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Mobile Suit Gundam - The Second Century (Part 1: Prelude 0099) - Page 11
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Thread: Mobile Suit Gundam - The Second Century (Part 1: Prelude 0099)

  1. #201
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c View Post
    sorry, friend, i've been busy. i need to be in the mood to read up your fanfic again, maybe i'll wait til ch10 comes out then i can get the gundam feel again and not just getting it on and off by your per chapter updates....
    Shouldn't be long now. I'm rolling on Chapter 9.

    Chapters 7-10 are what I consider the cream chapters of the story. Things are building to a climax and our main characters (especially Athena) are really put through an emotional wringer.

    And that just sets up Part II.

    is it just me or does it really look like the transformers?
    Well, both the GUNDAM and TRANSFORMERS franchises are descended from a long line of transforming robots that have been popular in Japan since the 1970s.

  2. #202
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Episode 9 continued...

    Elsewhere in Zum City, Dr. Artasia Som Daikun (Sayla Mass), Kai Shiden, and Linda Ackerman (Dorinda Ischinda) meet to discuss the newest change of policy towards Side 3 by the Earth Federation Government, and its implications for the ISR movement.

    “They’re basically doing what we’d like to do,” Kai says, “but don’t have the resources to. They’ve begun organizing new work and relief programs…to repair the colony infrastructure. I’m almost beginning to think we should just let them.”

    “Yes,” Sayla agrees, “The people of Side 3 are finally getting the help they’ve needed for decades. I’d call this a positive development, but it’s so sudden…so unexpected.”

    Dory, now going by her adopted name of “Linda,” adds, “As encouraging as this is, my instincts tell me that it’s mostly propaganda, and that it won’t last.”

    “I agree,” says Kai, “The Federation has finally wised up. It’s trying to outflank us in the P.R. game, and it’s in a good position to do it because it’s got resources we don’t. They can sell the people jobs, money, relief. All we’ve got to offer is an ideology. The people can’t eat or wear that.”

    “Both of you are making good points,” Sayla concedes, “I find myself a bit suspicious of the Federation’s motives as well. For now, I suggest we just watch and see what develops. If it turns out that there’s a real change of thinking among the Federation’s leaders, it might just be time to approach them diplomatically.”

    “That might be premature,” Kai warns, “Even if the Federation is sincere, we’d still be dealing from a position of weakness.”

    “Further military activity would be taken as a provocation,” Sayla replies, “which wouldn’t be politically germane to us if the Federation gains the public perception that it is the party suing for peace.”

    The leaders of the Independent Spacenoid Republic Movement fall silent. For the moment, they have found themselves in a difficult political dilemma…one they hadn’t anticipated.

    Sayla breaks the silence by asking Linda, “Linda, did you say that the leader of this campaign is Duchess Minerva Zabi?”

    “Yes,” Linda replies ruefully, “Minerva has sold out her people, and now serves the Federation.”

    “I wouldn’t be so sure, Linda,” Sayla says, “My brother always did say that Minerva was an exceptionally intelligent young woman. Kai and I have been following her activities: she definitely has her own, separate agenda, and it’s not necessarily the same as the Federation’s.”

    Kai snorts, “Where Sayla I don’t agree is what that agenda is. Sayla thinks it’s benign. I think ‘once a Zabi, always a Zabi.’”

    If only that were true, Linda sighs internally.

    Kai continues, “I think she’s a threat to us, whether she’s sincerely helping the Federation or not. As you know, last month, she thwarted the plan to assassinate Bright Noah and Manron Blackhead…”

    “A plan,” Sayla cuts in with a reproving glare at Kai, “that wasn’t brought to me for approval. Bright is our friend, Kai, and so is Mirai. Even though we’re now on opposite sides politically, it doesn’t justify the murder of friends.”

    “My mistake,” Kai concedes, “But had it succeeded…”

    “Count your blessings it didn’t, Kai,” Sayla says, “By all rights, I should have had you prosecuted for that.”

    “But you need me,” Kai smiles slyly.

    “Unfortunately, yes,” Sayla returns the smile, but somewhat wryly, “Just like back on the White Base in the old days, eh?”

    Kai laughs, “Constantly defying orders. Getting thrown into the brig. Threatened with court martial. Same old routine after all these years.”

    Sensing that Linda is feeling a bit lost in the inside jokes about her and Kai’s shared experiences as crew members of the Federation battle carrier White Base during the One Year War, Sayla says, “Anyway, Linda, this is what we want you to do: try to work with Minerva. Ascertain that her intentions are benign and give her whatever support you can.”

    “You’re asking me to trust the Federation, Sayla?” Linda asks.

    “I’m asking you to work with Minerva,” Sayla replies, “and at the same time, watch the Federation’s moves carefully. If they’re up to anything suspicious, the people will need to know about it.”

    “Right,” Linda replies, understanding what Sayla is intimating.

    “For now,” Sayla says to Kai, “I recommend that we temporarily cease military operations on all fronts. Now that the Federation is casting itself in the role of angels, we can’t respond by looking like the terrorists they like to portray us as.”

    Kai has misgivings about that plan, but ultimately agrees to it, “Very well. All ISRLA military operations are suspended for now. It’s time to play the political game.”

    “Will you go to Earth to negotiate with the heads of the Earth Federation Government, Sayla?” Linda asks.

    Sayla shakes her head, “It’s too soon for that. For now, we’ll just watch and wait.”

    Far, far away from Side 3, in the Asteroid Belt between Earth and Mars, Colonel Ross Davenport of the Principality of Phobos Zeon rushes to meet with General Alexander Miguel, de facto ruler of the Principality.

    Davenport finds Miguel in his spacious private office, contemplating the stars over a glass of brandy.

    “It’s late for you,” Miguel remarks, “It couldn’t have waited until morning?”

    Davenport replies, “I could have, but you’ll sleep much better knowing this. On the other hand, it might get you so excited that you can’t sleep.”

    “Let’s hear it then,” Miguel replies, hating dramatic buildups.

    “ISRLA activity at Side 3 has been suspended,” Davenport says, “Rumor has it that the Federation might withdraw its garrison there.”

    Miguel’s handsome face darkens, “You call that good news, Ross?”

    Davenport is surprised that his commander is displeased, “Isn’t it? With both the Federation and the ISRLA withdrawing from Side 3, we can…”

    “Your worldview is too simple, Ross,” Miguel says, “They’re playing a game that’s one part chess, the other part poker. There might come a time when we can take advantage, but now isn’t the time just yet. At present, our attention should be concentrated on the priority of eliminating our rivals here in the Asteroid Belt.”

    “Yes, sir,” Davenport responds, disappointed by his lord’s lack of enthusiasm for the developments back at the Zeon homeland.

    “Any word on Jonah?” Miguel asks.

    Davenport shakes his head ruefully, “No, sir. I’m sorry. He could be anywhere right now.”

    Alexander Miguel sighs, “Very well. Continue searching. My brother will fulfill his duty to the family name and to the Zeon people, regardless of his foolish pacifistic beliefs.”

    “Yes, sir,” Davenport says again, leaving Miguel with his dark thoughts.

    The next day at Side 3, the Centurion Team and other troops of the Earth Federation Forces are hard at work helping Side 3’s citizens with the monumental task of restoring the space colony. No one is under the illusion that the undertaking will yield quick or easy dividends: restoring the devastated space colony to its pre-war glory and luster will take many years of hard work. Nevertheless, the sight of their home being restored after so many long years of neglect brings a much needed sense of hope to the people of Side 3. For the first time in a generation, the people of Side 3 can dare to look to the future with hope rather than fear. Already, electricity has been restored to 70% of Zum City, and Captain Athena Ibaz has promised that the city will have full electrical service restored before the week is over. Additionally, the city’s water plant has been refurbished and for the first time in twenty years, the water of Zum City is safe to drink.

