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: Cailean Jones is a young intern at Delfend Integrated Mobile Suit Technological Design Academy, content with his technical training and opportunities to work alongside Delfend's test pilots. However, when lone pilot Dire arrives with a stolen 'Gundam', Cailean's life changes forever.
Notes: Jet meets Mick for the first time. There is a not-terribly-graphic sexual assault in this chapter..
"What is that?" The young man stopped short and stared up at Akhlys, apparently entranced.
"It's called 'Akhlys'," Mick replied. It was impressive, he knew, in a sea of Safphirs and lesser custom machines. His assignment was strange, but he didn't mind it -- 'seeking refuge after "stealing" a NIN-ANA machine'... in order to gather data about an opposing factory with some underhanded and downright illegal techniques.
"Akhlys." The young man brushed back deep purple hair from his face and continued staring. "It's beautiful."
"It is," Mick replied. "Powerful, too. It's here to be analyzed-- it's from NIN-ANA."
"NIN-ANA?" The young man wheeled around to stare at Mick. "Really?"
"Oh... I see. Hmm..."
"Is that a problem, er..." Mick wished he'd insisted on introducing more than his mobile suit. It wasn't that the young man wasn't handsome, but there was something almost untouchable about him. Not his youth, though Mick did have his own morals on that sort of thing, but something else.
"Cailean," the young man offered. "And you?"
"Dire," Mick replied. "Are you one of the new interns?"
Cailean nodded, smiling. "I am. And you're..."
"I suppose I'm a test pilot," Mick explained. "See... I brought Akhlys here and..."
"It's yours!" Cailean exclaimed, edging right up into Mick's personal space. "But that means..."
"I'm not the original pilot," Mick said quickly, before impulsively ruffling Cailean's hair.
"But I'm being paid good money to let it sit here and be poked at," Mick explained. "No one's really figured out much about it, but I'm not concerned. I get to fuck around however I like and no one cares."
Cailean gave him an odd little look before smiling.
"I'll figure it out," he said firmly. When he turned his gaze back to Akhlys, Mick moved a little closer and put a hand on Cailean's shoulder.
"You think you can do that?" Mick questioned. Cailean nodded. And then his datapad beeped.
"Ah... probably more forms," Cailean complained. "A lot of paperwork just to be here."
Mick chuckled. Luckily, he'd been able to skip a chunk of that and had his answers memorized for the rest. Varuna had given him a full identity as Dire anyway - it checked out.
"I'll come back when I can," Cailean added. Mick smiled.
"You do that. I'll be here," Mick said.
With a nod, Cailean headed back off towards the administrative section of the production asteroid.
Mick shook his head, still not used to the dark color his hair - trimmed far too short - had been colored for this job. He hoped Amde and Lan -- Gracia and Solitaire -- were doing well.
And then he looked back to Akhlys and sighed. Cailean seemed like a really good kid. Far too good for Delfend.
But appearances could be deceiving. He would know...
A basic, ordinary door had nothing on Mick. At least not when Mick was angry. And he was angry. The alumi-composite in front of him folded under one swift kick and warped the entire frame of the door in the process. He'd pay for it, he knew, but he didn't care. He had the information he needed and could go at any time.
Cailean was pinned on the floor, teary-eyed and stunned, beneath another of Delfend's test-pilots, Jackal. Mick hadn't disliked Jackal, really, and they'd had enough drinks together to start on a decent friendship. But when Mick had heard that Cailean had been seen around with Jackal, something seemed wrong.
Mostly, Cailean had been poking at Akhlys, testing systems and designing... The kid was a genius, and Mick knew it. He also knew Cailean's story about being denied by NIN-ANA, which was another blow.
"Dire?" Cailean managed.
"The hell are you doing, man?" Jackal said, pulling his hand out of Cailean's pants and smirking at Mick. "You jealous that I got him first?"
"I don't think he wants to be here," Mick said, readying for a fight.
"I say he does," Jackal replied. That was what Mick was afraid of -- he'd heard this about Jackal. Mick knew he wasn't much better, but damned if he didn't always have a clear and enthusiastic 'yes' before getting his dick wet.
"Cailean?" Mick questioned. No, he really didn't think Cailean wanted to be there, but Cailean was just so naive and passive and desperate to be liked and integrate...
"I... I don't know," Cailean admitted. "I'm afraid."
"Then we're going," Mick replied, reaching for Cailean's hand.
Mick didn't pause. He dropped Jackal with a well-aimed fist and grabbed for Cailean in one swift movement, thankful for all those times that Lan insisted on practicing hand-to-hand combat with him.
"Fuck you! You're gonna..." Jackal was still carrying on, but unable to move, as Mick scooped Cailean into his arms and carried him off. Unsure, Mick realized, Cailean just clung and started to cry.
"Let's go to your room," Mick said. "Pack a bag of everything you really, really need."
"Why?" Cailean managed.
"Because I'm going home," Mick told him. "I'm taking Akhlys and going home, and you're going with me. No one will hurt you there."
Mick set Cailean down outside Cailean's room.
