Mobile Suit Gundam Iscariot
Title: Mobile Suit Gundam ISCARIOT
Fandom: Gundam (Meta)
Disclaimer: No profit is being made on this fanwork.
Rating: T Overall
Summary: Aleksei Vivek dreams of becoming an ace mobile suit pilot. It's all he's wanted and all he's worked for. But what happens when he gets to NIN-ANA, the toughest training school there is? What happens to a dream when it's time to wake up?
Notes: Things blow up. A lot of things.
They felt it - a strange vibrating rumble - a second before all of their datapads turned pure red and locked.
"What...?" Aleksei looked up.
"That was from the inside going out," Jet noted, almost calm as he unlocked his datapad and started typing. "Let's see... a two person shuttle and right through an airlock... That's going to be messy to repair."
"Mmm, I suppose you won," Jet said as he glanced over to Mick. "That was Lyndee and... oh, Hagen. I wonder what she promised him."
"Fuck!" Mick exclaimed, getting to his feet with a wild look in his eyes.
"Probably, yes..." Jet blinked as he trailed off, pushing his hair back from his face before catching Mick's train of thought and going pale. "Go! I'll get to the controls and try to disarm the sentinels. Just go!"
Mick thrust his datapad at Jet and jumped over the sofa, running for Tisiphone.
Aleksei was watching in half shock and half awe, not really understanding.
"Get out of here!" Jet yelled at the quartet. Whitby seemed to be the one to clue in first, and he grabbed for Aleksei and Nari. "Run!"
It finally clicked in Aleksei's mind that Tisiphone was going to have to launch. And quickly -- for whatever reason, Mick was going to go after Lyndee.
They ran, but Aleksei still heard the sounds of Tisiphone moving, and felt the sharp heat of thrusters fired in too small of a space to get moving more quickly than recommended. Than should ever be necessary in a reserve hangar.
The hangar door locked hard behind them. Eoin waved his bracelet at it, but nothing happened.
"Sentinels?" Nari questioned.
"Normally only disarmed when NIN-ANA is expecting incoming vessels," Whitby said. "If they go after the shuttle, that's it."
"But wouldn't it have a NIN-ANA IFF?" Eoin questioned.
"Only if Hagen and Lyndee are smart enough to activate it," a voice said from behind them all. It was Valentine, in a grey and blue uniform, with a datapad in hand. He looked strangely good and not quite as tiny as he had in his tight flight-suit. "I was just heading to join the lot of you and harass Mick for a bit. But..."
He held up his datapad, which was displaying radar along with a series of warning messages.
"Hopefully Mitra and Varuna can do something about the sentinels," Valentine continued. "Jet's going to be busy getting Tisi out there and while I know he can multitask, no one's that good."
"Is there anything we can do?" Nari questioned. She looked worried, and Aleksei reached to rest a hand on her arm.
"Lachesis got the order to go out," Valentine explained. "Not sure who'll get out and there first, but Tisi has a good head-start and Jet as backup."
"There's a lounge not too far away," Valentine said quickly, interrupting Eoin. "Come on."
He silently guided them down a red-lit hallway and sure enough, there was a small lounge that opened only to Valentine's clearance. It had a wall screen and handful of chairs and a lone table.
"This should do," Valentine noted, holding his datapad to the lounge's main wall screen and linking them with a few taps on each. "Here..."
It took him a few seconds and a few more taps, but he got the radar up onto the main screen, along with a grainy bit of video from a non-armed patrol drone.
"That's really Lyndee?" Nari asked, pointing at a red dot on the map. "Did she think she could get somewhere?"
"Maybe," Whitby said. He sighed. "But look at those..."
Aleksei sucked in his breath. There were more than a dozen smaller blue dots swarming from around the screen and heading towards the shuttle. None of them were in range, but they would be.
"There!" Aleksei cried, pointing to another red dot that had just appeared. It was Tisiphone, heading full-speed towards the shuttle. But the shuttle was still far faster than the mobile suit. And the sentinels were in between - small, quick, and deadly.
Instead of swarming the shuttle, they swarmed Tisiphone.
Valentine was still fussing about with his datapad, transmitting back and forth. Just when the dots around Tisiphone started disappearing, Valentine got the sound on, along with a feed from Tisiphone's main camera.
"Hey, Varuna! Hey, Mitra, I'm sorry but I gotta break some stuff out here!" Mick sounded half-apologetic, half-amused as Tisiphone fired on another pair of sentinels. "Any luck getting these fuckers off my six? Any of you?"