    On one of the streets near the center of Zum City, Jolie is entertaining a group of children by juggling a half dozen apples.

    “The key to juggling is you have to concentrate,” Jolie tells the children, “you can’t…”

    A dog chases a cat past Jolie’s feet, creating a small updraft that lifts her short uniform skirt. Jolie drops the apples to hold down her skirt and not give the children (about half of which are preadolescent boys) a view of her panties. The apples drop onto the street as Jolie squeaks in alarm.

    The children begin to laugh in amused delight. Jolie, smiling even as she blushes in mild embarrassment, squats to pick up the apples and distribute them to the children. Unlike the rotten, worm-infested apples that had rolled onto this same street weeks earlier, these apples are fresh and wholesome. Athena has personally ensured that the food supplies transported to Side 3 from Anman and Von Braun on the moon are of good quality, not discarded leftovers.

    “Hey, Jolie!” one of the children, a boy of nine says, “When are you gonna take us to see your mobile suit?”

    “Yeah!” another child, a girl of seven, adds, “We wanna see your Gundam!”

    “Are you gonna let us ride in the Gundam, Jolie?” a third child asks.

    “I wanna drive the Gundam!” a fourth child declares loudly.

    Athena approaches, an amused smile on her face as she watches Jolie being accosted by the children, “Making promises you can’t keep, Lieutenant?”

    Jolie says, “Who says I’m not gonna keep my promise? Um, unless you’re not going to give me permission…”

    “No rides,” Athena says, “and if you’re going to be a tour guide, be a responsible one and make sure these kids are safe while you’re showing them the Centurion Gundam.”

    So saying, Athena leaves to see to her other duties.

    “She’s mean,” one of the kids pipes up, referring to Athena.

    “No,” a little girl disagrees, “Miss Athena is really nice. My grandpa was sick and she brought medicine for him yesterday.”

    “But she won’t let us ride the Gundam!” another kid interjects.

    “She’s not as cool as Jolie!” another boy adds.

    “But things have gotten way better since Miss Athena became the boss here,” yet another one of the children adds fairly, “Mommy says we might even be able to go to school soon!”

    The thought of that sobers the children. In unison, they cry, “Oh, no! School!!!”

    Jolie smiles at the children. They remind her of the kids she grew up with at Quebec Colony, not so many years ago. It’s good to see their unbridled joy. The natural resilience and optimism of children has reemerged now that their home becomes less and less a war zone each day, and more and more like a living community again.

    It’s because of Athena’s leadership, Jolie realizes, Athena said she’d change the world and make it better, and at least here, she’s getting it done.

    Jolie has found a new appreciation for Athena’s commitment, and a better understanding of why Athena is so driven and serious. Even here, in the space of just a few days, Athena has made a world of difference to the people of Side 3. Although it is just a first step, it is the most that the people of this colony have ever seen done on their behalf by the Earth Federation Government. The people might still not trust the Federation, but they do trust Athena.

    Jolie can understand. Like the people of Side 3, Jolie’s life had been devastated by war, and she had to endure years of isolation and privation. Athena’s guidance, and above all her generosity, made the difference in Jolie’s life, just as they do for the people of Side 3 now.

    Jolie doesn’t quite know how to say it to her, but Athena is the person that Jolie has come to admire most in the world. Despite her talents as a mobile suit pilot and fighter, Jolie wishes she had Athena’s intellect and sophistication…that ethereal charisma of a born leader.

    When I grow up, Jolie thinks to herself with some amusement, I wanna be just like Athena.

    The thought actually makes Jolie laugh. Although she admires Athena, Jolie understands that she and Athena are different kinds of women, and that they are effective as a team because of their contrasts…each supplementing the other’s weaknesses. It has kept both of them alive through peril after peril thus far, and maybe, just maybe it’ll be enough for them to set off the universal changes that are necessary to ensure that the future is peaceful and happy for all of humanity, on Earth and in space.

    But of course, it is a world that does not favor easy, equitable solutions, and the forces of strife and unrest would not yield easily.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  3. #203
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Episode 9 continued

    Sometime later, Athena is in her temporary office located in the old Republic of Zeon Parliament Building. Athena notes with irony that the office probably once belonged to an official that served her family back in the days of the Archduchy.

    “Captain Ibaz,” an aide comes to the door, “There’s a Linda Ackerman of the Cislunar Free Media who’s here to see you.”

    “Yes,” Athena says, “I’m expecting her. Send her in, please.”

    The aide shows Dory (Linda) in. Athena closes and locks the office door so they can speak in private.

    “Well, Dory?” Athena asks, putting a cigarette between her lips and lighting it.

    “Read up,” Dory says, handing the evening edition of the Cislunar Daily Journal to Athena.

    Athena reads the headline:


    In a surprise move, Earth Federation Special Forces lead largest relief effort in Side 3 history.


    Linda Ackerman, Editor-In-Chief

    ZUM CITY – Side 3. The citizens of Side 3 often believe that they’ve seen it all during the past three decades. What calamity have they not seen that would cause them to doubt their senses?

    That is why they could hardly be blamed for their shock when suddenly, beginning last week and with no real explanation, the Earth Federation Forces transformed themselves from brutal oppressors to friendly and helpful benefactors, providing food, medicine, clothing, work, and assorted other essential services.

    The Federal Forces have even dispatched their mobile suits to help restore the colony’s basic infrastructure, which they had previously either actively destroyed or allowed to fall into atrophy and ruin.

    The citizens of Side 3 are surprised by these developments, and not a few are delighted, but all have the same question: why?

    Why this? Why now?

    Many suspect that there is a political motive behind these sudden and drastic policy changes. In recent years, the Independent Spacenoid Republic movement has become the preeminent underground political entity at Side 3, advocating Spacenoid rights and the establishment of a new Spacenoid state at Side 3 independent of the Earth Federation Government. The Federation stands to gain from a decrease of ISR activity.

    The leader of the Federation’s new outreach to Side 3 is Captain Athena Ibaz of the Earth Federation Special Forces. Captain Ibaz, 19, who leads a unit known as the “Centurion Team,” has…

    Athena puts down the newspaper, “This will be very helpful. Thank you, Dory.”

    Dory shrugs, “Don’t thank me. It was Sayla…Dr. Daikun, who ordered me to give you all the support that I could from my position as the Editor In Chief of the CFM.”

    Athena says, “So do you still think I’m letting the people of Side 3 down? Do you still think I’m helping the Federation to oppress them?”

    “I’m still not sure about you,” Dory says frankly, “I still think your motives are a bit suspect. But there’s no denying the positive difference you and your people have been making here. As long as you keep it up, I’m prepared to support it. If you slip up, though, the CFM will report it all over the Earth Sphere. You’ll be stuck in a PR quagmire so deep you won’t be able to dig out of it with a mobile suit.”

    Athena replies, “Just be fair and accurate, Dory. That’s all I ask of you.”

    “Your Highn…Minerva,” Dory says, “I really just don’t understand. Why? If you still care about your people and your homeland, why are you serving with the Earth Federation Forces?”

    “We need the Federation’s resources,” Athena says, “the One Year War depleted Side 3, and the occupations and the two Neo Zeon Wars sent Side 3 further into the abyss.”

    “So you expect the people of Zeon to beg the Federation for help like beggars?” Dory challenges, “You’re underestimating the pride and the will of your people, Minerva. Any Zeon would rather starve than go down on bended knee to the arrogant worms who rule Earth Federation Government!”

