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: Sorting parts is not a glamorous job by any stretch of the imagination. Meanwhile, Solitaire schemes.
"Deamonde?" Whitby guessed, holding up a chunk of... He sighed. He didn't know. It was a dark silvery color and looked like it had once maybe been part of something that turned before it had been both broken and burned.
When they'd been told they'd be sorting parts, he somehow hadn't quite expected that they'd actually be gathered around a mound of miscellaneous debris and have to figure out what it was.
"Deamonde?" Aleksei echoed, looking at it. "I don't know..."
"Definitely Emeralde," Eris noted from behind the pair of them. "Any idea why? Or even what you're holding, I suppose..."
"Some sort of inner assembly?" Aleksei questioned. Whitby sighed again. Aleksei had started to tell him about Jet being one of the colony's systems administrators, which was interesting and also not the biggest surprise. However, the 'gloves' that Aleksei had gotten out two sentences about before clamming up once the group grew to be more than the two of them - those were interesting. Those might be his ticket into the colony's inner-workings. Whitby was sure he could do a lot with them, if he could get his hands on them for a few minutes.
Whitby nodded as Eris lectured before she reached to take the piece and deposit it firmly in the area designated for parts to be melted down as scrap. On to the next piece.
"Safphir," Nari said firmly as Aleksei hauled up a smallish dark blue chunk that couldn't be anything other than indeterminate armor.
"Because of the color?" Aleksei asked.
"Thickness and type of alloy," Nari noted. "Look how the stress marks are around the edge..."
"Good," Eris interrupted. "Excellent observation, Nari. I'm glad someone paid attention to the lecture. Older Safphirs were made of a heavier, thicker alloy than contemporary mobile suits and itís quite obvious up close. While newer Safphirs and parts are made of the same metal as Rubis units, nothing newer has ever been made of the original Safphir alloy."
"Scrap pile," Eris instructed. Nari blinked when Aleksei handed it to her. She held it close, looking from it to the scrap pile and then back to Eris.
"Can... I have it?" Nari questioned, wincing after she'd spoken. Whitby blinked. While it was a strange request, he sort of understood - it was the first thing she'd gotten right all day. She had to be feeling a little proud. Not that Whitby thought he'd want to keep a single piece of scrap out of the pile.
Eris frowned and then nodded.
"Stash it somewhere quickly," Eris replied. "But that's the only thing you get - no keeping everything you identify."
"Just this one," Nari said with a nod before quickly darting over to where a few of them had left their grey uniform jackets once they'd gotten warm. She shoved the piece of metal under her jacket and then darted back.
The group was quiet for a moment. She then grabbed for a knobby piece with wires sticking out of it.
"Some sort of cockpit something?" Whitby questioned. He was far too distracted to think much about Jet and how to get those gloves away from him - if they were even as amazing as Aleksei thought they were. It had been the middle of the night and Aleksei had mumbled that he hadn't been entirely awake for part of the expedition.
Whitby wasn't even sure what was so interesting about the rows of disabled mobile suits spread out in the hangar and why Jet had been so adamant to show Aleksei. Jet had latched on to Aleksei, though, and Whitby couldn't deny that. Something just seemed off. But there wasn't really time to try to figure it out. Not yet.
"Looks more like a camera part," Aleksei countered.
Eris opened her mouth to correct them both.
"I refuse to have anything to do with this!"
There was almost no point in looking, Whitby thought. It was Lyndee, as usual. Even after consistent punishment from across the staff, her behavior hadn't changed. Whitby definitely didn't think Lyndee had volunteered herself to help sort parts.
At least they weren't working on the same pile. Lyndee and Aldren and a couple of students Whitby didn't know - probably Second Years - were a few yards away with their own mound.
"Let's just keep going," Aldren Villarreal, one of the R-Block boys, pleaded. "It's not that bad. Lyndee..."
"Do it yourself," she said flatly, before turning and stomping off. She still had her jacket on and didn't look like she'd considered sweating or hauling parts around. Whitby sort of wanted to walk by her and smudge grease across her face. He was sure he could find some in the debris pile.
Almost everyone in the hangar had turned to look by the time Eris stepped in front of Lyndee.
Whitby couldn't hear what Eris said, but a second later Lyndee was on the floor in a tight hold, and a moment later, Oizys, Instructor Moros's aide, appeared and escorted Lyndee away.
