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: And then there were five.
Yet again, there was an extra person in the hangar when they arrived.
"Hey, guys," Jet said, raising his hand in greeting. "I hope you don't mind a little extra company."
But instead of one of the other pilots, it was Lyndee.
"The hell," Nari said flatly. "You'd better be here to actually work."
"I heard this was a good homework spot," Lyndee admitted. She seemed... Aleksei wasn't sure, really, but deflated in some way. "And I have a bit to catch up on, along with a bunch of extra assignments as punishment."
"She does need a little help with her Composition assignments," Mick said. "This is as close to office hours as I'm ever gonna get."
"It's okay," Eoin said, patting Nari's shoulder. "We'll help you out if we can. Tomorrow is the free day, so don't worry about doing it all tonight..."
"No, I've got to help fix Tisi-- Tisiphone tomorrow," Lyndee said with a wince. "That and laundry and a few other things with Cardinell. And find out exactly how many years it'll take me to work off all the damage I caused."
"You're working on Tisiphone?" Aleksei questioned. It wasn't fair if she was! She was the reason it had been damaged, after all.
"I'm getting tools and drinks for the people who are," Lyndee clarified. Eoin and Nari sat first, and then Whitby, leaving Aleksei to slide next to Lyndee.
"I'm still a bit jealous," Aleksei admitted. "Getting to look at it all day."
"You really like mobile suits, huh?" she asked softly. "I... didn't really think much of them until I was out there in space, looking up at Tisiphone and then Lachesis. Knowing that they saved me."
"Jet saved you as much as I did," Mick said with a little headshake. Aleksei blinked, and thought he understood -- Lyndee was there as much for Mick as anything.
"Mmm, and Varuna and Mitra," Jet added. He had his datapad out, the extra large one, and was tapping away at something that seemed to have most of his attention.
"While I do have to supervise Tisiphone's repairs tomorrow, I also want to try to get down to do some work on my own Gundam," he continued. "We might be able to convince Mick to show off Akhlys, too."
"No," Mick said quickly. "And why are you in such a hurry to dust off Klotho?"
Jet gave Mick a sharp look, then a quick nod towards the first years and back again.
"It simply is a thing that needs to be done. Aeon's team is attached to the Helvetios Project, though I think Arcane Minx's team will get transferred over. But it doesn't mean Aeon will be here for long. That leaves Linsky's team and a handful of loners, along with the factory guard and Third Years." There was something about Jet's tone that seemed just a bit off, but Aleksei couldn't place it. "Myself as well."
But no one questioned it -- It wasn't worth any trouble it might cause. Aleksei made a mental note to message Whitby about it later and just work on his homework for the time being. There would be time for questions in the future, hopefully.
"I'll help," Nari said. "Eoin and I need a bit more practice on all sorts of things, according to Purity."
"Vida had me and Aldren's Safphir," Lyndee said. "We did okay... I had my eyes shut the entire time we were outside, though."
"You can ride along in Klotho tomorrow if you're free," Jet said. "I promise I'm a very good pilot and Klotho is a very good machine. Just until you feel safe, and then you can try it out."
It took all of Aleksei's willpower to not lash out.
But the message of gratitude he received from Jet later in the night more than made up for it.
"Report!" Solitaire rappelled down from Amalgam's Emeralde - his usual combat mobile suit since Amalgam rarely left the bridge controls - and reached with one gloved hand to push his hair back from his face.
"Reports are still coming in," Sincere replied coolly. "I'm working on sorting out all of the information."
"Keep me current," Solitaire told her before turning his microphone off.
He stretched and looked around the hangar at the other suits. Only Gate was down from her machine. She was even wearing a proper pilot suit, zipped up, though the zipper was the first thing to go after her helmet. Solitaire shook his head and looked to the other machines. Eternity was next to descend, followed by Jackal and then Deadline.
"Good job," Solitaire called to them all. "Our objective was accomplished perfectly--"
"Let me get changed and I'll start on repairs," Gate called, smiling. "That was quite a fight."
