Kidou Senshi Gundam UC Volume 9 Chapter 2
Due to the uneven gravitational pulls between Earth and the Moon, it gave the impression that garbage could gather easily in the vacuumed space. Of course, they were not lingering at one point, but rather, moving around the entire area at several kilometers per second. However, if one was to get in and move at a similar velocity, it would feel no different from floating amidst the countless debris. The debris field comprising of dust from the colonies, battleships or mobile suit wreckage were the remnants of the war that could not be removed even after a hundred years. A chilly presence entered the cockpit, and ostensibly, the souls of all the people killed were gather here.
No, this was not it. Perhaps the eerie feeling was the multiple killing intents crossing each other at this moment, the screams of the souls gathered in space. Riddhe Marcenas lifted his head and stared upon the flames of the battlefield flashing in front of him. He could see small lights continue to flicker amidst the floating debris. There was no sound, no heat, just a battlefield in space. There was a frosty aura from within, bringing about goosebumps, with a certain person’s voice—
“This feeling…is that Banagher?”
He pressed at his head, which took a slight jolt, and muttered to himself. He knew he was getting too sensitive; the “Banshee” psycommu, functioning as a full psycoframe, would sometimes cause the pilot’s neural waves to diffuse, and noise to echo in his perception. It was impossible to pick up a specific target’s neural wave at this distance. Though he shook his head assuming he was thinking too much, the name Banagher was ever so depressing to him, and lingered in his mouth with a nauseating bitterness.
This bitterness summoned another name. He was no longer able to determine his own feelings, and looked upon the sting stabbing at his chest. What am I doing here? Riddhe asked himself, (Master Ensign Secret Agent, do you hear me?) and at the next moment, an overly courteous voice came through the communication channel, causing him to hurriedly lean back on the linear seat again.
(There’s a weird message from the “General Revil”. It seems that big shot from Anaheim’s coming here on a Base Jabber.)
Riddhe inadvertently asked as he looked down along with the main camera. The “Banshee” was on a Base Jabber platform, and he could peer down at its head between the two manipulators holding onto its grip. He could not see the inside of the cockpit, which was covered by armor, but one could imagine the officers giving disgruntled looks at each other as they had to listen to this brat of a Special Agent Ensign. To the veteran soldiers, there was nothing more infuriating than seeing a mischievous brat abuse his special authority and remain silent.
The shield of that authority—Alberto, was arriving. Riddhe was practically a cargo for the past 9 hours, and there was a dull tremor passing through his body. He pricked his ears to the the voice from the contact loop, and it seemed the officer did not intend to ask to me in the first place. (It seems they’re sending backup supplies for the “Banshee”.) He said nonchalantly.
(Position wise, they’ll meet us in an hour if we slow down immediately. Do we wait?)
“What’s inside the backup supplies?”
(I don’t know. There’s too much debris, I can’t secure the laser communicator. It’s your call whether you want to wait or go.)
There was no sense of spitefulness in the escort officer’s voice. Riddhe turned his stare right to the right, and saw flashes of explosions in the CG-corrected space.
It had been 30 minutes since they entered the Shoal Space region, and the lights of battle continued to multiply. Even after purging all the boosters, it would take less than an hour to reach the battle. Alberto definitely had his own reasons for making the trip here, and it might be better to wait for him. However, the battle situation might change in some way. What would happen if the “Nahel Argama” reached the “Laplace Box” with the “Unicorn” leading the way?
A shiver permeated through Riddhe’s body, causing him to experience goosebumps. The opening of this “Box” would topple the world—and more importantly, he felt terrified of seeing everything end without being able to grasp the situation. He did not think too much, but decided in his heart that he could not wait on, “Continue on.” He spoke stiffly,
“Maintain our current speed. We’ll ambush the enemy in front of “Industrial 7” as planned.”
Riddhe was also concerned about the contents of the support goods, but it definitely would not be a new equipment developed in such a short time, even if it was a joke. He muttered to himself, I have to prevent the “Box” from being opened. I have to maintain the order of the world. I have to finish this mission even if I have to do this alone. This is the reason why I’m here. However, there was a voice in the psycommu, Is it? He felt that voice knock on him, (Roger that) but did not clearly hear this reply from the officer.
He bit his lips and stared at the distant battlefield. The debris floated around him slowly, and made it impossible to tell that he was moving at high speeds. Upon thinking about how this silence, which practically severed him from the world, would continue for almost an hour, he had the impulse to accelerate even if he had to finish the booster fuel.
The 4 CIWS located at the rear engine block fired its anti-mobile suit 60mm machine gun turrets. The “Geara Doga”, pursued by the crossing fires, made its way to the aft, and aimed its beam machine gun at the main thruster.
But right before it could fire the mega particles from its muzzle, the “Loto” hiding on the ship leapt off the deck and fired the Gatling gun mounted on its right shoulder. The “Loto” was a machine 2 sizes smaller than an ordinary unit, but the precise projectile hit the abdomen of the “Geara Doga”, causing the unit with the Zeon insignia on the sleeve to explode. The ring of explosion expanded near the “Nahel Argama”, and the shockwave and shrapnel rained above the “Loto”, lying prone on the deck. The ship let out a rattling noise due to the shrapnel hitting it, and Otto, upon seeing the external surveillance monitors being covered in white light “NOW!” roared with a voice no quieter than the explosion.
“Return Juliet 006 to the ship! Are you ready, mechanics!?”
(We can finish in 7 minutes!) The mechanics team response echoed amidst the bridge, shaken by the shockwaves, as the rear surveillance cameras showed a “Stark Jegan”. The pale green humanoid had depleted its anti-ship missiles, and stumbled towards the deck, looking like a walking corpse. Looks like we have to use the emergency landing net. Otto sensed that it would be bad if they were being fired upon when taking in a unit, and the moment he glanced aside at the portside sensor panel, a “Geara Zulu” grazed by, causing him to shiver.
He saw a painted line on its right arm, probably for identification, and heaved a sigh of relief. This “Geara Zulu” had the identification logo of the Republic Army’s anti-air identification, and was definitely on their side. It was a unit belonging to the “Garencieres”, labeled with the code G.
“To all escort units, with the retreat of Juliet 006 our ship’s defense capabilities is reduced by 30%. Proceed in a cluster formation and focus on defending the lone ship.”
“Massive numbers of enemy units incoming. Roaming target 13 “Musaka” will enter our firing range.”
The sensor operator’s voice overpowered Ensign Mihiro’s, leaned forth from the Captain’s seat, “I’ll leave the evading to you.” and commanded the navigation operator at the front.
“The enemy ships are still around. They’ll shoot us!”
Without waiting for the command to be repeated, he stared at the 3 markers lit on the main screen. The fleet formed by two Musaka-class ships and one disguised trading ship had set up a triangular formation in front of them, and it seemed they were still mobile given their movements. Since it was the only fleet the “Unicorn” spared when it moved forward, there was no doubt that it still had its firepower intact, and was definitely an opponent the “Nahel Argama” could not handle alone.
It had been more than 2 hours since the battle started, and though they had entered the Shoal Space Region, the number of mobile suits breaking through the anti-air perimeter had increased drastically, and the escorting units they had were unable to deal with them. It was not simply because the floating space debris obstructed them, but also because the ‘iron wall’ that was always in front of the “Nahel Argama” had disappeared—a fact Liam, Mineva, who was seated at the commander’s seat, and all that were present in the bridge realized. We overrelied on him, and now we have to pay the price for it? Otto gritted his teeth as he watched the enemy markers continue to close in on them. “I heard the “Unicorn” stopped moving?” upon hearing this line, he turned behind.
A normal suit with an Anaheim logo on the chest floated into the bridge, with the person inside panting hard. Otto saw Aaron’s face within the helmet, and recalled that he was the one who called the latter in. “That was 5 minutes ago”, he tapped at the console on the armrest, operating it.
“Since it’s from the optical sensor, we don’t know the details. The lase communication’s cut off.”
There was a grainy telescopic visual in a corner of the main screen. It was tough to determine, but it was the CG corrected visual of the “Unicorn”, which had yet to move since a while back. It was dodging the beams that were coming in from all directions, but the way it continued to roll about at the same place resembled that of a bug caught in an invisible fly trap. The ‘iron wall’—the RX-0 which had practically neutralized the Neo Zeon fleet single-handedly, was isolated in a space thousands of kilometers away, caught in some strange phenomenon. “This is…” Aaron stood at the side of the Captain’s seat, muttering, and the light from the explosions passed through the window, lighting his pale face.
“I heard the NT-D has an activation time limit. If that’s the reason for the stoppage, there’s a need to call Banagher back in.”
Mineva’s helmet too was lit by the same light as she spoke with a hushed voice. One could tell, without looking at her trembling state, that she wanted to scream out too. Aaron kept his eyes fixated on the visuals, “This may be one of the reasons.” and cautiously answered,
“But Banagher has completely mastered the “Unicorn”, and furthermore, the data shows that there’s a way to adjust the burden on the body and extend the time limit. It’s really too weird that he’s unable to move to this extent at all. It practically seems that the Psycommu was jacked.”
Mineva responded to this line she never heard of before Otto could ask. “It’s different from radio waves, but psycowaves are still a form of wave.” Aaron finally looked away from and explained as he turned around.
“To jam the waves, you just need to negate it with a stronger wave. The Unicorn-types are equipped with this function.”
“Neo Zeon has such a weapon?”
“It’ll take the full psycoframe’s large amount of calculation ability to control and manipulate them, but if it’s just jacking it—”
Another shock was large enough to rock the ship, hushing the words he was about to say next. The ship accelerated due to it, and caused all the personnel to be pressed onto the linear seats. Otto grabbed Aaron’s arm as the latter was nearly thrown to the aft, and endured the pressure coming from the front. “A direct hit! It’s Juliet 006!” Liam’s voice caused him to shiver.
(Landing deck is breached! Hurry with the partition wall!)
“The “Kshatriya” is passed through! 4 incoming enemy units from down below!”
“We lost contact with Juliet 006. Lieutenant Mako…!”
(They’ll attack us! ECOAS “Lotos”, proceed to the bottom of the ship ASAP!)
(The 3rd rear cannon seems to be caught in the explosion from Juliet 006. It’s wrecked!)
The voices coming through the wireless communicator overlapped with the voices of the people on the bridge, and the annoying alarms added to the chaotic atmosphere. The “Stark Egan” on the landing deck was shot down, exploded, and affected the aft area of the “Nahel Argama”. Otto checked the external surveillance monitors, with one third of them taken offline, saw the pillaged landing deck melted away, and hollered, “The cannon operator should be headed to the 3rd main cannon! Tell him to respond!” As there was a problem with the repairing of the power connector, the cannon operator had left for the bridge 10 minutes ago. As he heard the casualty reports coming in from everywhere, Mihiro’s feeble voice answered him, “No response. He probably was caught in the explosion…” Though he had anticipated it, Otto felt his mind go blank.
Otto’s stare was drawn to the empty cannon operator’s seat, and he was unable to move. “Captain…!” Liam seemed to be hissing at him, but he was no longer in the mood to respond. They had to intercept the enemy units and carry out emergency repairs to the damaged areas. He had so many things to affirm, but he was unable to say anything. The emptiness in his mind gradually spread, and his thoughts were slowly devoured by it. How many have died? He muttered emptily within, I dragged so many of our crew into this battle we had no chance of winning, a non-standard military operation to boot. How many of them were killed by this useless Captain—
“Is this the end?”
The voice inadvertently leaked out, causing Liam’s face to cringe, and Mineva and Aaron to gasp. It was not simply a matter of losing that ‘iron wall’; the collective consciousness that bonded together because of the “Unicorn” existence was no longer around, and the feeling of isolation gave rise to a disoriented sense. Otto averted the uneasy stares from everyone, looked at the main monitor, and stared at the enemy fleet markers that were about to enter their line of fire. The enemy ships was lined in a triangular formation, with ample spaces between them ostensibly wary of the hyper mega-particle cannon. The “Nahel Argama” did not have enough firepower to aim at all 3 ships, and obviously, even if they had a lucky hit, they would take the hit from the gathered firepower of the remaining two.
We’ll send a retreat signal to call back the “Unicorn”, and leave the current space region we’re in. But the only way we can do that is when the enemy’s not firing on us. Otto glanced back at Liam, who had been staring at him, closed his eyes for a short moment, and clenched his fists on his knees tightly. Retreat, right when this line was about to gather at his mouth, he widened his eyes, “For the time being!” a voice rang behind him.
“Rotate the ship 270, and proceed further in that manner. When they enter our firing path, fire all cannons and shoot down the center command ship.”
The hulking body dressed in a normal suit continued as he advanced to the middle of the bridge. Otto widened his eyes as he saw the man behind the gun muzzle the previous night, “Zinnerman…” Otto heard Mineva mutter, and saw Liam get up with a face full of killing intent. “You want us to face the enemy by the side?” he asked, and Zinnerman nodded,
“This explosion just now will cause the enemy to think we have a large breach. As long as we pretend to be drifting, the enemy will gather in a cluster formation and fire at us in one go, rather than come attack us.”
“Your proof? The enemy’s wary of the hyper mega-particle cannon. They’ve been fighting in a spread formation.”
“The Tennyson fleet emphasizes most on reacting according to the situation. They have the notion that their commander will hammer their heads if they lose an opportunity. Once we show a weakness, they’ll react instinctively, especially since this place is the Shoal Space Region, practically their backyard.”
This was a common theme amongst a fleet with strong command. Otto stared closely at the man, who hid inside the detention room after the commotion the previous night. “But the “Unicorn” still can’t move.” Upon hearing this, Otto turned back and stared at Aaron, who interrupted calmly,
“The psycommu jamming weapon is preventing the “Unicorn” from transforming into the “Unicorn”. Without the “Unicorn” around, even if we go on like this—”
“It’s fine. That brat will hang on.”
“Doesn’t the “Unicorn” have a system to identify a Newtype? Do you think a real Newtype will lose its power because of some radio waves jamming?”
Aaron and Otto were both taken aback by this unexpected logic. “That’s…” while Aaron was at a loss of words, Zinnerman looked away from him and turned to the window, where the beams flashed outside. “I don’t know the theory behind the machinery, but I know that guy.” He stated with firm emphasis in his tone,
“He hung on up till this point, and now we can only trust in him. Just a little more, and we can break through…!”
Trust is just like a gamble. Otto continued to stare at Zinnerman, who looked completely different from the man who said those words back then, and seemed ostensibly realized why the latter came to this place. He stared at the white machine on the telescopic visual, still trapped in the intangible net. (I feel the same too, Captain.) This voice rang from the wireless communicator.
(I heard the basis of the Laplace Program is beyond the unknown. A real Newtype will exceed the values. I guess it distinguishes between natural and artificial Newtypes through the ‘waves’ it can’t identify, and not the rigid forms of psycowaves.)
It was Gael, and Otto, who was unable to understand at least half of what he said, turned to Aaron, “Beyond the unknown.” who muttered as he looked far away. (I don’t know the basis behind the machine either.) Gael’s voice rang again.
(But let us believe! Let us believe in the possibilities the “Unicorn” shows. If we retreat now, we’ll lose some important things. Not just the Laplace Box, but also other—”
A giant flash appeared outside the window, and a stormy shockwave shook the ship. The hull rattled, echoing with the noise from the radiowaves, preventing the rest of the words from being heard. However, there was no need to listen anymore. Otto’s blank mind regained several pieces as he stared at everyone’s faces, lit by the explosion. He saw the faces of Zinnerman, Mineva, Liam, Aaron, Mineva and all the senior duty staff—they all had nothing protecting them from behind other than the term ‘trust’. They were simply driven by a reckless impulse, devoid of any thoughts about the consequences. What will happened if we retreat now? There’s billion of people in the Earth Celestial Sphere, and I’m the one chosen to lead these 400 plus people in front of me to the frontlines. If I choose to retreat at this moment, who am I going to beg for help?
“Deep 010 downwards, 080 portside. Continue navigating through inertial flight. Wait for the enemy to cluster, and first fire at the roaming target 12 “Musaka.”
This may be my last order as Captain. Otto had this passing thought in a corner of his mind as he finished these words,
“Then, aim at 14 and 15. Keep your eyes on the enemy ships’ movements. We only have one chance.”
Everyone nodded and faced their consoles, repeating and relaying the instructions. Otto felt the ship veer greatly as he turned to Zinnerman. The latter’s eyes met his, and his bearded face turned to Mihiro as he gave the instructions, “Send a light signal to the “Kshatriya”. Turn back immediately and maintain a distance of 15km away from the ship.” Mihiro nearly reacted to his Captain-like tone for an instant, and then turned to Otto in surprise.
“If we bring back all our units, the enemy will think that we took heavy damage. Is that enough?” He explained with an unnatural sounding voice, showing how sensitive he really was. Mihiro looked to and fro between a nodding Otto and Zinnerman, and protested, “But we don’t know if the light signal will reach in this situation…” Her sensitiveness was the reason why she would have such a reaction, for she could not bring herself to forgive the man who was a traitor half a day ago. “Marida will understand.” Zinnerman immediately answered, and he again turned to look at Mihiro, deliberately bringing his chin back in.
“Please, Ensign Mihiro.”
This overly curt voice caused Mihiro to gasp, and turn back to the console. Otto watched her from behind as she started to send the light signal, and felt that Zinnerman could be kept here. “Captain Zinnerman, please sit at the cannon operator’s seat.” he said, and turned back to the main screen. “Thanks.” As Zinnerman spoke with a voice only Otto could hear, the latter glanced at him from the corner of his eyes, and then stared at the enemy ship markers that continued to close in. There was still no sign of these three ships gathering in a clustered formation as they remained in a wide triangular formation. Flashes of beams passed by on the telescopic visual insert beside the markers, showing a silhouette of the “Unicorn” on the defensive.
It’s still moving slowly. Are we being tested now? Otto muttered to himself as he watched the enemy ships movements, suppressing the uneasiness within him. As the shots from friendly and enemy mobile suits flew by, the “Nahel Argama” glided through space with its side facing the enemy ships, gradually approaching the firing range of their main cannons.
The escort unit with spiked shoulder armors swung its beam hook diagonally downwards. While holding the beam saber with a reverse grip, Nigel parried the hook away, and with the recoil, flew backwards and tossed the last grenade left on the belt rack.
The exploded grenade expanded into a fireball spreading several kilometers wide, and the “Geara Zulu”, which managed to dodge at the last moment, was dyed orange. Nigel watch the escort team unit escape in the direction he had predicted, “Daryl!” He shouted into the wireless, “Roger that!” and with this response, Daryl’s “Jesta” immediately fired its beam rifle, causing the “Geara Zulu” to brake immediately as its path was obstructed by the beam. The enemy unit flailed its limbs, trying to stop and turn around using its AMBAC, but Watts’ “Jesta Cannon” got behind it at that instant.
The beam cannons and Gatling guns on its shoulders let out flares, and the mega-particles rained upon the “Geara Zulu”, tearing it to shreds. The lower body left in space became a fireball, and Nigel tried finding the remaining unit through its beam shot. The thruster flare glided between the gaps of the floating rocks, revealing the location of the other escort units. He aimed his beam rifle over there, and at that moment, the beams crossed each other, exploding in front of Nigel’s line of fire, followed by the “Unicorn” moving in between the two sides.
“What’s that guy doing!?”