Aleksei was in awe of the speed at which Mick moved the machine. Tisiphone was built to be reasonably fast and agile, but Mick was making it dance and move unlike anything Aleksei could imagine. The camera was almost impossible to watch -- too much motion, and then shots and small explosions as the sentinels were destroyed.
"Still in progress," Jet replied, his voice calm. "You're doing good. Just keep shooting them for now."
"I know I'm doing good, but I don't wanna get stuck with the bill for this mess," Mick replied. "How's the target?"
"Got a persistent couple of sentinels pursuing," Jet said after a beat. "They're trying to shake them, but are just circling back into NIN-ANA's airspace."
Tisiphone shook from impact at that moment, and Nari squeaked and grabbed for Aleksei. He pulled her close, unsure of what else to do. Usually this was Eoin's job, but for whatever reason, he'd been the nearest.
"Varuna, get these fuckers off of me!"
"We're doing everything possible!" Mitra's voice broke in. "The damage to the airlock put the system into emergency mode and the overrides aren't working normally. This isn't fun for us, either."
"Mitra, if you can get that shuttle on a comm, tell 'em to get their suits on. There's a chance that it won't explode even if it's hit fairly badly," Mick instructed.
"You are not to give me orders!" Mitra replied, his tone far sharper than a moment ago.
"Mitra, you know as well as I do..." Mick trailed off, instead taking out three more sentinels, but not without getting hit by a fourth before he managed to shoot it.
"I need full shutdown control," Jet interrupted. "Varuna, if you can't do it, let me do it for you."
There was no reply. Mick swore. Eoin reached for Nari. Aleksei didn't let go of her.
"There," Valentine said, gesturing to the small shuttle on the screen, visible just in time to see it hit by a pair of sentinels, tearing open its stern.
"Full shutdown control!" Jet yelled. "Dammit!"
Tisiphone took out the last of the sentinels pestering it and sped towards the shuttle just in time for it to be hit again.
Silver and red flashed by the drone camera and Aleksei's blood ran cold. Just like his memory.
"I can't look..." Nari buried her face against Eoin, who finally pulled her away from Aleksei.
"Look," Whitby instructed, and pointed at a rapidly approaching new marker on the radar. "Lachesis."
And Nari did look, hesitantly.
Tisiphone picked off that sentinel, and reached for the shuttle. But there was another dot on the screen. One more sentinel that apparently saw them both as a threat and fired.
Tisiphone's main camera went black, and the audio feed cut to feedback and static. The drone camera showed only an explosion, scrambling its own feed for just a moment. But it was no longer facing in Tisiphone's direction.
And then everything went black.
The darkness was unimaginable. Aleksei didn't think he'd ever been anywhere so dark or so quiet.
"Stay where you are," Valentine said softly. "It's okay."
"Is it?" Whitby questioned.
"Jet shut everything down," Aleksei surmised. He just hadn't expected everything to mean 'everything'.
"Yeah," Valentine said. "I think he did. Now he just needs to bring it all online again, if he can. Otherwise he'll have to wait for Varuna to do it. If he can."
"That sounds a little too complicated," Whitby said flatly.
"Sounds about right to me," Eoin said. The room felt far warmer than it had initially been. Even their datapads weren't working.
After another long, quiet and terrifying minute that felt like hours, the lights came on dimly, slowly cycling up to full brightness. Datapads came online, and then the screen came back on, showing only Tisiphone, damaged badly, carefully clutching two human forms in spacesuits to its chest. The shuttle was nothing more than a debris field.
"Mick?" Jet asked softly, his voice full of worry.
"I'll take Hagen in if Lachesis will take Lyndee."
The room collectively exhaled and Valentine cut the audio as Lachesis slipped onto the screen and reached for one of the suited shapes.
"I think we should get down to the main airlock," Valentine said. "If only to see just how badly Mitra explodes."
"At who, do you think?" Eoin questioned.
"I can't believe Jet shut down NIN-ANA," Whitby mused, shaking his head.
"That was amazing," Aleksei managed. He wondered if he'd ever be able to do anything like that. To just realize what was happening and go. He had a long way to go and grow before then. But...
He would reach his goal.
The observation deck for the main hangar was half-full already by the time Valentine and the quartet arrived. Mitra was curiously absent, but Jet was there, along with a couple of medics, but strangely not Dr. Hisano.
"Aleksei, Nari, Eoin, Whitby!" Jet was over to them instantly. "I'm sorry that I couldn't explain, but there just wasn't time..."
"It's okay," Eoin said. "Valentine let us watch everything..."
"Did you now?" Jet asked curiously, looking over to where Valentine was hanging out as far from the medics as possible.