    “That’s just the problem,” Athena says soberly, “Too much damn pride. Too much damn resentment. What has it gotten our people in the past twenty years, Dory? Has it given them security? Has it given them peace? Has it given them this sacred ‘independence’ they supposedly want so badly? You saw them as clearly as I did: they were hungry, they were frightened, they were devoid of hope. I’m determined to bring these dark days to an end for them, and I’ll do so through the power of the Federation if I have to.”

    Dory says, “I still think you’re playing with fire, Minerva. The Federation can’t be trusted. It’s proven that more than enough times.”

    At some level, Athena knows that Dory is right, but she is also keen to remind her former Royal Chambermaid, “And neither can the Zabis…or anyone who believes in their genocidal ideology.”

    Athena and Dory eye each other silently. The ideological divide between them seems unbridgeable.

    As she prepares to leave, Dory throws over her shoulder, “We’ll be watching your every move carefully. Don’t let us down.”

    Athena answers the challenge, “The people of Side 3 won’t suffer anymore. I won’t allow it.”

    Dory smirks, “You’d be in a better position to say that if you were still their Duchess.”

    Dory leaves.

    Athena sits at her desk, pulls out her handkerchief, and wipes her hands with it…the invisible blood stains of billions she can never remove.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  4. #204
    Senior Member sheraldine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c View Post
    is it just me or does it really look like the transformers?
    it does look like transformer.... i HATE transformer, but i LOVE Voltron - funny eh...

    ken, ghost while we are into this, there is this transformer movie coming out... you guys gonna watch it?

    me, i m gonna wait for voltron... hopefully i still be around.

    as for GUNDAM.... that kid is right, Athena is meanie....

  5. #205
    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    Currently in Moss, Silver. Next stop....still Moss, Silver


    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine View Post
    ken, ghost while we are into this, there is this transformer movie coming out... you guys gonna watch it?
    of course i am! been waiting for this movie to come out for months now....the trailer was great!

    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine
    me, i m gonna wait for voltron... hopefully i still be around.
    how come i dont know voltron is also coming out? and whatd o you mean by you'd still be around? what are you saying?

  6. #206
    Senior Member sheraldine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c View Post
    of course i am! been waiting for this movie to come out for months now....the trailer was great!
    well m going to give it a miss.... trailer was great, but not my taste. saw it when i went to watch pirates, now that

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c View Post
    how come i dont know voltron is also coming out? and whatd o you mean by you'd still be around? what are you saying?
    no lah dearie.... IF lah.... and "if" Voltron is coming out, dunno when.... it could be years and decades.... it certainly took two decades for transfomer to come out right? i mean they started somewhere 80's if i am not mistaken. what do you think i am saying eh?

  7. #207
    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    Currently in Moss, Silver. Next stop....still Moss, Silver


    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine View Post
    no lah dearie.... IF lah.... and "if" Voltron is coming out, dunno when.... it could be years and decades.... it certainly took two decades for transfomer to come out right? i mean they started somewhere 80's if i am not mistaken. what do you think i am saying eh?
    whewww honestly i thought you were talking bout your health

  8. #208
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine View Post
    it does look like transformer.... i HATE transformer, but i LOVE Voltron - funny eh...
    No, I totally understand. TRANSFORMERS is about living robots that shoot at each other. VOLTRON is about people who happen to operate a giant mechanical warrior. GUNDAM is about people who use giant robots as war machines during a time of war and social strife.

    ken, ghost while we are into this, there is this transformer movie coming out... you guys gonna watch it?
    On DVD, perhaps. It's not one of those movies I feel compelled to go to the cinema for.

    me, i m gonna wait for voltron... hopefully i still be around.
    It shouldn't be that much longer. I think the release target is 2009.

    as for GUNDAM.... that kid is right, Athena is meanie....
    Well, you know, Athena *is* the Duchess of an entire nation of several hundred million people. You'd be bossy too if you were in that position.

  9. #209
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Episode 9 continued...

    The following day, the Centurion Team is deployed in its mobile suits inside the Zum City colony…not to do combat with enemy mobile suits, but to replace the broken solar panels that supply the colony with both lighting and supplemental electrical power. Mobile suits designed to destroy and kill are today used to build and provide for a better way of living.

    The Centurion Gundam holds a solar panel in place, then uses its beam saber to weld the panel to the colony’s internal wall. A regular hydrosuit crew might need an hour to do the same job, but the high-powered Gundam mobile suit has completed the task in a fifth of the time.

    Elsewhere, Athena uses the Cour De Leon to repair the colony’s communications network relay located at the tip of the colony’s outer shell. The restoration of this facility will allow Zum City to easily communicate with the rest of Cislunar Space once again.

    Having completed her work, Athena transforms the Cour De Leon to Waverider configuration and returns to the inside of the Zum City colony via an access hatch.

    Athena watches Jolie put on quite a show as she deftly guides the Centurion Gundam through the repair work. On the streets of the city, the children that Jolie had entertained by juggling apples a day or two earlier gape in youthful awe and fascination as Jolie uses the Centurion Gundam to restore light and energy to their home. Even the adults cannot help but be impressed.

    Athena smiles as she lands the Cour De Leon in a nearby clearing. She is not going to chew Jolie out for showboating this time. If anything, Jolie is doing the morale of the city’s people (and not just the kids) a great amount of good by showing that Federation soldiers can have a sense of fun in them as well.

    Something else Jolie can teach me, Athena realizes.

    At 12:00, both the military personnel and civilians alike take a break for lunch.

    Athena sits on the front steps of the Zum Royal Palace, stretching her aching muscles, cramped from too many hours spent inside the cockpit of a mobile suit. The results of the recent work have been very satisfying, but also very tiring. Athena is looking forward to a nice, long soak in a hot bathtub at the end of the day’s work.

    Athena cranes her neck to look back at the magnificent edifice behind her. Some nineteen years ago, Athena’s mother Cenna gave birth to her within the majestic palace. Athena has no memories of living inside the palace as an infant, however. Mere weeks after her birth, the infant Athena, her mother, their staff of domestic servants, and the Zeon military leaders left to protect them at all costs were forced to flee Side 3 for the Asteroid Belt as the Earth Federation Forces defeated the Army of the Archduchy of Zeon at Side 3. Athena then spent the next seven years of her life at Axis Fortress in the Asteroid Belt before returning to Cislunar Space at the age of eight in U.C. 0087, when Lady Haman Khan led the Axis Zeon Forces into the First Neo Zeon War. During that conflict, Athena had spent some time living within the palace and learned to hate its large, cavernous halls and the portraits of her grandfather, uncles, and aunt staring down severely upon her. No one had told Athena then that her family had committed unspeakable atrocities against all of humanity. Her circle of handlers and the military leaders who served her had always praised the Zabis as enlightened leaders…almost saints. It was only after Colonel Char took her out of circle of influence of those sycophants that Athena discovered the horrible truth about her heritage, saddling with her with a crushing sense of guilt too much for any individual to bear.

    The Royal Palace of the Archduchy of Zeon in Zum City, as it looked in U.C. 0079. From here, the Zabis ruled the Archduchy of Zeon with an iron fist for ten years. It was also in this building that Minerva Zabi (Athena Ibaz) was born in U.C. 0079

    Athena sighs, attempting to push aside those terrible memories. The long shadow of her family’s name and legacy has continued to haunt her, as hard as she has tried to bury their ghosts and disown her heritage.

    Athena spots Jolie rushing up the steps carrying two plastic boxes of food. For the duration of the operation, the Special Forces have been eating the same kinds of meals being given to the civilians of Side 3.

    “Hey,” Jolie says, handling Athena one of the boxes, “Hope you like fish. I got you grilled tilapia with mashed potatoes.”

    Athena, who actually does prefer fish over red meat, smiles and takes the box from Jolie, “Thanks. I love fish. This is good.”