Nigel lashed out as he pulled the control stick. The “Unicorn” passed by his feet as it continued to be toyed by the purple mobile suit’s all range attacks, only evading. His movements were overly slow, even if the system had yet to cool down. Nigel spotted the escort squad sniping from the shadows of the Shoal Space region, and stared at the “Unicorn”, whose movements were completely different from before. The Beam Gatling guns equipped on its arms were firing shots that were not suppressing anything at all, and the mini objects floating around the machine reflected light.
“Those funnel-like things…!”
There were many Psycommu devices surrounding the “Unicorn”, and they formed an invisible cage, sealing it. Nigel followed his unconditional instinct and aimed his rifle at those objects. However, they were moving too fast, revolving as they sealed the machine, and if he was not careful, he could end up hitting the “Unicorn”.
They could not fire, and with the INCOMs warding them off, they could not approach. Nigel removed the scope as he left where he was. He faced off against an escort squad “Geara Zulu” flying out from the debris, and warded it off using his beam rifle. After that, he got behind the enemy unit, which had assumed that it had dodged, “F formation!” he growled into the wireless, and continued to fire suppressing shots at the “Geara Zulu”, which had its back exposed.
(Roger!) Daryl and Watts responded, firing suppressing shots from sides. The “Geara Zulu” was flanked in 3 directions as it continued to dodge and approach the purple unit. The F formation was designated using the concept of fox hunting, by using the enemy unit as a shield and lure it towards their real objective—of course, their real objective was that purple unit. Once they could approach the mother unit, they could nullify the all-range attacks of the INCOM cannons. Since they could not remove the Psycommu devices surrounding the devices, they would attack the main unit. Nigel aimed at the escaping “Geara Zulu”, and spotted the purple unit on the expanded window.
—You’re in the way.
A cold ‘voice’ shook his skull, and a sweeping killing intent blew from his feet. Nigel instinctively used his back to move the machine, and the storm of scattered mega particles passed by from his eyes. The “Geara Zulu” was exposed to the sweeping scorching mega particles, its humanoid limbs crushed.
“Lieutenant Angelo!?” The pilot’s holler was devoured by the static, and the escort unit was blown to bits, turning into a ball of light. Nigel spotted the INCOM shots coming at the 3 retreating Jesta-types, and glared at the purple mobile suit in shock.
“You attacked your ally too…?”
—Are you a stain too?
The 3 clawed INCOM was driven by the fault ‘voice’, and attacked him. It ignored the main unit, which was facing off against the “Unicorn”, and dragged its cable tail, moving so precisely that it seemed to have a consciousness on its own. The claw INCOM fired a beam, passing by the top of Nigel unit’s head, and the shield type unit fired its scattered mega-particles. The hail of beams were deflected by the I-field, covering the all-view monitor. I’ll be shot down in the next move, Nigel thought in his blank hot mind, (Stop looking down on us, you damned brat!) and at the same time, he heard Watts’ bark.
The beams and physical projectiles glided through space, and the INCOMs shook its cable tail timidly. The “Jesta Cannon” used this opportunity to attack, and fired all its weapons as it closed in on the purple mobile suit.
“Stop it, Watts!!”
The machine, infected by Watts’ fiery emotions, let its shoulder cannons roar as it fired its remaining missiles, the beam rifle, and the combined machine gun. The missiles were shot down by the INCOMs, but the trail of shots searing by the purple mobile suit, causing Nigel to see it falter for the first time. The monoeye that did not look over at them all this while flickered, and the rumbling INCOMs raced through space like a serpent. The two INCOMs, coupled with the killing intent on the “Unicorn”, lunged at the “Jesta Cannon”, and the crossfire was gathered upon the unit with the enhanced armor.
The “Jesta Cannon” soon got hit, and lost the Gatling cannon on its left shoulder, but it continued to assault the purple mobile suit. (Watts!) Daryl hollered as he provided covering fire, while Nigel drew the beam saber, attempting to cut the INCOM cables, but ended up tripping over his unit’s feet. As his vision spun about, he spotted the “Jesta Cannon” turn into a large fireball, the purple mobile suit dodging the shots, and the “Unicorn” being left in the lurch. The white machine was caught in an invisible cage, its consciousness murky—
(You brat. You don’t know anything about virtue! What are you fighting for!?)
The “Jesta Cannon” separated the additional armor by igniting its explosive bolts, and readied itself as it wielded a beam saber on the left, charging at the purple mobile suit as Watts growled. The thrown grenades exploded one after another, and the purple mobile suit flew out from the fireball, getting behind Watts’ unit. An INCOM then got to the front, firing its mega particles, shooting off the “Jesta Cannon” right shoulder. “”Unicorn”, provide support!” Nigel, upon seeing this, exclaimed, but the splintered right arm of Watts unit drifted in space as the beam rifle shots flew everyone. The thoroughly battered “Jesta Cannon” raised its beam saber on the left hand and sliced at the purple mobile suit.
—What an annoying fellow.
The goose neck-like INCOMs were driven by the furious ‘voice’, and attacked the “Jesta Cannon”. The beam from Nigel’s unit could only graze the side of the cannon, and the mega particles fired from the bottom and side turned Watts into the intersection of a crossfire.
(Am I going to die here?)
The “Jesta Cannon” had its generator ignited, creating a large ring of light in the Shoal Space. (Watts!?) Daryl screamed, but the expanding fireball engulfed it, and a shockwave spread across, depraving Nigel of the knowledge that his subordinate was killed as he was knocked several kilometers away.
The mini nova-like light, which burned and vaporized Watts’ existence, spread around. The light pushed back the purple mobile suit as it ostensibly had a will, pushed Nigel and Daryl’s units away, and rustled the 6 Psycommu devices surrounding the “Unicorn”.
There was a light so dazzling one could ostensibly feel the radiowaves permeate through the armor, overpowering his sights as it spread in his mind. The light caused the pressure of the psyco jammer to fade away from his body and mind, and a ‘voice’ his ears could not receive rang in his mind.
—It’s really embarrassing, to step down like this after all that big talk. I’ll leave the leader and the rest to you.
It was not Angelo. This ‘voice’ was barbaric, yet gentle, depreciating himself for living like this, and with a sense of loss gripping his chest, entered the “Unicorn”. “Who is it…?” Banagher was awakened by his own groan, and blinked his eyes. One of the PsycoJammers had a radiation plate, spinning like a petal as it glide by the front of his eyes.
At that instant, the “Unicorn” fired the Vulcan guns on its head, but it was not something done through the use of the Intention Automatic System. Perhaps that ‘voice’ that had entered the machine was controlling Banagher, causing him to squeeze the trigger on the control stick, but he did not have time to affirm. One of the Psyco Jammers was destroyed, and he sensed a hole opening in the perimeter. The notion to attack rose within him, and the “Unicorn” received the signal as its arms spread to the side, activating the twin-barreled Beam Gatling guns on both sides.
The Gatling guns bundled in a bunch on the back let out thick beams, and 6 trails of fire were scattered everywhere, hitting another 2 of the Psyco ammers. (You…!?) Angelo’s groan rang through the wireless communicator, and Banagher, who escaped from the perimeter of Psyco Jammers, followed the direction where the voice came from, and picked out the uniquely shaped “Rozen Zulu”. That purple death god with the light of a human life within was dazzling, with nowhere to go as it stood there—!
“You aren’t seeing anything…!”
Banagher drew the beam saber and stepped on the pedal. He got right at the enemy unit’s feet before it could let its INCOMs roam and let out crossing mega-particle shots.
“You just see what you want to see and deny everything else…!”
(What can I do? There’s nothing worth seeing!)
The “Rozen Zulu” passed through the blueish-white gaseous remnant of light as it dragged its thick cables, moving from above to behind Banagher. The shots from the INCOM cannons grazed past the “Unicorn” right when it was about to turn around, and it was too late by the time Banagher realized he was in trouble. The remaining 3 Psyco Jammers surrounded the machine, and the invisible waves negated the psycowaves, engulfing Banagher.
(Humans are all stubborn. Trust will only earn betrayal.)
The neural senses linking to the machine was severed, and the dispersion of the ‘presence’ was sealed within the body, making it feel heavy and rigid. Banagher let out a voiceless scream, and during this time, the “Rozen Zulu” got in front of him, the INCOM cables twitching like they were touched.
(Trust will only bring about hurt.)
The clawed INCOM swirled around the “Unicorn” as the cable ensnared towards it. The shield-type INCOM fired its scattered mega particles, and Banagher used the manual controls to deploy the left and right shields.
(You’re the same too. Your unselfish kindness enrages me!)
The beams were weakened due to the dispersal, but they still interfered with the I-field on the shields, causing the “Unicorn” cockpit to be shaken violently. The shocks, seemingly filled with Angelo’s hatred, hit the machine over and over again, lashing at Banagher’s body and mind mercilessly.
(As long as you’re around, the Captain will act weird. The Captain’s an existence beyond that of humanity, that’s why he’s worth trusting, and you…!)
The “Unicorn” took an impact that was beyond what the I-field could hold, and was parried backwards. The “Rozen Zulu” was closing in with pressure, and as the cables tied the “Unicorn” tightly, the claw-shaped INCOM moved in front of it as it slowly rose, covering Banagher’s sights.
(I won’t let you take him away, I won’t let you corrupt him! You’re a stain! A stain on the white bedsheet! Disappear!)
The claw grabbed the “Unicorn” head, and the 3 cannons hidden within were pressing on its face. The 3 cannons covered the sights of the all-view monitor, but right when the mega particles, looming inside the barrels, were about to be fired, Banagher sensed an icy stare from another person piercing through the cockpit.
A red machine glided through the sea of debris, just right before the claw was about to cover his sights. Banagher recalled that masked face showing a smile, and had a vision of the Red Comet giving an observing look from afar. It was not protecting, nor was it condescending; his eyes were merely watching without a trace of emotion, not responding to the emotions lavished upon him, continually showing the everchanging light and shadow.
Is this the superhuman strength of Full Frontal, the only one Angelo could trust? Banagher suddenly asked himself, and answered himself with conviction, livid that the “Sinanju” would not approach. The way he acted in a supernatural manner would only call for others to follow him. People all had their illusions about his silence, filling themselves with malaise. Is it strange for me to be with Frontal? Because I asked him to take off his mask? Because he agreed? No, that’s just to get me to join. That man views different people differently, he can show many different faces, and up till this point, nobody saw his true image. It’s because there’s a need to hide this that he has to put on the mask.
Angelo understands this, and that’s why he’s unable to take this. He can’t stand the fact that Frontal has another side other than the one he shows to Angelo himself. If he admits it, his imagery of Frontal’s perfection will be crushed, and the illusions resting on him will be crushed. Right, he’s not superhuman, he’s a vessel, just as he said, a vessel acting according to what others hope for, reflecting the face others want to see on his face. There’s no emotion, sincerity in this existence, he’s like an inorganic mirror reflecting the world. If he’s acting according to his own will, that man—
A scorching impulse soared and ruptured from within him. He felt the thoughts, which happened in 0.1 seconds, seep out from his opened pores, passing through the severed neural senses, and even causing the “Unicorn” to rumble.
The full psycoframe suddenly glowed, and heat, taking the form of a flash, coruscated from his forehead. At the same time, the “Unicorn” lone horn split to the sides, and the facemask popped out, knocking aside the INCOM claws.
The white armor overpowered Angelo’s shaken voice as it continued to slide. The cables were nearly snapped by the expanded armor pressing against them, and the “Unicorn Gundam” used this chance to spread its limbs out, breaking free from the bondage of the INCOMs. Banagher ignored the INCOMs that were aiming at him, and stared at the “Rozen Zulu” in front of him. The light from the Psycoframe gradually changed from red to green, and then, a rainbow luminous light arose from the cockpit. The rose-inspired machine in front too released the same light, vaguely showing the cockpit hitting in the abdomen.
The psycoframes resonated, creating a psyco field. If this was triggered by human consciousness—Banagher closed his eyes and sent the current of ‘presence’ towards the machine. His body was covered with goosebumps as he became one with the “Unicorn Gundam”, and all the senses were linked to the machine, causing him to even feel the frigid cold of vacuum. At the same time, the shield on the back was activated, taking an X-shape as its psycoframe parts were giving off a rainbow light as well.
The shield seemed able to move on its own as it glided beside the machine, blocking the beams of the INCOMs. The right arm shield too glided into space along with its joints, blocking the beams that were firing in from other angles. The two shields were moving freely like funnels, and the I-field generator at the top deflected the blocked beams. Through the main camera, Banagher spotted the “Rozen Zulu” falter as its all-range attacks were nullified, and swung the beam saber in his hand, releasing beam particles from within.
“Look at reality! Angelo Sauper!”
The “Unicorn Gundam” broke through the scattered beams that were blocked by the shield as it began its assault. The Psycoframe got brighter, and the rainbow light engulfed the “Rozen Zulu” as Angelo’s eyes could be visualized upon its monoeye, widening in trepidation.
The “Unicorn Gundam” engulfed in a rainbow light closed in from the front. I’ve never seen a glowing phenomenon like that before. What’s going on? Is that its true identity—did he activate the true identity of the psycoframe?
He could not think. I’ll be gnawed away, it’s a monster. His primal instincts were howling, “Ps-Psyco Jammers!!” and he hollered with all his might.
There were still 3 Psyco Jammer units left, and they surrounded the “Unicorn Gundam”, releasing their interference waves at it. The Anti-Psycommu System would release an artificial psycowave that would overload the receivers of the psycommu devices, but they were unable to work as they were designed to. The monitor indicated that the fake psycowaves were in disarray, forming a different waves. The Psyco Jammers were devoured by an unknown wave, negated in the process—
“What’s this power…!? A wave that can’t be digitalized…that can override the psycowaves from the Psyco Jammer!?”
(What cheap tricks are you trying! Thinking of sealing the Psycommu?)
The beam saber flashed, and the Psyco Jammer was sliced in half, becoming a ball of light. The Psyco Jammers continued to be sliced once after another, letting out explosions of light as the “Unicorn Gundam” closed in with its eyes glowing. The two shields danced about freely, surrounding the glowing machine, blocking the shots from the INCOMs one after another. Angelo leaned back onto the linear seat. He had fully checked through it before, and knew that shield was just a metal block with an I-field generator on it, that there were no thrusters on it.
“So why can an ordinary shield move around like that!?”
He tried moving the machine backwards, including to escape from the rainbow light surrounding him. At that instant, the “Unicorn Gundam” kept its beam saber on its left manipulator, and opened its palm wide at him. There was an unknown pulse created from it, causing Angelo’s heart to resonate, and the “Rozen Zulu”, now trapped, was unable to move at all. He saw the Psycommu monitor showing a malfunctioning sign on it, and then sensed the INCOMs aimed right at him, releasing killing intent from two directions.
He controlled the control sticks, flaring the thrusters. The INCOM cannons shots grazed by the “Rozen Zulu” as it flew away, and the scattered particles from another direction again grazed by its feet. The two INCOM let out a crossfire, intertwining the “Rozen Zulu” as it ostensibly tripped over itself. The Psycommu got hijacked? Angelo was driven by this impulse corroding his mind, and did not have the time to think it was possible as he continued to evade. The grazing beams scorched the “Rozen Zulu” petal-like armor, and the purple petals were wilting pitying by the weapons used against him.
—Frontal doesn’t have any use for you. He’s just watching.
The wave became that of a ‘voice’, and rang in Angelo’s mind, blank with fear. He widened his eyes, and looked around.
—You never intended to see the true identity of Frontal. You’re scared that the illusion shown on that mask will be destroyed.
That’s why I’m angry that he removed the mask in front of that guy—the voice rang in his heart, “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!?” He hollered, and turned the machine around. Using the time where he escaped from the INCOM’s attack range, he reeled the cables back in. The claws and shields were reeled back in and attached to its arms, and the “Rozen Zulu” flared its thrusters to maximum output as it leapt away.
“What do you understand anyway!?”
As long as he reeled the INCOMs back in, there was no need to fear the waves. Angelo continued to fire the mega particle cannons on the shield as he let his machine charge at the “Unicorn Gundam”.
“The Captain saved me!”
He crashed the mobile suit into a “Unicorn Gundam”, which had floated in front of it, opened the claws on the left arm, and grabbed it. The 3 claws crushed the I-field generator, and the shattered shield was covered by a triggered explosion.
“He said he’ll rely on me…!”
He also said that it’ll be a lonely sight not to see that rose everyday. Angelo hushed the rising anxiety within him as he swung the claws at the “Unicorn Gundam”.
—That’s a lie. Frontal just standing on a high ground, and he won’t help you, not in the past, and never in the future.
The white machine dodged with an instantaneous-like motion, and continued to give off this unnerving ‘voice’ that continued to wreck him. It was a sharp blade that turned his trust and love for Frontal into a curse, destroying his body. Right, there’s no compromise for excessive love. As long as our thoughts differ a little, I’ll feel betrayed. “Anything will do!” Angelo howled as he aimed the mega particle cannons on the shield at the front.
“The Captain has a destiny to be the King of the abandoned, the one who can purify this corroded world. For him, no matter what happens to my body…!”
—How pitiful you are.
The beam saber was swung vertically downwards, severing the shield attached to the right arm. The “Unicorn Gundam” then moved in a refined Japanese Iaido motion as it closed in, its eyes glowing, causing Angelo to blankly stare at its face while forgetting to check on his unit’s damages. It was no longer a machine, but a person engulfed with fighting intent. The ‘presence’ became the light released by the Psycoframe, and the giant human was breathing in space—
“What…human is that? A giant?”
—Show the source of that twisted heart of yours.
The ‘voice’ of the giant, not Banagher, was ringing in his mind as its giant hand covered his sights. I’ll be crushed, I’ll be gnawed, that unremovable stain will corrupt my pure world.
Angelo shouted, but the white hot psycoframe light swallowed his body whole—
It was a white, speckless light. Angelo felt a soft fabric-like feeling from within, letting out a rustling sound.
“You really love the blanket, don’t you, Angelo?”
It was the silhouette of a really large woman, smiling as her back faced the light. His face was touched by her slender and soft fingers, and Banagher knew consciously: This is Angelo’s mother.
“Hey, mama can’t do the laundry like this, you know?”
The burly arms carried Angelo as the latter hid within the blanket. From beyond the shoulders of Angelo’s father, Banagher saw a pure white sea of bedsheets. It was a safety zone of warmth and cleanliness, a sanctity separated from the world, where terrifying, filthy things would never enter—
The splattered blood stained the sea of bedsheets. Angelo, who was just 3 years old, witnessed the reddish-black blemishes on that whiteness.
The butt of the rifle was slammed into papa’s nose, and with one heavy hit after another, his face was completely contorted, his body falling limp. Those burly arms were no longer of any use, and the blood flowed while the pulse throbbed, forming a new stain on the bedsheet.
Mama shouted, but the soldiers in Federation uniforms sneered as they held her down. Angelo had witnessed this scene from the gap in the cupboard. Drenched in blood was the slab of flesh that used to be papa, and the face of mama, contorted with fear.
“What human language is this Zeon swine saying!? Anti and Lippi were killed because you threw a colony on them!”
The soldiers pushed mama onto the bed. Many military boots stained with blood and dirt trampled upon the white bedsheets as they pressed on mama. He could no longer see mama’s face, only her white legs protruding out from amidst the men as they took off their pants, flailing about like the hands of a clock. She’s eaten, she’s being chewed on, Angelo thought. He could not let out a voice, not because papa told him to, but that he really could not. He too was being broken down along with his mother, who was eaten, gnawed, devoured, crushed—
The pure bedsheet was devoid of stains, but icy cold. Mama sat on the bed, her eyes looking cold as she stared outside the window. Angelo gave her a rose brooch on her birthday, giving her a trace of color in her transparent shadow.
