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: New friends and interesting discoveries.
Aleksei opened his eyes at the sound of the room's door buzzer. But instead of needing to stumble to the door, a moment later he heard it open and a familiar voice call his name.
"Aleksei? Are you okay?"
"Just sleeping," he mumbled in reply, wondering why Cardinell sounded so worried. He'd just been napping...
He crawled off the bed and made his way out to the main room of the suite. Beside Cardinell was a young man about his own age. Aleksei blinked once, confused. Cardinell had said no one else was arriving...
"Sleeping?" Cardinell questioned. "You must have really been exhausted - you haven't registered anywhere on campus since I dropped you off last night."
"Last night?" Aleksei asked. He blinked a couple more times and realized he was pretty hungry. Seriously, he couldn't have...
"It's lunch time," the young man said. "You must really have lagged."
"Yeah..." Aleksei managed, still not quite realizing exactly how long he'd been out. Cardinell chuckled.
"This is Eoin Alesander," she said, gesturing to the young man. "He'll be your roommate, Aleksei. I've already given him the tour and I trust you two can find the cafeteria on your own."
"Hi..." Aleksei said, trying to smile. Eoin seemed nice enough, and hopefully could forgive the first impression Aleksei was making.
"Hi," Eoin echoed as Cardinell slipped back and out of the room with a wave. She'd lost the hoodie, Aleksei noticed, but the t-shirt beneath wasn't much better.
"I thought I was just napping," Aleksei admitted with a wince. "But it took over a week to get here..."
"You're probably all upside down," Eoin surmised. "One of the other guys on my flight was about the same."
Aleksei nodded, before pausing. "Wait-- you came with a group?"
"Not really," Eoin explained as he dragged his bags over to the sofa and flopped. Aleksei hadn't noticed at first, but Eoin had ridiculously long reddish hair - down past his butt at least. It fanned around him for a moment, before Eoin tucked it back. "We just all happened to end up in the same place and had enough money to get passage."
"I worked for mine," Aleksei admitted. He wasn't sure if he wanted to sit right away or not. "Cooked and cleaned. But it worked out."
Eoin nodded. "I would've done that, but my cooking would probably get me thrown out the airlock. Safer to offer up a little money."
"Yeah..." Aleksei finally sat, still thinking. "Did Cardinell give you a tour as a group?"
"Pretty much," Eoin said. "One of the guys was guided off by someone else. But he was a little odd -- didn't talk much on the way over. But the other two, Skerry and Quinn, are good guys."
"Yeah... hey, if we go get lunch, I bet they'll be there," Eoin said. "I mean, if you're up for it."
"Let me grab my datapad," Aleksei replied, gesturing to the bedroom. "I just sort of claimed a side - I hope that's okay."
"Fine," Eoin replied. "I'll worry about my own stuff when we get back. We have plenty of time to settle in, after all."
"Yeah... I want to explore too. I mean..." Aleksei trailed off. He hoped Eoin wouldn't be too straightlaced.
"Me too," Eoin admitted. "But later. Cardinell sort of suggested tonight might be a good night for a little wandering, since there are a lot of ships coming and going and whatnot."
"Wouldn't security be higher?" Aleksei questioned. He hadn't really asked Cardinell too many specific questions, mostly because he'd been distracted by his own thoughts.
"Nope. I guess one of the current regulations for docking at NIN-ANA is that there must be one NIN-ANA almunus or former employee-in-good-standing on board," Eoin explained. "NIN-ANA is forever."
"NIN-ANA is forever," Aleksei echoed. It was a little overwhelming, but true to what he'd heard. The best of the best...
"Anyway..." Eoin pulled out his datapad and started fidgeting with it. "I think I can guide us to the cafeteria without any trouble."
"Yeah..." Aleksei smiled and then quickly scampered to get his datapad from beside his bed.
Eoin was trying to tie his hair back when Aleksei emerged, and after a quick moment, Aleksei ran his hands through his own, trying to smooth it a bit. He wasn't going to worry about being wrinkled - he doubted anyone would be much better.
The cafeteria was only one tram stop down from the residential block, something Aleksei was grateful for. Eoin took a gamble and summoned the on-demand tram, which appeared almost instantly and got them to the next stop in only moments. Aleksei knew they could have walked if they'd needed to, but under better lighting than the dim lighting he'd had on in the dorm suite, Eoin looked fairly exhausted.
"Eoin!" a voice cried when they stepped inside. "Over here!"
"That's Quinn," Eoin said with a smile, pointing to a small, darker-skinned guy who was waving enthusiastically. "And Skerry is beside him."
Aleksei nodded, and they headed over to Quinn and Skerry's table. Eoin did a quick round of introductions, and they promised to return once they'd gotten their meals.
"Where are they?" Aleksei asked, glancing at his datapad and then back to Eoin. It was ten minutes past their designated meeting time, and Aleksei was getting antsy. Either they'd gotten nervous and decided not to come, or Skerry and Quinn had somehow already gotten caught.
"Five more minutes," Eoin suggested. "Then we'll go on our own."