"Did you really shut down NIN-ANA?" Whitby questioned.
"Did Valentine really manage to get our channel?" Jet questioned, glancing around to see if anyone was really paying them much attention. "Keep most of that quiet."
Whitby frowned. "Sorry."
"That was really amazing," Aleksei said quickly. "Tisiphone..."
"A well-tuned machine with a skilled pilot," Jet said firmly. "Mmm, they should be in within seconds."
Aleksei hadn't noticed that Jet had his gloves on again, not until he drew his hands up and started pulling up screens in thin air.
Most of the crowd seemed unsurprised, but Eoin and Whitby simply stared.
A few commands later, and Jet tucked the screens away before nodding.
In from the airlock emerged Lachesis and then Tisiphone. Aleksei could clearly see where the damage was that had knocked out Tisiphone's main camera. Luckily there were others or Mick would have lost all of his visual navigation. But it would have been far trickier and he guessed that Tisiphone was heavily relying on Lachesis for support.
Both machines knelt - well, Tisiphone more tilted than anything - and opened their cockpits, sending out the suited forms first.
That was when Aleksei realized that Mick hadn't even had a pilot suit on. He'd been out there without proper protection, and had even opened his hatch for a few seconds to pull Hagen into the cockpit.
The medics got there first, though Aleksei was part of the crowd pushing down to see... Somehow, despite Aleksei not having seen him, Aeon was part of the group as well, though Aeon and another man headed towards Lachesis.
Aleksei kept his gaze on Tisiphone's cockpit, waiting. But then Mick appeared, looking a little tired but mostly just smiling. He flashed a quick thumbs up that Jet quickly answered, before waving and smiling back.
The medics ushered Hagen and Lyndee away. Lyndee might've been injured, Aleksei realized, though at first he thought she was just too stunned to walk properly on her own.
He missed the pilot of Lachesis descending, though Aleksei had been curious. A grey and white-clad pilot was reaching to free a darkened helmet to reveal...
Long blue hair, framing a very female face. Dark skin was a sharp contrast to bright green eyes and ruby red lips. Both Aeon and the other man were to her instantly, taking turns kissing her softly.
"Purity," Valentine said. "Purity Albion, Aeon Jester, and Edison Mercado. Damned good team right there."
"But not your team?" Nari asked, glancing around. Aleksei frowned. Valentine never did seem to be with anyone. Though neither did Mick, unless Jet counted.
"My team is a long story," Valentine said, shaking his head just enough to make his curls bounce. "Another night, okay?"
They all nearly missed Jet pull Mick into a rib-creaking hug and not let go until a medic kindly attempted to pry Mick free to poke at him.
Mick -- Instructor Hedone -- seemed no different in class the next morning. A little dark under the eyes, but otherwise fine. And since Lyndee hadn't been in any of his classes, Aleksei didn't miss her being there, though Nari had reiterated that she definitely hadn't returned yet.
Aleksei wondered if Instructor Moros had found some other awful punishment, but he really just hoped she'd learned a valuable lesson. Even if the lesson was only 'NIN-ANA is forever.'
With a novel to read, two papers to write and three chapters on grammar to study via app, Aleksei trudged to lunch, Whitby at his side.
"I can't stop thinking about it," Whitby admitted.
"I know," Aleksei said. "Mick is just..."
"Jet..." Whitby said. "Mick, too. I feel like we saw..."
"Something more incredible than what we ever should have seen?" Aleksei proposed. Whitby nodded.
"Yeah," he confirmed. "Exactly that."
Aeon, Mercado and Purity were all in the cafeteria, which was a bit of a surprise. Aleksei was fairly sure that they should have all had their own living spaces, like Mick and Jet did, and that eating in the cafeteria - the school cafeteria - was far beneath them. But Dr. Hisano was there as well, along with Mitra.
"Well, looks like both Mitra and Mick lived to see the morning," Whitby said, apparently making the same observation as Aleksei.
"I don't think they could stay mad," Aleksei said. "Mick is so easy going, and Mitra..."
"Mitra seems to be a good guy," Whitby noted. They both watched the table for a moment, as they got in line. Mitra seemed to be in quite good spirits, even softly smiling and laughing at something Aeon said.
"Yeah," Aleksei agreed.
Their datapads beeped - it was a message from Mitra. There was going to be an assembly before afternoon classes...
How had Mitra...? But it was an exact hour, to the second. And it would have had to be pre-planned, but Mitra hadn't wanted the announcement to arrive during class. Crafty.
"Guess we need to hear all about what we were there for anyway," Whitby said.
"Guess so," Aleksei replied, sighing.
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