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Mobile Suit Gundam - The Second Century (Part 1: Prelude 0099) - Page 2
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Thread: Mobile Suit Gundam - The Second Century (Part 1: Prelude 0099)

  1. #21
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    In nearby space, Colonel Luther Bonham uses the Byg Zam’s multiple hyper beam particle cannon to dispatch Federal Forces MS and fighter spacecraft with impunity. Twenty years have seen great improvements in the Federation’s combat spacecraft and mecha, but not enough to overcome the sheer destructive force of a Zeon Byg Zam.

    Aboard the Byg Zam, Bonham smirks, “Alex Miguel is going to be mighty pleased to get this baby. She still packs a mean punch.”

    So saying, Bonham opens fire with the Byg Zam’s main gun again, wiping out an approaching Salamis class battlecruiser.

    A beeping noise suddenly emits from the Byg Zam’s combat computer. It is a warning:

    “Unidentified Federal Forces MS closing fast, range 40 km, 2 o’clock position,” the computer’s synthesized voice intones.

    Must be some new experimental mecha the Federation has, Bonham muses.

    The Byg Zam’s combat computer finds the closest match that it can from its twenty-years outmoded databank, “Enemy target is an unknown model; closest analogue: RX-78 Gundam.”

    The Byg Zam unleashes a torrent of hellfire into apparently empty space. Suddenly, from seemingly nowhere, Jolie’s Gundam 100 appears and rides the wave of destructive energy like a surfer off the California coast.

    Jolie levels the Gundam 100’s beam rifle at the Byg Zam, scoring direct hits, but doing little damage.

    “Jolie,” Athena’s voice comes through the tactical net, “the Byg Zam is equipped with an I-Field that disrupts beam energy. Use missiles.”


    The Gundam 100 in action

    Athena’s last word of “missiles” barely reaches Jolie’s ears before she finds herself dodging a few fired from the Byg Zam’s talon-like feet. A shot from the Gundam 100’s beam rifle disintegrates one missile, and two quick dodges enable Jolie to avoid the others.

    The Byg Zam fires its remaining talon missiles. The Gundam 100 disintegrates a fourth missile with a well-placed beam rifle shot, slashes down a fifth with its beam rifle, and intercepts the sixth with its head-mounted Vulcan cannon.

    In the cockpit of the Byg Zam, Bonham begins to realize that his opponent is not to be tarried with. He feels certain that given enough time, he can defeat the enemy’s Gundam mobile suit, but possibly not without risking damage to the Byg Zam.

    Bonham hits the Byg Zam’s afterburners. The giant war mecha blasts away from the scene.

    Jolie is not about to let Bonham get away so easily. Engaging the Gundam 100’s boosters, she launches in pursuit.

    Persistent, eh? Bonham concedes, as he sees the Gundam 100 pursuing on his rear view monitor screen.

    Aboard the Gundam-100, Jolie is singularly focused on the target. For the moment, nothing else matters more than destroying the enemy unit.

    Responding to the motion of Jolie’s trigger finger, the Gundam-100 cuts loose with a firestorm of several dozen missiles. The explosive projectiles strike home on the Byg Zam’s main fuselage and engine block, immobilizing the Zeon mobile armor.

    Jolie, her bloodlust having completely taken over, screams out, “Die!!!” as she draws the Gundam-100’s beam saber from its housing and prepares for a lethal stab straight into the Byg Zam’s nuclear fusion engine.

    Athena, arriving on the scene in her GM-IV Officer’s Custom, emits a Newtype spark and shouts with horror, “Jolie, don’t!”

    Episode 4 to be continued...

  2. #22
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    Jolie’s helmeted head reciprocates Athena’s psychic spark.

    An instant before the Gundam-100 is to deliver its death blow to the Byg Zam, the Federation mobile suit relents, changing the arc of its beam saber strike to remove the mobile armor’s cockpit hatch with surgical precision.

    The Gundam-100 reaches into the cockpit nacelle of the Byg Zam and extracts a shellshocked, but otherwise unharmed Luther Bonham.

    Athena’s GM-IV Custom comes to a rest fifty meters to the right of Jolie’s Gundam-100.

    Athena beams proudly, “You did it, Jolie! Excellent work!”

    Jolie, her bloodlust still yet to be satisfied, backs the Gundam-100 a safe distance away. Sensing what’s coming next, Athena does likewise with her mobile suit.

    Jolie opens fire with the Gundam-100’s entire arsenal: missiles, beam rifle, Vulcan cannon are all simultaneously deployed. The disabled Byg Zam, its I-Field deactivated, succumbs to the multiple strikes and explodes in a hellacious fireball.

    Athena exhales, witnessing the destructive power of the Gundam-100. She is well aware of the mighty war machine's capabilities, but seeing firsthand the carnage it can unleash in mere instants is nevertheless awe-, and fear-inspiring.

    In the cockpit of the Gundam-100, Jolie is perspiring profusely and panting deeply. Her heart is racing like a rocket.

    “Jolie, are you all right?” Athena’s concerned voice comes through the tactical net.

    Jolie takes a moment to gather herself before reply, “Yeah. I’m OK. I just…”

    Athena says, “You need to get a full physical when we get back. First, let’s get Bonham back to HQ for debriefing.”


    An hour later, back at Green Noah Garrison, Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh steps out from the cockpit of the RX-780 Gundam-100. She spots Athena running towards her.