"Back to work," Eris snapped, glaring around the hangar. Whitby nodded quickly offered her the knobby bit with the wires and she walked it over to the scrap pile.
Instead of returning to them, however, Eris made her way over to Aldren.
"Poor Aldren," Aleksei commented.
"I don't think so," Whitby replied. He would bet everything that Eris would work even closer with him now. She'd make sure he was learning... He seemed to be willing, after all.
"Nothing," Whitby said. "I don't know... I wonder what will happen to Lyndee..."
"Nothing I want to think about," Nari said quickly.
"I don't understand not wanting to be here," Aleksei admitted. "This has been my dream and I... think I'm understanding a lot more about why it'll be good to know all the mechanical stuff..."
Whitby nodded, holding in a sigh. Nari grabbed a few more pieces that looked like Safphir armor and carried them over to the scrap pile.
It was going to be a long day.
Jet was sprawled on the sofa, asleep, when the quartet arrived that evening. Luckily, they were all exhausted and not talking much, especially not Eoin, who'd been drafted to survey cockpit damage with a couple of Third Years. Mick waved a hand and then put a finger to his lips, gesturing that they needed to be quiet. Instantly, they had their datapads out and were silently tapping out messages.
W: [Is he okay?]
Instructor Hedone: [He's fine, just exhausted. He's had a lot of long days and finally I got him to sit for a moment and fall asleep.]
Instructor Hedone: [My legs are asleep. I don't suppose you want to trade?]
Whitby glanced over and sure enough, Jet had his lower legs across Mick's lap, half-hidden by Mick's datapad and a couple of actual paper books that Mick had apparently been reading at some point or other.
W: [I can take a turn...]
Instructor Hedone: [Aleksei volunteered first, sorry.]
Whitby frowned, a little disappointed that he hadn't been able to get closer to Jet in any way, but he'd have plenty of chances and he couldn't be too obvious.
Jet barely stirred as Mick and Aleksei switched spots, followed by Mick excusing himself for a couple moments. When he returned, he brought juice and snacks, which were about as interesting as the thought of unrestricted outside 'net access. At that moment, at least.
He also had a lot of homework to finish.
Including quite a bit for Mick's class.
"I'll leave Eternity to give you a tour of the ship," Solitaire told Jackal as he reached up and touched his earpiece. "My second is calling. Likely details for the mission."
Jackal nodded. "Works for me. Your mechanics can handle my maintenance. I trust they're familiar with something as powerful as a Deamonde?"
Solitaire chuckled and nodded. "They very much are, yes. Your machine is in good hands here."
"Good," Jackal drawled. "I think this will be a good alliance for us both."
There was something slightly unnerving about his smile, but Solitaire tried to put it out of his mind. Just one mission, then something better would come along.
"Sir," Eternity said, stepping quickly to his side. Solitaire didn't think he'd ever fully get the military out of her, but at least she hadn't saluted. That had taken work. She was a strong woman and formidable pilot. Solitaire was quite fond of her and knew her lines of thinking were very similar to his.
He trusted her.
"Please get Jackal settled into his quarters after making sure he has a basic grasp of the Pandemonium's layout," Solitaire said.
"Yes, sir," Eternity replied.
"Lore?" Solitaire gestured that she could follow him. She nodded, gave a tiny wave to Eternity and then promptly stepped to Solitaire's side.
"I'll contact you once the details are final," Solitaire said to Jackal. "Get settled and get some rest."
He turned and headed back towards the hall, Lore silently shadowing him. They stopped outside Sincere's room and Solitaire finally spoke.
"What are your thoughts, Lore?"
"I think you have something planned," Lore replied. "But I trust you. I also think that if Jackal is as good as he seems to be, he might be worth keeping around."
Solitaire nodded. "And?"
Lore frowned. "He's more of an asshole than Deadline."
There was a long pause, and then they both laughed.
"Bridge later?" Lore questioned once she'd composed herself. Lore's laughter was rare and Solitaire was grateful to hear it. He nodded.
She was gone before he'd finished knocking at Sincere's door.
There was no pause between the last tap of his knuckles and the door sliding open. It wasn't as if his visit was a surprise.
Sincere's room was pitch black when he stepped in, and he reached for the light switch slowly.