    Jolie sits down next to Athena on the steps of the entrance of the palace and opens her own lunch box…creamed chicken on rice. Sitting side by side on the steps with their matching Federal Forces uniforms, Athena and Jolie resemble a pair of high school girls more than two Special Forces officers.

    “This stuff isn’t bad for processed rations,” Jolie says, taking a bite of her lunch with the included plastic fork.

    “I made sure that the people here got some decent food,” Athena says, taking a bite from her own lunch, “They’ve been living off stale, molded, unsanitary food for much too long. They’re human beings: they deserve better than that.”

    “You’ve done a lot of good for them, ‘Thena,” Jolie says, chewing, “I think you ought to be proud of what you’ve done here.”

    “Too much pride isn’t a good thing,” Athena observes, as she fiddles with her food, “Of all of humanity’s flaws, pride is probably the most dangerous of them all.”

    Athena then adds, “By the way, good work this morning on the solar panel replacement work. Not only did you get the job done very efficiently, but you gave the people here a good show as well. I was impressed too.”

    Jolie grins. Her best friend and commanding officer doesn’t dish out direct praise very often, so when she does, it’s something to be savored, “Well, I did promise the kids I’d put on a show for them with the Centurion Gundam.”

    As if on cue, the children run by the two Centurion Team officers, playing a game of tag. The kids wave to Athena and Jolie as they run by, and the two pretty officers smile and wave back at the children.

    “I really hope I can have kids of my own someday,” Jolie sighs wistfully, “I’d love to be a mom and have a whole bunch of kids.”

    Jolie Minh, aged sixteen. Jolie's goals don't reach as far as her friend Athena's. Jolie has no long-term objective more ambitious than falling in love, getting married, and settling down to have children someday. Jolie willingly supports Athena's crusade, however, because she understands that a peaceful and stable world must be achieved before her dreams, simple and modest as they are, can come true.

    Athena smiles and says nothing.

    “What about you?” Jolie asks, “Ever think about having kids of your own someday?”

    Athena replies, “Maybe someday…when the wars are finally over. Of course, even if I can really succeed in making that happen, I’ll probably be too old to have children by then.”

    “You’re only nineteen, ‘Thena,” Jolie points out.

    “I feel much older than that, though,” Athena says.

    The two friends continue eating their lunches in silence for a few minutes, until a transport flatbed passes by bearing a large Christmas tree…a real, organic Christmas tree, at least ten meters tall.

    “Wow!” Jolie says, “Look at that!”

    The tree is to be erected on the former Mall of the Archduchy in front of the palace. Delighted Side 3 citizens, young and old alike, run to the spot where the Christmas tree is to be erected. Nothing like this has been seen in Zum City in at least twenty years.

    “Cool!” Jolie enthuses.

    Athena smiles, “I arranged to have that tree brought here from the hydroponics forest at Side 6.”

    “You arranged it?” Jolie says, amazed, “But how did…?”

    “Paid for it out of my own paycheck,” Athena says, “The Treasury Department certainly wasn’t going to give me the budget for something like this. It cost me an entire month’s pay, but what the hell. It’s not like I’m going to spend it on food and clothing,” Athena indicates her plastic boxed meal and her Federal Forces uniform.

    Jolie looks at Athena with warm admiration, “’Thena, you are so sweet sometimes.”

    Athena smiles and blushes at Jolie’s praise, “These people deserve to have some happiness in their lives. They’ve suffered enough. I’m just doing what I can for them. It’s not enough, though.”

    “They’ll have a happier holiday this year, at least,” Jolie observes.

    “Well, I hope so, anyway,” Athena says, knowing how the situation could turn for the worse very swiftly.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  10. #210
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    Sep 2002


    Episode 9 continued...

    After lunch, Athena receives word that Colonel Cairlay has arrived from Garrison Noah. His arrival is not unexpected. Athena has known that the colonel would be coming to check on the progress she is making at Side 3.

    “We have electricity, water, and communications running at full capacity in Zum City, sir,” Athena reports to Colonel Cairlay, “and we’ll be continuing our work in Side 3’s other colonies beginning tomorrow. It’ll probably be at least seven to eight months before we can have all of Side 3’s colonies functional again.”

    “You’ve done well,” Cairlay says, “ISRLA activity has dwindled to almost nothing during the past week. That was, after all, our goal.”

    Colonel Cairlay spots the Christmas tree being erected in the central mall, “Hmmm. That Christmas tree…?”

    Athena cannot help a small smile, “I had that brought in, sir. It’s good for the morale of the civilians and the troops here alike.”

    “Indeed,” the colonel notices, “but did the Treasury Department…?”

    Athena explains, “I didn’t go through Treasury, sir. I paid for it out of my own pocket.”

    Colonel Cairlay lets out an amused laugh, “Ah, Athena…a unique solution as always.”

    Cairlay lights a cigar, then tells Athena, “Keep up the good work, Captain. I’ll be taking up a temporary office here as of today.”

    Athena is not thrilled by that idea, but she can work around it. There is something she is curious about, however, “Colonel, I’d like to know: why haven’t we had more input from General Noah on this operation?”

    Cairlay takes a deep puff from his cigar, and exhales before he replies, “General Noah has been assigned to observe the Neo Zeon civil war that’s escalating out in the Asteroid Belt. He’s expected to be out there at least a month. General Blackhead is in charge of this theater of operations.”

    “Yes, sir,” Athena replies, fearing as much. Unlike the more fair-minded General Noah, General Blackhead is known as a fierce anti-Spacenoid Earthist. Athena realizes that her “soft” approach to Side 3 likely doesn’t thrill Blackhead.

    Nevertheless, Athena is confident that she can see the restoration of Side 3 to fruition. It would go a long way to assuaging the guilt that has eaten away at her for an entire decade.

    Late during the evening of that same day, an Earth Federation supply convoy approaches Zum City from Side 1. The convoy is carrying vital goods…food, medicine, and materials for the colony’s refurbishment. Among the cargo are a human heart for transplant to a needy patient at Side 3 who will die without it and a badly needed shipment of salt. Hence, it is under escort by a mobile suits squadron.

    “Convoy 71A requesting permission to dock with Zum City spaceport,” comes the transmission from the convoy’s lead ship.

    “Roger, 71A,” returns a tech from the control tower, “Access granted at Berth 29-43.”

    “Roger, Zum ‘Port,” comes the reply.

    Three shots fired. Three mobile suits annihilated.

    Panic. Fire. Smoke. Terror.


    Three more shots fired, three supply ships destroyed.

    Blood. Sparks. Twisted metal. Burnt bodies.

    Three more shots fired. A chain reaction of explosions annihilates the remaining mobile suits and ships, destroying a total of twenty-four assorted targets.

    Death. Ruin. Hopes dashed.

    From his black Sazabi MK-II, Colonel Braniff Oskar watches it silently and coldly.

    The Sazabi reholsters its beam rifle and vectors away, its presence undetected. Before leaving, however, the Sazabi discards the shells of its beam rifle where they will be conveniently found by the Federal Forces.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  11. #211
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Episode 9 continued...

    Within an hour, the Centurion Team is at the site of the attack, sifting through the wreckage, recovering the bodies of the dead along with whatever cargo can be salvaged (which is very little, and does not include a human heart) from the destroyed convoy ships.

    “Who did this?” Jolie demands angrily from the cockpit of the Centurion Gundam, “Who?!”

    Cpl. Anna Horowitz locates three discarded beam rifle energy cartridges, “This is a model NZ2-SZ beam rifle cartridge. These are installed into the magazines of the beam rifles of Sazabi model mobile suits.”

    “The Neo Zeon?” Jolie speculates.

    “More likely ISRLA,” Athena concludes. Something about that doesn’t quite add up, however.

    “Let’s get those terrorist bastards!” Jolie says.

