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: 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: There are only so many possible double-crosses.
"Do you trust me?" Mick questioned. Jet nodded, still unsure if this really was the plan or if Mick was still winging everything. It didn't matter -- this was the big one. Every move he made would have to be perfect or people would die. He did not want anyone to die.
Everything he'd made and built over the last decade - he'd have to tear backwards through it all.
"I trust you," Jet replied. He did, fully. He trusted Mick and he believed in himself.
"Remember, the sentinels," Mick said. "When we're in range of them, we're in range of everything."
"I've made all the necessary upgrades," Jet noted. "Eternity and Deadline will launch first after you and Solitaire. Amde and I will be on standby -- in case of emergency, we should be able to launch."
"Yes," Jet said with a nod. A lot. Hundreds. Thousands. "I have to be faster than at least two people. Possibly many more. And one of them is Varuna."
"You'll be fine," Mick replied, giving Jet a little pat on the shoulder and then drawing him close. "I believe in you and I intend to keep my promise that I will never, ever let anything happen to you."
"Mick..." Jet wished he had Mick's confidence.
"It's time." Sincere's voice echoed through the ship, soft and ethereal.
Mick reached, ruffled Jet's hair, and then quickly undid his own pants before opening the storage cubby door and strolling out, fixing his pants with a slightly embarrassed expression before pulling Jet out and gesturing at him to fix his hair.
Momentarily confused, Jet complied before seeing Gate standing there, wide-eyed and stunned. Instantly, he turned red and winced.
"Of all things to be doing before a mission and not with me!" Gate cried before turning and stomping off.
Jet blinked and sighed as Mick chuckled. Sometimes, trusting Mick was really difficult.
"All hands means us too!" Nari cried, herding everyone off the sofas and toward the main hangars. "Hopefully there's something we can do!"
"I'll go after the sentinels," Eternity cried from her Rubis. She and Deadline had launched. And if they were in sentinel space, they were close to NIN-ANA. Soon, the station would be launching its own machines.
Swallowing hard, Jet plugged his gloves into Klotho's control cluster and hoped he had enough good karma saved up to pull this off.
Instantly, he was into NIN-ANA's controls. The sentinels were easy to shut down and he did it first, seemingly unnoticed until he flicked through and saw another user. No, two. One was Ashtorethe and he booted her quickly and locked her profile. But the other was... himself? That was impossible. But someone was using his logon and access...
"The hell?" Eternity questioned. "They just stopped."
"Just be thankful and keep going!" Solitaire cried.
Jet checked the launch timing in the colony and tried to shut it down, but he was blocked. Varuna. Varuna knew he was in. Now it was just time before he was tossed back out. He had to do the most while he could.
He couldn't throw Varuna out, though. Varuna... was out and operating remotely? That was something that Jet hadn't been expecting unless...
No, now Varuna was showing two profiles, along with his own.
"What are you doing?" Sincere's voice called to him.
"Working," he said quickly. "I'm sorry."
It was the one hack he hadn't wanted to make, but he knew he'd have to.
With one hand, he drew the ship under his control, and a moment later pulled in the two Rubises as well.
"I'm so sorry..."
He gave control of the ship over to NIN-ANA.
And heard Sincere scream.
Instantly, the ship locked, though running off of Klotho's power and OS, Jet was still free to work. He'd beaten Ashtorethe and Sincere, but two Varunas? And himself?
Though Varuna had backed off since the ship had been transferred to him. But the other operator...
"Psyche!" Jet said aloud. Mick had suggested that she might be an obstacle. She couldn't have learned the system completely in just months, though, and there would be ways to boot her even if she was using his unlimited profile. He'd just have to...
Switching screens as quickly as he could move and inputting commands so quickly that his wrists were beginning to ache, he made the cross that he'd set up months before for completely different purposes.
Linking Klotho to Ereshkigal, he threw himself out of the system. It took out his profile inside NIN-ANA and a moment later, it closed his own link. Klotho's screens went dark and he leaned back, sighing.
Hopefully Varuna would understand what they'd set up and what they were trying to do.
Now he just had to wait.
Would Atropos cut?