"You have five minutes," Mick said. "We've only got about ten to get out of here safely. My stuff is packed and ready to go. If you're not out in five minutes, I'm going without you."
"But... you don't want..." Cailean made a little gesture downward and it was all Mick could do to keep from banging his head against the wall.
He grabbed Cailean and held him close and ruffled his hair. And didn't say a word.
When he let go, Cailean was quick into his room -- and back out in less than a minute with a full bag and the beginnings of a smile on his face.
In any other machine than Akhlys, Mick didn't think they would have made it.
"This is Hedone," Mick called as a pair of mobile suits streaked out to meet him. "I've got a passenger, no safety equip -- emergency launch."
"We copy - this is Moros. Do I want to know what you did, Mick?" Both machines drew close and Mick let out a sigh of relief. He hadn't said a thing to Cailean, but Akhlys wasn't at all designed for that sort of lengthy travel at that speed and while they'd made a station stop, it had been extra-ordinarily brief and only for the basics.
"Nothing Ashtorethe can't fix," Mick replied. "I don't need legs in space anyway..."
"Hedone?" Cailean asked softly. He'd been half-asleep across Mick's lap -- luckily Akhlys had been doing most of the flying for him anyway.
"Yeah," Mick said, petting Cailean's hair. "Mick Hedone. But you can keep calling me 'Dire' if you want."
"Mick Hedone." Cailean let the words roll over his tongue before realizing that two machines not unlike Akhlys were just in front of them, reaching. "Where are we? What's...?"
"This is Moros and Oizys, in Nosos and Stygere," Mick replied. "They're here to escort us back to NIN-ANA."
"NIN-ANA!" Cailean's eyes went wide. "You didn't tell me..."
"I told you we were going somewhere safe," Mick said. "My home."
"But..." Cailean squirmed and tried to sit up. Mick was thankful that Cailean was small enough to shift without knocking into anything.
"It'll be okay, I promise.
"Hey..." He flipped on the comm again. "I'm gonna need to talk to the Commander once we get in. Maybe after a shower, too."
"Did you get your job done?"
"Of course I did, Oizys," Mick said, before giving Stygere a little nudge and grabbing on. "You gonna tow us in?"
"Yeah..." Oizys was the one who worried too much. Mick was used to that. But Moros and Oizys were a good team. Ashtorethe was their personal mechanic, along with NIN-ANA's lead engineer. He, Lan, and Amde had their aspirations at one point, but... It was hard to outshine those kinds of stars.
"I can see Akhlys's readouts," Cailean said softly. "I understand them."
"It's okay," Mick told him, wrapping his arms around Cailean as they began to move under Nosos and Stygere's power and not their own. "It'll all be back to normal by the time we're in the hangar. We'll be okay. I promised you..."
"I know." Cailean brought his hands up over Mick's.
They were silent the rest of the ride in.
Mitra was waiting for them as soon as they descended, along with Amde who gave Mick a quick hug and then turned to look Cailean over.
"Could you?" Mick questioned her. He knew she was there in her new role as a medic, to make sure they were okay. And getting Cailean away from Mitra for a moment would certainly be a good thing.
"No problem," Amde said with a little nod. "It's okay," she told Cailean. "I'm Mick's best friend and I'm studying to be a doctor. I'm just going to give you a quick check-over..."
"Hedone..." Mitra's tone was dark, and Mick wanted to go hide in Akhlys perhaps forever. This was not going to be a fun conversation. But... he waited until Amde had lead Cailean off before replying.
"I completed my mission," Mick said calmly. "And brought you a transfer student. His name is Cailean and I take full responsibility for him."
"He will never disappoint you," Mick added. "He's never disappointed me."
There was a hitch there, but no, that was the truth. Jackal taking advantage of Cailean was not Cailean's fault at all.
And the Mick leaned close and gave Mitra the three sentence version of what had transpired with Jackal.
Mitra eyed him.
Mick gestured back to Akhlys.
"He understands Akhlys's power-plant," Mick added. "Let me talk to Varuna. And let Cailean talk to Ashtorethe."
"As if I can just summon Ashtorethe to..."
"What did you do to my mobile suit?" Ashtorethe's voice cut right through Mitra's grumbling. "Mick! Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Cailean's fine, and Akhlys just needs a new leg and maybe a few dozen other repairs and some paint and I did lose a saber..." Mick winced. It sounded worse as he laid it all out.
"But you're okay," Ashtorethe said, smiling and pulling Mick into a tight hug. "I'll get Akhlys fixed right up for you. But... who's Cailean?"
Ashtorethe was the one who marched into Varuna's inner-office first.
"Please don't be afraid," Mick said quickly to Cailean. While he and Ashtorethe were used to Varuna, Mick knew quite well that Varuna's appearance was a little shocking at first.
Cailean stopped short, staring as Varuna slowly opened his eyes and then looked at the three of them.
"Well, the three of you have caused quite a stir," he said calmly. "If you'd given me another few minutes, I could have at least made myself vaguely presentable and sat behind my desk or something."
"That would be a first," Ashtorethe commented, chuckling. "And I apologize for my impulsiveness, but Varuna, we are keeping this student."
