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: Homework is interrupted by pirates, which is not a wholly unusual event. However...
The next night, as Aleksei, Whitby, Eoin and Nari sat around Mick's makeshift lounge, all trying to knock out what they could of their homework, both Mick and Jet's datapads switched to loudly beeping and turned pure red.
"Shit," Mick muttered, clearing his. "Guess it's that time."
"Who is it?" Jet questioned, clearing his own. "I don't even know who's out right now or why..."
"That's the point," Mick replied with a quick headshake. "But... It doesn't matter who it is -- We all know the rotation - how it should be. I should get--"
Jet blinked twice, before his eyes went wide. "No. You're doing something else, anyway." He reached for Mick's arm and held it for a second. "You're not going."
"Going?" Nari questioned.
"We should be," Mick said firmly, before reaching to ruffle Jet's hair. "All of us," he added, a bit louder. "I'll take responsibility for whatever it is you see. The more bodies, the better anyway..."
"Oh?" Eoin got to his feet, and Whitby and Aleksei were right behind him. Nari brought up the rear, looking over their discarded datapads once before following Mick and Jet as they headed out through a half-hidden exit behind Aither's feet, through a long hallway, and into an area that Aleksei wasn't even sure was on their maps.
It looked to be an observation area, glassed-in and high over a much larger hangar. Though Aleksei knew he'd need to get closer to really see everything that wasn't high brassy-metal ceilings and florescent lights.
Mitra was there, overseeing, and gave Mick a firm glare when the four first years ran up behind him.
"It's Aeon incoming," Mitra said, shaking his head. "His team. He's still out gunning. About five pursuers left - the defense sentinels have taken out a few, he's taken out at least a half-dozen, and Valentine is out..."
"And you just now alerted me?" Mick questioned, frowning.
"You're on standby, Instructor Hedone," Mitra replied sharply. "You're not going back on mission duty, and I'm disinclined to even put you on defense rotation."
Mick frowned, and Aleksei wanted desperately to ask what was going on, but before he could even hear the end of the conversation, a woman with long, loose blonde hair gestured that they all needed to go out the door to the side of the room and down a multi-flight of metal stairs. Glancing back, Aleksei saw Mick nod and Jet grab for him.
By the time the four of them got to the bottom of the stairs, the airlock had cleared and a heavily damaged shuttle was being guided inside by a pair of Gundams.
"Come along," the woman said, guiding them. Aleksei hadn't recognized her at first - it took a moment to figure out that it was Dr. Hisano minus her white coat and proper uniform. "All hands..."
"Right," Eoin said, nodded. They all followed, though not entirely sure where to go.
"Help Valentine get Megaera secured-- the green one not filled with holes," Dr. Hisano continued. "Except you--" She pointed at Aleksei. "You look strong. Come with me in case Aeon's injured."
Aleksei nodded. "Just let me know what to do," he said, as Dr. Hisano gestured for him to follow her.
The damaged mobile suit took an extra moment to step away from the shuttle, staggered once, a surprising bit of movement until Aleksei saw that its one leg really was heavily damaged. The pilot - Aeon, Aleksei guessed - however, was skilled and got the machine to a kneeling position quickly, in as open a space as possible. And then it stopped, just as Dr. Hisano and Aleksei drew close enough to smell burned metal.
After a tense moment, the cockpit opened and a pilot appeared, easing himself out carefully.
"Aeon!" Dr. Hisano called, waving. "Need me to come up?"
There was a quick 'not needed' gesture and then Aeon scrambled down and to Dr. Hisano's side.
"Just bruises," Aeon said as he pulled his helmet off. Aleksei swallowed hard. He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting, but Aeon wasn't at all it. Despite being relatively young, his hair was a silvery grey and long as it spilled out from beneath the helmet, braided and in chunks. His eyes were a bright green, his skin about the same mid-tone as Aleksei's own, and he had a wide smile on his face. "That was sort of ridiculous, and it wasn't even an..." He trailed off, looking Aleksei over. "Got an assistant, Amde?"
"This is Aleksei," Dr. Hisano said quickly, gesturing. "Aleksei, this is Aeon Jester, one of NIN-ANA's resident pilots. And Aleksei is a first year - the term just started the other day--"
"You're making me feel old," Aeon said with a chuckle. "Another new term?"
"Mmm..." Dr. Hisano nodded. "How are Edison and Purity?"
"Fine, as far as I know," Aeon replied, shaking his head. "The pirates were far more interested in shooting at me."
"Pirates?" Aleksei couldn't help himself.
Aeon nodded. "Pirates. Nasty ones, too. I can't believe how many there were... Bad enough that Anaplekte is going to need an entire new leg." He sighed. "I'll have to apologize to Jet and Ash. But there was just no safe way to get Lachesis launched that wouldn't have put Purity in way too much danger.
Dr. Hisano nodded. "Check-ups for all of you anyway," she said firmly. "And for Valentine, since he went out."