    “Not yet,” Athena cautions, “We don’t know for sure yet. Right now, our priority is to secure Zum City and the rest of Side 3. Also, the people of the colony are not going to be happy when they find out that we lost a supply convoy.”

    Jolie pounds her gloved fist on the control console of the Centurion Gundam in frustration. Those ISRLA terrorists must be heartless to deny the people of Side 3 those vital supplies they need.

    “I thought the ISRLA wanted to help the people of Side 3 and all Spacenoids,” Jolie says, “How could they have done something like this?”

    “That’s a good question,” Athena says quietly, “it doesn’t make sense.”

    Athena, Jolie, and the rest of the Centurions continue their search. After a few hours, Athena concludes that there is no more information of value they can find and orders the Centurions to return to Zum City.

    Athena scarcely returns to the city after docking her Cour De Leon at the spacedock before she is approached by a crowd of nervous civilians.

    “Captain Ibaz,” says one of the civilians, a Mr. Nemani, “We heard the supply convoy was attacked.”

    “Will we still be getting our supplies?” a Mrs. McIntire asks, “My husband needs his medication.”

    “We’re running short on infant formula,” another woman says.

    Athena calms the audience with a simple gesture for silence, then proceeds, “Thank you. Yes, the information you have probably been hearing is accurate. The supply convoy was attacked and much of its cargo destroyed. My unit salvaged what little is usable, but unfortunately, it isn’t much.”

    There is a collective gasp among the crowd, and a few mumblings of discontentment.

    One young man asks, “Do you know who carried out the attack, Captain?”

    Athena replies, “The initial evidence suggests it might be the ISRLA.”

    “But the ISRLA wouldn’t do that,” another youth protests, “They’ve always been supporters of us Spacenoids, especially here at Side 3!”

    Athena concedes, “It’s as perplexing to us as it is to you.”

    There is great anxiety among the crowd. Sensing this, Athena tells the people, “Rest assured that we will find and stop the perpetrators. The Special Forces will not allow terrorists to threaten the people of Side 3.”

    The tension dispels, for the moment. Athena has temporarily calmed the anxieties of the citizens of Zum City, but she knows that calm will not prevail for long unless the threat is eliminated.

    The following day, work crews in hydrosuits and mobile suits are repairing the outer structure of Zum City and other Side 3 colonies.

    A single blast of a beam rifle, seemingly from nowhere, eliminates a work crew of a half dozen hydrosuits.

    Another blast scarcely six minutes later destroys a mobile suit on patrol.

    As the terrified work crews withdraw into Zum City, a final blast severely damages the city’s spacedock, narrowly missing the Centurion Team’s docked mobile suits.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  12. #212
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Episode 9 continued...

    That evening’s edition of the Cislunar Daily Journal is headlined with this article…


    Citizens Ask: Why Aren't The Federal Forces Protecting Us From The Terrorists?


    Linda Ackerman


    ZUM CITY - Side 3. The Earth Federation Government's new Side 3 policy has encountered a difficult new obstacle, leading many citizens of Zum City to question the Federation's commitment and effectiveness in managing Side 3's affairs.

    Late yesterday afternoon, a supply convoy bearing vital supplies to Zum City from Side 1 was assaulted by an unidentified mobile suit. The mobile suit's origins have not been ascertained, although Federal Forces authorities believe it to possibly be of ISRLA origin.

    Many Zum City citizens disagree with this assessment, however, citing that the ISRLA has long been a benign force at Side 3.

    The Federal Forces' failure to respond to the initial attack resulted in the loss of vital supplies, including a heart from a hospital at Side 1 that a patient in Zum City was urgently waiting to receive. That patient is now in critical condition pending the location and arrival of another suitable heart.

    This morning, a second attack occurred against work crews restoring the external structure of Side 3.

    Colonel Peter Cairlay and Captain Athena Ibaz of the Earth Federation Special Forces will hold a press conference later today concerning these developments.

    The press conference is held at 13:00 at a podium placed at the front of Zum Royal Palace, at almost precisely the same spot where Prince Giren Zabi gave his infamous manifesto speech during the funeral of his youngest brother, Prince Garma Zabi, during the One Year War.

    Colonel Cairlay takes the podium. The crowd is not receptive towards the tall, gaunt, sinister-looking Federal Forces senior officer. There is distrust and anger in the eyes of the people as they face Cairlay and await what he has to say. Seated behind the podium is Captain Athena Ibaz, who looks impassively at the crowd as the colonel prepares to make his remarks.

    Cairlay clears his throat, “Ladies and gentlemen of Side 3. Good afternoon. As you all certainly know by now, ISRLA terrorists launched a cowardly attack on the convoy bringing you supplies from Side 1. This affront to the Federation will not go unpunished!”

    Behind Cairlay, Athena rubs her eyes and shakes her head, He’s doing this all wrong, Athena fumes silently, This is going to turn into a disaster. Just wait.

    The crowd is getting restless. Cairlay is saying nothing that they are interested in hearing. He seems more intent on promoting the Federation than helping and protecting them.

    A young man in the crowd points to Cairlay and shouts, “So who are you gonna punish, old man, the terrorists or us?!”

    “Yeah!” another youth adds, “You weren’t much good a protecting us yesterday, or for the past twenty years!”

    “We’re in this mess because of you feddies!” another citizen says angrily.

    The angry mob begins to pelt Cairlay with whatever objects they have at hand. Athena rises from her seat and puts herself in front of the colonel as he slinks away from the stage.

    At the sight of Athena, the crowd calms down somewhat, at least enough to stop hurling projectiles. They have no respect for the Federation or for Cairlay, but they still respect Athena. She and the Centurions are the only ones who have genuinely treated them well and have been honest to them.

    Realizing the futility of having Colonel Cairlay attempt to continue his speech, and knowing that if Cairlay takes the podium again, the mob is likely to rush the man and physically tear into him, Athena escorts the colonel back to the Parliament Building as a platoon of Federal Forces military police restrain the restless mob.

    After they reach Colonel Cairlay’s spacious office (formerly belonging to Prime Minister Zeon Daikun himself) in the Parliament Building, the colonel fumes, “Those Zeon dogs! How dare they treat an officer of the Earth Federation Forces with such impudence! They don’t deserve our protection or assistance; they deserve to be imprisoned like the animals like they are!”

    Suppressing her own anger at the colonel with all her willpower, Athena says, “Emotions are raw here, sir. These people have been devastated by two decades of war. They’ve learned to not trust power so easily...especially not the Federation’s power.”

    “They’re animals!” Cairlay reiterates angrily, “I fail to see why you continue believe that they can be reasoned with, Captain Ibaz!”

    “The Federation hasn’t even tried to reason with them during the past twenty years, Colonel,” Athena says evenly, “but if we don’t start, Zum City will just be the detonating fuse for a much larger powder keg. Especially with the Neo Zeon civil war intensifying in the Asteroid Belt, we can ill afford a full-scale insurrection by the space colonies.”

    Still steaming, but unable to fault Athena’s logic, Cairlay says, “I’m prepared to let you continue to play this out your way, Athena, at least for now. But bear in mind that General Blackhead has made it very clear that we’re prepared to respond more aggressively if that’s what’s necessary.”

    “But, sir…” Athena begins.

    “Also,” Cairlay adds, cutting Athena off, “I’ve been reading that local rag…Cislunar Daily Journal. I want you to shut that paper down, Captain.”

    “Colonel,” Athena says, “with all due respect, sir, I don’t think that’s advisable.”

    “And why not, Captain?” Cairlay asks pointedly, losing his patience with Athena’s resistance to pursuing more aggressive approaches to the problem.

    Athena says, “The Cislunar Free Media is Side 3’s only access to what its people consider information that is not filtered through the Federation’s propaganda…”

    “…which is why it must be shut down!” Cairlay insists.