    Jolie removes her helmet and hands it to Athena, then collapses onto the flight deck.

    Athena kneels besides Jolie, “Hey, are you sure you’re all right?”

    “So tired…” Jolie says, shaking her head to clear out the haze.

    Athena says, “You were running on pure adrenalin out there. This is the crash. I’d better get you to sick bay right now.”

    So saying, Athena helps Jolie to her feet and lets the girl lean on her. A medical team rushes towards them with a stretcher and various medical field equipment.

    “I’ll be OK,” Jolie says weakly, but alertly, “What about Bonham?”

    “Let me worry about that,” Athena replies, “you let the medics take you for a check up. We’ll discuss everything else later.”


    Shortly afterwards, in a prisoner detention center somewhere in Green Noah Garrison, Colonel Luther Bonham, formerly of the Side 6 Civil Defense Guard, sits bruised and bloodied in a dark interrogation room. He has been roughed up by Federal Forces military police and Special Forces personnel attempting to get information out of him. A veteran intelligence and special ops officer himself, Bonham is a tough nut to crack. Neither threats nor acts of violence against his person have budged him to divulge any information of value to the Federation.

    Athena arrives in the interrogation room and is saluted by the Federal MPs and Special Forces officers present.

    Crouching in front of Bonham, Athena removes the ever-present handkerchief from the breast pocket of her uniform jacket and uses it to dab gently on the cuts and bruises of Bonham’s face.

    Bonham grins, “I suppose you’re the ‘good cop’ in this little interrogation game, eh? I’ll give the Federation credit: it certainly picks beautiful women for the job. You might even soften me up enough to get more than just my rank and serial number, honey.”

    Ignoring Bonham’s remarks, Athena deliberately repockets the handkerchief, grins coldly, and pulls Bonham roughly towards her by the collar of his uniform.

    Leaning her face closely into Bonham’s gaze, Athena says softly, but menacingly to the man, “Your problem is that you’re expendable. You’re expendable to us, you’re expendable to the Side 6 CDG comrades you’ve betrayed, and you’re certainly expendable to whoever paid you to steal that Byg Zam.”

    Bonham doesn’t flinch, and replies, “If I’m so expendable, why’d you bother to bring me back here for the royal treatment? You could have let that Gundam of yours turn me to space dust with the Byg Zam.”

    Athena grins, releasing her grip on Bonham’s collar and turning her back to him, “It’s not our policy to kill our POWs. It’s also not our policy to protect them from the consequences of their own choices.”

    “Protect?” Bonham says quizzically, unable to guess at Athena’s meaning.

    After a brief moment’s silence, Athena continues, “We know you were planning to sell that mobile armor to someone, Colonel. A weapon of mass destruction such as a Byg Zam offers a tactical advantage that any military force would pay any sum to acquire, provided it has the necessary funds.”

    “So?” Bonham smirks.

    Athena says, “There aren’t too many buyers who can afford a weapon such as a Byg Zam, Colonel. We hardly need you to tell us. That’s why we’re letting you go.”

    Bonham was not expecting that, “You’re setting me free?”

    Athena affirms Bonham’s question with a gesture.

    Bonham laughs, “You must think I’m stupid! You probably expect me to make contact with these mecha buyers you’re dreaming up, and you want to let me go just so you can follow me to them! Forget it! I stole the Byg Zam for my own reasons!”

    “Whether or not you did is moot now, Colonel,” says Athena dispassionately, “we have enemies to eliminate, so we’re not wasting any more time with you.”

    “So you’re going to kill me now?” Bonham replies defiantly.

    “No,” Athena replies frigidly, “we’re going to let YOUR enemies do it for us.”

    Athena turns to one of the MPs, “Sergeant, please undo Colonel Bonham’s restraints, then order up a space shuttle to transport the colonel home.”

    Episode 4 to be continued...

  3. #23
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    The Federal Forces MP loosens Bonham's arm restraints, as Athena instructed. A second MP opens the door of the interrogation room.

    Bonham, uncertain what manner of trick the Federal Forces have in mind, does not leave through the door, but stands staring at Athena.

    Without leaving the chair where she had taken a seat, or turning to look at Bonham, Athena says, "Best regards to Josephine and Jason."

    Bonham stiffens, his heart pounding. Josephine is the name of his paramour, and Jason the illegitimate son he sired with her. But how could anyone know about Josephine and Jason? Even Bonham's closest associates in the Side 6 CDG don't know about Josephine and Jason!

    "Josephine Martin," Athena says, "Aged twenty-eight. Lives at 1398 Meadowview Drive in Colony 11, Bunch 18 of Side 6. Miss Martin works for a tourism agency based in Colony 11. She has one son, Jason, despite being unmarried..."

    "How...how could you possibly...?" Bonham begins.

    "You work in intelligence yourself," Athena says coldly, "you should realize that there are no real secrets."

    Bonham bares his teeth at Athena, "If you hurt them..."

    Athena cuts him off, "If we were able to identify them, so too are the people you were planning to sell the Byg Zam to."

    Bonham pales in the realization that Athena is right.

    When he finds his voice, Bonham says plaintively, "If I agree to give you the information you want, you'll protect them?"

    Athena grins, "That depends on the quality of the information you give me."

    Bonham is about to say something more when footsteps are heard approaching from the corridor outside the interrogation room. Colonel Cairlay appears at the door.

