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Mobile Suit Gundam Iscariot

Title: Mobile Suit Gundam ISCARIOT
Part: 23
Fandom: Gundam (Meta)
Disclaimer: No profit is being made on this fanwork.
Rating: T Overall
Summary: Having left NIN-ANA to join the mercenary Solitaire, Mick's team continue settling in to their new lives. Meanwhile, back at NIN-ANA, Commander Varuna is possibly making the same mistake for a second time.
Notes: Solitaire makes a decision.

"He's avoiding me," Gate moaned, circling around Sincere's room. "I don't understand him!"

"He's not avoiding you," Sincere replied. "You're assuming things. He likes you."

"Yeah, that's not exactly what it seems like," Gate shot back. She checked her nails and sighed. They looked good, but obviously she was missing something. She just didn't know what. "He did spend the night with me."

"And apparently that's all it was for now," Sincere replied. "If it was even that."

"What do you mean by that? Just because I don't really remember it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Though I really wish I did remember -- it was probably one of the best nights of my life," Gate managed. "I mean, I've seen him around without a shirt on and he's got a great body..."

"Better than Solitaire?" Sincere asked, not hiding a little giggle.

"As if you even know what he looks like," Gate replied, frowning. But then again, Sincere and Solitaire had been together for a long time. It wasn't completely impossible.

"I have a good idea," Sincere replied with a strange little lilt in her voice that Gate couldn't read.

"Yeah, well he's got Doc Amde anyway," Gate said, still pacing, though she was more parade-marching than anything, and spinning on her heels at each corner. "Gotta respect them waiting eight years for each other."

"Very true," Sincere noted. "So aside from needing to complain to that your interest in Mick is one-sided, even though it isn't, why are you here?"

Gate frowned. "Because you spend a lot of time with Mick, that's why."

"He's here talking literature and tactics," Sincere replied flatly. "Not about you, or any of his lengthy list of lovers, though they have come up at times in passing conversation."

"Lengthy?" Gate questioned.

Sincere nodded, but didn't elaborate, which just made Gate creep closer. 'Lengthy' didn't bother her. It just made her more curious and really made her wish she remembered something after straddling his lap and getting handed just one more bottle.

"I want to know just what 'lengthy' entails," Gate finally said, since Sincere didn't seem to want to give up any details. "Why did he tell you?"

"Possibly because I don't follow him around mooning," Sincere answered.

"You're impossible," Gate complained. She looped once around the room, frowning. "Can I braid your hair?"

"I don't see why not," Sincere replied with a little sigh. "Just mind my dataport."

Gate wondered if she needed to find a different approach. Mick did seem pretty educated and everything to go along with his looks. It wasn't fair. She had... well, nice breasts and nail polish that could make it through mobile suit combat. And she could fix any mobile suit thrown at her. That had to count for something.

W: [So you're the one who sends these message?]

Whitby hadn't tried to reply to his message earlier, instead getting tackled by an amused Psyche and joining in on a bit of chatter that Psyche made a little giggle at and the pantomime for zipping her lips. Whatever she knew was going to stay that way...

NIN-ANA: [That's correct.]

W: [How do you get messages and still deny them... Wait, that one didn't?]

NIN-ANA: [Special feature. It's hard to explain. And I can block you, or anyone, out completely if I'm busy or need to rest.]

W: [Well, yeah... Just put your pad down or turn it off.]

NIN-ANA: [Did you see me with a datapad, Whitby?]

Whitby blinked once, twice, and shook his head before realizing he probably should say something. Except he didn't know what to say. There just wasn't... It was impossible, wasn't it?

Though he'd heard stories of such controllers. Mostly ships, sometimes cities or even colonies. But the technology was supposed to be banned...

He was not at all surprised to receive a message from Nari, summoning them all to an information-sharing session immediately after classes ended the next day.

"Okay," Nari said as she settled half-across Lyndee's lap. Her hair was getting long and it trailed down over the sofa cushions towards the floor. They'd gathered in Whitby's room - a surprisingly sparse space, Aleksei thought. "We need to go over all our new information."