Mama never saw that purple. Her body was still present, but her heart was shattered. Even after helping her put on that brooch, she never noticed Angelo.
“It has been 7 years? She’s a survivor of Globe, but at that state…”
“To think the Master was willing to take her in. I heard that her deceased husband was a colleague of the Master, but she’s no longer able to serve her duty as a wife in that state, right?”
“Actually, it’s rumored that the Master kept his living family to gain the privileges for that job. Also, he just divorced his previous wife. You see, the Master…”
The maids’ incessant chatter could be heard from a corner of the wide room. Angelo listened in as he sat at his mother’s beside. His body, 10 years old, had pieced together what was once crushed, bit by bit, but it was still incomplete, for the important piece called mama was still fragmented.
Another silhouette suddenly appeared from behind, and the damp hand was placed onto Angelo’s slender shoulders, causing the latter’s body to jerk in shock.
“Mama’s heart is still far away today. Come on, Angelo, it’s time to pray. Let’s pray with papa.”
No, you’re not papa. However, the call of denial was unable to become a voice, and his frozen body was unable to move due to fear. Angelo was ushered by the wet hand into the bedroom of the house’s Master.
Over there, he too was chewed to bits that night. The unnerving tongue licked on his chest, back, butt crack, breaking his body and mind into fragments, and the heavy flesh caused his body to creak. He had been prayer every night since he was 9…a necessary ritual to let his mother live on. Of course, he resisted at first, and wanted to take his mother and run away. However, his mother would not leave that bed, and she could only live on that white bedsheet.
He had to endure the blemishes for his mother’s bedsheet to remain white. He had to let this unnerving slab of flesh have a reason to keep them. Even when he was being gnawed at every day, even when his body was inserted with filthy liquid, even when he became a stain blemishing the bedsheet.
“That’s right. Good boy. Our prayer will reach your mother one day.”
The heavy breathing of the flesh block was upon Angelo’s ears, and he saw his tears stained on the bedsheet. The corroded tears were being squeezed out of his body, together with blood and feces, becoming the stains on the bedsheet—
—Don’t, come in.
It had been a long time since he had a bath, and the previous customer’s stench remained on the stained bedsheet. Angelo’s face was pressed on the rough fabric as he felt the saliva and sweat drip from the ‘customer’.
“It’s about time.”
“A little longer…I heard there’s quite a good one, so I deliberately came all the way from “Zum City”, you know?”
“Another 20 then.”
“The ‘customer’ breathing got hasty. This was a middle-aged man who probably had a wife and children waiting for him once he returned home, and once he was done, he would hurriedly put on his clothes and leave this brothel, like he was terrified of being infected. How weird, a 16-year-old Angelo thought with his lips twisted. He used to be the one corrupted, and now he was the one corrupting others. He was being polluted while sullying others, and seemed to be maintaining his own personality as he remained stained.
His prayers never reached, and his mother jumped down from the balcony and died when the servants were not paying attention. He did not cry, for his tears were to flow when he was covered with filth, and not when he lost something. He too knew that praying never worked right from the beginning.
He did not attend the funeral, and left that mansion, wandering through the colonies of the Republic. After 3 years, he reached this street, a street filled with filthy people like him, a place with stench reeking all over the roads and neon lights. As long as his body remained, he would not have to go hungry. Even when he was gnawed into a battered, tattered body, there was no lack of visitors who would pay money for him.
There was no pain at that place; if he did not believe, he would not be betrayed; if he did not want it, he would not lose it. It was a lot more comfortable than forcing ‘trust’ and ‘future’ onto himself. When the filth had gathered to a point where it would leak out from him, he could vent all his frustrations through alcohol and drugs. On the first day he arrived, the hoodlum assigned to raise the protection fee and take care of him seemed to have joked, “The angel has fallen into the sty.” Right, there’s no need to worry about being fallen. If I continue to fall, I’ll merely be dumped on the roadside like a bug. At that time, a real angel will definitely come and bring me up.
However…this isn’t everything, Angelo thought. After being thrusted in by the desires of the ‘customers’, and after seeing his acquaintances being tossed onto the roadside coldly, he felt a searing heat permeate through his mind. Even if he burned the whole world down, it was not enough; the energy within him, which could vaporize his filth at any given moment, was looking for another avenue to escape. Before I end up leaving the world, I have to vomit everything out until it is clean. I was too young when the tragedy at Globe happened. Because of mama, my burden, I never thought of venting on that disgusting slab of meat. No, even if the burden had vanished, I never chose to do it. Maybe it’s because I instinctively know that it’s not enough for me to vent completely. It’s not worth killing someone and get my freedom taken away.
Perhaps all I need is a trigger. And to use this energy, I need someone else to squeeze the trigger. But that’s probably not going to be a person, Angelo wondered. Humans are too weak, humans will betray each other, they’ll take away, destroy, corrupt others—and cause all these happenings on the world. I have to raze them all, but I need something that’s beyond human. God? Devil? None of it matters. All I need is an existence that an angel can follow, no matter what it is. His desire for an encounter with that existence brought a strong sense of rhapsody and blissfulness, one more potent than drugs. It was an overwhelming ecstasy for this body, which was already devoid of sexual delight and enthusiasm.
It’s not that far away. He had a feeling that the object was just inches away from him. Like him, the object had an impulse to raze everything in the world to the ground. The flame of revolution, which would burn all filth away and changing a new bedsheet, was slowly approaching.
He would not mind the filth Angelo had, for he had surpassed humanity. As long as he offered his body to that man, who would never taint nor be tainted, he could return to that bed again. That cleanliness and warm white bedsheet, the sacred ground where only he, mama and papa existed, where nobody else could approach.
The ecstasy quivered within him. The delightful squeals of the ‘customers’, the filth from others that intruded upon him—
A voice erupted, shaking Angelo’s hearing as he ostensibly fell back into his body. The dual-eyed sensors filled the all-view monitor, showing a skeptical light. (Angelo…!?) a call rang from reality.
“What did you do? WHAT DID YOU DO, YOU BASTARD!!?”
He was seen through, blemished, trodden by something that barged it. It was practically rape, just like the uncomfortable slab of flesh and the ‘customers’. Angelo moved the control sticks erratically, trying to shake off the “Unicorn Gundam” pressing down on him. (Calm down, Lieutenant Angelo!) Banagher’s voice rang through the contact loop.
(I know about you, and you know about me. People can understand each other; there’s no reason for us to fight each other!)
Know? See? I saw you. I know you. How you inherited your father’s ideals, how you lived together with your mother, how you kept changing yourself as you interact with humans, how you are entrusted with the possibility that surpasses generations.
We’re too different. You’re too dazzling. We can’t get along. It’s impossible. You saw me. It’s too embarrassing. I hate this.
“GET OUT FROM MY HEART!!”
Banagher’s thoughts still lingered in his heart. He, with that overly upright thinking of his, continued to give off light without further thought, proclaiming that humans can change. You’re just like your father, using your strong self as the standard, not knowing when to look back at the weak. Captain, where’s the Captain that fills my darkness and calms me down—? Angelo continued look for Frontal’s mask as he continued to struggle, his mind being a mix of confusion, hollers and angst. I’ve been seen, I’ve been recognized. Got to kill this guy fast, got to make this guy disappear from the world before the stain spreads.
Banagher’s voice rang through the cockpit, and the “Unicorn Gundam” held down the shaking “Rozen Zulu”, showing a horrifying light. No, I can’t win, I can’t shake him off, everything will be exposed under the light. In his sub-consciousness, Angelo pressed the INCOM activation switch, and gathered his focused thoughts into the Psycommu.
“If you don’t get out…!”
The remaining clawed INCOM fired its cannon, and the tail-like cables spun about in space. This is the only way to cut off the mixture of thoughts and get rid of all the filth—right, I should have done that right from the beginning. Why didn’t I think about it earlier? If that happens, I won’t have to be trampled by that slab of flesh. Angelo stared at the INCOM, spinning counterclockwise in a long arc, from beyond the shoulder of the “Unicorn Gundam”.
This is good. The source of the filth that caused Frontal to fall, the stain that sullied the clean bedsheet, can be chased out now.
(Stop it, Angelo!!)
Banagher yelled, but Angelo showed a contorted smile on his sweaty, teary face.
The INCOM flew in from the flank of the “Unicorn Gundam”, and stabbed into the “Rozen Zulu” abdomen. There was no mistake in the aim, and the claws crushed the ball-shaped cockpit block, ostensibly biting through his armor, digging out his heart. The cracking sounds of impact seemed to be either the sound of the Psycoframe surrounding the cockpit being crushed, or the sound of his synchronized thoughts with Banagher being crushed. Either way, Angelo was thrown out from the linear seat, his body crashing into the inner wall of the dilapidated cockpit.
It felt as if his limbs were fractured as the shock pierced through his skull, expanding in his mind that was turning blank. It was not darkness, but blank white. His thoughts, which were forcefully ruptured, had been reinstated to an original blank state. I won’t be dirtied again, nobody can touch me. The air was sucked out from the crack along the inner wall, and Angelo floated in the cockpit that was instantly filled with vacuum, staring at the Psycoframe light that was released.
The image had vanished, and the inner wall was filled with the color from the cracked monitor panel, the same bright purple color as the brooch he gave to his mother. I see, Angelo understood everything in his blank. Mama too did the same thing, digging out her own soul and crushing it so that she won’t be stained again—
The “Unicorn Gundam” stood around blankly, fading away on the other side of the crack. It too faded away from his sights, and vanished in the blankness. Serves you right. You won’t be able to get me. Who wants to get on with you? Only the Captain can enter my heart. Captain…the mask of darkness belonging to the king of the forsaken…the Red Comet that came from the abyss of space…comet? I know what that is. I saw that on TV a long time ago. There was a large comet giving off a bright light. It seems it’ll be a few years later the next time it reaches Earth. When you’re at the age when you’re older than papa…right, that’s what mama taught me.
Where are they? I’ve to look for them. Angelo’s thoughts were interrupted and devoured by the blankness as his clear eyes stared at the crack in the cockpit.
The stars were flowing, and the world had returned to nothing. There was nothing terrifying or filthy. The blankness in his mind would wash and remove everything, and in this purified, white world, he finally gets back the pure white bedsheet—
There was still some little spark lights coming from the abdomen where the INCOM had stabbed into, and the “Rozen Zulu” had fallen silent, fading away. It would be more appropriate to call this silent item as a corpse rather than scrap metal as it glided through space, merged into the Shoal Space region and being absorbed into the darkness.
The Psyco field formed between the two machines faded away, and the absolute zero vacuum surrounded the “Unicorn Gundam”.There was no further killing intent, and none of Angelo’s numbing expression. The brightness of the Psycoframe decreased as it reverted back to its usual red color, and Banagher could only watch the “Rozen Zulu” leave reluctantly.
It was just like his experience with Marida—their thoughts had synchronized, and they could share their hearts with each other, but this time, he was refused at the last second. Angelo destroyed himself, his mind shattered like a glass art piece. Banagher too admitted to himself that this was undoubtedly a way of killing others too. There was none of Angelo’s heart anymore, just a flesh with blank eyes like his mother.
Is it because I’m weak? Or is it a crime to enter other people’s hearts—is that so? Then, a Newtype is—
(You destroyed him.)
A cold voice rang from above Banagher’s head, and he immediately froze, clenching his tense hands.
(Such an insolent power. You have no right to forcefully enter other people’s hearts.)
The red machine went from above his head to behind. As the killing intent intensified, the “Unicorn Gundam” Psycoframe again brightened. Banagher let out a small sigh and focused his consciousness at the back. The shield floating in space gave off a rainbow, and moved behind the machine like a hunting dog pricking its ears. The red machine moved slightly as its monoeye flickered.
“You were just watching from afar…!”
The “Sinanju” beam rifle fired a shot of light the moment Banagher turned around. The direct hit from the powerful beam overloaded the generator, and once the I-field was destroyed, the shield was knocked away. An incoming grenade then blew the shield apart, and the scattered Psycoframe fragments dazzled like scales. Banagher let the “Unicorn Gundam” fly through the dazzling particles, and the white giant let out a rainbow trail as it closed in on the scarlet red mobile suit.
(You’re too dangerous. You’re showing how a Newtype is like too carelessly.)
The beam Gatling guns let out 6 trails of beams as they fired at the same time, and the “Sinanju” evaded sideways. Banagher turned the machine around, pointing the barrels on the right hand at the enemy. However, there were no shots left. Right when his mind went blank, the ”Sinanju” fired the bazooka attached to the beam rifle, and the object released a trail of gas as it closed in on the “Unicorn Gundam”.
(This will bring about the disgust and oppression from the Oldtypes, and you shall be burned to nothingness.)
As the barrel was shortened, the initial velocity was a lot slower than usual—however, the bazooka shell was still moving quickly due to the thrust from the unit. The approach controls triggered the shot, and hundreds of scattered shots were released in a spread array. Banagher increased the throttle of the “Unicorn Gundam” to the maximum, and advanced towards the “Sinanju” before the scattered shots could catch up to him.
“Aren’t you a Newtype too…!?”
(Is that so?)
Banagher threw the empty Beam Gatling guns at the enemy as he accelerated, and the 4 Gatling guns, 2 on the back and 2 on the right arms, fired upon the red machine like arrows, and the “Sinanju” lost its balance, firing its beam rifle. It certainly was atypical of him to fire about randomly. And right when Banagher continued to advance without slowing down, he got me, this instinct exploded from his forehead in the form of a thin light, and he rolled the “Unicorn Gundam” to the side. The next instant, the consecutive bazooka shots grazed past the nose of the machine, and pellet bags kept exploding.
The “Unicorn Gundam” managed to avoid the direct hit, but was still caught in the maelstrom of pellets, and decelerated as a result. It was unable to adjust itself using the AMBAC, and the “Sinanju” closed in immediately, flashing its monoeye as it aimed the bazooka barrel under the beam rifle at him. This is the end, the moment he thought this, another beam shot in from another direction, keeping the “Sinanju” away. The red machine gave up on shooting and exerted its thrusters to the maximum output, and let out a trail of thruster flare as it flew vertically upwards, block the 2 thruster lights coming from behind.
(“Unicorn”, are you alright?)
The IFF indicated two RGM-96X “Jestas”, attacking the “Sinanju” from two directions, top and bottom. Their movements were very sharp, perhaps because they wanted revenge for the 3rd unit that was lost, and they were full of vigor. However, their overly powerful ‘presences’ would be dected by Frontal. Banagher predicted the movements of both sides, and saw through the trap the “Sinanju” had set. “Back down!” He yelled as he fired the Beam Magnum.
The beam that was twice the thickness of an ordinary beam stopped the “Jestas” from moving onwards. (What are you doing…!?) Banagher however ignored the pilot yelling this as he yelled, “Don’t you look anywhere else, Full Frontal!” The red machine responded, (Very well.) and left the reticule at high speeds, rising towards the head of the “Unicorn Gundam”.
(Let me say this first, Young Banagher. I won’t let you pass through.)
“I’ll force my way through then!”
The “Unicorn Gundam” drew its beam saber, and its main thrusters flared as it tried to get behind the “Sinanju”. There were only 2 sets of Beam Magnum magazines, so he could not fire carelessly. He fired off the few remaining rounds from the Beam Gatling guns attached to the left arm as a deterrence, and then predicted how Frontal would dodge as he turned his machine sharply. The “Sinanju” flew down the path he had predicted, and right when they were about to clash, he swung the beam saber down. The “Sinanju”, which had passed by, turned around before Banagher could feel any impact on the control stick, and spread its body wide at the “Unicorn Gundam”.
The Psycoframe let out a resonating sound, and the “Sinanju” abdomen and joints let out a rainbow glow. The rear unit resembling a wing was spread out, and the moveable thrusters sticking to the shins were pushed out from the supporting frame. The machine seemed to have transformed into a hi-mobility state as it released a glowing rainbow light, and Banagher instinctively retreated the “Unicorn Gundam”. The glowing lights clashed and fused between the two machines as they pulled away from each other, and the light from the Psyco field expanded in an explosive manner.
The ripple-shaped light shook the surrounding space debris, and ejected the two “Jestas”. Banagher felt apologetic to them, but there was no way an ordinary machine could take part in this battle. Once the excessive objects were removed, the field created by the two psyco machines was filled with the duo’s killing intent, and with abated breath, Banagher held his beam saber again. The “Sinanju” too raised the shield suspended on the left hand, and activated the twin-sided beam axes equipped on the back.
The axes, fixed on the shield, spun around, and a pair of beam blades burst out from the tip of the shield. The terrifyingly large beam blades, with the shield as the hilt, resembled that of an abnormally large crab. The “Sinanju” swung the beams that was taller than the machine itself, and crouched forward as it released the thruster flares on its back. The “Unicorn Gundam” too lit its main thrusters. The beams kept attacking, the beam blades clashed intensively as the two machines crossed each other, letting out sparks.
This is the only guy I can’t lose to. The “Unicorn Gundam” was driven by this instinct as it swung its beam saber down. The “Sinanju” tonfa swung up at the same time, and the clashing beams caused the psyco field light to quiver.
The 2nd main cannon equipped at the belly of the ship let out a trail of mega-particles after the 1st main cannon on the bow was fired. The arrows of beams released from the “Nahel Argama” carved out pink trails, and weak lights of explosions appeared on the other end of space.
It was the light of a direct hit—is something shot down? Marida felt a killing intent vanish as she immediately gathered her concentration on the enemy ship at her left.
The “Nahel Argama” had disguised itself as a ship unable to steer, and lured the enemy ships to gather in a clustered formation. Once it got into firing range, it immediately removed its disguise, and the enemy was gathered in the same firing area as planned. After the command ship in the center was shot down, the enemy ship on the right became the new target. Marida felt the mothership turn its cannons as according to plan from the back, and gathered her consciousness on the enemy ship several hundred kilometers to the left. It was too distant, and as Marida’s sights were blurry due to excessive fatigue, she did not know if she could reach there in time.
She endured the pain surging from her flank as she focused on controlling the funnels in her field of perception. The funnels—small automatic cannon pods, had dwindled in numbers to 7, and after being on standby near the enemy ship, they lit their thrusters and surrounded the last Musaka-class. There was only one chance. If she failed, the enemy would have a chance to counterattack, and the “Nahel Argama” would be attacked. Marida focused on the funnels that would escape her field, and glared at the Musaka-class, which was faltering after the command ship was shot down. She felt pain in her temples, her perception field was blurry, and her impression of the enemy ship was becoming vague.
She held onto the ball-shaped control tightly, and eked out a voice from her gritted teeth. The 7 funnels released beams in unison from the tip of the cylinders, and Marida saw the engines of the Musaka-class being shot through from all directions. The explosion from within knocked the rear main cannon upwards, and the debris flying away due to the shockwave hit the funnels. Her perception field was engulfed by the incandescent light, and her consciousness was forced back into her body as she could spot a small flicker of light from far away.
Marida’s strength seeped from her inadvertently straightened body, and she lowered her face. As she panted hard, her shoulders moving up and down, “Marker 15 “Musaka” is now silent.” The sensor operator’s voice rang from the wireless, and she turned the “Kshatriya” monoeye to the back.
(Marker 14 has a large breach. It seems they’re retreating.)
