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: Jet admits his transgressions.
Lore watched Eternity for a long moment as she worked on her virtual gardening simulation. Lore didn't really understand the charm of working so hard on pretend stuff, but if Eternity needed it to wind down, then it was fine. Everyone had their hobbies and hers probably didn't seem much better to anyone who'd be randomly observing them.
She ran her fingers through her hair, which was really all she needed to get it presentable for her upcoming shift on the bridge.
"Good morning. Any idea how often I need to water zucchini?" Eternity finally questioned, looking up.
"I don't know what that is," Lore admitted. She'd never really been too into vegetables and anything they had on the ship came in a can and was probably carrots or beans.
"I guess I can go with a little trial and error," Eternity replied, shaking her head.
"Are Solitaire and Jackal still having it out?" Lore questioned. She was guessing not, if Eternity was back in their quarters and not at Solitaire's side. "It was Jackal's fault, after all."
"It doesn't matter whose fault it was," Eternity said quickly, clicking a few buttons and then going back to the game's menu before turning to face Lore.
"Sure it does. Solitaire had to take Atropos out there and we both know he avoids fielding it except in emergencies."
"And it was an emergency and he fielded it," Eternity said flatly, flicking her gaze away. "Let it go, Lore. The job is done and it was a success. It just required a little extra firepower to keep everyone in one piece."
"What aren't you telling me?" Lore knew Eternity's little tells.
"Jackal thought my ass was grab-able," Eternity commented more to her datapad than Lore.
"Is it," Lore replied, unable to resist smiling as she closed the distance between them. She had nothing to worry about - she was sure Eternity had at least made sure Jackal would need painkillers for a day or two.
"Only to you," Eternity said as she set down her datapad and stood to reach and loop her arms around Lore. "I only broke him a little. Shut him up about Atropos, at least."
"You think he'll be a problem?" Lore questioned, pulling Eternity against her and reaching to grab Eternity's ass.
"If he is, then we take care of him," Eternity commented. "Though for everyone's sake, I hope he's learned all of his lessons."
"Where have you been?"
Whitby wasn't sure if Cardinell was angry or just curious. But yes, they were not only far, far later than even past-curfew, they'd been...
"Outside," Eoin admitted. He held up his wrist. "But you knew that, right?"
"Yes!" Cardinell exclaimed. "Do tell what happened that involved the lot of you having to make circles outside on NIN-ANA in the middle of the night!"
Her hands were on her hips, but there was a smile on her face as she stood at the end of the hallway they all resided in.
"Varuna's orders," Nari replied calmly. "You can ask Mitra. Some mobile suits needed to be moved, and since we were there, we did it."
"It was part of tomorrow's Workshop?" Lyndee suggested. "We learned a lot, I promise."
"Which mobile suits?" Cardinell questioned. "Gundams? Those weren't Safphirs or Rubis..."
"Nikkal," Nari announced.
"Rangda," Eoin said with a little smile.
"Aither!" Lyndee added. "Really!"
"Klotho," Whitby said softly.
"Ti-Tisiphone," Aleksei finished. Whitby was a little surprised that Aleksei went last - it seemed more likely that Aleksei would be singing it through the hallways. Tisiphone. But...
Cardinell eyed them. "Not Sarasvati?"
"No," Nari said. "But Akhlys and Ereshkigal are in that hangar now."
Whitby thought he literally saw the color drain from Cardinell's face.
"Ereshkigal?" she questioned. "Really?"
They all nodded, hoping for some more information on the machine. Jet had denied them, and Mick had been too busy fussing with Akhlys. And then they'd all been sent along anyway.
"Go to bed," Cardinell said. "I'll write you notes to miss Workshop tomorrow if you need to. Not that I saw you up this late or anything."
She shook her head and walked past them, towards her own room.
"It's because I told Aleksei that I'd find Atropos without even really thinking about it," Jet said later, in his own room, with Mick across from him. Mick was drinking straight from the bottle, but kind enough to pause and refill Jet's glass when it emptied.
Jet was sure they'd crack at least one more before the night was over. More, if Amde appeared. And he was fairly sure that Amde would appear.
"That's not it," Mick replied. "And how were you to know? No one has seen Atropos for years - even if Solitaire still has it, he's not been using it for anything. He had it in storage until recently."