And then he realized something and wished desperately to go back in-- the reason there'd been two Varunas was because Ereshkigal had been active. Yet again, Varuna had let him in.
For the briefest of moments, Varuna had been worried. However, considering Solitaire's ability to evade notice for nearly a decade, Varuna also didn't think Solitaire was stupid.
They just needed to talk. Unfortunately, that would be a difficult thing to do with Atropos streaking toward him, beam sword already ignited.
"Solitaire!" Varuna struggled to keep Ereshkigal under his control as it streaked out into the blackness of space. "Stop this right now!"
Jet was doing ridiculous things to the colony and it wasn't until he suddenly had two mobile suits and Solitaire's ship under his control was he sure of what his team had managed to do.
"I know I can't win again you, but I need answers first. Varuna-- What was Altere?"
Ereshkigal blocked a wide swing of Atropos's sword and pushed the silver and red machine back. Atropos had speed. Ereshkigal had raw power.
"Something I've tried to figure out for years and may never understand," Varuna replied. "I truly thought I'd lost you there."
"You never sent backup!"
"I was told you'd been killed. All of the initial data suggested that," Varuna replied. He caught Atropos in the shoulder with strong black fingers and reached to get its beam saber away. But Atropos shook him off and it took a couple of seconds for Varuna to get Ereshkigal righted.
"And you believed it?"
"No." Varuna winced as Ereshkigal caught a kick in the side. It jostled the black machine and he was sure it left a scrape of paint, but it wouldn't do much damage. "And then it became far more obvious that you'd survived but chosen not to come home."
"I failed," Solitaire said. He drew Atropos back. "I failed so horribly-- Altere was nearly destroyed."
"Not by you," Varuna said firmly. "You have always been welcome to return, Lancaster Dusk. We have waited for you all this time."
Varuna heard the hitch in Solitaire's voice. "I... I didn't know what to do."
"I know," Varuna said calmly. "I understand. And Lan, you did good."
"I have your ship and those Rubises under my control," Varuna replied. "Why don't we quit playing?"
"What? How? That wasn't--" Atropos was fast, Varuna noted with surprise as it raised its sword and swung faster than Ereshkigal could react.
Before the beam could connect, Atropos's hand exploded and the sword went sailing.
"Stop it, Solitaire." Tisiphone did not lower its rifle as it slipped behind Atropos.
"Mick-- What are you doing?" Solitaire asked. Varuna twitched where he sat. Someone had lost their grasp of the plan and he wasn't sure exactly where he needed to intervene.
"Why did we come here, Solitaire?" Mick questioned, tone cold.
"To fail," Solitaire replied softly. "Varuna, someone has been trying to commission a strike on the colony..."
"I know," Varuna said. "It's not as uncommon as you may think. It will be dealt with. But for now, Solitaire -- why don't you and your team come--"
He didn't really think about what the next word should be. He knew.
"Not yet," Mick interjected. Tisiphone still had its rifle to the back of Atropos. "Commander--"
"Mick--" Varuna frowned and he started moving Ereshkigal forward.
"I was sent to end this," Mick noted. "Iscariot Command for Lancaster Dusk. Completed only with the death of the subject or his permanent removal as a threat. Rescinded upon his return to NIN-ANA's ranks. I promised the safety of his crew only--"
"Damn you, Mick--"
Varuna was not fast enough. Not with everything he was trying to manage. If Psyche had been back online, he might have managed it, but as is, he just couldn't.
He saw Tisiphone pull the trigger and there was nothing he could do.
"Bang," Mick said softly. "Solitaire is dead, Varuna. Iscariot Command Complete. This is Dire, with Gracia and Nyx flanking, along with a gift of a skilled mercenary crew and ship. Also present, Lancaster Dusk in Gundam Atropos, returning from a failed mission."
Slowly, Varuna smiled. He wasn't sure exactly why - if it was at the over the top execution or the splatter of blue paint across Atropos's back. Or that Mick had managed to carry out his own mission along with spin an entirely plausible mess as to why the Pandemonium would be taking up residence at NIN-ANA.
"Good work, Dire," he said. "I'll bring full systems back online including that nice ship. Full landing instructions to follow."
Ereshkigal turned to head back.