(Turn the ship back and revert back to the original planned path. The mobile suit squadrons are not to relax. There are still enemies around.)
Captain Otto’s voice rang. Marida directed the funnels back to her in a corner of her mind as she expanded the visual of the “Nahel Argama”, located, 10,000km behind her, on the expanded window. The ship, which had already lost its portside catapult deck for a long time, had burn marks all over its white armor, and the right side of the wing-like solar panels was snapped. One of the “Loto” assigned to the ship had ran out of ammunition, and Kwani’s severely damaged “Geara Zulu” was kept in the ship. Including the “Stark Jegan” that was shot down, one could say that they lost quite a lot of forces. In this current situation, the only units they could activate were a “ReZEL”, a “Loto”, and Evan’s “Geara Zulu”. They lost 50% of their fighting strength defending a single ship for more than 2 hours.
However, the damage they dealt to the enemy was definitely no less than 50%. Most of Tennyson’s fleet was drifting around due to the loss in control over the steering, and there was nothing that could prevent them from moving forward towards “Industrial 7”. The “Unicorn Gundam”, Banagher, how are they now? She opened her visor and wiped the sweat off her face, resting the back of her head on the headrest hidden in the Psycommu. As she endured the pulsating pain in her temples and intended to respond to Banagher’s thoughts, (Marida) a voice caused her eyes to widen.
(Good work. Return to the mothership first. We can’t replenish the funnels for now, but at least we can do some emergency repairs.)
It was Zinnerman. Master, she swallowed the words she nearly let out, “But the “Unicorn”…” Marida responded. She wondered when he entered the bridge, (That guy’s going to be fine.) but the familiar voice echoed, easing the pain in her temples slightly.
(He was caught in some strange weapon, but it seems he broke through it. He’s now fighting against an enemy unit.)
“An enemy unit…?”
(There doesn’t seem to be any other enemy unit from what we can see here. The “Nahel Argama” will immediately catch up. Return to the ship to rest. You’re still not in the best of conditions now, right?)
His empathy of her emotional toils were conveyed to her in a deliberate aloof tone meant to hide his embarrassment. His voice sounded no different from usual, but this was not the voice of someone who would remain amidst the darkness. She understood that Zinnerman had taken this step too, but at the same time, felt something was amiss with the one enemy unit, and looked towards the direction Banagher was at. There was still more than 1,000km till “Industrial 7”, and there was still an enemy standing in the “Unicorn Gundam” path, taking it on alone.
A chime rang as a flash appeared, causing the skin under the pilot suit to be covered in goosebumps. This light was intense yet cold, and dissipated the heat Zinnerman’s voice had brought as the stare from the mask caused her chest to freeze—
There was no time for hesitation. Amongst the battle up till this point, she still had yet to sense any pressure from that man. That man waited for the “Unicorn Gundam” to brea through the fleet, and conserved his strength instead of taking part in the battles. Marida sealed her visor and again grabbed onto the ball control. “I’ll make a move first.” Upon hearing her voice, “Marida…!” Zinnerman yelled.
“The “Unicorn” is fighting Full Frontal. That’s not an enemy Banagher can win on his own.”
(We’ll send another unit over. You’re already at your limits. Come back.)
(Marida! Are you not going to listen to my orders?)
“I’ve already received your final command.”
Follow your heart. (Marida…) The groan finished as Zinnerman was left speechless. Marida sensed his stare coming from 10km behind, and stepped on the pedal. The “Kshatriya” opened its binders and started to accelerate, fading away quickly on the expanded window of the “Nahel Argama”. She also felt Zinnerman’s stare become distant, and her body started to cool, but the feeling of being supported from behind by someone did not decrease in the slightest. She was driven by a strength more poignantly detected than before as the massive body of the “Kshatriya” advanced amidst the sea of debris.
Since I’m being supported, I too have to support others equally. Marida called back the funnels, now reduced to 6, back in, and hurriedly moved forward. The place she yearned to head to let out a flash, leaving an afterimage in her eyes. Fire and ice is clashing, she mumbled these words that subconsciously surfaced in her thoughts as she drove the “Kshatriya” to where the light was.
The shield with the Zeon insignia engraved on it swung down, and the high-output particles released from the tips grazed past the body. The beams hide the rock debris passing by behind, causing the icy cold rocks to be scorched instantly.
The melted gravel cackled and exploded, and the 30m wide rock was shattered into fragments. The scattered fragments hit the machine, causing Banagher to be a step slower in getting behind the enemy unit. The “Sinanju”, which had crushed the rock, immediately swung its shield and continued to slash at the “Unicorn Gundam” multiple times.
(Newtypes. That’s a one-off power created out of youth.)
Frontal’s voice rang as the 2 beam blades immediately closed in. The “Unicorn Gundam” managed to dodge in the nick of time, but the grenade launcher hidden behind the shield let out a flare, releasing a grenade the size of a drum barrel that exploded beside the “Unicorn Gundam”.
(It will not continue forever, and there’s no power to topple the situation. It is merely—)
The beam blades resembling that of large pliers swung down, and the savage blades were ostensibly the instantiation of if Frontal’s thoughts—
(The vibrancy of youth!)
The “Unicorn Gundam” had bent its upper body to the limit, and the yellow beams grazed past it as it sliced the space. Banagher used the backflip momentum of the machine to kick hard at the abdomen of the “Sinanju” while falling back.
“Don’t force the despair of a middle-aged man on me. I can’t stand it!”
The red machine took a hard uppercut kick at the abdomen, was sent flying, and staggered about. (Is that so…?) Frontal groaned, and the beam rifle in the right hand let out a flash. The “Unicorn Gundam”, which had lit its thrusters to back away just a moment ago, was scorched on the surface by the beam. A bazooka shot was fired along with the rifle shot, releasing a gaseous trail as it was fired along the same axis. Banagher did not have the time to aim as he fired the Beam Magnum.
The empty E-pack was ejected, and the thick beam, which used up all the energy from it, vaporized the bazooka. The “Sinanju” used the light of explosion as a cover to retreat to the void filled with clustered debris. The intermittent flashing lights of the thruster jets were hidden amidst the meteorites, and the motion sensors were unable to catch up. However, Banagher knew that he did not have to worry about losing the target, for the light released from the Psycoframe was brighter than that of the thruster flares, etched in his eyes. The rainbow light released from the “Sinanju” machine from time to time would reveal its location.
“You should understand that this light is released from our hearts. The Psycoframes reflect our hearts.”
He was not a vessel. That man too had a heart that could interfere with others. The beam rifle had 7 shots left, the spare magazines included, and Banagher readied it at a position to fire as he too entered the clustered zone of debris.
“Both Newtypes and Oldtypes can resonate and understand each other. If we gather this light, we can even send the colonies out of the Milky Way. Humans have such a possibility—”
(And some have collapsed upon touching this possibility.)
The voice interrupting him rang from behind, and the red machine appeared from the shadow of the debris. Angelo’s face appeared in Banagher’s mind, causing the latter to react a fraction of a second late.
“Possibilities are chaotic. They take up an irregular form, and easily leads us to destruction. We can’t leave it alone.)
The two beam axes forming a shielded plier were attached, and the “Sinanju” swung its beam blades, assuming the form of a Naginata, slicing the debris apart. The beam rifle was kept at the waist, so there probably would not be any incoming flying projectile. Banagher immediately saw through this ruse, and wanted to pull his distance, but was shocked to see the shield raised. The bazooka launcher, which was hidden under the rifle just a while back, was moved behind it.
A flash appeared at the tip of the cannon, and a bazooka shot was fired. Banagher could not dodge in time, and hurriedly let the “Unicorn Gundam” charge right towards it. The G-force struck from behind, ostensibly popping the eyeballs out, and the overlaying G-force from the front caused the air sacs of the pilot suit to expand.
“The human heart can guide it to goodness, right!?”
Banagher eked out these words from his crushed lungs as he drew the beam saber. The bazooka shot, which had been advancing in a straight line, passed by the feet without being able to activate the approach sensor, and the “Sinanju”, looking a little hesitant, was right in front of his eyes. Banagher got into its clutches and swung the beam saber diagonally upwards.
The pink beams severed the cannon barrel poking from the shield. However, the “Sinanju” then did something beyond Banagher’s expectation; it detached the disabled bazooka launcher and fired the Vulcan cannons on the head at it. The projectile left inside was ignited, and the flash of explosion covered Banagher’s sights.
(The human heart is an enigma, and can’t be controlled. That includes our wn.)
The “Sinanju” flew through this light and closed in on the “Unicorn Gundam”. The Naginata and beam saber clashed, causing sparks to flash vibrantly around the two machines.
(Excessive hope will become a poison. As you said, Spacenoids aren’t any different from Earthnoids. There’s only those subjugating, and those being subjugated. The positions change from time to time, but human history lingers in this ever constant blueprint.)
The Psycoframe equipped on the “Sinanju” joints glowed, and the ball-shaped cockpit block in its abdomen vaguely appeared. Banagher had a vision of the mask, glowing in the rainbow light.
(While it is still a good thing for an occasional revolution to prompt a change in positions, it is too dangerous a notion to turn all humans into something beyond humanity. You have already attained a God-like power by being united with that machine; for that, I can’t allow you to reach that “Laplace Box”.)
“I’m human! Just like you! Just an ordinary human born from the interaction between humanity and the world!”
Banagher repelled the icy voice seeping into his pores as he roared back, turning around to block the beam saber. The beam blades were knocked aside, pushing the two machines apart. The “Sinanju” hurriedly backtracked.
“There’s nothing that won’t change. Myself, the world, we all will change according to our hearts. The history you talk about is just the thing you see!”
(But some are uneasy about that uncertainty. Those Oldtypes never sought after the truth, ust an answer that’s easy to understand.)
The “Sinanju” broke the Naginata into two axes, and accelerated from near Banagher’s feet. It rolled to the side to dodge the Beam Magnum shot, and swung the superheated axe blade at the machine that was on the same height, and Banagher managed to swallow back the cry he nearly released.
(It is a mistake to think that everyone can be on the same level as you, and imposing it on others is an act of arrogance. Just show the results of it to them. You can already destroy someone just by touching them; there is no way you can remain with ‘everyone’.)
“Such nonsensical logic…!”
Banagher kept the beam rifle in the mount on the back, and drew the beam saber on the shoulder with his emptied right hand. Two beam sabers took the strikes from the two beam axes, and the clashing beams let out continual sparks. Perhaps Frontal too had the fear of being burned by his reflexes. After slashing at each other for several seconds, the two machines pulled away from each other at the same time; the “Sinanju” recovered a little faster, and got behind the “Unicorn Gundam”.
(To continue to plead change with those that do not want to, or to get an unchanging outcome? I chose the latter, and became a vessel.)
The “Sinanju” connected the hilts of its beam axes together, and again attacked with the Naginata. Banagher turned around, swung the beam saber, and managed to catch the Naginata blade in time.
(A vessel simply needs a will in it, calling for the collective consciousness of the Spacenoids. There’s no need for any possibility, just an accepted outcome.)
“How can humans become vessels!? That’s just your cry from despair…!”
The other beam saber immediately swung over, and the crossing beams parried the Naginata aside. The “Sinanju” was knocked back by the interfering lights that exploded, and gave an opening. Chance, Banagher tossed aside all other thoughts as he let the “Unicorn Gundam” leap over.
“What caused you to be like this? What’s your source of despair!?”
The right manipulator kept the beam saber and reached its hand forward. Banagher did not think too much as the “Unicorn Gundam” psycoframe increased in brightness, while the opened fingers released a wave. The invisible ‘wave’ engulfed the phosphorus rainbow light, and seemed to surround the “Sinanju”.
The “Sinanju” joints were stiff, and remained still as it was seemingly restrained. I’m not going to kill anyone again. I’m going to pull out the vengeful thoughts in you. Banagher reached his hand out, and the “Unicorn Gundam” too moved its right arm along with him and grabbed the “Sinanju” head.
“Remove your mask! Full Frontal…!”
The Psycoframes lights continued to clash, intertwine and fuse together. It was the same feeling as that with Marida and Angelo. Their thoughts resonated, forming a different thought process—but before Banagher’s consciousness could drift from his physical body, he saw Frontal’s lips curl into a smirk. The smiling smirks became a vortex that slowly spun about, pulling in Banagher’s consciousness—
The light disappeared.
There was nothing in this void.
There was no light, no darkness, just an existence filled with nothing. There was nothing to resonate, to interact about. Is this the inside of the man who deemed himself to be a vessel—?
Impossible, there has to be something. A source that cause this man to be twisted into despair; a memory that can be a nursery for vengeance. Banagher floated in this emptiness, where all sense of direction was null, and his presence uncertain, seeking Frontal’s thoughts. However, there was a darkness surging from nowhere, ostensibly responding to his determined thoughts in assuming that there had to be something, and recognized the dark space with billions of stars in it.
Infinity, this is the only existence that could describe the term clearly. It was impossible to gauge such a scale using human strength. Even a small step within the Milky Way could take millions of years. The daily common sense, having been often locked within a cabinet, accompanied a sense of realism, surging towards Banagher, causing him to feel a suffocating terror.
Suffocating in an infinite space? Such nonsensical words. However, humans as individuals only had a activity time of less than 100 years, and definitely wo;; not be able to leave the Solar System even till death, let alone the Milky Way. The Celestial Sphere between Earth and the Moon will at most be expanded to Mars or Jupiter—and this is merely an absolutely tiny space in comparison to outer space, yet they cannot take a single step out of it. They are restricted by the constraints of the physical bodies, bounded by the concept of Relativity they discovered, and their lives end without them being able to look into the abyss of space. They can only reach their hands towards where they could reach, and once every remaining planet is devoured and destroyed, even their existence as a species will undoubtedly come to an end. Perhaps, in the face of infinity, humanity can only suffocate.
Can they fly out of this Solar System if they gathered the light in the Psyco field? If they were real Newtypes, can they really show that there is an existence beyond that of the light? This abyss however will be swallowed whole together with that possibility. No matter where they flew, there is an endless darkness with nothing around, and they will quiver in fear before they could fly. There was nothing in this space, just infinity, and no other highly-sentient lifeform they could meet. Even if there is, they ismerely be the remnant of a civilization that was long extinct, or a budding lifeform that would be discovered in the future. In terms of the depths of space, the lifespan of a species, from birth to extinction, will merely be just an instant. There had never been a miracle in this space where a moment can be met with another.
Humanity is just one of those instances—just a fleeting instance created in eternity. The meaning of existences, or what used to be the meaning, will be born and gone before they can reach anyone else. Possibilities are merely possibilities, a temporarl comfort amidst the loneliness of millions of years. Even now, they continue to progress slowly towards their end, giving off heat in this void.
It was cold. He could feel the heat being robbed from his body, his existence being devoured from nothingness. It was futile, no matter what he did, Audrey’s warmth, his father’s wish, his mother’s ideals, they were all just a fleeting illusion amongst the billions of them. There was already a decided ending, and no matter what he did—
—Only humanity has God.
A ‘voice’ floated in the emptiness, where he was the only one present. The thoughts residing in his inner heart caused a ’voice’ to be released from something formed by his existence.
—The inner god called possibilities.
The ‘voice’ became a light. Right, the original creator had once said, ‘let there be light’. Words will create light, and thoughts would recognize phenomena. The intellectual presences are the only ones who can recognize this blankly existing space as the world. Humanity will bring meaning to the universe’s existence, through their power and gentleness.
—Don’t look at the emptiness. It won’t respond to you, and will swallow you.
The light gradually got bigger, and the warm wave swept aside the frozen nothingness. The ‘voice’ he recognized, Marida’s thoughts, were supporting his existence from within. He reached his hand out for the light.
—Don’t be swallowed by him. You’re human, unlike us created beings. Take back your own words.
The dazzling light took the form of a human, and Banagher held her hand. That’s how it is, the warmth of skin came from the palm. Keep saying it no matter what happens, the only line she ever taught Banagher was born in his heart, expanding throughout the entire void. Even if the future would be shattered, even if we’re just existences born from nothingness, and will return back to nothingness—
The shout became a power released from the “Unicorn Gundam” arm. The belt of light from the Psyco field exploded, and Banagher witnessed the “Sinanju” being knocked aside.
Frontal’s voice rang through the fluttering light for the first time. Banagher returned back to reality, shook his head, and looked around at the rainbow light surrounding the machine. The “Unicorn Gundam” was not the only one releasing light, and it was not a light formed with the “Sinanju”. It was a light formed by the resonating of a nearby existence, dragging him back from the emptiness.
The “Sinanju”, having been knocked knocked, used its AMBAC to balance itself, and drew the beam rifle on its waist with its left hand. Banagher’s thoughts had yet to catch up with the developments as he looked back at the barrel without defending himself. In an instant however, several funnels ripped through the light in the Psyco field, crossing in his sights.
(Your opponent is me!)
The screaming voice rang through the wireless radio, and the funnels fired in unison. The “Sinanju” retreated as it swung its beam Naginata, blocking away the crashing beams at the last moment. Two shots then came in, and once the retreating “Sinanju” retreated from his sights, the massive body of the “Kshatriya” flew by the front of the “Unicorn Gundam”. The two Beam Gatling Guns equipped on its right arm were releasing thick beam pellets, chasing the “Sinanju” as it zigzagged about.
(Go on first, Banagher. I’ll handle this guy.)
The “Kshatriya” was releasing a rainbow phosphorus light as it opened its 4 binders, and drew its beam saber to slash at the “Sinanjju”. The “Sinanju” spun its Naginata, which took down a funnel, spun back again to beam the beam saber, and immediately flipped. The red machine took advantage of the “Kshatriya” lack of a right hand as it calculated its blind spot, and flew behind it. the funnels followed, and the beams crossed. The “Kshtatriya” predicted the “Sinanju” escape path, and a beam saber appeared from a hidden arm as three beam sabers flashed about, ripping through the darkness.
Sparks continued to fly between the two units, and the beam saber battle repeated itself back and forth as the two machine dazzled and dashed through space. The battle seemed even at this point, but Marida and the “Kshatriya” were completely worn out from the battles they had up till this point. Banagher found that the Psyco field was decreasing in brightness, and let the “Unicorn Gundam” pursue the two machines. If he could trigger a resonance with the “Kshatriya”, perhaps they could force the “SInanju” to retreat. He approached the two machines as he could not provide supporting fire or even intervene, but before he could, the funnels flew right by him. (You’re in the way! Hurry up and go!) Marida’s voice rang. The “Sinanju” however ignored the funnels, which had the chance to surround it, and swung the Naginata, which grazed past the “Kshtriya” head.
(Hurry to “Industrial 7” and find the “Box”! Right now…!)
A brighter spark exploded, and the “Kshatriya” melted hidden arm floated in space. “Miss Marida!” Banagher yelled out, and wanted to intervene between the two machines, (Follow the instructions, Banagher!) However, he heard another voice from the wireless communicator,
(As long as we get the “Box”…hurry…)
The interrupted voice caused Banagher to imagine Zinnerman’s face in his mind as it blew through the cockpit. Banagher affirmed at the laser communication indicator had reverted back to normal for the time behind, he turned around to look at the back. (Hurry on, Banagher.) A spirited voice then rang in his ears.
(We’ll catch up…to Marida’s…)
The static noise got more intense, and the words signal lost flickered. Though the space debris was obstructing, the “Nahel Argama” was already close enough for the laser communicator to capture a signal.”Audrey…!” Banagher shouted into the interrupted wireless communicator as he looked around at the visuals synchronized with the main camera. The expanded window activated on its own, and the familiar sight of a white ship appeared in the other end of space, but at that moment, (That’s fine too.) An extremely clear voice rang through the wireless communicator in his helmet.