    “Doing so will further set the space colonies against the Federation,” Athena adds reasonably, but futilely. It's like trying to reason with a mule.

    Ignoring Athena’s protestations, Cairlay tells the Centurion Team Leader, “I want the CFM shut down, Captain. Do you understand? You have twenty-four hours to have it done your way. If I see or hear any more anti-Federation propaganda, I will be forced to use more aggressive measures.”

    “Yes, sir,” Athena replies, feeling as if a vise is tightening around her skull.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  13. #213
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Episode 9 continued...

    Two hours later, Linda Ackerman (Dory Ischinda) returns to the offices/printing facility/broadcasting center of the Cislunar Free Media located in downtown Zum City. The CFM headquarters is a multi-building compound including an office tower, a broadcasting station, a printing facility, a computer center, and assorted other facilities. Security around the compound is as heavy as it can be without the use of larger hardware such as mobile sits.

    “Ms. Ackerman,” Dory’s personal secretary, Miss Olivia, tells her employer, “Captain Athena Ibaz of the Earth Federation Forces is here to see you. She’s waiting for you in her office.”

    Dory sighs, thanking her secretary. She has a pretty good idea what Athena has come for.

    Dory enters her office to see Athena seated in Dory’s chair.

    “I know why you’re here,” Dory says challengingly to Athena, “and you can forget it. We aren’t going to alter our work in any way. There’s such a thing as ‘integrity’ in our line of work, Captain Ibaz…although I doubt you’d ever understand it.”

    “Dory,” Athena says calmly, “My superiors are calling for more aggressive action against the CFM…”

    “Your ‘superiors'?!” Dory sputters in anger, “Damn it, Minerva, how can you even bring yourself to say something like that? You’re the leader of the people of Zeon! It’s an insult to all of them and to yourself to refer to those Feddies as ‘superiors.’”

    “Look,” Athena says seriously, “I’m not here to argue with you. I’m here to warn you: be more discreet about your business or terrible things could happen.”

    “Is that a threat?” Dory asks keenly.

    “Think of it as a grave precaution,” Athena says, rising from Dory’s seat, “If you choose to continue what you’re doing, I can’t promise that I’ll be able to protect you.”

    “Save your ‘protection,’ Minerva,” Dory says contemptuously, “We don’t need it. We’re not afraid. We’re not cowards, unlike some others.”

    Athena, not letting Dory’s words nettle her, implores her childhood caretaker and friend one last time, “Dory, please…for your own sake.”

    Dory says firmly, “No, and that’s final. If the Federation sends in its thug army, we’ll be ready to deal with them. See yourself out, Captain, I’m very busy. The people of Side 3 are anxiously awaiting the truth.”

    Athena sighs, leaving Dory to compose her latest tirade against the Federation. Athena worries that before long, the death of another friend will be on her hands.

    Later that evening, Athena returns to the temporary barracks of the Centurion Team, located in military facility once occupied by the Royal Academy of the Archduchy of Zeon, where thousands upon thousands of young men and women once trained for service in the Army of the Archduchy of Zeon.

    Jolie is sitting on her bed, reading the late edition of the Cislunar Daily Journal and looking livid.

    “Hey, ‘Thena!” Jolie says, “Come here! Look at this crap they’re writing at the CFM!”

    Athena reads the op-ed section of the newspaper that Jolie hands her.



    Linda Ackerman, Editor In Chief

    When Colonel Peter Cairlay of the Earth Federation Special Forces delivered his rather unapologetic speech today concerning the Federal Forces' failure to prevent two recent terrorist attacks, the most striking feature of his uniform was the yellow stripe that ran down the front of his uniform jacket.

    It probably would have been more fitting, however, if that stripe had run down the back of the colonel's uniform.

    The Federation has always placed great stock in symbols. Just look at its flag and its crest.

    A yellow stripe down the center of their soldiers' backs would be the most fitting symbol of all.

    The Earth Federation Forces are not an army. Armies fight other armies.

    The Federal Forces, however, bully and starve old women and children. These aren't soldiers, they're thugs.

    Colonel Cairlay boldly (read: "pompously") vowed today that the Federation would "punish the terrorists."

    Which, decoded into human language, means that the Federation will deflect its own incompetence and cowardliness by unleashing its aggression on the defenseless citizens of Side 3...

    Angrily, but quietly, a tightlipped Athena rips the newspaper into halves, then quarters, then eighths. She rolls the remains into a ball and tosses it into a nearby wastebasket.

    Jolie bunches her hands into fists, “Let’s go talk to those people at the CFM and tell them to stop making up this bulls*it!”

    “I already have,” Athena says calmly.

    “Well…?!” Jolie demands.

    “Well, they just don’t see things the Federation’s way,” Athena replies.

    Jolie begins to storm out of the room.

    “Where do you think you’re going?” Athena asks.

    Jolie replies, “I’m gonna go tell those CFM jerks off!”

    Athena turns, wagging a finger at Jolie, “You’ll do no such thing. I want you to stay out of this. I’m going to handle it my way. You will not take any action on this matter without direct orders, do you understand?”

    Jolie clearly doesn’t like the idea, but relents, sitting back down

    Athena demands more sternly, “Lt. Minh, do you understand?”

    Jolie replies quietly, “Yes, ma’am.”

    “Don’t you forget it,” Athena finishes, dead serious.

    Athena leaves the room to give her attention to other business. As she leaves, Jolie sticks her tongue out and makes a face at Athena’s back.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  14. #214
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002


    Episode 9 continued...

    At the same time, Colonel Cairlay is in the midst of a videoconference with General Blackhead, who is back at Garrison Noah at Side 7.

    “Captain Ibaz doesn’t appear to be very supportive of a more aggressive approach,” Cairlay tells his commanding officer, “She objected when I ordered her to shut down the CFM. I’ve given her twenty-four hours to comply, but she’s taken no action yet, which you know as well as I do isn’t like her. Normally, she fulfills our orders almost before we give them. This time, she’s deliberately dragging her feet. I can’t understand why she’s being so protective of those damned Zeke sympathizers.”

    Blackhead, chomping on a large cigar whose smoke obscures his features on the video screen, replies, “I hated the plan from the start. Total waste of time and resources and shows the Federation is weak. Now, the ISR is capitalizing on it, just like I thought they would.”

    Blackhead puts down his cigar, then tells the Director of the Special Forces, “Listen, Cairlay. We can’t wait for Ibaz to act. I want you to go around her and order Lt. Minh to take action directly.”

    “Sir?” Cairlay says doubtfully. Going around Athena to directly order Jolie to move against the CFM is a dubious breach of military protocol.

    “We can’t afford to stand on ceremony,” Blackhead says, “We have to send a strong message that the Federation won’t tolerate dissent. Give those orders to Lt. Minh immediately, Colonel.”

    Cairlay salutes, “Yes, sir.”

    An hour later, Athena is at the central energy station of Zum City. During the past week, she has been working closely with Frank Duchov, the plant foreman and chief decision-maker of the energy station, in the restoration and repair of Zum City’s energy grid.

    Despite having grown up at Side 3 during the era of the Contolist Revolution and the One Year War, Frank Duchov has never been much of a political man. He’s strictly a pragmatist, and is perfectly willing to support whichever alignment best favors his personal needs. Athena’s project has given Duchov a job again after many years of unemployed drifting, so he’s more than willing to accommodate her request for an extraordinary favor.

    “Yeah, I can cut all power to the CFM compound,” Duchov tells Athena in his office at the plant, “They might have their own generators, though.”

    “Not anymore,” Athena says, “Our intelligence operatives went into their compound and confiscated their generators two days ago.”

    “In that case,” Duchov says, “just say ‘when’ and I can make them blind, deaf, and mute with the flip of a few switches.”