    "Captain Ibaz," the colonel says, "thank you for all the work that you've done today. High Command has instructed that I personally continue the interrogation of Colonel Bonham. You may be dismissed to return to your unit. The base infirmary has sent word that Chief Warrant Officer Minh has been given a clean bill of health and is waiting for you presently."

    Athena finds it very strange that the High Command would send Colonel Cairlay to interrupt what has been a very successful interrogation of the enemy agent, but knows better than to protest. Something is definitely awry, but Athena understands that getting to the root of it would need to be done elsewhere, at another time.

    "Yes, sir," Athena salutes and leaves the room.

    Colonel Cairlay approaches Bonham. Bonham senses the other man's sinister intent.

    Cairlay says with a disquieting coolness, "Colonel Bonham, we're sending you back to Side 6 to be prosecuted according to the laws of your nation."

    That was unexpected.

    "What about the protection that Captain Ibaz offered to my...family?" Bonham says.

    Cairlay lights a cigar and puffs a ring of smoke before answering Bonham, "Your family will be taken care of. You, however, will face the consequences of your involvement in this matter."

    Episode 4 to be continued...

  4. #24
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    Athena rendezvous with Jolie in the lobby of the base infirmary. Jolie bounds to her feet and sprints towards Athena, demonstrating that her first combat sortie has left her no worse for the experience.

    “You certainly look better,” Athena remarks.

    Jolie flexes her arms in a mock gesture of strength, then takes a bite out of the candy bar that she had gotten from one of the infirmary canteen’s vending machines, “Nothing that a little sugar can’t cure. The doctors said I just had…”

    “Combat stress fatigue,” Athena finishes, “I know. It happens to many rookies. You're going to need to learn to pace yourself. War isn't like street-fighting. It's an endurance grind.”

    Much to Athena’s horror, Jolie swallows the rest of the six-inch candy bar in one bite.

    While chewing, the teenager asks, “So how’d the interrogation with Bonham go? Find out anything useful?”

    Athena says, “Colonel Cairlay has taken over. He came just about when I had Bonham ready to talk.”

    "That creep?" Jolie says, "If I were Bonham, I'd demand to have you back before I'd say anything."

    Athena escorts Jolie back to her quarters in the officers’ academy. As they walk, Athena is still disturbed by the strange ending of her interrogation of Luther Bonham.

    Soon, the duo is at the door of Jolie’s quarters. Athena tells her charge, “As of next week, you’ll be officially part of my unit. I’ll stop by after my shift tomorrow to help you pack up for the move into the Centurion Team’s barracks.”

    “Am I going to get a private room with air conditioning and satellite TV?” Jolie asks.

    Athena grins, “After bringing down that Byg Zam tonight, maybe they’ll rename the base after you. See you tomorrow.”

    Athena and Jolie go their separate ways for the evening. For Jolie, it’s off to a good night’s sleep after her first battle as a mobile suit pilot for the Earth Federation Forces. For Athena, it’s another visit back to the Special Forces Headquarters compound. She can’t sleep; not with the disturbing thoughts now churning in her head.

    I have this terrible feeling that Luther Bonham is a dead man. Athena thinks to herself.


    Athena returns to Special Forces HQ. She encounters Colonel Cairlay outside his office.

    “Why Captain,” Cairlay says languidly, “I thought you would have retired for evening.”

    “Sir,” Athena salutes her superior, “I returned to see if my help was still needed for the interrogation of Luther Bonham.”

    “That interrogation is done, Captain,” replies Cairlay, “Bonham was extremely stubborn. He refused to tell us anything of value. We’ve therefore given custody of him back to the Side 6 CDG. They will deal with him now and share with us whatever information they can get out of him.”

    Athena finds that strange. It is not the Federation’s standard policy to turn over captured enemy combatants to other parties. Granted, the Federation and Side 6 had benign diplomatic relations, but this represents a major departure from standard procedure.

    “In that case, sir,” Athena says, “I will return to quarters.”

    “See you in the morning, Captain,” says Cairlay, returning Athena’s salute.


    Meanwhile, the Side 6 Civil Defense Guard’s RGM-89 GM-III squadron under the command of Captain Huisook Song is returning to Side 6 with a prisoner. Colonel Luther Bonham rides inside a smaller prisoner capsule carried in the hand of one of the mobile suits.

    The journey back to Side 6 from Side 7 proceeds without incident until one of Song’s subordinates reports that a flight of MS, Federal Forces types, is approaching fast. The Federal Forces MS are putting out powerful Minovsky particle jamming waves, which make them invisible to the radar aboard the mobile suits in Song’s units.

    Captain Song remarks, “Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a patrol unit. Maybe they’re here to escort us out of Federation space.”

    The squad of Earth Federation Forces mobile suits, ten RGM-95C GM-IV Snipers, open fire with their beam cannon and rifles at the Side 6 C.D.G. squad. Before the Side 6 mobile suits have the chance to react, they are reduced to melting scrap. The first target destroyed is Luther Bonham’s prisoner capsule, its inhabitant immolated in an instant.


    General Manron Blackhead’s office: the general has a visitor, who is seen in the shadows only. His silhouette is vaguely familiar.

    An aide enters and whispers something into Blackhead’s ear. The Federal Forces general smiles.

    “We couldn’t secure the Byg Zam, Colonel,” says Blackhead, “but we have managed to plug an imminent information leak. Please send General Miguel our deepest apologies.”