"NIN-ANA doesn't accept transfer students," Varuna reminded her. "Mick knows that too."
"You're running NIN-ANA from there," Cailean said softly. "Are you able to link to any device in the colony or just the main system? Do you have issues with feedback? Can you sleep normally?"
They all looked at him. Mick shrugged.
"He understands Akhlys and Akhlys's powerplant," Mick added.
"He's got some radical and amazing design ideas for leg-jointing that seem structurally sound and definitely workable," Ashtorethe said.
"Yes, not often, and I'm not sure anything I do is normal," Varuna said calmly, looking only at Cailean. "But I can disconnect from this harness and move on my own, as well as eat, sleep and bathe. NIN-ANA can be self-reliant, or my brother Mitra can handle the system from the outside, as can Ashtorethe. However, sleep isn't something I need often and most of the time, the wireless in my head is enough to keep on top of things. If something goes really wrong, it'll wake me, too. But both I and the system are happiest when we're connected."
Cailean nodded. "You're amazing. Are you also a pilot? Or... a mobile suit?"
Ashtorethe laughed. "There is something we've been working on to take full advantage of Varuna's abilities, but it's unfinished and has been for quite some time."
"I'll finish it," Cailean said. "You don't have to take me as a student, but please let me remain here. I'll do anything."
"Not 'anything'," Mick warned him sternly. "You'll work hard."
Cailean winced and nodded.
Varuna sighed. "NIN-ANA has never allowed transfer students. But... I've found your entry test records and they're quite good. Coupled with the data we've offloaded from what Mick stored in Akhlys's memory and what I've just heard..."
"Please, Varuna," Mick begged.
"I suppose you're NIN-ANA's first transfer student," Varuna said. He was smiling, Mick realized. Really smiling.
"Thank you!" Cailean cried, rushing forward to fall at Varuna's feet. "Thank you..."
"He'll be my responsibility," Mick said firmly. "He's in my care."
Varuna gave him a strange little look, but nodded.
Mick didn't get the message til later, when his things were unloaded from Akhlys.
NIN-ANA: [Good luck, Hedone.]
Was Amde right? Was he truly losing his humanity? It seemed so strange -- he thought he'd given most of that up when he'd first began his integration into NIN-ANA's computer systems. He was as much machine as man, possibly more the former and less the latter.
Shrugging off the uniform he'd borrowed from Mitra -- technically they shared living quarters and a closet but that was more of a formality than anything. Wasn't it? He sometimes slept there, when he needed sleep. And he bathed there, when it was time for that, though he also had a shower nearby for when his needs were more pressing. Other times, he stayed with Amde or even with Mick, when Mick was not busy with whoever else was staying with him. Though that had dropped off a bit, Varuna had noticed. There were far fewer random bracelets showing up in his quarters -- Varuna wasn't terribly sure if he should have feelings on that or not. But he'd noticed it.
Jacket first. The cuffs hadn't wanted to stay on this one -- he'd nearly shown his lowest ports on accident while fixing everything, but he didn't think any of the first years were paying that much attention. Mitra had not endeared himself to them, he knew, and he was quite amused that they all thought he was Mitra.
Jacket first - hung carefully on a hangar. Mitra would fetch the uniform at some point, take it back and perhaps leave something else for him to wear at some point. Varuna wasn't sure when he'd next disconnect himself. It had been a couple of weeks this last time and he'd only done it because he wanted to talk to Mick and Jet in person.
He never wanted to give up the ability to do that.
Shirt next. He still had another shirt on underneath - black. His true uniform was pure black, cut like Mitra's but the color of blackest night. Blackest space. Ereshkigal.
He was going to move Ereshkigal. Jet had done wonders with the machine, and it was long-complete and functioning, but he couldn't very well move it in person without everyone noticing and he just didn't want everyone to notice yet.
No... He didn't want those students to notice.
Those five. There was something about them. They were the sort of group that didn't come along every year. They'd be a team. He just had to make sure Whitby was loyal and Aleksei could pull his weight. Lyndee was proving herself. Nari and Eoin were obvious.
And they would very much have noticed Mitra piloting Varuna's machine. Thankfully Jet would be able to do it, with assistance. Jet had built that in, just in case.
Varuna had never second-guessed his decision to let Jet stay.
And deep down, it ached that he'd have to send Mick, Jet and Amde out against Lan. Solitaire. Whoever he was now. But it really was the only way.
Boots next. He supposed they could stay on, but they'd look odd. His feet didn't touch anything anyway. Walking was always such a surprise at first when he had to do it. It tired him out more than anything.
Maybe he really wasn't human any longer.
Pants next. Black leggings underneath - tight, covering the fact that even if he really wasn't entirely human, he was still very much male.
Varuna settled into his seat and let his extended body do the plugging. The jack at the base of his skull was last. It no longer stung, though. And Jet had fixed the last of the feedback...
He turned off his wireless control and relaxed, closing his eyes and then reaching through the whole of NIN-ANA. Instantly, he knew everything he needed to. Then he moved to Ereshkigal.
It was nearly time.
"I'm here," Varuna replied.
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