"Good luck with that," Aeon said with a little headshake that made his braids rustle. "You'll never catch him."
"I have my ways," Dr. Hisano replied.
"Mmm?" Dr. Hisano gave Aeon a little smile.
"Thank you," Aeon said, leaning to give her a quick little kiss on the cheek before heading off towards the shuttle.
Aleksei tried not to watch him, and he tried not to be curious about that little kiss. But Aeon was built perfectly and poured into his pilot suit in such a way that Aleksei couldn't help but look. He swallowed hard before Dr. Hisano put a hand on his shoulder.
"Come on," she said. "I'll trust him to bring Purity and Edison to me if they're hurt at all."
"And before you feel the need to ask, his older brother and I were engaged to be married," Dr. Hisano continued. "So he's my very special younger brother. That's all."
Aleksei nodded, trying to push back a wave of new questions, and then glanced over to where Nari was trying to signal to the green-hued Gundam to get it properly secured.
"Damn..." Dr. Hisano glanced up to the upper level where they'd all come in. "Looks like Hedone is still having it out with Mitra. That won't end well..."
"What's Mick trying to do?" Aleksei questioned, even though he doubted that Dr. Hisano would know the answer. "Does he want to fight?"
"Do you?" Dr. Hisano questioned as they made their way over to Eoin and Whitby, who were trying to instruct Nari on how to use the handheld orange signal lights she'd grabbed. "Hedone has control of Tisiphone. It would be a waste not to use him or that mobile suit. But... I know he's been put on the standby list instead of active duty, since he's teaching."
"You've spent the last week with Mick," Dr. Hisano said flatly, as if she were swallowing her emotion. "Does he want to fight?"
"I don't know," Aleksei replied. "I don't know."
"When you know, come tell me," Dr. Hisano said firmly. "Until then, keep your eyes open."
Aleksei nodded, sure that Dr. Hisano was attempting to impart as much wisdom as she could and that it was his fault that he didn't really get it.
Valentine was descending by the time they got there, helmet already pulled off and tight black ringlets bouncing beneath the cool air blasting through the hangar.
"How new are you?" he questioned, looking at Nari and frowning. "That was awful."
"This is my first week," Nari replied firmly, taking a step towards him and pointing at him with one of the handheld lights. "I did my best."
Valentine blinked - green eyes matching both his mobile suit and pilot suit - and then started laughing. "What's your name?" he asked. "I like you. I'm Valentine Goldslayer."
He held out a hand and Nari blinked once before handing the lights over to Eoin and then quickly accepting it. What she didn't seem to be expecting, however, was for him to bow and kiss the back of it, as if she was some sort of princess.
She let out a little squeak, and that was about when Whitby noticed that Aleksei had reappeared. Whitby had a strange look on his face - perhaps, Aleksei thought, this wasn't at all what he was expecting, either.
"She's far too young for you," Dr. Hisano said as she made a grab for Valentine. But what Aleksei hadn't quite realized and what hadn't seemed so obvious in comparison to Nari, who was tiny, was that Valentine was also fairly small. Letting go of Nari, he side-stepped and waved before trotting over in the direction that Aeon had gone -- to the shuttle. A proper dock crew was pouring in now, pointing and gesturing and surrounding the shuttle.
"Someday," Dr. Hisano said, shaking her head. "Though you four should probably get back to your homework."
"How do you know so much about us?" Aleksei questioned. He knew that his bracelet tracked all of his movements, but..."
"Along with Cardinell, I'm watching all you first years," Dr. Hisano replied. "Part of the job - make sure you go to class, make sure you're not sneaking anywhere too odd... Though I have to admit that the group of you making fast friends with Mick and Jet was unexpected."
"Oh?" Whitby asked.
Dr. Hisano nodded and then looked to Nari, who still had a bit of a blush on her cheeks.
"Ask Tearle," she said, and shooed them away.
"Nari?" Eoin questioned as they made their way back towards the metal stairs.
"Tearle did say that I probably shouldn't hang out with them," Nari admitted. "Not because they're instructors, or anything. Just... the last guys that they'd been close to... died before graduation."
Eoin swore. Their bracelets weren't getting them anywhere, including onto the tram back to their rooms. Everything seemed to be locked down, and after a few minutes of fussing, they all agreed that talking to Tearle could wait if it really had to, and that they were okay with staying in Mick's 'lounge' and working on their homework.
"I'll at least message Tearle," Nari said. "I have her added..." She switched features on her datapad and then it was her turn to swear. "And... non-essential messaging is off. Awesome."
"Those machines..." Whitby shook his head. "They should be logged somewhere. I wonder..."
"Dr. Hisano said I need to open my eyes," Aleksei said, glancing around and a little unsure what sort of reaction he was going to get.
"Mmm, I think you do," Whitby said. "Not... in a bad way, just that there are a lot of things that I think we're all missing here."
"She asked me to tell her why Mick wants to fight," Aleksei explained. "And she asked me if I wanted to."