    The general’s visitor emerges from the shadows. He is Colonel Ross Davenport, right-hand man of the infamous General Alexander Miguel of the Phobos Zeon Confederacy.

    Episode 4 to be continued...

  5. #25
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    Six hours later, Captain Athena Ibaz is flying a routine patrol of Side 7 space aboard her RGM-95S GM-IV Officer's Custom. Her mobile suit's surveillance equipment has detected an unusually high concentration of Minoffsky particle interference.

    The area of Minoffsky concentration is littered with scraps of metallic scrap. This, in itself, is not unusual. Since the era of space colonization began, Cislunar Space has been cluttered with both industrial waste and the ruins of war.

    To the untrained eye, the scrap would be unidentifiable. Athena, however, recognizes the scrap for what it is: the remains of mobile suits.

    Athena stops her mobile suit and opens the cockpit hatch, exiting her mecha for a closer inspection. Using her normalsuit's vectoring thrusters, she maneuvers amidst the wreckage searching for useful information.

    A piece of mass, too pliable to be mobile suit wreckage, drifts towards Athena. It appears to be a normalsuit...or at least half a normalsuit. A powerful explosion must have sundered its top half from its bottom.

    To Athena's horror, the normalsuit remains are not empty; half of a dead human torso and head occupy the torn spacesuit.

    Athena maneuvers herself over to the gruesome sight, and takes hold of the half-corpse. Steeling herself, she opens the visor of the slain pilot's helmet.

    She is greeted with the dead face of Colonel Luther Bonham of the Side 6 Civil Defense Guard, his eyes still open in an expression of profound shock and betrayal.

    Athena's gloved hand brushes across Bonham's eyes, closing them forever. Athena's hand closes into an angry, trembling fist.



    At the same time, in Side 6, a trenchcoated man sets fire to an apartment complex in a normally quiet neighborhood. Within minutes, the building is engulfed in flames, incinerating, among other things, the corpses of a young woman and her seven-year old son, who had both been fatally shot just moments earlier.


    "You're quiet tonight," Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh says to Athena ten hours later, as the two share drinks and cigarettes at an officer's club.

    Not replying to Jolie's remark, Athena stubs out her exhausted cigarette, her fifth of the hour, into an ashtray and takes another sip of brandy, her third.

    "Maybe you're the one with combat stress fatigue now," Jolie says, inserting a fresh cigarette between her lips.

    Athena lights Jolie's cigarette, and then lights a fresh one of her own.

    "There are no innocents in war," Athena finally sighs, her first words in nearly an hour, "Until we are ourselves killed, we live to kill, and will kill to live. Luther Bonham understood that. You have to wonder if it made things any easier for him to accept in the end."

    Jolie exhales a lungful of heated tobacco fumes, then says, "Forget it, Athena. I know you think that you're to blame for how Bonham got dusted, but it was just his fate."

    Athena offers Jolie a wan grin, "You're quick in getting accustomed to this predator-prey lifestyle I've introduced you to."

    Jolie returns the grin, "You didn't introduce me to it. You just got me onto a whole new level of it. I was already a bad girl when you came and got me out of Industria all those months ago."

    Athena lifts her glass to Jolie, "Here's to us, then: two bad girls. We drink, we smoke, and we kill people."

    The pair toast each other, drink, and laugh. Two bad girls, just beginning to make their mark on history.

    END OF EPISODE 4

    to be continued...

  6. #26
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    Default Episode 5: WHITE PHOENIX

    EPISODE 5: WHITE PHOENIX

    Too much of military life is bureaucratic nonsense, Captain Athena Ibaz muses to herself as she inputs a metaphorical mound of documentation into the Federal Forces' central databank. The aftermath of the Luther Bonham affair has entailed no small amount of documentation work, and has more or less chained Athena to her office desk for the better part of the day.

    Ever conscious of time, Athena glances at the Baroque clock on her office wall: 12:17.

    Late, Athena quietly fumes.

    As if on cue, Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh bursts into Athena’s office, just a bit out of breath.

    “Thanks for knocking first,” Athena says dryly, still not looking up from her deskwork.

    “Sorry,” Jolie replies, both for her tardiness and her forgetting to knock…again, “I was in the bathroom and I was really constip…”

    “Never mind,” Athena cuts Jolie off, entirely uninterested in Jolie’s lavatory habits, “are you ready to meet the rest of the squad now?”

    Jolie salutes, “Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh, Centurion Team, reporting for duty, ma’am!”

    Athena grins, finally rising from her seat to return Jolie’s salute, “Welcome to the Centurion Team, Chief Minh.”


    In the lounge of the Centurion Team’s barracks, commanding officer Captain Athena Ibaz introduces her team to their new junior executive officer, Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh. The members of the Centurion Team are…

    Master Sergeant Karim Abdul Al-Said. Originally from Sudan on Earth, Master Sergeant Al-Said immigrated to Side 5 with his family when he was a boy. Steadfast, coolheaded, reliable, and brave, he is the ranking NCO (non-commissioned officer) in the Centurion Team. At age 24, he is also the oldest member of the team. Master Sergeant Al-Said is a munitions and artillery expert. He pilots the long-range artillery mobile suit RGC-770 Guncannon-100.