    “Not until I order it,” Athena says, “That order will come down sometime in the next twenty-four hours. Wait for it.”

    “It’s your call, Captain,” Duchov grins, “I owe you for helping me have a job again, so whatever it is you want, I’ll do it for you.”

    Athena nods. This should be enough to satisfy Colonel Cairlay’s order for “action” without harming Dory or her CFM colleagues.

    At the same time that Athena is meeting with Frank Duchov, Colonel Cairlay arrives at the Centurion Team’s temporary barracks. He sees Jolie sitting alone in the barracks’ canteen, unaccompanied by Athena or any other Special Forces troops. Perfect.

    “Lt. Minh,” Cairlay says, putting on his friendliest smile.

    “Colonel Cairlay,” Jolie blinks, surprised. She has never liked the colonel, whom she likes to call “Colonel Creepy” behind his back. Nevertheless, Jolie has endured enough lectures on proper military protocol from Athena to know what she must do next.

    Jolie rises and salutes, “Sir!”

    Cairlay returns the salute, “At ease, Lieutenant. Where’s Captain Ibaz?”

    Jolie replies, “Captain Ibaz is away from the base on official business, sir…at the central energy station, she said.”

    “I see,” Cairlay replies, “That’s good. Lieutenant, I have special orders for you.”

    Jolie blinks some more, “Special orders? For me? Um…”

    “Yes,” Cairlay says, “but these orders are to be carried out in the strictest secrecy. Even Captain Ibaz must not know about it, not until we’re ready.”

    Jolie doesn’t like it, but Athena always has told her that there would be times when the Special Forces would be asked to take on covert operations.

    “Yes, sir,” Jolie tells the Colonel.

    “Good,” Cairlay replies, “Your orders, Lt. Minh, are to use a Rick Dias MK-II mobile suit that we have prepared for you to destroy the CFM compound in downtown Zum City.”

    Jolie can’t believe what she’s hearing, “Uh…”

    “Is there a problem, Lieutenant?” Cairlay asks menacingly.

    Jolie replies, “I kind of want to know why I’m gonna be attacking it. It’s just some lousy media company, isn’t it? Why do I need to destroy its buildings? And why can’t I use the Centurion Gundam?”

    Cairlay replies gravely, “Jolie, we’ve learned that the CFM is a front for an ISRLA base. Inside that compound are weapons that the ISRLA plans to use to kill all the people in this space colony.”

    “No!” Jolie exclaims, horror filling her large, beautiful eyes.

    “Yes,” Cairlay lies, “The ISRLA are terrorists. They have no regard for human life in their means of achieving their political goals. Our intelligence units have uncovered that they have a supply of G3 toxic gas stored at the CFM compound and plan to unleash it tomorrow against the people of Zum City.”

    Ohmigod, the kids! Jolie thinks, picturing those children whom she has grown fond of dying horribly as the extremely toxic G3 gas destroys their flesh from within.

    “It would be horrible, Jolie,” Cairlay says, full of false pathos, “You must help us prevent it!”

    “Well, of course I will,” Jolie says, “but why can’t I use the Centurion Gundam?”

    Cairlay replies, “Because of your and Athena’s efforts, the people of Zum City and Side 3 at large have gained a positive view of the Special Forces in recent days. We don’t want to tarnish that. But the people in this space colony are very fickle when it comes to heroes. For example, although the CFM harbors and supports terrorists and traitors, the people of Side 3 hold them in very high regard for some reason.”

    “Well, their ‘heroes’ are gonna backstab them,” Jolie says wryly.

    “You must not allow it to happen,” Cairlay says, “The people of Side 3 are depending on you, Lieutenant.”

    “Yes, sir,” Jolie replies.

    “Good,” Cairlay smiles, “And remember, Lieutenant: not a word about this to Captain Ibaz or anyone else until the operation is over, understand?”

    “Yes, sir,” Jolie repeats.

    Jolie isn’t exactly sure what she’s gotten herself into, but she knows she’s already neck-deep in it. She prays that she can carry out her duty successfully, however, to spare the people of Zum City a horrible death.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  15. #215
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Episode 9 continued...

    Forty minutes later, Athena returns to the barracks. She needs to talk things over with Jolie…let her executive officer and most trusted friend know about her plan for shutting down the CFM without bloodshed.

    “Jolie?” Athena calls, looking around the barracks, “Jolie, where are you?”

    Athena tries Jolie’s frequency on the military comlink. Jolie doesn’t respond.

    Damn! Athena thinks, Where the hell is she?

    Cpl. Anna Horowitz enters. Athena asks her, “Anna, have you seen Jolie?”

    Anna replies, “She left with Colonel Cairlay somewhere around half an hour ago.”

    “With Colonel Cairlay?” Athena says, for once at a loss for an explanation, “To where? For what?”

    “Sorry, ma’am,” Anna says, “Neither the colonel nor the lieutenant said anything to me on the way out. I just saw them leave.”

    Red flags go up in Athena’s head. She doesn’t like this development at all.

    Late that night, the silence of Zum City’s devastated downtown region is broken by the hydraulic sound of a mobile suit landing on the street outside the headquarters compound of the Cislunar Free Media. Even with sound suppressors attached, the Rick Dias MK-II creates one hell of a racket.

    Aboard the RICK DIAS MK-II, 2Lt. Jolie Minh uses the mobile suit’s heat and motion detectors to scan the property. Five people are present on the compound, even at this late hour.

    Have to get them out of the way first, Jolie thinks.

    Jolie presses the trigger for the Vulcan cannon mounted on the Rick Dias MK-II’s head. Hundreds of machine gun rounds rake the grounds of the CFM compound, creating plenty of noise…precisely Jolie’s objective. Creating fear, not death, is her goal at the moment.

    As expected, personnel from inside the CFM compound run scrambling out of the buildings. Jolie notices that Linda Ackerman, the Editor-In-Chief of the Cislunar Daily Journal, isn’t among them. Too bad. Jolie wishes Linda were there so she could scare the crap out of her with some well-placed Vulcan cannon rounds.

    Jolie notices two of the five figures pausing and pointing something at her mobile suit.

    Whoa, Jolie realizes, These guys are packing some serious hardware!

    The two men facing Jolie’s Rick Dias MK-II point shoulder-mounted anti-MS bazooka cannon at the Earth Federation Forces mobile suit.

    Generally, anti-MS weaponry designed to be held by human hands are considered laughably ineffective against mobile suits in actual combat situations. Nevertheless, if the users get off a lucky shot, they can still do some serious damage.

    The two men fire anti-MS rockets at the Rick Dias MK-II.

    Jolie considers her options in an instant. She can raise the Rick Dias MK-II’s arm mounted shield to block the incoming missiles, but at this range, the shrapnel and shockwave from the explosion would likely kill the men who fired the missiles.

    Jolie is not here to kill anyone. She chooses to dodge the missiles.

    Jolie directs the Rick Dias MK-II into a deft dodge of the two missiles. At such a range, most other mobile suit pilots would not have been able to execute such a dodge. 2Lt. Jolie Minh, however, is not “most other mobile suit pilots.”

    The missiles fly past the Rick Dias MK-II to hit the space colony’s interior wall several thousand meters across the internal space of the cylinder-spaced colony, creating an explosion at a fortunately unpopulated sector of the colony.

    Ouch! Jolie reflects, glad that no one was hurt by that shot, but concerned about the ongoing risk.

    Need to end this fast! Jolie resolves.

    Jolie strafes the area with the Rick Dias MK-II’s Vulcan cannon again. The two CSM security men are forced to drop their weapons and flee.

    Satisfied, Jolie turns her attention to the compound itself.