"Maybe he's not worried about an Iscariot anymore..."
"Maybe he's ready to die."
"I'm being honest," Mick replied, leaning back against the back of Jet's understuffed yellow-green sofa and sighing. He took another drink, as did Jet.
"I know you are. But something feels off in general," Jet said. "Do you trust Varuna?"
"With my life," Mick replied. "Is that so weird? He's ordered me into hell and back so many times, but if he thinks we're the team to go after Solitaire, that's because we're the team to go after Solitaire."
"Why do you trust him?" Jet questioned. He hadn't doubted that answer from Mick, but there had to be more to it.
"Because he let me bring you here," Mick replied. "He let me keep you, and take care of you, and hasn't ever sent me away for longer than I'd want to be gone."
"I'm not a puppy," Jet said. He finished his glass and held it out for Mick to pour more. Mick did, hand steady.
"You asked," Mick said. He took another chug from the bottle and shook his head. "I don't think Varuna has lost it or anything. I'm actually surprised you're asking -- aside from Mitra, you're one of his closest friends."
"I trust him," Jet admitted. He took a little sip from his glass. "I just wondered if I wasn't the crazy one."
"We'll still have to get a second opinion from Amde..."
"Yeah. Though... I think she's more sad than anything. It's not like she's..."
"She'll always love him," Mick interjected. "Trust me on that, Jet. She will always love him and no matter who passes through her life, she'll..."
"Isn't that a liability?"
"She knows what he's done." Mick was firm.
Jet was not at all surprised when there was a soft knock at his door. There were only a handful of people who had clearance to get to their particular section of the residential block, and only one who knocked softly and then waited three seconds before checking to see if it was unlocked.
"Amde," Jet said when she entered. He gestured that she should sit beside Mick. There was already a glass waiting for her.
"What are we drinking?" she questioned. "I tried going back to sleep, but there's no point. I rearranged the schedule for tomorrow and just gave myself the day off."
"Everything," Mick said as he poured her a glass. It nearly emptied his bottle, Jet noticed. Quickly, Jet was on his feet fetching another. He rarely drank - perhaps once a year, but he had quite a collection for various reasons. Like nights like these.
"I'm good with 'everything'," Amde admitted, sitting and then leaning against Mick, who quickly settled an arm around her.
"I suppose prepping Alecto made it all so much more real," Amde said softly. Mick handed her the bottle and she drained it in one go. "Thanks."
"And Ereshkigal..." Jet worked to open a new bottle.
"What if I said that I knew what that was about?" Amde offered. She took the glass that Mick had poured and drank that as well. "There are rumors of a strike against NIN-ANA. Varuna wants to be able to defend us on his own -- or at least be involved. Though depending on the size and who would dare... Ereshkigal might be enough on its own."
"Ereshkigal, Aditi, and perhaps Rangda in good hands," Jet hypothesized. "Rangda needs a good pilot. Though we moved it..."
"And here I thought you were trying to find some this evening," Amde said with a soft smile. "You two are awfully fond of those first years."
"It seems that every few years we get a group," Jet said. "These kids are smart - they won't get cocky and..."
"They won't get cocky," Mick finished. He reached to take the bottle from Jet, still unopened, and got it with his free hand. He didn't let go of Amde, and instead had twisted his other hand into her hair, which was uncharacteristically loose.
He took the first swig.
"I've done bad things, Amde," Jet said with a little headshake. While he'd mentioned Atropos in her presence and explained more about Aleksei's connection with the machine, he hadn't fully admitted to finding those screenshots and putting enough pieces together to spur Varuna into action.
"Who hasn't?" Amde asked in response.
"Aleksei," Jet told her. "Aleksei and Atropos. I mean, I didn't even think Solitaire might still have it til Aleksei commented on..."
"Jet." Mick's tone was sharp.
"One of the Helvetios machines had shots of it." Jet closed his eyes and sighed. "One of the Helvetios machines captured footage of Atropos fighting alongside them. Aleksei said it was a hero."
When he finally opened his eyes again, both Mick and Amde were staring straight at him.
"Dammit, Jet..." Amde winced like she was going to start crying, but instead she just shook her head. "You fed that all right to Varuna, didn't you?"
"Not intentionally," Jet replied softly. "Besides - it was only Atropos I was considering, not that Solitaire still might have it."