"You might even have managed to hit something," Deadline quipped, walking up behind Gate and smacking her so hard on the back that she stumbled.
"I did hit something!" Gate retorted, wheeling about and raising a fist. "Don't start with me!"
"Calm down," Eternity commented as she pulled her helmet off and shook out her hair. "I'm sure Lore will have full stats, but I know I saw Gate take out four of their Emeraldes."
"Bah..." Deadline turned and ambled off, past them all.
"Your team is as good as your reputation said," Jackal drawled, giving one last look at his Deamonde before heading over to Eternity and Gate. Solitaire slipped closer, too. While Jackal had fought quite well, he kept to the edges, Solitaire had noticed. He did a good job of lining up his shots, but he wasn't a melee fighter. That was part of what kept his mobile suit in such pristine shape.
Solitaire had put a few dents in Amalgam's Emeralde, which he knew he'd hear about, and Deadline and Eternity's machines had some gashes and holes, too. Gate's Safphir had fared well, but that was because Gate kept improving by leaps and bounds. In a stronger machine, Solitaire knew she'd be a real terror.
"Of course we are," Gate replied. "And hey, I'll get your maintenance, too. A Deamonde is a nice challenge."
"Do what you want, girl," Jackal replied. He looked dead on at Solitaire and Solitaire returned his gaze.
"Time to report in," Jackal said. Solitaire nodded.
"Bridge, ten minutes. Clean up a bit," he ordered. "You too, Eternity. Let Gate and Eddie do the maintenance work."
As if for any reason Eternity had considered doing her own maintenance.
"You do know there's no one left to report to, don't you?" Sincere asked him. "Space forces raided Fireshade's headquarters and everyone's scrambling. Initial reports are claiming a larger group is responsible. While we were taking out Fireshade's rivals, someone took them out. I like the sound of that, don't you?"
Solitaire didn't reply. Jackal was too close as they headed to change.
"Anyway, we'll need to get out of here ASAP. I'm going to pass the most pertinent of information on to the bridge and get a course set," Sincere continued. "Also, three new jobs have come in, all of which are acceptable. Well played all around, Solitaire."
"We stocked up on the good stuff at the last station, didn't we?" Jackal asked him.
Solitaire nodded. "We did. We're going to have a very good night."
"Good," Jackal replied, smirking. "Good..."
"How many hangars are there?" Whitby questioned as he, Aleksei and Jet turned down yet another hallway that had required Jet's bracelet to access. Eoin and Nari had vanished at some point, unfortunately, and Lyndee hadn't been released from Cardinell's clutches.
"Quite a few," Jet replied, giving Whitby a little smile. Whitby wasn't sure if Jet was diverting or if he just didn't know for sure.
"I'd have to access records and do a physical count just to know how many mobile suits and Gundams are currently stationed here," Jet continued. "And then cross-reference what's actually here versus what's assigned here but not, and all of that... Probably still wouldn't be an accurate count of what's in the factory, though."
"There are that many?" Aleksei questioned.
Whitby wondered if Aleksei ever really pondered the size of NIN-ANA or what the colony was capable of. It did also produce custom machines - Rubises, mostly, but further customization on all sort of models, including Deamondes and Emeraldes.
"Of course. Aside from mobile suits like Anaplekte and Tisiphone, there are plenty of custom machines from outside designs, personal units, and then my line of Gundams and those of my mentor, Ashtorethe Cypris," Jet replied.
"A lot," Whitby noted. Many hundreds, possibly. The place was a fortress, too, considering everything.
"Yes," Jet said. "A lot of hangars and even more mobile suits. I'm sorry if that isn't a very good answer."
"It's fine," Aleksei replied. They got to another door and Jet sighed and waved his hand in front of it.
Beyond was another hallway.