Inside its hangar, Varuna slumped back into Psyche's arms and let her hold him for a moment while he closed his eyes and rushed through commands.
Solitaire had Atropos punch Tisiphone in the arm.
"You double-crossed a double-cross?" he asked. For a second there, he thought he'd made it all the way back only to finally, really die. But if he was going to die, he thought he was strangely content that it would be at Mick's hands. It was what he'd always expected.
"Might be one more double-cross in there," Mick replied. "And let me promise you right now that I will never, ever do that again. Ever."
"I'm relatively angry at you," Solitaire replied. "That actually doesn't even begin to describe it. At least he was breathing properly again.
"I promise I'll scrub every last drop of that paint bullet off Atropos."
"I can't believe you hit me with a paint bullet," Solitaire complained. "And I can't imagine a new name at this point, so I think I'm going to promptly resurrect myself."
"Mmm, I could do the old fairy tale route and kiss you--"
"What did I just miss out there and who is kissing who?" Amde's voice cut in sharply. That meant the Pandemonium was back online.
"I finished the mission," Mick announced. "Solitaire is dead so I volunteered to kiss him to bring him back to life."
"It's a relatively minor death, I'll live," Solitaire noted, chuckling. "Let's go home?"
Aleksei couldn't believe it - there was Ereshkigal pulling Tisiphone and Atropos in to land.
"I am so sure there's a line we need to stay behind," Nari commented, peering at the machines.
"I really hope not," Aleksei replied. "I want to see it up close."
"So do I." Cardinell promptly pushed her way in amongst them. "But hang back just a little longer, okay? Let everyone get to the ground."
"Do you know what happened, Cardinell? There was the alert and then things got a little weird," Eoin said.
Cardinell chuckled. "From the last message sent, everyone is home safely. Finally."
"Eh? Is that Solitaire?" Lyndee questioned. Aleksei immediately looked back to the mobile suits.
The man who'd been in Atropos was on the ground and pulling off his helmet. And there was Mick-- And...
"Jet's not going to be happy about that," Nari muttered.
"Mmm?" Cardinell shook her head. "Nah. But yeah, that's him."
"Wow," Aleksei said, still staring at Atropos. "Wow--"
Solitaire stared down at Varuna, who seemed so much smaller and younger than he'd remembered. He tried to blink back tears. He couldn't regret the last nine years - he didn't. But...
"Welcome home," Varuna said, reaching for Solitaire's hand.
A moment later, his own crew started piling in and after a long silent moment, Solitaire looked to them and smiled.
"We have a new base of operations," he said. "Won't have to worry about how we're going to eat --"
His voice stuck when he saw Amde. She and Jet had Sincere with them, each of them holding one of her hands to guide her.
Varuna squeezed his hand once and then let go. Solitaire could hear Varuna addressing his team, but it was in the back of his mind as he ran over to kiss Amde and hug Jet and Sincere.
"Hey--” Mick tapped on his shoulder.
"You already got a kiss and I really, really need to punch you for it--"
"Want to go back out?" Varuna questioned. He flicked a hand and the red lights in the hanger clicked on. "Looks like you were followed--"
"Varuna--" Solitaire had fought with far worse damage than what Atropos was sporting.
"Don't worry. I know they're not your fault. I'm sending half the factory in their Rubises to secure the Pandemonium. They'll make it look good," Varuna said. He paused. "They'll be in range in fifteen minutes."
"Varuna, I--" Solitaire wasn't sure what to say. An endless stream of apologies just didn't seem like enough.
But Varuna just smiled. "We'll take care of it together. Though for my own sake, I've had enough of controlling Ereshkigal remotely for one day."
Solitaire wasn't actually sure he'd ever seen Varuna pilot. Ereshkigal had been a terrifying enough surprise.
But instead of heading towards the exit and his office, he started towards Ereshkigal.
"You too, Solitaire--"
Solitaire smiled and looked over to his team. Amde was already sending them in different directions and-- was that Cardinell with her arms over Sincere's shoulders?
"C'mon," Mick said, giving Solitaire a little bump on the shoulder as he passed. "Let's go."
He nodded and looked to Atropos.
Silver and red.
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