"You mean Commander Varuna being Mitra's twin brother?" Eoin questioned.

"I think it's the other way around," Whitby noted, chuckling. "Mitra is the twin. Or clone. I'm not sure. But however they're doing it, it's amazing."

"I'm more concerned about Mick..." Lyndee sighed. "I did finally get a message from home. They didn't want me to worry and try something-- like leaving."

"They wouldn't have shown us that without reason," Aleksei said, shifting a bit on the floor. "First we're not supposed to keep talking about them, then it's like it's okay. There's definitely something more going on."

"Everyone tell what they know, then," Nari said. "You know, I didn't figure it was important but remember how Tearle had said some students hanging around with Mick and Jet had died?"

"And it was a dead end," Eoin noted, shaking his head.

"I asked Miss Cypris," Nari said quickly. "She explained everything."

"She's good at that," Aleksei added.

"Anyway, it wasn't even anything having to do with Mick or Jet or anyone--" Nari stretched. "Nope. It was purely an accident. They were working too late and someone made a mistake."


"Well... we are working with some pretty dangerous stuff," Lyndee admitted. She reached to run her fingers through Nari's hair. "I guess that makes sense."

"Psyche is still here," Eoin said. "Even with--" He nodded in Whitby's directions.

"She seems to be happily integrating herself," Whitby said, frowning. "Even without me."

"I still can't believe you were holding out on us," Nari said, frowning in Whitby's direction. "If anyone else has deep dark secrets, out with them."

"You already know I'm practically a princess," Lyndee said quickly. "But I mean, you knew I was R-Block..."

"I'm no one," Eoin added.

"My story is the same as always," Aleksei commented. He smiled. "And I'm pretty sure we're all having the same thoughts..."

"They're going to come home."

"If I ask you, you're just going to tell me to trust you, right?" Jet had decided to forego his room for Mick's, which was definitely a bit nicer and certainly more inviting than his own, if only because Mick was there.

"Trust me," Mick replied. "And just... it's okay to get used to all of this. It's okay..."

"Mmm, it is," Jet said as he leaned back on Mick's bed. Mick was still fussing about through drawers, but that didn't bother Jet. Jet was quite used to making himself at home in Mick's space, though normally it was at Mick's request. "That's... I mean, is it okay that I'm upgrading all of the mobile suits and have been working on modifications on the Rubises to amplify their power? They still have their factory OSes installed, so I can do a lot with them even without actual physical modifications..."

"Of course it's okay," Mick replied. "Solitaire has had nothing but praise for your work."

"When did we stop calling him 'Lan'?" Jet questioned. He didn't want to say anything about how Mick had answered his question all wrong. Though if Mick was planning anything still, he'd maintained his character perfectly. "I don't know..."

"When he left NIN-ANA," Mick replied. "I'm sure eventually we'll just be known as 'Dire', 'Gracia' and..."

"It's not an official name," Jet said softly. "Nyx."

"I'm sure they'll find out about it," Mick said as he pulled out a pair of pajama bottoms and started stripping down. "You're staying?"

"Yeah," Jet said. "I don't have a watch shift until tomorrow and you seem to keep delegating your shifts off."

"Can't help it, I'm just good," Mick said with a chuckle, fully nude. "Little surprised at how persistent Gate has been -- I expected her hangup on Solitaire to be a little stronger than it was. I thought she'd just play harder for him, not me. And she's really cute, she's just younger than I expected and she can do a lot better--"

"Mmm..." Jet grabbed a pillow and rolled, settling. "As if Amde would have put up with Gate making any sort of..."

"I hadn't expected Solitaire to have lived as a saint, either," Mick interjected. "That's enough to give Amde a complex. And me..."


"You're right!" Mick declared, tugging on his pajamas and flopping on the bed. "Best to leave NIN-ANA in NIN-ANA."

He leaned close, close enough that Jet was expecting something aside from the careful whisper of "For now. It'll be there when we get back."