"Up until yesterday, Akhlys was kept down here too," Jet explained as they passed through the doorway. "Normally, there's no reason to reassign pilots or machines when both are in good working condition - not that there aren't special circumstances sometimes. For example, I can only assume Aeon will have Anaplekte until one of them is destroyed. However, Akhlys was a bit of a different case."
"Because of that school?" Aleksei questioned softly.
"Oh, not at all," Jet replied. "That was quite the successful mission. No, the problem is that Akhlys is so big and so powerful that it takes a non-standard power-plant to run it. And when in extended use, it becomes harmful to anyone in proximity to it. Powered down, it's completely safe and it's safe within five minutes of powering down."
"And Mick was piloting it constantly..." Whitby winced.
"Exactly. While a trip out now and then -- you could take a spin in it now and be fine -- wouldn't cause any harm, Mick was getting long-term solo missions that basically ensured he was living in it." Jet sighed again before opening one last door. "I made a proper fuss to get something less dangerous to Mick. Tisiphone needing a new pilot was... fortuitous."
"But Tisiphone is going to be repaired," Whitby said. Something was so up. He could feel it. "So why was Akhlys moved?"
"Varuna's orders," Jet said as he started flipping switches in a master light-panel. "It's temporary, of course, until Tisiphone is repaired."
The hangar was no smaller than any of the others, but the machines inside were far different.
"What..." Aleksei stared.
"These are all functioning mobile suits," Jet said somewhat softly. "They are just lacking pilots at present. Though there are some promising Third Years who are hopefully the right material for a team."
Whitby found himself staring as well. There were three of them to the left, three to the right, and then two lone machines with a wide gap between them - the hole left by Akhlys. And one was obviously Klotho, since Whitby didn't think Jet would let his personal machine be too far from something of Mick's.
"They're beautiful," Whitby said. "And they're just... here?"
Jet nodded. "For now."
"Do they have names?" Aleksei asked, heading over to one of the left trio and reaching to touch its foot.
"Thallo, Auxo, and Carpo," Jet said, gesturing. Thallo was a sleek, blue-based machine. Agile, without much skirting to allow for a greater range of motion. Thallo was made for melee combat. Auxo was purple-hued, with silvery accents and stripes of gold. A gunner, perhaps, Whitby thought as he looked over the machine and its armaments. And then Carpo, with fuller skirting and wings. The backup that counted. "I know you've seen our Rubis machines -- these use a similar system and base, but with heavily reinforced armor and speed enhancements. They're also far better looking, to be honest, and I had a strong hand in the Rubis design."
"A trio, though," Aleksei noted. "You couldn't split them up..."
"It might happen," Jet replied. "You've probably noticed that the other trios were split up."
Whitby didn't quite understand - he thought he should know, but...
Jet apparently caught his blank expression and the wince on Aleksei's face.
"Or not?" Jet chuckled. "Most of mine are named after trios of goddesses. The first trio was Atropos, Lachesis and Klotho."
"Purity's Lachesis?" Aleksei asked. Whitby thought instantly of the pale mobile suit he'd seen so many times already. He'd never thought it equal to Aleksei's phantom Atropos.
"Yes. Though it's had other pilots," Jet explained. "Purity is number three, much like Anaplekte is on its second."
"The others were killed?"
"Yes," Jet said. "Same with Tisiphone's original pilot. And Akhlys, now that I think about it. Akhlys was the easier of the two, since Mick didn't have to do it himself."
Whitby froze, and a second later, when the meaning of Jet's words clicked in, Aleksei did too.
"Has killed a lot of people," Jet replied matter-of-factly. "I know the concept of taking a life seems distressing to you now, but if you decide to remain here after you graduate, or even if you join a military or other armed group of any stripe, it will be a part of your job."
"Have you?" Aleksei asked. Whitby wanted to knock Aleksei in the back of the head for even asking.
Jet shook his head. "No. Mick has always gone out of his way to spare me."
He glanced over to the next machine - a strange beast that at once seemed spindly and strong. "However, it might be time for that to change."
Wisely, neither boy asked for clarification.
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