, “I am Assistant Deputy General Nightingale. Prepare for the end, Gundam Force.”
“Let's go!” Shute called, rallying the spirits of all there.
All of them.
I really shouldn't have bothered.
I mean, c'mon. I'm a kid. A crazy highschool student. Reiki or not, that's all I am right now.
What was I thinking? Did I actually believe I had a chance at beating Nightingale? She's stronger than Sazabi. I only got one hit in, and all that did was disable a weapon. I didn't do jack in the end. Where is your soldier's pride now, Graye Tyrone Kenneth?
It hurts so much. I can't move. Everything is just one big blur. I want it to end, oh god, let it end. I can't take it anymore. Can't I have peace?
Am I dying? I always wondered what it would feel like, to die. There were days when I've wanted to die, especially those years ago when I was sure my brother would never return. I still remember the lecture dad gave me when I told him I wanted to die…
Death is not salvation, death is not relief. Death is the end of a story, you know. Sometimes it is a happy ending. Sometimes it closes a tragedy. But an early death ends a story in the middle. No one has the right to do that to the people who want to know what happens next! There is no happily ever after for people who never finish their book.
Dad. Mom. I wonder if they're all right. I wonder if they made it to the remote station. I guess I'll never see them again. I hope they won't be too sad. I went out fighting, right?
What about the Force? Where are they? Are they worried? Do they know… where I am, what I tried to do? Will they ever forgive me?
Death. I'm abandoning them. If I die, I leave them forever. They'll never let me go.
Neither will the Gundamaniacs. Or Earth. Or Cyrus. No one will ever forgive the soldier who quit.
They would never forgive me.
You're a soldier now, Graye Tyrone Kenneth. And a soldier doesn't give up, not ever.
I won't give up. I will win this.
“It's impossible!” Bakunetsumaru cried, “Not even our Triple Attack defeats it!”
Shute frowned in disbelief, biting back a tear as he thought of Graye lying coldly to the side, lifeless. “But it made a really big dent! We gotta keep trying!”
“Shute, I think that this time your words may not depict the truth!” Zero cried, and was hit by a sweep of Nightingale and tumbled backwards in the air a little. The Dark Axis general was now very wounded, but was exceptionally stubborn in defeat. The Triple Attack had severely crippled it, but apparently the armor was built to withstand such attacks. What the Gundam Force couldn't figure out was how Graye had managed to pierce armor to disable the particle cannon. The explanation that Captain had come up with was that Nightingale was vulnerable to Reiki, but now they had none on hand.
“I will not be defeated!” Nightingale yelled and forged onward, thick shell repelling most hits. “I will provide the Dark Axis with unlimited power!”
“I estimate the chances of your success to be…” Captain issued, but was cut off-
A cracking was heard behind them, and everyone stopped to stare. Rising to her feet amid the crater of splintered marble was Graye. Beat up, bruised, cut, bloody and battered. Barely living, she lifted her head to send a glare with blurry, unfocused eyes at the robot that had done so much damage to her home world.
“I'm not… done with you yet, Nightingale,” she rasped, and if looks could kill, the population would have immediately been halved. Silence pressed heavy on all there, only broken by the sounds of war below and the howl of snow-laden wind past the tower. The burgundy crystalled glass cast a shadow on the girl, light reflecting on deep incarnadine blood and shining upon silvered eyes.
Graye didn't care about the pain anymore. She couldn't let her friends, her world down. She felt her broken body quiver, as her rebellious stare seemed to cut through Nightingale's composure.
“You should be dead!” Nightingale shrieked, “You can't be alive! No human could have survived that!”
“0 percent,” Captain whispered, correcting what he previously was about to say.
Graye took a shaky step forward. “You know what I hate more than anything? Bullies.” Another stagger forward. “I hate being picked on. I hate to see anyone else picked on. I hate you, Nightingale. You're a bully.”