    Staff Sergeant Tomo Higashi. Staff Sergeant Higashi, a 19-year old of Japanese descent, hails from Side 7. Like his good friend, Master Sergeant Al-Said, he is a man of rock solid loyalty and courage, and also like the master sergeant, Higashi pilots an RC-770 Guncannon-100.

    Corporal Karyn Luna: At age 16, a few months younger than Jolie, Karyn is the youngest member of the Centurion Team. A native of the Hawaiian Islands on Earth, she is the daughter of a minor Earth Federation Government politician. Her father, a fervent Earthist, has sent his daughter to be trained as a member of the Special Forces to toughen her up. Karyn tends to be a bit naïve, but she does not lack in courage. Karyn pilots an RGM-95 GM-IV.

    Corporal Anna Horowitz: Aged 20. She is the Centurion Team’s intelligence and reconnaissance specialist. A quiet and mysterious young woman, Anna pilots a RGM-95AW GM AWAC.

    Corporal Geoff Sutcliffe: Aged 19. A native of Londinium space colony, Sutcliffe is the team’s resident practical joker and ladies man. His bravery outstrips his mobile suit piloting skills, but he is still a solid pilot of an RGM-95 GM-IV.

    Responding to their training, the Centurion Team members line up smartly and salute as Athena enters the room with Jolie, “Captain Ibaz, ma’am!”

    “At ease,” Athena tells her charges, “As of today, the Centurion Team has been assigned a new junior executive officer. She will serve as my personal adjutant and second-in-command of the team. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh.”

    The team salutes in unison, “Chief Minh, ma’am!”

    Jolie is a bit taken aback by the welcome. She has never been addressed as “ma’am” in her life, and she hasn’t led anything more impressive than a girls’ softball team back in elementary school before her family was killed.

    Jolie turns to Athena, who gives her an encouraging nod. Jolie turns to the team, “At ease, and thanks.”

    The team members look at Jolie with some awe. They know that this is the young woman who recovered the Gundam-100 from ISRLA guerillas several months ago, after their original commanding officer, Captain Rick Tinne, had been killed during the same operation. They also know that Jolie is the pilot who recently destroyed a stolen Zeon Byg Zam mecha.

    The men of the Centurion Team have a different kind of interest in Jolie, however. Their dreamy grins and wide eyes reflecting their admiration for Jolie’s very pleasing silky-smooth babyface...her wide, dazzling eyes...her long, luscious black hair... and her gorgeous, shapely legs, which are especially flattered by the short cut of her uniform miniskirt.


    Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh, junior executive officer and sweetheart of the Centurion Team

    “I think I’m in love, mate,” Geoff Sutcliffe whispers to Tomo Higashi.

    “Get in line, Britboy,” Tomo whispers back, “I got first dibs on the hottie CWO.”

    Geoff whispers back, “Dude, Tomo. I can’t decide if the Captain or the Chief is the hotter piece of a'ss.”

    Tomo replies breathlessly, “Me neither. We really drew a plum assignment getting on the team with all the hot babes.”

    “Let’s show a little respect, gentlemen,” the more serious Karim cuts in, but it’s evident that even the sober-minded (and engaged) master sergeant finds the new CWO highly attractive.

    Athena notes her team’s reactions to Jolie and grins, recalling how she’d received a similar welcome when she was first assigned to the team months ago.



    Episode 5 to be continued...

  7. #27
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    Geoff Sutcliffe, who is not only the team's ladies' man, but who also fancies himself an excellent fighter (and indeed, he is an above-average hand-to-hand combatant), has read the reports about Jolie's extraordinary fighting prowess like everybody else has. He just doesn't believe, however, that the cute, tiny Asian chick who has just been assigned the team's junior XO could be any kind of superb fighter.

    Looking to satisfy his curiosity, and to burnish his ego, Geoff extends his hand to Jolie, "Corporal Geoff Sutcliffe at your command, ma'am."

    Geoffe takes Jolie's small, soft hand into his own, Hah! Girly, just like I thought. Now let me apply just a little pressure here...whuh?

    Sensing Geoff's attempt to twist her wrist, Jolie allows her wrist to yield, then twists it in the opposite direction with a single, fluid motion, sending Geoff to the ground.

    Geoff rises, surprise evident on his face.

    "Let's dance," Jolie says in a challenging tone.

    Geoff lunges at Jolie in a grabbing motion; his belly meets with Jolie's knee, knocking the breath out of him.

    Jolie rubs her bare knee, "Ow. You're put together pretty solidly, Corporal. Too bad you're about as fast as a rock too."

    Geoff, not accustomed to being bested by a woman, is ready to remove the kids' gloves, "All right, luv. Now you're going to get it!"

    Geoff's series of punches sail harmlessly through empty spaces where Jolie's face had been fractions of a second earlier. After a minute of this, Jolie senses Geoff's strength fading, guides his last punch aside with an elegant sweeping motion of her palm, and slaps him three times in rapid succession.

    Jolie ends it with a lightning quick punch that sends Geoff onto his back.

    "That was a good workout, Corporal," Jolie says with a grin, "we should do it again."

    The rest of the Centurion Team cannot contain their laughter, and even Geoff, rising from the ground, cannot help but laugh, "You're really something, Chief."

    "Jolie," says the junior XO, "at least when we're off duty."

    Athena, who had ducked into her office to make a few phone calls while all this had been going on, reappears in the lounge, "Jolie, would you please come into my office? There are some things I'd like to show you."

    "Later," Jolie tells her new teammates, who have already taken a great liking to her.