(The monster you created is looking for you.)
Despite being in the midst of an uninterrupted sword clash, Frontal said so without any panting. I know about you, that voice told Banagher this. This man saw my inner heart when I was being swallowed by the emptiness.Banagher however did not have much time to ask about the meaning behind his words, (Banagher!) as Marida’s angry voice reached his eardrums, prompting him to step on the pedal.
The “Unicorn Gundam” lit its main thruster and accelerated away from the battlefield. Even if you know you will regret it in the future, you have to move on—the clashing lights of battle from the “Kshatriya” and the “Sinanju” behind were telling him this and driving him on as he accelerated the machine without looking back. The NT-D signal vanished, and the full psycoframe shrank back, no longer glowing. The moveable armor was hidden in the exposed frame, the facemask covered the dual-eye sensor, and the “Unicorn” reverted to its lone horn stat as it flew amidst the Shoal Space.
The time was GMT 1045. The battle had lasted for 2½ hours, and he should be close enough to see it. Banagher activated the astronomy observation software as he called out the coordinate data of the Laplace Program. The red words <La+> were flickering, and the window was automatically expected. He looked around, surveying the shapes of the debris as he searched for his target, and after countless ‘not a match’ signs showing on the window, he finally caught sight of a flashing ‘match’ sign at an object far away.
The CG correction began, and the space colony visual appeared on the window. The large cylinder was over 20km in length and 6km in diameter, but the block noise was covering, preventing its details from being seen. One could tell from the difference in color however that one-third of the cylinder was covered by the ‘wheel’, and at the front of it was the colony builder attached to it—this is the unique shape of the “Magallanica”, dubbed the ‘snail’, and Banagher, who had stayed there for 8 months, could identify it immediately.
The sealed colony at the front, floating silently in the Shoal Space region, had swallowed the secret of the “Laplace Box” that toppled the world. Banagher subconsciously clenched his fists as he stared at the identifiable “Industrial 7” on the expanded window, knowing that it was the place. Everything began here, the “Unicorn”, Audrey, Cardeas, Zinnerman and Marida, he met them all here, was taken in by the “Nahel Argama”, and finally—
An icy killing intent instantly arrived, causing any further thoughts to dissipate. Banagher instinctively pushed the control stick down and raised the barrel of the beam rifle. The killing intent was gathered in front of the “Unicorn” as it turned around, breaking away from its path; it flashed in the form of a little light, and then grazed the “Unicorn” by the side in the form of a thick torrent of mega particles.
—I found you, “Unicorn”!!
A ‘voice’ then came flying in, and he felt goosebumps upon thinking of the term ‘malicious intent’. Another beam was fired—and after dodging this Beam Magnum-like energy block, Banagher too fought back while squeezing the trigger. The similarly thick beam crossed through space, and the radioactive light from the beam shone on a nearby machine. A black armor appeared in the pitch black space.
What looked like a multi-bladed antenna from the front was giving off a golden light from the forehead of the machine merged into the eternal night. It was the black “Unicorn”, the “Banshee”, and the pilot within…
Banagher did not wonder why that was the case. The monster you created—all he thought about was that the curse Frontal had laid on him took a physical form, and let the “Unicorn” race over to deal with the next wave of attacks. The “Banshee” too flipped its black frame around as the eyes hidden under the facemask glowed. The two Unicorn-types faced off for the 3rd time, at the place where it all began and will end, flashing their thruster flares as they looked for blind spots.
There was a wail-like voice heard, “What’s the matter?” Otto was the first to respond, and Mineva stared at the communication console from beyond his shoulder. “RX-0, Banagher! Answer me!” Ensign Mihiro shouted as the back profile of her putting her hand on her head entered Mineva’s sights.
“Y-You’re saying Ensign Riddhe’s attacking you!? What’s going on!?”
It seemed Otto’s voice had yet to register in her ears as she worked to adjust the angle of the laser communication. Her voice was completely different from before, and Mineva heard her own heart jump violently. “It’s Ensign Riddhe…!?” Otto too raised his voice.
“It means Londo Bell has arrived? Where’s the “Unicorn”?”
“Too much debris, the sensors can’t catch up. It seems to be fighting a single enemy unit.”
The sensor operator responded. If the optical sensors could not catch up to their movements, there was no reason why the laser communication could. Mineva stared at Mihiro’s back as the latter frantically adjusted the frequencies, seeing the voice that could have been picked up before the battle occurred. “Ensign Mihiro, the report, first!” Liam growled, causing Mineva’s shoulders to jump. “Y-Yes…!” Mihiro instinctively straightened her back, and turned her still unrecovered expression at Liam,
“It’s still uncertain. All I hear is Ensign Riddhe, and the “Banshee” attacking or something…”
The pale face let out this voice, causing Mineva’s heart to race again, her fingertips trembling violently as she shuddered this time. As she looked up at the main screen in shock, “The “Banshee”…?” Otto murmured. “It’s the second “Unicorn”.” Aaron interjected,
“Why is it at such a place…wasn’t it destroyed on Earth?”
“That should be the case. When it sank together with the “Garuda”…”
But Zinnerman, now at the cannon operator seat, did not witness it personally, and he hushed himself as he turned his pale face to the front. Mineva felt her body, seated on the commander seat, shivering along with her bones. Nobody present knew what happened to Riddhe after he landed on Earth, and even if they did, they would not be able to link those events with this current situation. Mineva wondered about these things only she knew of as her eyes landed on her palms, covered in the normal suit fabric.
These were not the hands to hold—these hands had made a decision to shake off the hand that was reached over to her. The “Garuda” was fading fast, and he had that anguished expression of being seemingly cut off from the world. He bore the destiny of his family to prevent the “Box” from being opened…and more. He wanted to grab the hand he did not manage to grab, and made a pact with the black “Unicorn”—
This was an instinctive notion, and not born out of thought. If this is the case, I’ll have to bear all responsibility. Mineva felt that she could not just idle around at this place, but her mind could not think of what to do. As she looked around the bridge, Lieutenant Commander Conroy’s voice rang through the wireless communicator, (ECOAS 920 notifying the Bridge, Base Jabber is ready to launch), causing her eyes to widen.
(We’re ready to launch anytime. Please notify us of the situation.)
“This is the Captain. The situation’s sticky now. Remain on standby for now.”
(New “Sleeves” reinforcements?)
“Not sure.” Otto gave a vague answer. The ECOAS squad, which was planned to reach “Industrial 7” first, had finished its preparations to launch. The SFS was dragged to the deck, ferrying the mobile suit called the “Loto”, and the armed personnel were definitely on standby inside. Once Mineva thought about this her body took action on its own, and she stealthily left the commander seat. “Has the mobile suit squadron reached the “Kshtriya” yet!? Marida’s still wounded!!” “They’re rushing over now!!” With her back facing Zinnerman and Liam’s shouts, Mineva left the bridge without meeting anyone.
She still had no idea of what she could do. Perhaps her action would cause the situation to be more chaotic, but her heart was filled with the notion to stop them, and with bated breath, she stepped off the corridor floor, got into the elevator, and pressed the button leading to the mobile suit deck level. (If the “Unicorn” is being held up, I guess we’ll have to hurry to “Industrial 7” first. If we don’t move fast, the “Rewloola” is going to catch up to us.) Conroy’s anxious voice rang through the wireless communicator, causing her tense skin to shudder.
Though they had predicted the course that would be taken, it was truly by luck that they could meet up so early. 30 minutes had passed since he left the Base Jabber, and there was still another 12 minutes worth of booster fuel in the machine. Riddhe equipped the Hyper bazooka on the back to the left hand, forming a dual-wielding combination with the beam rifle in the right hand, and fired the bazooka at the white machine caught on the reticule visual. The fired 380mm shot spun as it charged forward, and the hundreds of metal balls within the projectile exploded out.
At that instant, the “Unicorn”, which had been flaring its thrusters, hurriedly spun around and passed the “Banshee” by its feet. Riddhe immediately fired the Vulcan cannons, but he knew this would be insufficient as suppressing fire. The thruster flares immediately disappeared, and the “Unicorn” spun around using the AMBAC as it hid in the shadows of the debris. An invisible intent climbed up Riddhe’s back, causing goosebumps to crawl up his skin.
He was clearly not in destroy mode, but Riddhe could not track him at all. Riddhe himself let the machine zigzag about, looking around as he searched for the enemy as he felt anxious about the pressure he bore. The psycommu monitor clearly showed that it was running normally, but there was no response from the NT-D. What’s not enough? It should be able to activate upon facing the monster that can control the machine like that.
(Stop it, Ensign Riddhe!)
At that instant, the monster’s voice ripped through Riddhe’s ears, causing his hands on the control sticks to shudder slightly.
(You haven’t seen the situation clearly. We’ve no reason to fight here!)
Riddhe pointed the beam rifle at the direction where the wireless signal came from, and squeezed the trigger. The mega-particles, with 4 times the usual power, raced through the sea of debris, and for an instant, shone upon the white machine hidden amidst the rocks. Once its lone horn showed some reflected light, Riddhe immediately raised the Hyper Bazooka again.
“You guys oppose the Federation and intend to approach the “Laplace Box”. As a Federation officer, a member of the Marcenas family, I have a duty to stop you!”
A meaningless emptiness caused his face to contort as he squeezed the trigger. The bazooka projectile dragged a gaseous trail and hit a rock directly. (You’re lying, Mr Riddhe!) However, Banagher’s cry came from a completely different direction.
(You’re not here to do such a thing. Hurry up and leave the “Banshee”! That machine’s too dangerous!)
The wireless signal clearly showed where it was from, informing Riddhe that the “Unicorn” had moved from behind him to above him. Having lost sight of the machine however, “Stop messing around!” he looked around and growled as he turned the “Banshee” towards the origin of the voice.
“Then why did I come here!?”
“It’s because of Audrey, right!? You piloted that machine to bring her back…!”
The incoming voice caused the seed of shame to break apart and fade away. Riddhe’s blood boiled, but his body was numbed by the words he could not comprehend, and he merely watched the “Unicorn” pass by him from above as he forgot to attack.
“…Yeah you’re just a kid. So young that you don’t understand what you can and can’t say…”
His uncontrollable rage contorted his lips, becoming that of a self-depreciating smirk. The immature-looking face he saw on the “Nahel Argama” faced through his mind, and his shoulders were humping as he seemingly laughed.Right, he’s just a kid. Even if the “Unicorn” is so almighty, that guy hasn’t changed since that. He’ll just show that immature self-conciousness of his, but he can’t imagine his existence threatening others severely—
“And such a guy’s actually called a Newtype, messing with the world irresponsibility…! I won’t forgive you!”
His rage was embodied in the form of a light from the Beam Magnum, grazing the “Unicorn”. The eyes under the “Banshee” facemask flickered, and he leapt into space, swinging the beam tonfa on the right hand. He stepped off a piece of debris floating in orbit, closed in on the retreating “Unicorn”, and spotted the beam lights from both sides through the anti-glare filter. The “Unicorn” frame easily dodged the slashes that that kept coming as it retreated back, (MR Riddle, please stop!) Banagher’s voice rang again.
(The “Unicorn” and “Banshee” are attracting each other now. I can’t hold back any longer…!)
“You mean you’re holding back now!? How much do you want do humiliate me!!”
After firing the last shot, he threw the Hyper Bazooka away. The “Unicorn” dodged got to the bottom, and hid its white frame hid amidst the clustred space debris. A loud clank rang in a corner of Riddhe’s mind as he stepped on the pedal to pursue Banagher. The light from the Beam Magnum flashed by the accelerating “Banshee”, hitting a piece of space debris directly, and the shattered rock rained on the machine in the form of pellets.
(Now’s not the time for this! Frontal…!)
The splattering sounds on the machine were mixed with Banagher’s drowned voice. He just used the remaining space debris to attack me—so that means he can shoot me down directly if he wants to? Riddhe felt a chill in regards to this difference in skill level, and gritted his teeth as he stared at the psycommu monitor on the display board. The NT-D still would not activate, and the “Banshee” continued to remain in slumber as it merely covered him in the form of a machine.
“Give me power, “Banshee”…!”
If there’s a need, I can sell you my useless soul and body. As he subconsciously muttered it, a high-frequency wave resembling a metal resonance again shook his eardrums, and his temples felt a sharp pain as the ‘voice’ rang.
—Right behind, Riddhe.
The ‘voice’ flowed in the form of a golden light, piercing through the skull. He instinctively reacted and moved the machine, and the “Banshee” turned to the back, firing its Beam Magnum. The turnaround attack glided through the darkness and destroyed the rock, causing the scattered shrapnel to scatter in front of him like fireworks. The scatters shrapnel surrounded the “Unicorn”, causing it to stumble within.
“Who is it!?”
Riddhe put his hand on his helmet as he looked around. He had yet to realize the true identity of this voice, but he first managed to detect the “Unicorn” flying away with a trail of light following it, and let the “Banshee” pursue, ostensibly drawn to it. The white machine again got below to his feet, kicked off a piece of space debris, and flew up from behind—despite it escaping from his sights, Riddhe could clearly sense the trajectory the “Unicorn” took.
“I can see it…!”
Riddhe let the machine glide over to that path, and swung the beam saber he was wielding in the left hand. The “Unicorn” too drew its beam saber and blocked it at the last moment, causing the beam saber to let out a flash, and the clashing particle sparks spread explosively. Riddhe saw colors come out from the intense white flash, a rainbow prism light flowing about. This light surrounded the “Banshee” and the “Unicorn”, causing their Psycoframes to glow, and the phosphorus light to be released.
(A Psyco field…!?)
Banagher’s falter came in the form of a wave. As the light seeped into the cockpit, Riddhe swung the beam saber upwards from its entwined position. The “Unicorn” hand wielding the beam saber was parried away, and the unit staggered backwards, making an opening. Having predicted that the “Unicorn” would light its burners to balance itself and escape, the “Banshee” immediately raise its arm squeezed the trigger of the Beam Magnum.
The thick beam grazed past the “Unicorn”, and it was knocked away while using the shield to block the scattered particles. Riddhe could see his fear, hesitation, whatever he planned to do, and hallucinated the light surrounding the machine becoming his limbs, devouring the “Unicorn”. I won’t lose sight of it again. His senses were expanded to 360 degrees, and he could even detect the heat released from the “Unicorn”.
—Right, that’s right. Corner him.
A pressure, either a gust or a light, passed through his temple, causing the ‘voice’ to ring, and Riddhe’s eyes to widen.
The thoughts were filled with malice, and there was no doubt Alberto had arrived on this battlefield as well. He could sese the latter’s thoughts synchronizing with him, expanding his senses. The message from before—supply materials, was this what he was referring to? Riddhe’s realistic thoughts were overpowered by the distracting light as he looked for the “Unicorn” that was flying around his senses. Alberto’s thoughts had caught sight of that machine attempting to hide in the blind spots, and were conveyed to Riddhe’s thoughts. His hatred and malice exploded in Riddhe, causing the latter’s heart to pump and race.
—The “Unicorn” is now a prisoner of the Psyco field. You can win once you draw the power of the “Banshee”.
The ‘voice’ reached him. There was no time to consider why there was a voice, and neither was there a need to; Riddhe kept hearing his wild heartbeat, ostensibly about to break apart. The “Banshee” Psycoframe released a resonating sound, and the anomaly, the “Unicorn”, was leaping in the gap between the two thoughts. The machine that turned his fate haywire was a monster that snatched Mineva away and wanted to activate the “Box” again.
“If it wasn’t around…!”
His heart was breaking apart as it reached its limit, and a hot mucosa gushed out. It seeped out from his body and flowed to every corner of the machine, and the “Banshee” let out a beast-like growl. (You mustn’t, Mr Riddhe!) Banagher’s yell however was just a noise mixed amidst the machine’s roar. The NT-D sign gave a blood red sign, and Riddhe imagined it to be an extension of his limbs.
The machine’s armor slid as he imagined, and the and the frame let out a golden glow as the limbs were stretched. The facemask was pulled down, and the rooster crown-shaped horn expanded to the side, forming a V-shaped multi-bladed antenna, glowing like a lion’s mane.
“This is the “Gundam”…!”
It took less than 0.5 seconds to transform into the destroy mode—yet it felt so long. His senses were stretched along with the machine, and his nerves were stretched till the fingertips of the manipulators. His body felt heavy, seemingly lying in fluid, but he understood that his concept of time had been distorted. In this world, where a second is dragged to 10 times the usual length, even the air felt viscous. The separation of the mind and the physical body had pressurized the flesh and bones that could only move at normal speed.
However, there was no need to panic, for he did not need a physical body to control the “Banshee” in this state. The Intention Automatic System and the Psycoframe, which would respond to the pilot’s will, would smoothly allow him to operate this machine that had obtained the appearance of a “Gundam”. Riddhe tweaked his nerves, which were connected to the machine, and let the “Banshee” charge towards the “Unicorn”. The machine closed in rapidly, giving off golden phosphorus light as the silhouette of the black “Gundam” appeared in the eternal night.
A wail-like voice rang, and the pure white armor of the “Unicorn” let out a red phosphorus light. It avoided the “Banshee” slash and flipped backwards, expanded its frame to obtain a “Gundam” appearance, and looked back at him. Its transformation, together with the drawing of the beam rifle, merely looked too slow. Before the Beam Magnum was fired, Riddhe flew up immediately and jumped onto the “Unicorn Gundam” head.
The knee, with its psycoframe exposed, kicked at the “Unicorn Gundam” head. The latter machine was sent sprawling back, slamming into the space debris as it slowed down. Watch me now, Alberto. I’ll use these hands of mine to rip that monster which denied our existence. The reticule was aimed at the spinning fluorescent lights of the “Unicorn Gundam”, and Riddhe’s finger squeezed the trigger of the beam rifle.
“I got you, Banagher!!”
The emptied E-pack was ejected, and a torrent of mega particles raced out. A violent colorful light ripped through the light belt of psyco field, dragging a long trail in space.
“You mustn’t, Riddhe!”
Mineva inadvertently shouted as a battleship-like cannon beam grazed past, causing the control room of the Type-94 Base Jabber to be shaken violently. The attachments at the back rattled, and Mineva’s body shrank in fear as she was nearly thrown off her seat. (It’s a Unicorn-type!) She heard a voice from the wireless radio in her helmet.
(It’s a black unit. I can see the glowing phenomenon from before. It looks like both units are in destroy mode.)
The report from the “Loto” driver, seated at the platform “The “Gundams” are fighting…?” caused Conroy to murmur in response. Mineva stood up from the rear seat at the back, and turned her body to lean over to the back profile of the steering seat, and stared at the aurora-like light floating outside the window. The belt of light ostensibly surrounded the two Unicorn-type machines, forming a ‘forcefield’ ranging tens of kilometers, and looked as large as a fist from here, a cocoon of light fluttering around. The light was as faint as the afterimage left in the eyes, and it felt surreal even though it was floating in front of her eyes. However, the occasional beam lights were ever so sharp, causing Mineva to recognize that both machines were fighting.