Aleksei nodded and settled back down into his seat to poke at his datapad. He'd made a bit of a route during the afternoon, between unpacking his own things and looking at the books and music that Eoin had brought with him. Eoin was definitely interesting - and also going to be a pilot. Aleksei knew they'd get along well.
They'd all agreed to meet in the residential hall's common lounge, but it was empty aside from the pair of them.
Just as Aleksei was about to start fussing again, the door opened. But instead of Skerry and Quinn, a small, teal-haired girl wandered in.
"Oh!" She stared at them both for a moment. "I didn't know anyone was around!"
"I'm Eoin," Eoin said with a smile, holding out his hand. "And this is Aleksei. We're recent arrivals in general - especially to this lounge."
"Nari," the girl said. As she moved closer, Aleksei realized she was actually their own age, just short. "I've been here for three days."
"Have you gone for a sneak?" Eoin questioned, grinning as she let him take her hand. "We're planning on one..."
Nari frowned. "I'm not sneaking around," she said flatly as she drew her hand away. "I'm just learning where everything is. Even if it's not always something I should be learning just yet."
There was a pause, and then she smiled and started laughing.
"You should have seen your face!" she exclaimed. "You thought I was going to turn you in?"
Eoin winced as Aleksei looked over at him.
"And you're just... mmm, quiet?" Nari questioned as she looked over Aleksei. "It's okay."
"Er..." Aleksei wasn't really sure what he wanted to say, but he felt like he needed to say something.
"Let's go?" Eoin suggested. "We were waiting for Skerry and Quinn, but I don't know what happened to them."
Nari shrugged. "They'll come next time. It's easier with a smaller group, anyway."
"You've been sneaking?" Aleksei questioned as he got to his feet and tucked his datapad at his back.
"Every night," Nari replied. "There's some neat stuff around here that's always unlocked."
"Mobile suits?" Aleksei questioned quickly.
"Yeah..." Nari smiled. "Supplies, too. Computers... I mean, I know we're being monitored, but no one's seemed to really care. I guess I've not gotten into anything too terribly forbidden, because I've had my ID code activated the entire time. And I haven't touched or taken anything - just looked."
"Maybe they're just trying to get a read on all of us," Eoin said as he stood. He stretched and reached to fix his hair again. It was beautiful as it cascaded behind him, but it seemed to be a lot of work.
"Maybe," Nari said with a shrug. "I'm not too worried about it. Worst that'll happen is that we get caught and get a lecture about not doing it again. They won't send us home or anything."
"Really?" Aleksei questioned. He hadn't even considered that as punishment and no matter how badly he wanted to get a peek at NIN-ANA's mobile suits, he wasn't going to risk his life's dream.
"Tearle said she's been caught plenty of times," Nari said, before clarifying. "Tearle's my neighbor - a second year. Worst she ever got was a lecture from Cardinell. But... she wouldn't even tell me what she got up to for that. I think it was more than a sneak."
"Cardinell seemed to almost be encouraging us to explore," Eoin said. "She's pretty interesting... got a lucky husband, too."
"Not my type," Aleksei said with a headshake. But... Thinking back to some of the things she said while giving him the tour... "But yeah, she did sort of make it sound like it was an acceptable activity."
"Wouldn't want to let anyone down," Nari said in a sing-song tone as she headed towards the door. "And I know where you can see a couple of mobile suits, Aleksei..."
Aleksei did not have to be invited twice.
Mobile suits. Gundams. Aleksei stood in awe, staring up at the pair of machines just inside of the hangar that Nari had guided them to. Even Eoin was speechless, and given how he and Nari were carrying on while the three of them made their way through trams and passageways, Aleksei wasn't sure anything would silence him.
"Any idea what they are?" Aleksei finally managed. If Nari had happened upon this information, well, he would be even more impressed by her. So far she'd gotten a decent lay of the more local sections of NIN-ANA. But she'd had two nights already to explore and make notes in her datapad, something she referenced frequently.
"Aither to the left, and Rangda to the right."
"Thanks," Aleksei replied, taking a step closer to Aither before realizing that wasn't Eoin's voice and definitely wasn't Nari's. Slowly, he tore his eyes away from Aither and turned. There, behind Eoin and Nari, was a man about Cardinell's age with purple hair pulled into a tight ponytail and deep brown eyes. He was smiling.
"Oh, shit..." Nari managed.
"Mmm? Having a sneak about?" the man questioned. "Don't worry... if you find the machines interesting, I'm certainly not going to complain. You're some of the new students?"
"Yeah," Eoin said softly. "Ah..."
"Eoin, Aleksei and I'm Nari," Nari quickly added, pointing. "And you are?"
"Jet," the man said. "I work on the mobile suits here."
"They're beautiful," Aleksei said, unable to keep his focus away from Aither's contours. He could tell a lot about the machine with just a quick glance. It was built for speed, definitely, and could swap out lighter weapons with ease. And while it could probably handle heavier equipment, it wasn't the best machine for it. Rangda, on the other hand, was a veritable tank. Rangda was done in a darker scheme than Aither, utilizing blacks and greys as main shades, with oranges and reds as accents. Whoever had designed it had a keen eye for detail, Aleksei decided. But for now, it was enough to meet someone who got to interact with the mobile suits on a daily basis.