"Do you?" Eoin questioned. "I do. After seeing that... I want to do that. I want to go fight pirates and bring home... whatever they brought home."
"Were they pirates, though?" Whitby questioned. "Or are we?"
They were all quiet for a moment. NIN-ANA did seem to exist with a set of laws all its own.
"It doesn't really matter now, does it?" Nari asked. "We're already in it."
There was a long pause before they all nodded.
Jet was conspicuously missing the next evening, if only because Valentine was sitting in Jet's usual spot, with Jet's datapad, rummaging through files at a speed that made Eoin give Aleksei a little nudge in the side.
Mick, however, was right back in his usual spot.
"Hey, the pretty new girl and her friends!" Valentine smiled and gestured that they should all sit. "Mick didn't mention that you came here often."
"No point in encouraging you," Mick replied flatly. "And just so you all know, I won and am back on active duty. Colony defense only, but it's something. Next deploy is mine."
"But..." Aleksei started, before Whitby held out a hand to silence him.
Mick just met his eyes for a long moment, before going back to his own datapad. Aleksei wished he understood.
"I know what everyone too bored to take a day off is doing tomorrow," Valentine said after a moment. "Unloading and sorting cargo. Aeon really brought back the goods. Jet's having a field day with everything that was salvaged."
"Jet?" Whitby asked. "It's mobile suits?"
Valentine nodded. "I shouldn't say anything else, though. It'd ruin the fun."
"I'm in," Aleksei replied. He and Whitby had spent most of their workshop day going over their Safphir again and making notes. He was ready.
"So am I," Nari added before looking to Eoin and Whitby. "So are they."
"You can't just volunteer us!" Eoin cried, before laughing. "Ah... but I suppose I was going to. It'd be boring just sitting around on my own."
"I'll add you to the list," Valentine said, tapping at the datapad. "We've got a full dozen volunteers now. You're the first ones from first year, though, aside from a girl -- Lyndee?"
"Why Lyndee?" Eoin asked. "She skipped out on most of workshop by faking cramps today." He rolled his eyes.
"She might not have volunteered," Mick offered without looking up.
"I don't think I understand R-Block," Nari said with a little headshake. "Do any of them actually turn out okay?"
"I did," Valentine replied, giving her a strange little smile.
Nari's eyes went wide and she gave a little squeak. "Er, I'm sorry-- I didn't mean..."
"No offense taken," Valentine said with a chuckle. "I understand how frustrating it can be to have peers who aren't as interested in learning. I was that way until I met Aeon, who was a Third Year when I was a First Year."
"How old are you?" Eoin questioned.
"Eoin..." Whitby scolded.
"It's okay," Valentine said with a chuckle. "I'm twenty-four. Aeon and his crew are all twenty-six. And let's see..." He glanced over at Mick and grinned.
"Thirty-four," Mick said after a half-pause. "Same as Doc. And Jet is... Twenty-eight now, I think. Been a long time since I picked him up."
"Picked him up?" Aleksei questioned. "I thought he was student..."
"NIN-ANA's only transfer student," Valentine corrected. "Jet Zero, though that isn't his real name. But then again, Mick..."
"Can it, Valentine," Mick said. "Some things are classified and you know it. But I suppose I can tell some of the story of how I ended up with Jet.
"See, Jet was supposed to be a student here. He did all his testing, and was admitted, but... someone had tried to cheat and everyone's results were thrown out."
"Like us..." Eoin said.
"Except it happened earlier in the process," Mick said with a nod. "And while they wanted Jet to re-apply, for whatever reason, he never got the notice and went elsewhere. I... was working elsewhere for various reasons which are classified..."
"Ninety-five percent of his service record is classified," Valentine added with a little wink. "Following Mick around is almost as complicated of a hobby as trying to be as good as Aeon."
"Anyway..." Mick shot Valentine a sharp look. "I ran across a quiet but brilliant young man completely wasting his potential, but... he'd already been snatched up by a rival. I... ended up following a different assignment elsewhere and...
"Well, that one might get saved for your second year," Mick said. He shook his head and sighed. "That one... yeah.
"But things happened, and I ended up back where I could grab Jet and bring him with me back here. He was fifteen, and had only missed half of his First Year," Mick concluded. "NIN-ANA's only transfer student."
"Where was he before?" Whitby asked. "Or is that classified?"
"Doesn't matter," Valentine said with a little eyeroll. "Mick blew it up."
"Last job before retiring Akhlys," Mick added with a little smile.
"You blew it up?" Nari asked. Aleksei blinked a few times. Mick had blown up some sort of school. At NIN-ANA's orders...
"It's not the worst thing I've done," Mick said, shaking his head. "But hey... more homework, less dreary stuff?"
Aleksei winced. He'd wanted to ask about the ones who'd died-- Tearle had added a bit to the story, but admittedly she hadn't known much more than what she'd already told Nari.
Jet didn't appear at all during the evening.
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