"Are you really remembering to warn me?" she asked him, amusement apparent in her voice. "Here..."
The lights flickered on around them as the door closed behind Solitaire. He had to blink a few times to adjust - the lights were not immediately bright but instead started from a dim glow.
"I do have to adjust..." Sincere was facing away - towards rows of monitors mounted on the wall - her chair turned so that Solitaire mostly saw her long, medium brown hair trailing down almost to the floor. He could see the cameras in the room re-focusing as he walked across the room to where a single hairbrush sat on top of a whirring server cluster. Everything else Sincere owned was where it always was - tucked in the bank of cubbies and lockers against one wall.
"I know," Solitaire said. He picked up the hairbrush. "May I?"
"Was that my brush?" Sincere questioned. "If so, go ahead. But watch my dataport. Last time Gate came to brush my hair and try to be friendly, she kept jostling it and it made me a little nauseated."
"I'm sorry," Solitaire said softly, reaching to carefully touch Sincere's shoulder as he drew close. Carefully, he parted her hair along her neck to look at the meeting of flesh and metal at the base of her skull. A thick bundle of cables plugged firmly into it, jutting out and then down before snaking off around the room to various servers and terminals. Nothing looked irritated or infected, but Solitaire made a mental note to make a few inquiries.
"She wanted to talk about you," Sincere continued. "And be my friend, I think. It... didn't make a lot of sense. Normal for Gate, I guess."
Solitaire chuckled as he started running the brush over Sincere's already shining and silky hair. "You're the same age, Sincere, and one of the only women on board."
"There is Lore. And Eternity."
"Very different women from Gate," Solitaire reminded her.
"And I'm like her?" Sincere asked. Solitaire was sure that she was frowning.
"You're not unlike her," Solitaire noted. He couldn't help smiling. Sincere was almost amusingly clueless about some things even though he'd always encouraged her to seek out all the information she could about everything she could. With her implants and her link, she could at least absorb enough to...
Well, she was very different, at least, from when he'd first met her. Found her. Rescued her. Whichever it had been.
"Are you smiling?" she asked him.
"Yes," Solitaire replied. He would do at least a hundred strokes.
"I wish I could see you smile," Sincere replied. "So therefore, maybe, I do understand Gate just a little."
Solitaire didn't reply right away. As much as he liked Gate, she was simply too young and too... inexperienced. He knew he'd ruin her. Besides...
"So about my mail?" he asked after twenty strokes with that brush, smoothing hair that had never once blown in the wind or been bleached by the sun.
"Yes," Sincere said. "It took me a few minutes to sort out the encryption, mostly because I was expecting more than a one word response."
"'Works'," Sincere replied. "I can only assume that means we're to perform the job as expected and our friends will take care of the rest."
Solitaire nodded and kept brushing. "It's still a gamble, but if it does work... That's a lot of scum stopped all around."
"And what do we do with Jackal?" Sincere questioned. "That's an interesting mobile suit that he has. Tiercel and Gate sent me the specs on it."
"Already?" Solitaire chuckled. "Faster than anticipated."
"Are you thinking of keeping him on?"
"He may prove to be a valuable asset." Solitaire paused in his brushing. "I'll be interested to see."
Aleksei wasn't entirely sure how or why Eoin and everyone had believed that Jet had just taken him to see mobile suits, aside for their shared enthusiasm for them. Whitby had seemed more interested in Jet's gloves, though Aleksei figured that was just because Whitby seemed to like new things in general. He'd even read the entire Student Handbook, which Aleksei couldn't quite find the spare time to tackle. Not between homework and hanging out, at least.
Glancing across the main room of the suite he shared with Eoin, Aleksei watched as Eoin slumped farther down on the sofa, obviously not doing as much reading as he was intending. Mick had assigned an entire novel, with essay questions, due in a week. While there was still an entire other free day before then, Eoin and Aleksei had decided to do their best to get through it early in case any of the other instructors decided to pile on the homework.
"I can't take any more," Eoin mumbled, putting down his datapad and glancing over at Aleksei. "You too?"
"I think it's dinner time," Aleksei replied. He'd read the last page of the book a dozen times but hadn't actually managed to retain a word of it. "Then maybe we can grab Whitby and Nari..."
"And waste Mick's free time?" Eoin questioned. He stretched and grinned. "I like that."
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