    ************************************************** **************

    Athena asks Jolie to have a seat and offers her a drink: whiskey on the rocks.

    "So," Athena asks, pouring a second glass of whiskey for herself, "how do you like the team?"

    "I think Sutcliffe and I are going to be really great friends," Jolie remarks, sipping the whiskey.

    Athena grins, "That's one guy to keep in front of you at all times. The first day I was in the unit, he tried to reach up my skirt."

    Jolie asks, "What did you do?"

    Athena replies as she sips the whiskey, "Kneed him in the balls. It took him about fifteen minutes to find his voice again."

    Jolie almost chokes on the whiskey, "So what did you ask me in here for?"

    Without replying, Athena steps over to the large bookshelf occupying an entire wall of her office. From this, she draws over a dozen hardcover books. She hands these to Jolie.

    "What's all this?" asks Jolie, taking the heavy load of tomes from Athena's hands.

    Among the titles that Athena has given to Jolie are Plato's The Republic, Machiavelli's The Prince, Milton's Paradise Lost, Shakespeare's Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, and Julius Caesar, Franklin's Autobiography, Marx's Communist Manifesto, a collection of writings by Abraham Lincoln, Hitler's Mein Kampf, Mahatma Gandhi's My Experiments With Truth, Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory, LaRoque's A History of the World From Early Civilizations to the Colonization of Space, Zeon Daikun's Humanity Beyond the Horizon, General Abraham Reville's The State of Military Strategy in the U.C. 0070s, Amuro Ray's Reflections Upon the One Year War, and assorted other texts relating to sciences and mathematics.

    Athena grins as Jolie juggles the books around, trying to get a grip upon them, "You've missed out on much of your education during the past five years, Jolie. There are many things you'll need to know before you can truly be effective in helping me. You can't change a world that you don't understand. That's why I want you to read all of these books."

    Jolie makes a wry face, "Couldn't you at least have given these to me on a Datachip? This isn't the Middle Ages, you know?"

    Episode 5 to be continued...

  8. #28
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Still welcoming (read: begging) comments, people. I know folks are clicking (and hopefully, reading). I'd like some input if anybody has any to share.

  9. #29
    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    ive never heard of Gundam, never seen the anime/game/cartoon whatever they call it, but i like the illustrations here....the efforts are commendable, Ken...tho i might need to revive my passion for sci-fi read again to continue reading this (i am currently in period/wuxia phase ) but still, great effort
    Da One and Only,
    ghostdarTeal'c

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Idols: Mark Dacascos and Vicki Zhao Wei
    Fav Artists: Zhang Tie Lin, Cheng E Kin, Vin Diesel, Jet Li, Amy Chan Sau Man, Michelle Rodriguez, Theresa Lee Yee Hong
    Fav Series: The Great General, Heroine of The Yangs, Huan Zhu Ge Ge I & II, Secret Battle of The Majesties
    Fav Movies: The Matrix I, G.I Jane, Fist of Legend, Drive, Gladiator, 2009 Lost Memories, So Close, Crying Freeman

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius; Commander of the Army of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor; Marcus Aurilius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

    - The Spaniard -

  10. #30
    Senior Member Bangs's Avatar
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    Yes, Ken's efforts here are commendable. Too bad I was never really into Gundam, I watched Gundam Wing but it never really satisfied me to the point of wanting more and digging the other gundams. Good job Ken, sorry I can't read your fanfic because I can't relate to it.

  11. #31
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    ghost and Bangs: thank you for your remarks. They are appreciated.

    I've tried to make this story appealing through the characters and plot, and downplayed the science fiction aspect as much as possible (mainly because I'm not good at it, and also because it really only serves as the setting rather than any important thematic function). The goal is to make the story enjoyable even for people who aren't familiar with the GUNDAM mythos, although knowledge of that mythos will enhance a reader's enjoyment (because the reader will understand all the various references).

    It's funny that you mention wuxia, ghost, because while this story definitely is not wuxia, there are subtle wuxia influences...and subtle old Hong Kong TV drama influences (particularly in the way the characters are written). They're so subtle that I think most people will miss them. Kudos if you can kind of guess what characters (that's characters, not actresses) Athena and Jolie are based upon.

  12. #32
    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng
    It's funny that you mention wuxia, ghost, because while this story definitely is not wuxia, there are subtle wuxia influences...and subtle old Hong Kong TV drama influences (particularly in the way the characters are written). They're so subtle that I think most people will miss them. Kudos if you can kind of guess what characters (that's characters, not actresses) Athena and Jolie are based upon.
    Ken, you purposely mentioned that just to pull me into this, huh?

    damn, youd be happy to know that you got me intrigued to find out who this Athena and Jolie really are....unfortunately, i am currently busy with my Final Year Project....i think after im finished with it I'll give this fanfic a chance....
    Last edited by ghostdarTeal'c; 03-03-07 at 03:59 PM.
    Da One and Only,
    ghostdarTeal'c

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Idols: Mark Dacascos and Vicki Zhao Wei
    Fav Artists: Zhang Tie Lin, Cheng E Kin, Vin Diesel, Jet Li, Amy Chan Sau Man, Michelle Rodriguez, Theresa Lee Yee Hong
    Fav Series: The Great General, Heroine of The Yangs, Huan Zhu Ge Ge I & II, Secret Battle of The Majesties
    Fav Movies: The Matrix I, G.I Jane, Fist of Legend, Drive, Gladiator, 2009 Lost Memories, So Close, Crying Freeman

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius; Commander of the Army of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor; Marcus Aurilius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

    - The Spaniard -

  13. #33
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c
    Ken, you purposely mentioned that just to pull me into this, huh?