A faint green glow rose off the girl, but it slowly was growing brighter. The red walls attempted to swallow the color up, but it could not be daunted. Nightingale took a step backward, eye dilating in fear. “No… not… You're that human… from the Ark Legend…”
“I won't be bullied anymore. I won't let you because,” Graye continued, and a sharp cracking was heard. The Gundam Force shrank back a little. No one wanted to be in her way. Even Shute could tell that the amount of energy coming off her was enormous. “I made a promise to someone. That I would come for the bullies. And I came for you, Nightingale. It must really suck for you to be put out by a little girl…”
“But I am not a `little girl'!” Graye roared, “I AM GRAYE TYRONE KENNETH, AND I'M HERE TO DESTROY YOU!”
The glass overhead shattered into a million bloody shards with a terrific sound, the debris falling to the ground. Captain shielded Shute as the razor-sharp rain merely bounced harmlessly off the Gundam Force. Even if they appeared human, they were still gundanium on the outside.
“Stay away!” screamed Nightingale, throwing her beamsaber at Graye. It stabbed through her leg. The girl collapsed on one knee, still glaring at her foe.
The glow on Graye's body remained bright, despite her inability to move. “You think that because I can't move I can't do jack?” Graye spat. “It's the same with the planet. You think that if you cause chaos from within, Earth can't fight back. But here we are, united as a race to defeat you, Nightingale. And it won't stop me either. I've got one shot, and I'm gonna put all the juice I can in it!”
And with that, she slammed her hand to the floor, and all hell broke loose. At once a huge explosion of emerald light engulfed the room, the entire building. The breaking of beams and the smashing of windows were heard as the entire structure started to collapse to the ground. A harsh cry erupted from Nightingale in the maelstrom as the Stratosphere Casino tumbled back down to earth. Shute screamed, but was puzzled when he felt nothing.
As soon as the burst came, it left. The Gundam Force stood on concrete ruins as if they had not just fallen over 200 stories. The entire building was destroyed, and the gutted remains of what they only could guess was a weather machine lay obliterated off to the side. An ash smear was all that was left of Nightingale. If she indeed did have a Soul Drive similar to Sazabi, they would never know. Nothing was left of her, not even a scrap of gundanium.
Graye lay still and battered aways away, arms spread as if she was reaching for something. Curiously, still while snowflakes floated softly to the ground clumps of daisies poked straight through the concrete, as if the will to live had overcome even cold stone. The dark clouds overhead that blocked most of the sun out rapidly thinned, golden rays of light falling on the forces warring beneath the sky. But it was not for long, because the Zako force was nearly wiped out by now. They became scattered and unorganized. The Dark Axis no longer had a leader to relay orders from.
At once the Force ran up to Graye, worried looks betraying their feelings for all to see.
“Is she okay, Captain?!” Shute asked frantically, looking at the small puddles of blood.
The gundam nodded. “Yes, but just barely. Her vital signs are not dangerous, but still weak. The most logical course of action would to relocate her to a medical facility immediately.”
“I can't believe she did it!” Shute gasped, “Man, we could have gotten Nightingale eventually, but she came back and BOOM! I didn't know she could do that!”
Zero nodded and carefully picked her up, wary not to upset her cracked and broken ribs. “It truly is remarkable.”
Bakunetsumaru nodded, and Entengo walked to Graye. His horse gently nuzzled his earthling friend, wiping snowflakes off her face and the musha gundam simply said, “Such is the power of a warrior's resolution.”
As you can see, Nightingale is the MSN-04II Nightingale from the novel Beltorchika's Children. I took a lot of author's license with her. First of all, I decided to make the suit a `her' simply because personally I think that the official picture looks like a `her'. That and I know she has 10 funnels, but that was too many. It wouldn't work, so I cut it down to six.
For Graye's final fight, she got really, really badly hurt, and she still didn't manage to really land a hit until the very end. She was HOPELESSLY outclassed, and if the Gundam Force didn't soften Nightingale up before her final blow Graye might not have killed her. Also, if given enough time, the gundam force could have taken Nightingale down by themselves. Graye simply came back and finished what she started. So essentially, the way she killed Nightingale was using tactics pulled out of thin air, her new signature attack and losing control of her Reiki. In other words, she won by accident *sweatdrop* does this still make Graye plod the path of Suehood?
Next chapter is the aftermath and the conclusion of part one of this little arc. I've got quite a few ideas for my sequel, so stay tuned.
Peace! I hope I did the massive amount of combat right, If I screwed up I'm really really sorry!
See ya folks next time!
Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10