"I think so too," Jet said as he strode past Aleksei. "There are three more in here, if you'd like to look." "Sure," Nari said. "I'm here to be a mechanic, after all."
"We're pilots," Eoin added. "But I'm guessing we don't get to touch anything like this for awhile."
Jet chuckled and gestured for the three of them to follow him. "Not for awhile. Not unless you feel like a few extra lessons while you're out on your sneaks."
Aleksei froze when a tall fellow with long, curly blond hair as long as Eoin's came around Aither's feet and paused, looking them all over.
"I found some new students, Mick," Jet said, not flinching. He gestured for all of them to keep following. "I told them I'd show them around a bit."
"Fine, fine," Mick replied, shaking his head. "I just wanted to make sure it was you - I'm gonna go back to what I was working on."
"I'm not sure who else I'd be," Jet commented, giving Mick a little wave before he wandered back off.
"Mick is... security, I suppose." Jet looked apologetic as he explained. "Sorry if he startled you. I suppose I'm sorry if I startled you as well."
"It's okay," Nari said quickly. She had her eyes on Aither as well now, as did Eoin. But Aleksei had wandered a few steps ahead, around Aither and to a spot where he had a clear view of the rest of the hangar. There were three other machines, and Mick seemed to be heading towards the farthest one, where it looked like a little work area had been set up nearby.
"Aditi," Jet said, pointing at the first, nearly pure white machine. "And Sarasvati. And..."
"Tisiphone," Aleksei said. He hadn't torn his gaze from the machine as soon as he'd been sure of what he was looking at. But there was no doubt in his mind. He was staring at Tisiphone. The mobile suit that had saved his life and given him his path in life was directly in front of him.
A few seconds later, he realized he was trying to blink away tears. Growing doubts and fears fell away - NIN-ANA was where he belonged. Tisiphone was here.
"You're familiar?" Jet questioned. Aleksei managed to nod and then look over at Jet. Jet looked wholly surprised, but not displeased.
"It saved my life," Aleksei said quickly, before rattling off the story of exactly why he wanted to be a pilot.
"Oh wow, and it's right here," Nari commented, stepping to stand beside Aleksei. "That's unreal. It's just right here."
"Dea Matrona, though..." Jet frowned, obviously thinking very deeply. "I don't know..."
"Hmm?" Aleksei echoed the frown. If this was indeed Tisiphone, then there was no doubt. He was sure.
"Mick!" Jet called, before racing over to where Mick had settled on a crate. Aleksei, Eoin and Nari followed after him, infinitely curious. Aleksei was surprised his legs were working. Every other step, he wanted to look back at Tisiphone as if somehow the machine would disappear.
"Hnn?" Mick looked up from the magazine he was flipping through, which looked to be something distasteful. He marked his place with a folded corner and set it aside, not bothering to hide the naked women on the cover from sight.
"Was Tisiphone at Dea Matrona?" Jet questioned.
"I was flying Akhlys then," Mick replied. "I don't know who had Tisi."
"Yours?" Nari interrupted, eyeing Mick. "You're a pilot?"
Mick offered her a sidelong smirk and nodded. "I have many skills."
"Mick--" Jet's voice was low and warning.
"Hey, just telling the truth." Mick shrugged and reached for his magazine. "Anyway, I don't know if I can help -- logs have been wiped and that's what, a third-update OS."
"Fifth?" Jet questioned. "I can't remember. What did I put in originally?"
Aleksei was stunned. Just stunned. He felt like he should have thousands of words and questions, but all he could do was stare as Jet and Mick went back and forth about what he considered tiny details. And Mick was Tisiphone's pilot. Except he hadn't been the one at Dea Matrona.
"I don't know," Mick reminded him, shaking his head. "I don't think it matters..."
"I suppose it doesn't," Jet admitted. "I'll have to look through the logs later, though. Now I want to know."
"You worked on Tisiphone originally?" Eoin questioned, though to Aleksei it seemed wholly rhetorical. Of course Jet had - he'd very nearly said as much.
"I did," Jet replied with a smile, gesturing. "I've probably had my hands in almost every mobile suit in NIN-ANA, even if they aren't of my own design."
"Own design?" Nari questioned. "I know there are design classes..."
Jet nodded. "I teach one of those, when I can. But mostly I design because I have so many ideas..."
Aleksei followed Jet's gaze around the hangar and swallowed hard. Jet quite possibly had designed every machine that surrounded them. Jet had designed Tisiphone. He swallowed hard. Tisiphone. Tisiphone's designer, and Tisiphone's current pilot... a pilot who had been at Dea Matrona even if he hadn't been the one in the cockpit at that point.
"What happened to Tisiphone's former pilot?" Aleksei asked carefully. He wasn't sure he wanted to know, to be honest.
Jet shrugged. Mick opened his mouth to say something, but shook his head.
"I'll have to double-check," Mick said after a moment. "Don't worry about it, kid. It's not that important, is it? You gotta go forward..."
"I know," Aleksei said, glancing up at Tisiphone's frame and smiling. "I know."
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!