    Colonel Cairlay told Jolie that intelligence discovered the ISRLA’s G3 gas canisters at many different locations on the CFM compound. Therefore, she had to destroy the entire facility to ensure the canisters' destruction. Furthermore, to make sure that there is no accidental leakage of deadly G3 gas into the colony, Jolie will need to use the Rick Dias MK-II’s supply of plasma bombs to ensure complete destruction.

    Jolie goes to work. Darting among the buildings of the CFM compound with the Rick Dias MK-II, Jolie plants a plasma bomb on the exterior wall of each building…the broadcast tower, the print factory, the computer center, and the main office building.

    Jolie targets each of the bombs with the Rick Dias MK-II’s beam rifle. She fires five shots.

    The CFM compound goes up in flames, the conflagration can be seen throughout Zum City. Emergency water and smoke ventilation measures, recently restored to full operation, come to life to put out the flame before it engulfs the entire colony.

    Conscious of and warned about that danger, Jolie also turns the Rick Dias MK-II’s fire extinguisher nozzle upon the flames, which should have already done their job of taking out the gas canisters. Noting that the Rick Dias MK-II’s atmospheric sensors pick up nothing unusual in the atmosphere of the colony (other than the smoke from the burning of the compound), Jolie takes some satisfaction in having completed her assignment.

    Jolie contacts Colonel Cairlay on the special frequency he told her about prior to dispatching her, “This is Lieutenant Minh to Colonel Cairlay. Mission accomplished, sir.”

    “Excellent,” Cairlay says, sounding pleased, “Return the Rick Dias MK-II to base immediately, Lieutenant. You may return to your quarters after that.”

    “Yes, sir,” Jolie replies, vectoring the Rick Dias MK-II for the spacedock.

    Athena has returned to the central energy station, knowing that Frank Duchov is working the overnight shift this evening. She has decided to speed up her timetable on the plan to cut power to the CFM compound.

    “Frank,” Athena says, so hurried that she doesn’t even bother to knock on the door of the man’s office, “We’ve got an emergency. I want you to cut power to the CF…”

    Duchov is not paying attention. The man is rapt at the breaking news coming through his television, “…was apparently attacked by a Federal Forces Rick Dias MK-II mobile suit. The entire facility is severely damaged, and much of the CFM’s valuable equipment has been destroyed. Federal Forces authorities…”

    Noticing Athena’s presence for the first time, Duchov shrugs and tells Athena, “Guess we’re not going to be cutting power to the CFM compound after all, eh Captain?”

    Now it’s Athena’s turn to be rapt by the horrific images on the television screen. A security camera on a nearby building had caught the attack on tape. Athena watches as the Rick Dias MK-II on the screen easily dodges a pair of missiles fired at it from handheld rocket launchers.

    Only one pilot in the Earth Federation Forces has reflexes so quick that she can avoid a shot at that close a range, in so limited a space.

    “Who’d have thought it’d come to this,” Duchov said, “Did the ISRLA really have poison gas canisters in those buildings, Captain? Captain Ibaz?”

    Athena has already left; she departed before Colonel Cairlay came on the screen to tell the media about the discovery of G3 toxin tanks at the now destroyed CFM compound.

    Episode 9 to be continued...

  16. #216
    Senior Member sheraldine's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    STILL malaysia - CHEH!!


    yeah... i wasnt online always.... laziness.... but with this laziness, i got to read several chapters at one go....

    i got good news for you... i dont like dory.... but i love the way dory against athena despite the circumstances, vice versa... i am one of those female pervert so dont you go yakking athena this and thena that at me later, ken! you know i feel like when time for her to b***h, thena sorely dissappointed. when there is no need for her to be bossy and yakking, she simply went overboard

    As she leaves, Jolie sticks her tongue out and makes a face at Athena’s back.

    aiyah.... do it face to face lah... where is the fun from behind lah...

    but come on, all these politics are boring, we have them everyday and in real life - get on to it ken! .... like what arwen told his father the lord elrond, it is time..... but that happened in the movie, never in the book

  17. #217
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine View Post
    i got good news for you... i dont like dory.... but i love the way dory against athena despite the circumstances, vice versa... i am one of those female pervert so dont you go yakking athena this and thena that at me later, ken!
    Heh, Dory is supposed to be a somewhat annoying character...unless one happens to be a fan of characters who are political zealots.

    Dory wants to see Athena go back to being Duchess Minerva of Zeon again, which is the last thing Athena wants. It's just one of the pressures I'm mounting against Athena driving her towards a nervous breakdown. Honestly, if you were in her position, wouldn't you have had a nervous breakdown by now?

    you know i feel like when time for her to b***h, thena sorely dissappointed. when there is no need for her to be bossy and yakking, she simply went overboard
    That's Athena. Taking command is very much a part of her character. Jolie calls her a "mother hen" sometimes.

    As she leaves, Jolie sticks her tongue out and makes a face at Athena’s back.

    aiyah.... do it face to face lah... where is the fun from behind lah...
    Because it's too soon for Athena and Jolie to get it on physically (uh, no...not in that sense. They're not lesbians).

    but come on, all these politics are boring, we have them everyday and in real life -
    Yeah, but this is way more fun than George Bush/Hillary Clinton/Barrack Obama politics.

    The politics set up much of the interpersonal drama. It's a necessary evil, I suppose, of the story I'm telling.

    Besides, it can't be sex and romance *every* episode.

    get on to it ken! .... like what arwen told his father the lord elrond, it is time..... but that happened in the movie, never in the book
    The rest of 9 is pretty intense, and 10 is full of twists, including a really gut-wrenching climax. Then it's off to Part II, when the MAIN story begins.

    Yes, believe it or not, everything you've read so far...and up to Episode 10, is just prologue for the main events that will be portrayed in Part II.

    And you'll be happy to know that Jolie occupies the focus of Part II, just as Athena does in Part I.

  18. #218
    Senior Member sheraldine's Avatar
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    STILL malaysia - CHEH!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    No, I totally understand. TRANSFORMERS is about living robots that shoot at each other. VOLTRON is about people who happen to operate a giant mechanical warrior.
    at that time, i got to know about boys and their toys

    but VOLTRON, it is about the captain, not handsome or gorgeous but he has simple charms and innocent charisma.... the guys werent anything remarkable, but they are special in their own ways. heh, blame it on hormone!

    add in a pretty princess (aurora? arieal?? i think her name starts with A) there goes the timeless romance that stays deep and true in our ladies' heart

    and what is a good story without evil and witchcraft? i do not know about you all, but i found the dark face witch with her hooded appearance and voice d**n SEXY! plus that i almost envied that old deletable figure....

    every good thing comes to an end, they came out with another version, which i think the also did some diamentional stuff, right? i didnt really follow VOLTRON after that....

    as for year 2009..... hmmm, wait n see, wait n c.....

  19. #219
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine View Post
    but VOLTRON, it is about the captain, not handsome or gorgeous but he has simple charms and innocent charisma.... the guys werent anything remarkable, but they are special in their own ways. heh, blame it on hormone!
    My favorite character was Sven, the original pilot of the Blue Lion who was replaced by the princess on the Voltron Force after the sixth episode after he was badly injured while fighting the evil witch and one of her Robeast monsters. The other characters were pretty much cardboard cutout characters (i.e. the handsome and capable captain, the beautiful princess, the funny kid, the jokey second in command guy, and the loud fat dude). Sven, however, was a deeper character. His character was tragic. Before we even really got to know him, he was shockingly removed from the picture for a long time. He finally returned much later in the series and played an important role in the series' climax, but for a long stretch of the series, he was the forgotten tragic hero.

  20. #220
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Oh, by the way, Sheraldine, I've been meaning to ask you: did you enjoy those two songs I included in post # 195?

    I think those two songs sum up Athena and Hathaway's situation pretty well.

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