    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c
    damn, youd be happy to know that you got me intrigued to find out who this Athena and Jolie really are....unfortunately, i am currently busy with my Final Year Project....i think after im finished with it I'll give this fanfic a chance....
    The clues are there, but they are very subtle. You won't notice it unless you're *very* familiar with certain classic characters (and for now, I'm not saying which).

    The clues lie in Athena and Jolie's relative ages (Athena is about three years older than Jolie), their relative backgrounds and education (Athena, whose IQ is near 200, has the equivalent of education of several Master's degrees, while Jolie's formal education stopped when she was ten), the nature of their relationship (friendship and professional partnership, with Athena as senior and Jolie as junior), contrasting ideologies and beliefs (more on that later), and the way they talk to each other.

    I think this would be a good opportunity for me to discuss the four main characters of the story.

    Athena Ibaz: Her real name is Minerva Zabi, and her true identity is that of Duchess of the Archduchy of Zeon, an empire of space colonies located in the orbit of the far side of the moon. Her family, who once ruled the Archduchy, launched a genocidal war against the Earth Federation Government that killed billions of people. Her family’s name is among the most hated in history.

    For this reason, Minerva has abandoned her birthright as the ruler of Zeon and taken the identity of Athena Ibaz (“Athena” is the Greek version of the name “Minerva,” which is Latin. Athena/Minerva was the ancient Greco-Roman goddess of wisdom; the last name “Ibaz” was created by inverting the letter order of her true surname, Zabi). This change of name is highly symbolic in her character.

    Blessed with an IQ of nearly 200 (which her late uncle, the genocidal dictator Giren Zabi, also once had), Athena is also cursed with the knowledge of what her family has done. She lives with a great amount of guilt and shame (which we see in various personality quirks, such as her compulsion to wipe her fingers with a handkerchief), and her goal is create a better world than the one that resulted in the wars between Earth and the Archduchy of Zeon.

    The best way of doing this, Athena reasons, is to politically take control of the crumbling, corrupt Earth Federation Government…but not doing so through violent confrontation as her grandfather, uncles, aunt, and father once attempted. Becoming an officer in the Earth Federation Government is merely the first step in her plan to ascend to the highest levels of the EFG. Her first priority is to eliminate any threats to her plans, which includes the remaining warlord generals of the Archduchy of Zeon and an incipient spacenoid (i.e. space citizen) independence movement on Side 3, the birthplace of Zeon.

    Athena, in many ways, is like a female James Bond (except that she doesn’t have too many romantic paramours; in the story, she will have exactly one romantic interest, and it’s destined to not work out). She is very well-educated, seems to know everything, is always thinking and plotting, and is apparently good at just about everything. Because she is so highly talented and capable, Athena can be a little bit of a snob (not in an overbearing way, but enough to show that she’s very self-confident). Although basically good at heart (unlike her ancestors), Athena is perfectly capable of being utterly ruthless when she needs to be. She can be Machiavellian, and she is willing to use underhanded methods when necessary to defeat an enemy or achieve an objective, but Athena will not harm innocent people. That’s the difference between Athena and her ancestors: she still has a conscience, and it constantly aches.

    Early in her quest, Athena acquires an important ally: the Newtype (an evolved human with powerful psychic powers) girl known as Jolie Minh. At first, Athena’s association with Jolie is purely exploitative: she uses Jolie as a weapon against her enemies. As time goes by, however, the two become almost like sisters, and Athena finds herself caring about the brilliant pilot and fighter who is the only person she has been close to since the death of her family. Both orphans and both strong-willed young women, Athena and Jolie grow to become fiercely loyal friends. They do, however, have ideological differences that frequently cause them to have arguments and disagreements. These become increasingly important as the story develops. In fact, THE SECOND CENTURY is centered around Athena and Jolie’s friendship/partnership and how, over a period of about six years, it takes them both in directions that they initially could not have imagined. They got together to change the world, and they would, but not exactly in the way that they planned.

    Here is how Athena appears in her manga form. If THE SECOND CENTURY to be a live-action television series or movie, however, she would be played by American actress Tea Leoni.


    Athena in manga form



    Tea Leoni, an American actress whom I have envisioned as the ideal actress to portray Athena Ibaz.

  14. #34
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    Jolie Minh: Jolie Minh is a teenaged girl of Vietnamese descent. She was orphaned five years before the beginning of THE SECOND CENTURY during the Second Neo Zeon War. Having lived by herself in an industrial slum colony between the ages of 10 and 15, Jolie is a survivor.

    Jolie’s tough adolescent years have stimulated her talents. She is a powerful Newtype, perhaps the most powerful seen to date (although she has no idea about the existence of her abilities or how strong they are). Moreover, she is a singular talent in all kinds of fighting. Although her formal martial arts training was (initially) limited to the martial arts lessons she took when she was a little girl, Jolie became a master street fighter during her years surviving in the slum. She has to ability to master any fighting skill almost instantly, can use any weapon with unparalleled deadly precision, and can pilot any mecha or craft. Jolie is a born warrior with extraordinary gifts.