The light in the Psyco field was as what she saw on Earth. The clash between the two Unicorn-type machines would create a demonic light that would absorb human life. It had been more than 10 minutes since she managed to convince Conroy and leave the “Nahel Argama” with the advance party. In the face of this development, which was proceeding in the worst direction, Mineva felt a sense of despair, fearing that she could no longer prevent any further developments. The furor surging from amidst the light was that intense. It was several hundred kilometers away, but the clashing ‘presences’ of the duo was strong enough to numb the skin.
“It’s too dangerous to approach them, Leader. If we rush into the battle between the two “Unicorns”…”
Lieutenant Garity, holding the control joysticks, probably felt the same thing as he said so with a pale face. The Base Jabbers and the two Lotos” fastened on it in tank form were powerless in combat, and one could imagine the results if it charged into the battlefield. Mineva deduced that Conroy would make the decision to retreat, “Just a little closer, please!” and interrupted their conversation, “Princess…!” Conroy gave her a chiding look, but she did not look back as she stared at the flickering light outside the window.
“The psyco field is expanding. If we get close, I may be able to pass on my words.”
“But that light’s like an energy forcefield. The Base Jabber will be crushed if it goes in.”
“I shall go even if I am alone. Please lend me a portable burner.”
Mineva said unflinchingly. “What nonsense…!” and Conroy sounded furious as he lambasted back. Though she had quickly disobeyed the agreement to obey him at all costs, Mineva had no other choice. She leaned forward from her seat, and stared at Conroy with that queenly expression of hers.
“Both sides are related to us. If they sense my existence—”
A beam again fizzled by, and the shockwaves impacted the control room. The co-pilot stopped the ringing siren, and Garity turned his head back to shout at Conroy, “We’re leaving!” Conroy stared at Mineva’s unwavering expression silently, giving a piercing stare that reminded others of their moniker ‘Manhunters’. Soon after, his lips broke into a smile, and he lowered his head slightly.
“…So that, at length, it grew a single shaft upon it's brow and to a virgin came—and dwelled in her and in her silvered glass.”
He muttered this to himself, his eyes could not be seen as it was covered by the helmet. This was one of the verses from the poem of the unicorn; Mineva was secretly surprised that this man actually memorized this line, and could not think of a reason why the man did so as she stared at the ECOAS’ Commander’s sidelong face. Conroy immediately lifted his head and hid the smile on his lips. “Proceed forward as it is, 40 seconds.” He said firmly.
“When the countdown reaches zero, turn away and pass through the light field towards the target space.”
Garity turned back, clearly wanting to give a look of protest in his eyes for an instant. However, he looked back at the console, “Roger that” and said so stoically. “Begin countdown.” The moment the co-pilot said this, Mineva looked at Conroy sidelong, and the latter looked outside the window. “We’ll head back if the situation’s bad.” He said.
“Please call them back. Perhaps you might be able to tame those wild horses.”
He looked back at her once he said this. Without a doubt, the expression this man showed was that of one who could only rely on his own instincts and escape from death time and time again. Perhaps he had this intention when he made the decision to let her come along and leave the “Nahel Argama”. Mineva accepted this thinking with some skepticism as she leaned her back on the sturdy backrest. She closed her eyes and gathered her thoughts on the flashes flickering under her eyelids, and the control room jerked a little, probably due to a hit by a small piece of debris or something. “10 seconds have passed”. She heard this notification from the co-pilot.
—RIddhe, it’s me. Mineva Zabi.
She called out, her fists on her lap clenched tightly. The engine sounds of the Base Jabber suddenly faded away, and she felt the sensation of the icy vacuum permeating through the insides of her normal suit.
—I empathize with your pain. Do not do this again. You will hurt yourself more the more you fight.
—You caused this.
The hideous ‘voice’ took the form of a pressure, and resonated with the anguished eyes she saw when she rejected his hand. Mineva felt her body, drifting with her consciousness, shudder a little.
—You rejected me. I told you not to leave me alone, but you abandoned me.
That crazed, euphoric thought process was forcing its existence upon Mineva’s. He knew he was suffering, but was unable to stop, and one soul was exerting violence on another, revealing a childish directness and cruelty in the thoughts.
—It’s like Mom. Everyone only cares about someone. Nobody cares about me.”
“Riddhe, that is…!”
The words she shouted unconsciously caused her lips to move in reality. That is not true she wanted to continue subconsciously, but she realized she had yet to reach her hand out. She was simply approaching, unwilling to reciprocate, for she knew these were the hands she should not raise.
—Are you here to make fun of me!?
The agitated voice became a needle piercing her body. No, Mineva wanted to form her thoughts, but they were unable to become words, and her physical body was writhing in pain. “Your Highness…!?” Conroy yelled as he turned around in shock.
She barely managed to rein in her thoughts that were nearly shredded and repulsed, and her physical body reached its trembling hand forward as she sat on the chair. A ferocious light glowed from the psyco field as her fingers missed, and a gale strong enough to shake her existence struck her.
A familiar cry rang in Marida’s mind, causing her palm resting on the ball-shaped grip to numb. There was an existence reverberating her senses, telling her that the two Unicorn-type machines were clashing, charging between them without any sign of defense.
It’s too reckless. The moment she instinctively looked back, a ring of light exploded in front of her, and a shredding-like pain pummeled on her together with the jolts. She however ignored the pain as she persisted with gripping onto the controls, maneuvering her machine to a direction where none of the explosion lights could be seen. With the explosions of the sliced funnels in the background, the “Sinanju” closed in.
(Do you have the time to look around?)
Frontal’s voice came, and the beam Naginata was swung at the “Kshatriya” right hand right when he grazed by. The two beam Gatling guns equipped on the forehead were melted and sliced apart, and Marida detached them before they exploded. She turned around, seeing the fireball engulf them, and let the last funnel turn towards the “Sinanju”. This automatic cannon pod was unable to return to its mother unit in time, and its battery was almost depleted; once moved like a bullet as it darted towards the “Sinanju” with its back turned on it.
The Mega particles were released from the funnel, which had yet to miss a single shot, but the “Sinanju” barely dodged to the left at the last moment. Just as I expected. She redirected the funnel and let it charge towards the “Sinanju”, and it became a tracking missile as it activated its thrusters, crossing paths with the red machine. The red machine however slowly raised its beam rifle, and the grenade launcher equipped under the barrel let out a gaseous trail.
The funnel collided with the fired shot head on, and turned into a fireball, the “Sinanju” using its light to hide its whereabouts. Marida scanned through the space, littered with debris, through her naked eyes, for she was unable to sense him. He was adept at hiding his killing intent completely, probably a result of him not thinking of humans as anything, ostracizing them from his world.
(I suppose your funnels are exhausted, Lieutenant Marida.)
The presence had gotten behind her without warning, and there was an icy voice. The scatter mega particle guns in the binders were destroyed, and the “Kshatriya” had no weapon other than its beam sabers. Marida turned her machine towards the source of Frontal’s voice, as according to the wireless communicator, and scanned the frigid space filled with debris.
(An enhanced human is supposed to have a portion of its mind blanked out so as to synchronize with machines…how curious. There seems to be something inside that blankness, causing your senses to be dulled.)
A voice, filled with pity for its own kind, seeped out from the shadows of the space debris, causing goosebumps in her as it quivered her cheeks. This empty man filled his emptiness with vengeance, and unabashedly proclaimed this was the collective will of the Spacenoids; his voice continued on—
(It is a pity. You could have been a vessel yourself.)
The killing intent surged, and a beam flew from a shadow of the debris. Marida tried to evade right before that, but the machine was thoroughly damaged, and due to its unbalanced mass, could not move according to her will, causing the beam to scorch the “Kshatriya” armor as it was unable to dodge in time. The beams continued to pummel the machine, ostensibly making a mockery of it, causing the linear seat to teeter violently as if it was about to break apart. Cracks appeared on the all-view monitor panels, and as Marida gritted her teeth as she withheld her groans, she witnessed the sight of the “Sinanju” closing in on the undamaged panels.
There was no time to deploy the hidden arms inside the binders, and the beam Naginata swooped in on its leg. A jolt heavier than before shook the cockpit, causing her head to hit the console. The air cushions could not absorb the impact completely, and the helmet visor was shattered into pieces once it hit the edge of the console; at the same time, a bellow could be head from the flank, and a suffocating feeling, more profound than the pain, was pulverizing her. Viscous globs came out from her mouth, and the reddish-black fluids were dyed upon the cracked visor. While blood was leaking from the helmet, there were countless lights releasing afterimages amidst the starry space, fluttering away quickly from the left lower leg of the “Kshatriya”.
Her lung was probably punctured by a rib. From the moment she was created, she was trained to be familiar with diagnosing her body conditions; she moved her arm and leg, trying to control herself and stop spinning, but the machine was low on mobility once it lost a leg, and could not stop spinning, and she could not grasp the location of the “Sinanju”. It’ll be over if I get hit again next time—how much longer can I fight? The instant her fading consciousness had this fleeting thought, Zinnerman’s face appeared amidst the flowing stars for some reason, and she felt skeptical about her subconscious elation.
The eyes, filled with warmth deep within, drifted away from her spinning consciousness, and replacing it was the sound of Banagher’s presence as he continued to fight. Mineva seemed to be yelling something as she tried to enter the battlefield, while her allies from the “Garencieres” and the familiar faces of those on the “Nahel Argama” were showing their existences to her, drifting in the stars. What is this? She wondered in her burning consciousness. Is this the true ‘light’ that reflects my shape and appearance…and forms in others?
Maybe it’s just my imagination. Their existences however allow me to become human. Humans caused me to be dull, weak, affected by emotions, but I’m alive, Marida thought. I’m not human, I’m alive.I found my own self through interacting with others, and the ‘humans’ I have taken for granted are calling for me.
(It’s over, Marida Cruz.)
Frontal’s voice was ringing emptily in her ears. The price he paid for severing ties with everyone else and elevating himself was that he was not human, just an object with a pitiful vengeful spirit afflicted upon him. It’s not over yet. I’m different from you. I’ve people supporting me. She gulped the oozing blood as she glared at the “Sinanju” through the use of the remaining monitor panels, pulling the ball grip with her all strength.
“It’s not over yet—!”
The “Kshatriya” raised the beam saber in its left hand and sliced off its right shoulder. The frame supporting the binder was melted off, and the impact of the metal melting off reached her shoulder as two severed binders floated. She sliced off the left shoulder binders too, and with the machine now devoid of its wings, charged towards the “Sinanju”, prompting her four binders along.
The psycoframe on the activation areas received the commands through the psycowaves, causing the binders to light its thrusters, becoming a form of funnel themselves. Two units with sub-arms intact in them fired beams at will, surrounding the “Sinanju” while the other two charged at the red machine in the form of large missiles.
Frontal sounded rattled as he exclaimed, slicing off one of them with a beam Naginata. The internal generator from the sliced binder let out a large ball of light, and the other binders attacked the “Sinanju” while it was wobbly. These binders, each of a similar mass to a mini mobile suit, crashed into the red machine, triggering several explosions. Before it was engulfed by the many layers of fireballs, Marida let the “Kshatriya” escape from the scene.
The light overpowered and removed Frontal’s presence, blowing away the surrounding debris. In the end, she witnessed the “Sinanju” shield and a damaged arm fluttering through with a mini nova-like shrinking in the backdrop, followed by countless icy debris remaining amidst the blueish-white gas. Did I…succeed? She watched the melted shield with the Neo Zeon insignia reflect the distant sunlight as it faded away, and stepped on the pedal to accelerate without looking back.
The rising G-force caused the blood floating in the cockpit to drift, and the monitor panels were rattling. The fractured rib had punctured her lungs, causing fresh blood to exude from her mouth; however, she gritted her teeth as she dragged the “Kshatriya” forward. The “Nahel Argama” was nearby, but she still could not return. I have to prevent the ‘light’ supporting me from behind. I’m not alone, many ‘lights’ allow me to take shape. I have to protect the real ‘light’ forming within me.
I can’t die—no, I don’t want to die yet. This thought appeared in her for the first time since her birth, and with this notion as motivation, the “Kshatriya”, now human-like from the loss of its binders, raced through the vacuum. The conducting fluids were dripping like blood, igniting and causing small fireballs as the one-legged humanoid drew a trail of light like a shooting star.
Multiple thoughts struck Alberto in the form of a gust, and the battlefield, now creating torrents all over the place, blew strong gusts. It was a savage yet familiar presence, the feeling of his scalp being tugged at, causing him to put a hand on his helmet.
“What? That’s not Riddhe? Who’s calling…!?”
He peered beyond the window of the control room and looked around. The only things he could see however was the thruster lights flashing about amidst the belt of light wavering about. The “Banshee” and “Unicorn Gundam” had gotten into the shadows, but one could say this was to be expected since there was a battle between them. The two machines continued to fly about at high speeds, and this base Jabber was simply a turtle compared to them. It was miraculous that he could quickly notice the two clashing mobile suits so soon after entering the battlefield.
Of course, there was a reason to this miracle. The containers on the platform contained a set of Unicorn-type spare psycoframe. It did not escape its confines and out of the container, but the psycoframe inside would definitely be resonating, giving off light. The best proof of this theory was the psyco field floating outside the window, coupled with the “Banshee” and “Unicorn Gundam” that were fighting. The shockwaves from the clashes between these two machines merely extended towards the light approximately 20km in diameter, and did not escape the field. They surely would be able to escape considering their acceleration, but they did not. It felt as if the field was a link binding them together. The “Unicorn Gundam” seemed to be restrained by a binding feature of the psyco frame, and it was unable to escape no matter how it tried—this Base Jabber must have been the one binding them together.
The container was resonating with the “Banshee” psycoframe, forming a net that captured the “Unicorn Gundam”. Even without the psycommu function, Alberto was still able to tell where the “Unicorn Gundam” was, and had conveyed this information to Riddhe. One step more, and they would be able to corner Banagher, but there was another thought interfering, like a wet blanket interrupting—“Someone’s entering my mind…!” Alberto sounded annoyed as his hand remained on his throbbing temples, “Mr Alberto!” but another voice called out from reality, causing him to turn and glare.
“We’re at our limits. We have to leave.”
The pilot, ranked a Lieutenant, had been calling out for Alberto many times, looking at him palely through the helmet visor. Another thick beam of the beam Magnum rifle passed by, and a flash shone through the window, filling the control area. Did the “Banshee” fire it, or was it the “Unicorn Gundam”? No matter who it was however, Alberto knew that he would be blown away if they were to take a single graze. Intriguingly however, he did not feel fear; rather, he was more terrified of the notion of not doing anything and escaping from here. If Martha were to use the colony laser, there was no way he could save that woman. “No.” Alberto immediately denied the request and continued look at the two thruster flashes with his eyes.
“If we leave, the “Banshee” will be isolated. The “Unicorn” is worn out from the continual battles; we’re able to take it down if we keep this up. Hang on for just a little longer.”
We have to bury the “Unicorn Gundam” quickly and get the “Banshee” to look for her. “But…” the Lieutenant argued back, and Alberto clenched his fists as he hollered, “JUST DO IT!”
“If we’re successful, I’ll give you more money than whatever you can spend in your lifetime. Anyway—”
A gale blew by, passing through the ceiling, robbing him of the chance to continue on. A familiar thought entered him in the form of a gust, just as before. “What is this…?” Alberto endured the nauseous sensation as he groaned and looked at his feet. There were several thin lines of light on the floor covered by shadows, and after they flickered in his eyes, they raced towards the front of the Base Jabber, becoming a visible light in his sights.
Alberto was unable to catch sight of the fleeing light that escaped his eyes, so the replay visuals of the surveillance cameras were shown on the monitors. The rough CG-corrected image showed a stout machine. Its body was surrounded by the lights of the thrusters, but Alberto had quite an impression on it. It was deformed due to the damages, but it was—
The pores on him opened, and his armpits were covered in sweat. It had lost the four binders, its biggest characteristics, but there was no doubt what it was. Alberto saw the “Kshatriya”, completely stripped to its bare bones, and instinctively reached his hand for the wireless communicator hidden in the helmet. “Riddhe, do you hear me?” he called out to the wireless communicator as he leaned forward, looking around.
“A Neo Zeon mobile suit is headed towards you. Don’t do anything to it! Th-the person inside is…!”
His mouth was frozen in fear, and he was gasping for breath as he could not say the name. Only noise could be heard from the communicator, as Riddhe did not give any reply. Alberto could not sense that his feelings were conveyed, and could only hammer the console hastily. We’re able to agree on cornering the “Unicorn Gundam”, so why can’t I give such a simple instruction!!
“Go after that machine! Capture that pilot alive!” Alberto yelled as he grabbed the Lieutenant, “You got to be kidding…!” only to be rebuffed; immediately afterwards, a flash from the beam Magnum passed by from above, and the Base Jabber shook greatly as it was affected by the shockwaves, the scattered particles raining on the machine itself.
For the first time, Alberto called out her name amidst the turmoil. The “Kshatriya” light could no longer be seen as only the light of the battle far away continued to flicker in the field.
The Beam Magnums were fired at each other, and as they clashed, the “Banshee” brought its left manipulator forward. The psycommu shock waves released by both sides allowed them to grasp each other’s location, and an invisible repulsion field occurred between the two immobile machines.
(This isn’t going to end…!)
Both sides had similar power outputs and calculation abilities. Even if they were to rob each other of the systems, it would be impossible to determine the winner. Riddhe pulled the “Banshee”, and the “Unicorn Gundam” did likewise, firing the Vulcan guns on its head as it let out a passing trail of fire. They both drew their beam sabers at the same time, and these two machines, practically peas in a pod, were slashing at each other.
“Right, my instincts matches yours. But—!”
The “Banshee” fired its beam Magnum from up close, and mounted the emptied rifle on the side of the left mount. It put its shield onto the back, and once it revealed the beam tonfas on its arms, it charged at the “Unicorn Gundam” right after it had dodged a beam.
“My will to kill is different from yours!!!”
The “Banshee” lit its thrusters and swung its beam tonfas sideways. One beam saber alone was unable to block the attack, and the beam blade of the tonfa grazed by the side of the suppressed “Unicorn Gundam” head. The gaseous plasma floated out from the melted armor, and the “Unicorn Gundam” immediately turned around and left the “Banshee”. (Mr Riddhe. You’re being consumed by the machine!) Banagher’s voice rang.
(The “Banshee” NT-D is out of control. You’ll be destroyed at this rate!)
“That’s fine. The NT-D’s a destroyer system of Newtypes anyway! It’s a system that purges the ailments that threatens humanity!”
The “Banshee” left the space, turned around, and opened its arms wide, taking the form of a windmill as it slashed the “Unicorn Gundam”. The white machine barely retreated at the last moment, and activated the two beam tonfas.
“Because of a stupid fantasy of humanity continuing to evolve, a curse from 100 years ago is now reality! Someone has to be sacrificed to maintain the status quo!”
Both sides continued to spin, and the beams continued to clash two, three times as they fought through infighting methods. Riddhe pretended to attack for a 4th time, but kept his tonfas back, and charged right at the “Unicorn Gundam”. The tonfa swung at the face was parried aside, and the other beam blade aimed at the flank was blocked by a beam saber. 4 beam sabers were warding off each other, (Mr Riddhe…!) Banagher’s groan rang through the communicator.
“You’re just like me; we’re suitable sacrifices for this. The Marcenas left this curse behind, and the Vist family hid this curse. We inherit their bloods; once we vanish, this 100 year grudge will disappear.”
(Are you serious…!?)
“That shouldn’t have happened. It was supposed to be a prayer, not a curse. If not for the existence called Newtypes being created…!”