"We would have found it long ago if he'd sold it," Mick said. "Solitaire definitely still has it. And if he's smart, he'll go back to keeping it hidden."
"He hasn't, though," Amde said. She filled her own glass then drained it. "Varuna wouldn't have had us move machines unless there was another sighting. Maybe Ereshkigal, but not Alecto or Klotho or Akhlys.
Mick took Amde's glass away when he saw her hands were shaking too hard to hold it properly.
"I'm sorry..." Jet didn't think he'd ever have the words to properly apologize. He'd just been so excited and thought he'd found something good. Never had he thought that Solitaire had kept Atropos. Or, really, that Solitaire would ever be found.
"This is going to be a mess," Mick said as he pulled Amde a bit closer. She leaned, eyes closed, for a long moment. "Maybe it's a good thing that Aeon isn't here."
"But he'll be back," Jet noted. He sighed. "What do we say to him then?"
"The truth," Amde said as she opened her eyes and reached for her glass. Mick held it out of her way and instead she grabbed the bottle from between his knees before he could stop her. "Same thing we might have to do with your First Years. They've got to be putting pieces together by now. And everyone will know when-- when---"
She shook her head. Jet nodded. There was no need for her to finish that sentence. He knew.
When they were sent to go kill Solitaire.
"I don't think we've ever mentioned Solitaire to the First Years," Mick said, frowning.
Amde drank. Mick didn't stop her. But after a long couple of swallows, she handed the bottle back.
"I have," she said. "Not by name, I don't think, but when Aeon first got back, I took Aleksei down to meet him and Aeon kissed me..."
"And when Akhlys was first moved to our hangar," Jet added. "We talked about Atropos and your team. We left out his name, of course, but..."
There was a long pause. They all sighed. Jet reached to pour the next round before handing the bottle back to Mick.
They still had a lot to discuss.
"Are you drunk?"
"No. Yes. Maybe. Not enough. Enough..."
NIN-ANA: [She's on her way. What will you do when she arrives?]
Whitby didn't get the message until morning.
He really didn't know what he'd do. Admit failure, likely. He'd been distracted. He'd... been changing.
Mick and Jet were nowhere to be seen by the time Whitby finally made his way down to eat. As promised, there was a note pinned onto the Workshop schedule application, by Cardinell, that excused the five of them for as long as necessary. There was no reason listed, but Whitby wasn't worried about that. He'd let people talk, if need-be. It would be amusing.
Aleksei found him a few minutes later.
"I got to fly Tisiphone," he said, sounding a little disconnected. "I... don't even know what I'm supposed to want to do now. I think I won at life and..."
"Now it's the next day?" Whitby questioned. He couldn't help a little chuckle, because Aleksei was very much smiling, but very much being completely honest.
"Yeah. I mean... if you got to do the one thing you've always wanted to do... what would you do the next day?" Aleksei asked him.
Whitby paused. He'd wanted to hack NIN-ANA, just to do it. He wanted to walk through virtual walls and then tell Psyche how he did it. So if he could, and he did, and she congratulated him, then he'd...
"I don't know," Whitby admitted. "I don't have the same kind of dream, I guess. I just want to do my best and keep going forward."
What would he do if Psyche was there? When Psyche was there...
He wondered how soon was 'soon'.
Valentine stretched, shifting a bit in Megaera's cockpit. He hadn't really meant to fall asleep, but he could only read for so long. And no one had been around to message, really. No one interesting. Might've been fun to bother Mick, Jet and Amde, but no... No need to get into a situation where Amde might be able to finally catch him.
It had been a boring watch shift. That was mostly what he had, though. Lacking a team meant that he got stuck a lot of watch shifts and a lot of standby. There hadn't been any solo jobs for awhile, though he was keeping his fingers crossed. He was good enough to do them.
He had Megaera after all.
He really thought it would be a better choice to round out the trio than Klotho. Alecto, it and Tisiphone were a trio, after all.
Something had to be up if Alecto was being called into play. Amde was a terror when she had to be, but she was a doctor first.
It didn't sit right with him.
Then again, he felt the same way about Klotho being there. Though Mick hadn't been the one to transfer Tisiphone. That unto itself was fascinating.
All of that, he hadn't slept through.
Though no one had known he was there.
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