Jet didn't sleep a wink.

The job came in two days later. Sincere forwarded it to Solitaire, who immediately handed his datapad over to Mick.

"A trick or a trap?" Solitaire questioned, watching Mick carefully.

Mick shook his head. "Neither that I know of. It's not Varuna's style and we both know that. He--"

"He sent you to kill me," Solitaire reminded him. Mick wanted to comment, but he didn't. He just wondered how many hands ahead Varuna was really playing. There was no way to foresee this far...

"Do you think it's possible?" Mick questioned. "To complete the job, I mean."

Solitaire was quiet for a long moment. "It would be suicide. Even with a fleet of ships and well-trained pilots, it would be suicide and you know it."

Mick traced a few shapes on the datapad with his finger. "That's what they'll do next, you know. Whoever they are..."

"Try to storm NIN-ANA?"

"Yeah." Mick stretched. Obviously, it was time for the plan that wasn't a plan to get a few changes made to it. "So I think we're going to have to take the job."

There was only silence of the bridge of the Pandemonium for a long moment before Solitaire shook his head.

"I know what you're trying to do, Mick."

"Save a lot of lives, Solitaire-- Save a lot of lives, including Nick's, Lan?" Mick paused before adding Solitaire's birth name.

"I can't-- Do you think-- I-- Mick, I can't." Solitaire shook his head and walked a few paces towards the empty control seats. While the ship did have autopilot, Mick knew it was currently running at Sincere's command.

"We'll have to make it look damned good," Mick noted, continuing despite Solitaire's protests. It would be almost too easy and the fewer people who knew the true plan, the better. He'd take care of the Iscariot Command and save NIN-ANA. It ached that he hadn't had more time with Solitaire, but... This was an amazing chance and not taking it would be an absolute shame.

"Don't tell any of the crew," Mick continued. "We need everything to be as authentic as possible or else the client might question our loyalties."

Solitaire shot a hard look back at Mick.

Mick smiled. "NIN-ANA can pay far more, likely. And in a situation like this, a betrayal would be a strong concern. I wonder who we're dealing with-- Maybe there's someone else from Delfend after me. Or maybe Varuna pissed off the wrong person."

"I need a guarantee of my crew's safety," Solitaire said flatly. "And Amde's."

"Leave everything to me," Mick replied, smiling. Too easy. Solitaire had caved to him far too easily and without Amde--

Mick paused before making his way over to Solitaire and pulling his friend close. "You want to go home, Lan?"

Lan's words against his shoulder were almost too soft to hear. "I really think I do."

"Tell Sincere we're accepting the job," Mick said. "I know she's your second, but do not tell her of the double-cross."


"Not her, not Amde," Mick said firmly as he broke the embrace. He knew Amde would understand everything. She wouldn't like it, but Amde would understand. She had to. She'd promised to trust him no matter what happened. "We are going to strike on NIN-ANA and that's all there is too it."

Solitaire was reaching up to turn on his earpiece when Mick ambled off the bridge.

Now he had work to do.

At least he didn't have to worry about Solitaire's crew - he already had plans for them. They'd be safe.

"A good crew," Mick commented under his breath. Gate would be an irresistible ace once she put on a few years and gained a bit more field experience. Eternity was a star sniper. Amalgam was the perfect pilot and mechanic. Deadline and Tiercel were great heavy hitters. Lore was all calm and street smarts. Eddie had potential. And Sincere... Sincere was a class all her own.

"This is not what I was expecting," Varuna said softly to himself as he processed a suddenly flurry of incoming messages, radar data and other reports. "But it is what it is, I suppose. And I'll do what I need to."

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

"Alert, all hands," he continued before sending out lockdown requests, scramble orders, and a dozen other things. He locked linked datapads to non-essential functions and finally, knowing exactly what was coming, he switched his functions to full wireless and unhooked himself.

Solitaire's ship was on its way and it had not sent a hail. That could only mean one thing - it was not on a friendly mission. No matter, however - he would be there to greet his lost child.

With Ereshkigal.


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