As his heating consciousness yelled out, the “Unicorn Gundam” moved its arms, and the “Banshee” had its tonfas parried backwards as it staggered. Riddhe managed to steady himself immediately, but the “Unicorn Gundam” got behind him, at a speed such that it was immediately to see it whilst time were multiplied by 10.
The machine, moving at near-teleportation speed, swung its tonfa at the back of the “Banshee”. The latter dodged the attack aimed for the shoulder joint, and turned around to face the continuous attacks, dodging the beam blades that were coming at the shoulder joints at terrifying precision as he twitched his body left and right. “That strength of yours is the greatest proof!” Riddhe yelled, and the “Banshee” reacted faster than his controls as it swung the tonfa at the beam particles closing in on him.
“You’re no longer an ordinary human, you’re a human adapted to space, a subspecies of humanity called Newtypes, the type of people who turned the curse of “Laplace Box” into reality…!”
Riddhe capitalized on the forward momentum as he stepped forward, and it was time for him to attack. The beam blades continued to flicker, letting out sparks like a machine gun, causing the phosphorous light released from the machines to be dulled.
“That’s why I’ll beat you with my hands as a normal human, even if my soul’s devoured by this machine!”
To maintain the current world, the society where billions of ordinary people lived—Riddhe continued to swing the beam tonfas as he harbored the words that were exploding within his heart. (No, that’s not it, Mr Riddhe!) Banagher’s voice echoed, and the eyes of the “Unicorn Gundam” were suddenly filled with a light, resembling that of a human’s.
(You’re a Newtype too. The light from this psycoframe is coming from you.)
(You should be able to hear this. Everyone’s worried about you. Audrey, and the guys on the “Nahel Argama”.)
The light from the two eyes passed through his scorching heart and mind, causing his hand on the controls to grip. The ‘voice’ he had excluded from his consciousness before came in, entering his frozen body. What, why, sto-stop it!! Whilst he was unable to distinguish between the many voices, Alberto’s voice was mixed in amongst them, simply calling out for something, and a pressure was ostensibly choking him. What’s this? I can see the thoughts of others. I can sense the existences of those related to me. (Alberto…my brother’s calling out too.) In the midst of this vortex of confusion and fear, Riddhe quietly listened in on Banagher.
(It’s not about our births, but how we’re living on. Anyone can become Newtypes, as long as we don’t lose the heart to feel.)
“…It’s just noise coming from the Psycommu. It’s just the psycowaves the “Banshee” is picking up!”
This has to be the case. If that’s not it, what exactly am I doing? Riddhe continued to yell as he rejected the “Unicorn Gundam”, but the voices continued to ring, causing him to cuddle his head. (The machine’s just an amplifier! Why don’t you understand…!) Banagher’s growl broke through his skullcap, causing much more pressure on his throbbing mind.
(That “Banshee” is also a beast of possibilities. It has a system that reacts to the hearts of humans.)
“Shut up. Don’t say anything…!”
(If the “Box” really brings disaster, just destroy it. Let us go together, Mr Riddhe. Audrey hopes for it too.)
His temples were throbbing, and his head was about to be splinted. He could feel the strength seeping from within and the force flowing in from outside, clashing with each other as they burdened his mind. That’s enough. Stop it! Don’t just talk in my mind! “SHUT UP!” He yelled with all his might, and stepped on the pedal until the end. The “Banshee” escaped from the “Unicorn Gundam”, hid the lights of the beam tonfas, took his beam rifle again, and looked around tentatively.
“Where’re you, Alberto!? The noise’s too strong! I can’t hear you!”
The psyco field flickered along with the light, and the Base Jabber flying about unsteadily appeared in the "Banshee" sighs. "Is that is…!?" Riddhe muttered as a severe migraine struck him, causing him to cover his helmet with both hands. Stop it, stop it! Don't do it! Multiple thoughts pierced through his mind, and the silhouette of the Base Jabber was shrouded with denial. He suppressed the trembling going from his skull to his helmet, and glared at the Base Jabber with hostility.
"No, that's the guy that was being noisy just now…!"
That's not Alberto's machine. Having recognized this, the "Banshee" drew its beam saber and charged towards the Base Jabber. (Don't don't it, Riddhe!) with Banagher's plea behind him, he caught sight of the bed-shaped Type-94 Base Jabber, and saw 2 mobile armors fastened upon it. He recognized that it was the Manhunters' tanks, and memories of what seemed a month ago appeared in his mind. The smell of the "Nahel Argama" mobile suit deck entered his nostrils, the model of the biplane that was still left in his room, the call Squad Leader Norm made before he died, "I haven't forgotten about the promise to watch a movie!" Ensign Mihiro's murmurs--
"Stop trying to confuse me…!"
He shook aside the memories that were stopping him, and drew the beam saber. The Type-94 Base Jabber, without any decent weapon, could only avoid the attack slowly, and when the particles were about to hit the cockpit at the front, another 'voice' from afar passed through his voice in the form of a 'voice'.
--Stop it, there's someone important to you on board.
A woman's 'voice' clearly rang in his mind, and he instinctively drew back his beam saber. The Base Jabber just happened to pass by the "Bansee" within 0.1 seconds right , and the face staring at him through the canopy filter entered his sights.
Despite her being dressed in the normal suit, he could clearly determine that she was shouting something. Why? The moment he pondered this, the Base Jabber passed by his feet, and the departing trail of thruster light increased its distance from the "Banshee". Riddhe let his machine float about, and then, he spotted a machine, ostensibly the owner of the 'voice', pass by his sights.
It was a monoeye mobile suit with a massive frame, releasing a presence different from killing intent at the "Banshee". It was a different profile, but it seemed similar to that 4-winged mobile suit. Mineva called it the "Kshatriya"; is that one of the Neo Zeon units that allied with the "Nahel Argama"? Riddhe thought of this within an instant as he looked back at the monoeye that was clearly staring at him. However, he looked away from that one-legged mobile suit before he could be caught in confusion. There's someone important to you on board--how do you know that? You're just a man-made puppet. How do you know about Mineva and I...
(Miss Marida!) The "Unicorn Gundam" called out as it approached the lone-legged mobile suit. The psycoframe was giving of a glow that was either yellow or green, the rainbow light pressing upon the "Banshee". You see, we can resonate like this. Banagher's consciousness drifted to him in the form of the light, causing blood to gush up Riddhe's dizzy consciousness. He raised the beam rifle, loaded the spare magazine, and aimed the gun at the source of the light. At that moment, a thick beam was fired from the back, and the "Banshee" stumbled due to the impact.
"A ship cannon…!?"
The main cannon-class mega particles continued to fire, the beams robbing the "Banshee" of its footing as they ripped through the vacuum. Riddhe escaped from the torrent, and glared at the source of the shots through the filter of the psyco fields. The white ship frame of the "Nahel Argama" was gradually approaching as it blew apart the debris in its way. Stop, stop it. You mustn't! Countless voices pressurized him along with the voices, and the lights and voices nearly seared his senses away as they rained upon the "Banshee". That's the ship I was on firing at me now. Thoughts of denial was chiding his mind--
"IS EVERYONE GOING TO DENY ME NOW…!?"
He yelled, and aimed the beam rifle at the "Nahel Argama". That bag's full of denial thoughts Got to make that bridge disappear. Riddhe's finger squeezed the trigger without thinking about anything else. His sights, synchronized with the "Banshee", was dyed right, and he clearly spotted the wooden horse-like bridge.
Banagher screamed, but Riddhe had already squeezed the trigger. The mega particles encapsulated in cylinders within the E-Pack were completely released, and the Beam Magnum let out a beam, firing right at the "Nahel Argama"--however, the one-legged mobile suit suddenly stopped in front of this beam.
The "Kshatriya" arms and body were spread wide, looking at if it was protecting the "Nahel Argama", its massive body taking a direct hit from the Beam Magnum. Its upper body was instantly vaporized, and the lower body drifted in space temporarily before an explosion expanded, causing the "Kshatriya" to disappear without a trace.
A voiceless light spread about, resonating with the roar of a beast'. It was the voice of the "Unicorn Gundam"--Banagher's voice. This voice seemed to have caused him to lose all sanity, a beast-like voice spreading through spread, to a point where the term anguish was insufficient in describing it, and Riddhe sensed that his fingers on the trigger was starting to tremble. The light from the explosion started to expand, engulfing the white machine that was wailing to high above. In the midst of this light that covered his sights, something else gave off a sharp light different from the explosion, and a rain of light scattered everywhere like numerous eedles.
"Wha...what is this light…?"
The rain of light passed through the armor and entered the cockpit, permeating through Riddhe's body, causing his body on the linear seat to quiver. It could not be called an explosion light, as this light expanded, erasing his sights and thoughts, engulfing the "Banshee" that stood there blankly. The light spread throughout the entire space, shining brighter than all the stars between the Moon and the Earth.
The lights left in vacuum continued to spread, the "Kshatriya" vanished just like that, like the dozens of mobile suits that were shot down in this battlefield, on this day. One had to think of what those pilots were thinking, and whether any of them had similar lives.
He seemed to be screaming; this fuzzy impression was the only memory left within his mind. There was no voice, no thought as Banagher watched the light engulf Marida. She's dead--impossible. There's no reason for her to be dead. I still haven't brought her to the ice cream shop. She still hasn't treated her thoroughly battered body. She never had time to talk with Zinnerman.
Everything was just about to begin. She had undone the curse bound to her, and she was about to live on; how could someone die without having lived a life? Why did she disappear without leaving even a bone behind? She's not died. Miss Marida, impossible…
Banagher was crying; his body had accepted reality faster than his soul, shedding tears unconditionally. The light of the psycoframe changed amidst his hazy vision, and the cockpit showed a red attack color. Banagher narrowed his soaked eyes, and whilst driven by the light reflecting his heart, he aimed the beam rifle at the shining, still "Banshee".
He gritted his teeth, and held the trigger with the finger of the manipulator. He would not be able to breathe if he did not do so, and the heat in his heart was filling his body, about to break through it. I won't forgive you. Disappear. He muttered in his heart, now a core reactor, and just when his finger was about to exert strength, he saw a light descend gently, taking the form of a hand, grabbing the muzzle of the rifle.
--That's not it, Banagher.
The hand of light gently lowered the beam rifle, and permeated into the cockpit through the armor. Bangher could ostensibly smell the sweet fragrance Marida had as he hurriedly reached his hand for the light.
--He's in pain too. You should understand.
His fingertips tried to grab onto it, only to miss and hit the display board, letting out a blunt sound. He could not touch it; it was so warm, yet he could not grab it. He looked up at the translucent light that floated there, looking down upon him, "Bu-But…!" Banagher yelled,
"But that's too much! Nothing good ever happened to you! Just war, injuries, chaos…! Maybe...you could have lived your own life in the future…!"
The voice he eked out was drowned by his sobbing, and he, unable to vent his emotions completely, let out tears from his eyes. Marida touched his trembling shoulders, bent down, and gently embraced Banagher. The light embracing the latter was filled with her weight and warmth, dripping into his heart little by little.
--That's not it. You're crying for me, and I know many are mourning over my demise. That's good enough for me.
"What about the Captain? If you're not around too, what's going to happen to him? You're his 'light'…"
He pulled in the light he could not embrace, his hands pressing onto his chest, unable to touch anything physical. You're in my heart because you shone the 'light' in me. She showed a slightly troubled smile as she wiped his tears with her glowing finger, and left the cockpit just as she had entered.
--Banagher, right now, I can see things you all can't.
Marida said as she stood in vacuum through the all-view monitor. On the other side was a sea of psyco field, with rainbow light floating in it. It was a field of light formed by human hearts…
--Every person is standing in front of that door. Maybe one day, the time will come when they step through it physically. I can even see time, filled with light here.
"Time...you can see...time…?"
--There's a path reaching out beyond this rainbow.
Marida muttered as she swayed her long hair and blended with the light. Banagher tried to chase after her subconsciously, and once he realized that he had left his physical body because of this, he felt as if he was floating amidst this psyco field.
An illusion? Perhaps. Even if he was a Newtype, he never thought that the human consciousness and body could be so free. He however was certainly thrown into space, drifting in the sea of the psyco field, resonating with the light Marida gave. At the same time, a clear thought drew a line through space, and in this region not hindered by time and space, their consciousness resonated like they were playing about, touching every single heart in this space.
The "Banshee" looked lost while its horns gave off a golden light, drifting in space. The black pilot suit inside the machine was trembling in the midst of his filled body and mind, probably still unable to understand what he just saw. Riddhe did not know how to haggle, would only face things head on, and did not know how to change. There was no time to re-button as his lonely soul continued to seal himself amidst the light.
--That soul doesn't know how to change, and is destroying others as well as himself.
Marida said to him. "Hii…!" he let out a shriek upon touching the thought, in the form of a light, his body writhing, his eyes widening in fear. Such a reaction was certainly due to him being unable to adapt.
--This world will not be formed if it had not been done. However, if you continues to insist on this, it will keep suffocating you. I hope you will continue to stay by Banagher. The Lion and the Unicorn has to be balanced as equals. If there is only one, he might destroy the world.
"What, is this voice...am-am I crazy…?"
Riddhe's eyes were rolling about, his hands pressing on his helmet, his teeth clattering, unable to grit. However, his eyes did not lose sanity however, for his inner consciousness understood that this was a necessary 'voice'. His outer consciousness too was starting to realize this.
--You can calm down and look at your surroundings. The world is so wide; so many people are resounding with each other.
His trembling eyes blinked several times as he looked around the space around him. The psyco frame reflecting his soul became much gentler, and the lion "Gundam" gradually calmed down. Once she patted the machine that was her alter ego, Marida left the "Banshee". "Wait…!" With Riddhe lifting his head behind her, her consciousness, drifting in space, went for another source of light.
Alberto was surrounded by the luminous light leaking out from the psyco frames in the containers, his Base Jabber drifting silently in space. Basked in the midst of the light from the "Kshatriya" explosion, he realized that his hopes were dashed, but his feeble soul was unable to accept reality. His empty voice continued to seek the hope that no longer existed, seeping from the cramped control room, yet unable to reach anyone.
"That light...what did you do, Riddhe? Tell me the situation. Your voice...I can't hear anything…"
--The person who tried to love me.
The light shining upon him conveyed Marida's consciousness, and his massive body, squashed into the co-pilot suit, was shuddering, "Marida…" he murmured, and at that instant, he showed a heinous look His anguish was turned into hatred, for while attacking others, he ended up hurting himself in this twisted yet tragic role. Like usual, he tried to convert the grief he could not handle into hatred for others, and dyed his body, already used to despair, into black.
"Who shot you down? Riddhe!? Riddhe!? Did you do it!? Damn it, Riddhe!? Why did you let Marida appear on the battlefield! You're always trampling those important to--"
--Nobody is at fault here. What happened to that person can only happen to him. What happened to yourself is the same.
He was betrayed by his father, and was egged by his aunt into taking him down. To make up for the darkness that was born, he hated his half-brother, gave Riddhe the "Banshee", and then--this hatred vanished from Alberto's eyes once he understood everything, and he let out tears of remorse. "Bu-but…!" he let out a toddler's whimper, and wanted to embrace the light. His body however fell onto the console, and this anguish he felt head on for the first time caused his profile to shudder.
"It's alright if you don't love me. I just want you to be with me. I feel that I can definitely start anew if I'm with you...I can't do it alone. There's no way I can do it alone…!"
--Don't be afraid. You've already started anew. I hope you can tell everyone what you wanted to tell me.
"No! Are you dead!? Are you going to leave me alone just like mom!? I don't want to hear what someone says before dying and leaving me alone!"
--Alberto...you'll die as well if this keeps up. Think of how to live along with everyone. You know you can't do it alone.
"Wait! Don't get, Marida! My…!"
Marida grasped that outstretched hand, and after conveying the final bit of warmth, her light faded. Alberto embraced that gradually fading warmth as he bent down, trying his best to keep it. He was curled in a ball, sobbing away; however, that was not a vengeful call nobody could hear, but a cry from his heart, one that could touch the souls of others…
"Is the "Nahel Argama" alright? Did something become a shield!"
(It's not the "Gundam", but the light's too strong. I can't tell. What is that light down there…?)
The pilot in the "Loto" answered Conroy's bellow with a stunned tone. Mineva however had already understood what had happened. In the control room of this Type-94 Base Jabber, she alone bore the gravity of something lost as she silently watched the light shining in from outside the room. The poignant, towering light of consciousness was filled with warmth and gentleness within.
--I'm sorry, Princess. This is the end for Marida Cruz.
Thus, she was not surprised in the least to hear this 'voice', this thought passing through her body. Mineva lowered her emerald eyes, "Seriously, you…" she eked out a trembling voice, her tears flowing till her long eyelashes as she basked in the light filled with Marida's consciousness, it flickering like morning dew.
"i...I don't know how to apologize to you for all these. Zeon only caused you all this pain...never giving you any reward…"
--If your heart is always that tightened, it will snap. Please open up your heart, Princess. You still have something else to do.
Mineva's shoulders quivered slightly as she lifted her moist face. Her eyes, reflecting the flickering of the light, started to focus, as if Marida was really there.
--I'll leave Banagher to you. He still has yet to control his power completely. He needs your help, Princess.
"Bu-but, Marida...you may be what the Unicorn needs…"
The thing that continues to exist in the silver mirror, and the beast of possibilities in her heart. Mineva reflected upon how she was unable to do anything, and was the cause of Riddhe's rampage, and clenched her fists. Marida left behind a lonely smile as her transparent body departed from Mineva.
--Bodies with blood flowing through them need human bodies that can also bring warmth. Please go on, Banagher is still calling for you.
Marida nodded at Mineva as the latter murmured, and she again dissolved into the light. She continued to race through this time and space that had yet to cease, but was not flowing smoothly, her consciousness arriving at the last place she had to visit.
The damaged ship was basked in the light, and to the "Nahel Argama" that was sailing through the debris, this strange light was simply one of the continuous phenomena. Having become a shield for this ship, the light spread about, and everyone in the bridge was stunned, but they did not lose their sanities of having to deal with reality.
"It's the "Kshatriya! Lieutenant Marida sacrificed herself as a shield…!"
"Was she shot down!?"
"Hurry up and check on it!! This is different from an explosion!!"
Mihiro's shriek, Liam's shout and Otto's holler could be heard in order, yet Zinnerman was the only one not to be stunned as he looked at the light with a face exceptionally calm to a bystander. It was not because he was unsure of the situation, but that one could even say he knew before anyone else, and had accepted it. The consciousness that was mixed amidst the light reached the bridge before the observation report came in, standing in front of him.
--Captain, the Federation and the Vist Foundation have locked down this space region. They won't attack immediately, but please be careful. I sense a powerful energy swirling.
"Marida...y-you idiot. You came here right at the end to say such a thing…"
Zinnerman understood very well that he was the one she trusted most, and that was why she conveyed such an important information. Even so, he was unable to contain the unspeakable anguish and fury that was seeping out of his entire body, and he stared at the light of consciousness gathered above the console. Marida watched the tears rain from his eyes, her consciousness seemingly looking down as the light flickered.
"Don't worry about us. Talk about yourself. You're going now, right? Are you going to where Fee and Marie are now? Complain about something! Don't give that acceptance look! Scold me…! I...I never did anything for you…"
--I just wanted to see you again. I'm worried...if it had hit me, would it be enough to negate the power of the beam. It's great that you're alright, Captain.
--I finally can't say it fully. What you did for me, you saved me...you're my 'light', the 'light' of this human called Marida Cruz.
The light flashing outside the window gradually faded away, and Marida's consciousness started to dim. Zinnerman suddenly got up from his seat, wanting to grab the disappearing consciousness, only to miss and fall upon the console.
"Don't joke with me now! Come back! Revive from the dead and return to me! If you can't do that, I'll go over! Don't go anywhere now, Marida! I take back that order just now! Stay by me! Don't leave me alone…!"
--Papa, don't put me on the spot.
Marida's consciousness swayed as it covered the hands grabbing onto the console, her last remaining weight and warmth synchronizing with ZInnerman's.
Zinnerman wanted to embrace her tightly, but was unable to do so as he hugged his own shoulder. His shoulders were writhing like a paralytic, and his sobbing echoed through the bridge, not caring about his own image at all.
--There are also many other 'lights' gathered here. Many 'lights' have yet to notice each other's 'light', waiting silently in the darkness...please look for them, like the time when I was reborn.
The light vanished, and Marida's consciousness lost tangibility as it melted away from Zinnerman's body. He continued to embrace his writhing body as he pressed his helmet on the console, not moving afterwards. As Otto and the rest watched on wordlessly, the suppressed sobbing could be heard from the back of the normal suit as it continued to tremble silently, blending into the body of 'light' that would never disappear.
The light finally vanished without a trace, and the vacuum was reverted back to its original darkness. Having forgotten about his physical body, Banagher left Marida's consciousness as the latter gradually lost her form as a human, and he returned to his physical body that was left inside the "Unicorn Gundam".
Marida's consciousness disappeared into the horizon along with the light from the psyco field, to a place the human consciousness could not reach. Out of the Solar System, on the other end of the Milky Way, to another universe...linking to the other end of the rainbow, the horizon called possibilities. Either way, the place there would be filled with light, even the concept of time itself. There would definitely be no wars, an infinite horizon--the residence of the God called possibilities certainly existed on the other end of this rainbow.
But to the bodies of flesh, that place was too far away. They had to fight all irrationality, understand each other using the power they had, and pass on the warmth of this body. Banagher lifted his head, his dried teary stared at the space shown in the actual footage.
He could no longer hear Marida's voice. What surrounded him was only the world he could sense, and the billions of stars surrounding the "Unicorn Gundam" seemed to be telling him that this was enough; they shone hard lights upon him, lighting the space that was not fully utilized.
Once the light had fully dissipated, a blueish-white gas was left behind, showing an icy color. None of the machine's debris could be seen, for it was practically vaporized, and only the space debris, floating around for countless years, was slowly drifting away, slowly twirling the thinning gaseous clouds.
It was a typical scene of a downed site...but there was something different. Riddhe had a feeling of the world changed once the explosion occurred, that something was reversed. The beams had ceased, and after he looked around as the silent shoal space region, he opened the visor to wipe the sweat off his face.
The trembling of his hand could not stop. He felt the agony in his heart become a lead block, his gut weighed down. The thoughts released by another person in that instant formed a weight deep within his heart. His maddening senses filled his body, yet the owner of that vanished 'voice' lingered somewhere deep within his heart.
"Is this, a Newtype's senses...?"
He originally intended to cry out and deny the voice, but another wave of trembling reached his fingertips. It was not the noise from the psycoframe, so who is it? The "Banshee" lost the glow of its psycoframe, and as Riddhe let it face the gas silently, (That's not it) he heard a strong voice, was taken aback by it, and turned to look behind.
(Miss Marida, she has always been doing her best...she has always tried her best to live on, that's why she's able to pass on her voice.)
The hushed voice was trembling, and the “Unicorn Gundam”, standing less than a kilometer away, was giving off a gentle light. They had been fighting each other just an instant ago, but he could not sense any hostility or fear. Their attempts to kill each other just before this was simply a surreal, distant memory. Riddhe did not feel mystified by it as he simply stared at the machine that had lost its luster, “Banagher...” he called out skeptically, but the “Unicorn Gundam” never responded as it lit its vernier thrusters, turned away, and went off, exposing its undefended back.
The “Nahel Argama” was not there. He knew that Banagher was headed to “Industrial 7”, but he could not understand where he was supposed to go. she has always tried her best to live on, that's why she's able to pass on her voice.. Riddhe repeated these words in his heart, and turned his sights to the black gloved hand.
It doesn't matter if I'm a Newtype or not. What matters is whether my heart can reach out to others, and whether I can accept others. It's useless segregating them right from the beginning; nobody's voice would reach me. I mixed up my family issues with my personal grudges, and I killed someone through my lapse of judgment and hatred, and I have nobody to convey my thoughts to. That 'voice' told me there's someone important on board, that woman Alberto likes, she told me this world's too big, that there's no need to despair, that I should find someone who can relieve this hatred from me, and yet, with these hands of mine, I--
He could not locate the Type-94 Base Jabber within the sensors, he could not hear Alberto's voice, and the “Nahel Argama” remained silent, not letting out a single voice. I'm alone. He truly felt this, the lead of anguish melting in his heart, gushing out from his eyes in the form of tears. Nobody's willing to talk to me. I let down Mineva, Banagher, Alberto, father, everyone. I really want to start again, turn back time, meet with everyone again. I won't take the wrong path this time. I won't be alone again, and I'll live on to be the me everyone knows of, the one that will live with everyone,
“But, none of this...can be taken back...again...”
The endless stream of tears floated the moment they flowed out, drifting in front of his eyes in the form of round goblets. Riddhe was surrounded by the water droplets that washed his ignorance away, whimpering in the cockpit of the “Banshee”.
Having felt a sudden headache, Ronan reached his hand for his head.
He felt an inexplicable sense of pressure, and what swarmed after that was a tremendous sharp migraine that reached his chest. He felt as if the little Riddhe back then was crying, is it just my imagination? He recalled the pressure that brought about gloom in his chest, and rubbed his eyes, took a deep breath, and stared at the 6 large panel monitors. Martha, standing beside him, glanced over, “It's been tough on you.” and muttered,
“Do you need a smoke in the restroom, or at least a seat?”
“No need for that. If the colony laser's fired without me witnessing it, I won't be able to bear it.”
Martha merely laughed it off, and never talked about it again. Ronan noticed sweat falling from her forehead, and was sure that the woman had sensed it. He again stared at the telescopic footage captured from the moon.
The situation in the 'Caucacus Forest'--the control room for the colony laser 'Gryphios 2' had yet to change. The incoming reports were all militaristic, and the battlefield shown on the telescopic visual merely showed light spots that could not be identified. However, something heavy did blow through this control room. It seemed to be an outcry, or a gust, quaking the minds of everyone present in the room. Ronan even had a vision of something occurring on the other side of the screen.
His temples pulsating along with the migraine, he saw a vision of an explosion expanding, giving off a rain of light. Of course, that was not reality; even if he wanted to joke, he would not say that he managed to hear a cry from a battlefield more than 300,000km away, and he did not feel that he could sense that. That was simply a collective hypnosis from the flickering light far away..Ronan barely managed to conclude this as he stared at the flashing beacon that was still wavering. “It has been 3 minutes since we observed the last light from the battle.” Commander Ables approached to Ronan's side and spoke stiffly,
“It seems the battle has ended, and the “Nahel Argama” is still around. Looking at the current speed, it will take them another 30 minutes to reach “Industrial 7”.”
His face was slightly paled, for the entire Neo Zeon fleet that had gathered was shot down by a mere ship, and this rebel ship was approaching its objective, clearly a show of the threat level they presented. Ronan calmly accepted the developments that had occurred, but was skeptical as to how he had predicted the battle would end. He did not look at anyone as his stare returned to the monitors. Ables then turned his sights to Martha,
“The remaining Neo Zeon fleet, with the “Rewloola” as the center, will reach the target an hour and a half later than the “Nahel Argama”. The firing safety has been confirmed. You may give your instructions.”
“It means the time has arrived.”
Martha folded her arms on her chest, her eyes holding a sharp glint. “Not yet.” Ronan felt himself taking a step closer to the cliff as he denied her.
“It might not be too late even if they do make contact with the “Box”.”
“How relaxed you are...it will be too late once they open the “Box”!”
“The opening of the “Box” refers to the revelations of the secrets inside. There is a need to recognize what they will really do.”
Mineva Zabi is a wise girl, and if she knows of the truth, there is a possibility that she will keep the secret of the “Box”. Ronan felt that if it was her, he would be able to carry out political talks with her, but at the same time, he recalled the unfettered emerald eyes, and could only stare at the footage of “Industrial 7” with a heavy heart. “Only those who know what's inside the “Box” can make such a decision.” Martha narrowed her eyes at him,
“At this juncture, you can at least tell me what the “Laplace Box” contained, what that thing that was supposed to be destroyed with the Prime Minister's residence contained.”
The expected question came at him, and he sighed slightly. To Martha, this was simply the perfect opportunity. No matter what kind of outcome was to happen, the Federation and the Vist Foundation's coexistence would head for a new phase. He felt it was meaningless to remain silent, and just when he was about to face a somewhat nervous looking Martha, “Commander Ables!” the metal doors behind opened, and a bellow echoed through the control room.
“There is an emergency. Please allow me to ent--”
A man pushed aside the guard at the door and stormed in, his face frozen once he spotted Ronan. Ronan and Martha too gasped, “Senator Ronan...Lady Martha...” Bright Noa muttered as he stared at their faces. “Captain Bright, I don't suppose I gave you the permit to enter.” Ables glared as he took a step forward; Ronan however already knew from their meeting at his own residence that he was not a man who particularly paid heed to rank or authority. As he had expected, Bright ignored Ables and looked around; once he spotted the anomaly 'Gryphios 2', he glared at Ronan and the rest with some stunned furty.
“What are you doing here!?”
The sharp roar caused all the personnel at their terminals to turn back. Ables seemed to be overwhelmed by his authority as he gasped, his face flushed, but Ronan glanced at Ables, raised a hand to stop him, and turned back at Bright. At the same time, he glanced at Martha's lowered look, seriously the latter seemingly saying this. He then gave an expression to Ables, indicating for the guards at the door to back off. “It's none of your business” The commander showed anger due to his lost pride, but Bright did not mind as he looked back at Ronan.
Where did he get this information from--it was useless to think about it. Bright was the one who planned for the “Nahel Argama” to meet with Mineva's group and head for the “Box”, and Ronan, not anyone else, was the one who implicated Bright in this. Even if he was to be redeployed, with his connections and foresight, it was not a strange thing to be found. Ronan did not feel too skeptical about it, just amazed that all the actors had arrived, and turned to look at the screen again. He caught sight of the telescopic visual showing the colony laser, “Industrial 7”, the shoal space battlefield, and other places. “We don't have an option.” he looked around at what may be a depiction of a conspiracy, and muttered.
“They're the ones making the decisions. Everything will soon end.”
He lowered his chin, and spotted anxiety on the sidelong face of Bright as the latter looked up at the screen. The light beacon of the “Nahel Argama” moved slowly, closing in on “Industrial 7”.
She passed through the cabin at the back, through the air lock, and arrived at the platform of the Type-94 base Jabber exposed to vacuum. A tank-mode “Loto” was moving around on this space large enough for a mobile suit to lie on, a rectangular space large enough for a bed to be filled. Mineva grabbed onto a safety hook at the side of the airlock, tightened it, stepped off the platform and flew to the “Loto”. Her vision, unhindered by anything, showed the silent shoal space region, and she could see numerous space debris floating around at relative velocity.
The newly formed debris were on the same path as the Base Jabber, surrounding it. They were shone upon by the moon that seemed large enough to be embraced, flickering time from time to time like a group of fireflies dancing in vacuum. The debris field was moving faster than the Base Jabber, slowly floating beside Mineva. Countless fragments of light flickered and frolicked, lighting the path to Industrial 7.
Marida's fragments. Mineva was affected by these words that suddenly appeared in her heart, and she bit her lips. She took a deep sigh, and turned her body to the back of the machine. The thruster flare could be seen flickering far away, and the white humanoid machine appearing in the darkness was gradually approaching. Soon after, she could identify it as the “Unicorn”, its thruster flares slowing down, positioning itself above the Base Jabber.
The lone horned giant had removed itself from its destroy mode as it slowly descended. The pure white armor showed the numerous wounds and burns that stained it, and Mineva was left speechless at the unexpected damage incurred. Its cockpit suddenly opened, and a hole appeared at the abdomen as the machine looked down at Mineva.Banagher's calling for you--she did not reflect too much upon the 'voice' she just heard as she stepped off the “Loto” and leapt up, reaching the opened quadrilateral cockpit before the “Unicorn” manipulator could grab the platform guide and attain relative speed with the Base Jabber.
The inside of the cockpit was exceptionally dark, probably because the all-view monitor was showing the footage of space. Mineva's upper body entered the darkness that was no different from the outside, and stared at the white pilot suit appearing in the darkness. “Banagher...” she inadvertently called out, and the helmet tilted slightly, seemingly realizing the voice as his eyes blinked, (Audrey...why're you here?) his lethargic stare could be seen through the visor, and he looked ready to let go in front of her eyes, not having realized that the cockpit hatch was opened. Mineva instantly embraced Banagher.
She held his helmet with both hands, and their bodies were clinging to each other on the linear seat. Banagher's mental state was different from hers, trying his best to suppress his emotions--and if this kept up, he would have been destroyed. As she embraced his cold body, wanting to at least pass on some warmth to him, “Audrey...?” there seemed to be direct communication between them, for their helmets were connected. Banagher sounded skeptical at this sudden action, but his arms too were embracing her, not letting go. The familiar hands were were holding onto her, seemingly latching onto the body that was about to fall off, giving her some warmth through the normal suit.
“...Miss Marida, she said everything to me.”
After some time, Banagher murmured. Mineva backed away a little and peered at the face hidden beneath the visor.
“She told me not to be angry, to forgive Ensign Riddhe. I did it...”
His eyes showed trails of tears, the trembling in his body having reached Mineva. The latter embraced his helmet, sticking onto his body as she ostensibly absorbed that trembling. “You managed to do it.” She eked out a sobbing voice.
“It's amazing, Banagher. Marida's definitely proud of you...”
“Of course. She requested this of me for the first time...bu-but...”
The arms stretching from the waist to the back exerted strength, and the sobbing breath quivered the helmet. Mineva too closed her crying eyes.
“Can you let me remain like this...?”
His voice was cracking, seemingly having found a way to vent his frustrations, and Mineva, as a response, embraced him with enough strength not to lose to him. The trembling got strong, and the sobbing caused the shoulders to vacillate. Banagher let out a cry as he entrusted his body to Mineva, who was embracing him tightly.
He had a childish lack of restraint, crying wholeheartedly even after venting all his emotions. his undulated quivering shook the floating tears. Mineva looked back, and at the cockpit hatch in front of her, she could see a trail of stars in the galaxy. As the galaxy laid in the background, there was an object, the size of a thumb, floating there; it was where everything began, where she met and entered the life of this person trembling in her arms. “Industrial 7” was floating along with the colony builder “Magallanica”, drifting in the shoal space region.
Marida had showed them the horizon where the god of possibilities lived was so distant, but no matter what sort of truth awaited them, they could only move forward. As they entrusted their movements to the Base Jabber, Mineva stared at the “Industrial 7” that got bigger. The space had lost all hostility, still remaining dark as ever, yet Marida's fragments surrounded them, continuing shining a dim light.
The small thruster lights passed through the other end of the countless debris. The Base Jabber made contact with the “Unicorn”, and that light was veiled amidst the sea of space debris in their eyes, vanishing from their binoculars sights.
Nigel sighed as he removed the binoculars strapped upon his helmet. The “Jesta” surveillance cameras had better analytical abilities than the binoculars on the normal suit, but the condition was that the machine had to be in working condition. He closed the access hatch at his feet, and started checking on his unit's condition from the torso armor, looking gloomy at the damage incurred as even the main camera was sliced apart. Though they had made some emergency repairs, he wondered if they could return to the “General Revil” in this situation. Perhaps he should be relieved that the limbs were still intact.
Daryl's “Jesta” too floated by the side, looking to be in similar shape besides the still-functioning main camera. Nigel spotted the goggles watching the thruster flare. “You know where they're going?” and asked. (Got to be “Industrial 7”. There's no other place to go.) Daryl had already finished his emergency repairs and returned to the cockpit, his voice ringing through the wireless communicator.
(The “Nahel Argama” is also taking the same path. They're aiming for that place...)
“I guessed so. I get the feeling that we'll know more after getting there. Maybe that “Laplace Box” is still there.”
Nigel suddenly recalled Mineva Zabi's voice, and then he recalled the voice of Watts saying that there was one thing they had to do. (Are we going to meet up with the “Nahel Argama”?) He heard Daryl ask this amidst his bitterness, and murmured in his heart, That impatient guy left without getting a girl who'll cry for him. He looked up at the space that had devoured Watts' life, “Better not for now.” and answered with a sigh.
“Some things are to be watched and understood from afar. The “General Revil” should be arriving soon. Maintain our distance. We're approaching “Industrial 7”.”
(Understood. Can you move?)
“It can still move somehow, but this “Jesta” isn't going to last a beating from a psyco machine.”
It was embarrassing, but this was the lasting impression made during the battles over the past 2 hours. We couldn't intervene in the battle between the “Unicorn” and the purple mobile suit, and we're chased out when the “Sinanju” just now. We got involved in that unknown light the “Unicorn” and the “Sinanju” gave off, and then we got bounced out of the battlefield.'
He eavesdropped upon the wireless communicator, and it seemed to be called a psyco field. He did not know the result of the battle, and he was unsure of Full Frontal's fate, but he could not feel that immense killing intent. The difference in ability was so big he could not regret upon it, and his mind started to think about philosophical matters what is a spirit to sense each other, what those who have adapted themselves to space should do. What will Watts think? Nigel carelessly thought, his face contorted as he was unable to give a wry look at this. (There shouldn't be a problem here!) Daryl answered.
(The battle seemed to have ended. There's no Newtype that can fight the “Unicorn” in this space.)
The definite tone caused his tense face to relax somewhat. Looks like I'm not the only one transformed.. Nigel turned towards Daryl's unit and asked, “Did you find the “Banshee”?” He was hoping that maybe he could sense Riddhe's presence, since he did sense the latter fighting the “Unicorn”. (There's too much debris...) Daryl however answered vaguely.
(The light from the psyco field vanished after that mysterious explosion. Is that...)
“Probably not. That...I'm not so sure what it is, but I'm guessing it's not Riddhe.”
The pressure he felt back then still lingered in his heart as a distant echo. It was the 'voice' of a woman, a 'voice' that was spread out along with a certain explosion soon after he had detected a battle between the “Banshee” and the “Unicorn”. I'm able to access the situation coolly in my heart; maybe that's thanks to the 'voice' comforting my battered body and mind. We probably would have returned to the battlefield with revenge on our minds and ended up like Watts if that didn't happen.
“Psyco field. Spirit...is it a field created by sous?”
He subconsciously muttered, and just when he was grimacing that it was unlike him, and noticed something flash by in the corner of his eye.
While the debris drifted in inertia, one lingering color was etched in his eyes as it flowed towards “Industrial 7”. It was merely the size of a pebble, and though the debris was too small to be clearly identified, that was--
“The Red Comet...?”
A red color appeared for an instant, basked under the moonlight, the remnant of what seemed to be a mobile suit gliding through the shoal space region. It quickly merged into the other debris, unable to be identified, into the darkness even the binoculars could not detect.