    Because of Jolie’s great talent, Athena recruits Jolie to be her second-in-command. Jolie is grateful to Athena for getting her off the streets and giving her a career in the Earth Federation Forces (in which Jolie’s father once served). Unlike Athena, Jolie is not particularly well-read (her education stopped in the 4th Grade), and she has no patience for thinking and plotting like her friend Athena does (gradually, as Jolie matures, she learns to be a better planner/schemer, but she will never have Athena’s natural talent and inclination for brain-work; Jolie is all about action). Although Jolie and Athena become best friends, they are constantly divided by ideological disagreements. At first, these are mild, but they become increasingly pronounced as time goes by. Jolie looks up to Athena and regards Athena as a “big sister,” but she also feels that Athena to be too guarded and secretive, and suspects that Athena is hiding certain things from her.

    Jolie is proud and fearless. She has extreme confidence in her extraordinary talents (which sometimes gets her into trouble when she overestimates her own abilities and underestimates her enemies’), and they serve her well. Jolie is very loyal to those whom are good to her, and she will fight to the death for those about whom she cares. Conversely, Jolie’s enemies cannot hope to escape her wrath, because she will hunt down and destroy any enemy that has harmed innocents or especially people that are close to Jolie. Since childhood, Jolie has hated bullies, and she has a tendency to throw herself into fights to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Jolie has a strong heroic streak and cannot bear letting innocent people get hurt…or see evil go unpunished. This does not mean, however, that Jolie is always scrupulous about her methods; like her friend Athena, from whom she learns much about life and war, Jolie is willing to use unscrupulous tactics when necessary.

    Together, Athena and Jolie are best characterized through Athena’s own words: they’re “bad girls. They drink, they smoke, and they kill people.”

    But they’re bad girls with hearts of gold.

    Because her parents and brother were murdered by Zeon soldiers, Jolie hates the Zeon and their anti-Earth ideology with a passion, even though Jolie herself was born and raised in space. She is distrustful of space colonist independence ideologies. The one man she hates more than any other is General Alexander Miguel, the cruel tyrant who commanded the Phobos Corps of the Neo Zeon Armada. It was Alexander Miguel’s troops who, under Miguel’s orders, destroyed the space colony where Jolie had lived with her family as a child. One of the key reasons that Jolie agreed to join the EFF and work with Athena was so she could have the opportunity to track down and kill Alexander Miguel. Jolie’s hatred of Miguel is her driving motivation.

    The name “Jolie Minh” was given to the character as an homage to the ATV actress Joey Meng, who inspired the creation of the character. If THE SECOND CENTURY were a live action TV series or movie, Joey would be the ideal choice to portray Jolie.


    Jolie Minh in manga form



    ATV actress Joey Meng (of MY DATE WITH A VAMPIRE fame), who inspired and would be the ideal actress to portray Jolie Minh

  15. #35
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    Jonah Miguel (Jonah Michaels):

    I bet you thought THE SECOND CENTURY wouldn’t have a lead male character; just lead female characters.

    Jonah Miguel is the lead male character of THE SECOND CENTURY. He is the younger brother of the Neo Zeon warlord General Alexander Miguel. Unlike his older brother, Jonah is not militaristic. In fact, when he first appears, he is a pacifist artist living in the Phobos Colony near Mars. Jonah hates war and fighting, and for this reason, he disapproves of his brother. Nevertheless, Jonah and Alexander are very close. The two brothers have great affection for one another. Since the death of their father, Alexander has practically raised Jonah (Alexander is a good 15 years older than his younger brother, and they have an older sister named Nanai, who was once the lover of Colonel Char Aznable, the central villain of the original GUNDAM series). Consequently, Jonah loves and respects his older brother even though he can’t agree with Alex’s militaristic goals.

    After Alexander tells the 19-year old Jonah that he wants Jonah to join the Zeon military to honor their family’s tradition of military service to the Archduchy of Zeon, the pacifist Jonah runs away from home. He plans to go to Earth to study art at one of Earth’s prestigious art academies in Europe. En rout, Jonah witnesses Alexander’s brutal attack on a civilian space colony, killing millions of people. Horrified by his brother’s actions, Jonah sets aside his pacifist beliefs and volunteers to join the Earth Federation Forces to help thwart his brother’s mad ambitions, and perhaps to save Alexander before his life of violence comes to its most likely kind of end.

    While being trained by the Earth Federation Forces, it is learned that Jonah is a powerful Newtype. For this reason, he is assigned to the Centurion Team commanded by Captain Athena Ibaz and 2Lt. Jolie Minh. From there on, things become more complicated (but not in the ways you might expect).


    Jonah Miguel in manga form. I have no idea what actor would portray him in a live series/movie.

  16. #36
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    Alexander Miguel:

    What would fiction be without villains, and Alexander Miguel is most definitely a villain. Ambition runs through Alexander Miguel’s blood. His dream is to move all of humanity to outer space and rule over them, leaving the tired planet Earth behind. Alexander, an imperialist and contolist (i.e. the ideology that people should live in space and not on Earth) extremist, believes that Earth’s gravity is preventing humanity from evolving into the superior race that it is destined to become. Thus, the Earth and all those who inhabit it, as well as those who live in space that remain loyal to the Earth government, represents a “degenerate” presence that must be destroyed. Alexander’s vision is apocalyptic and genocidal, and anyone who stands in his way must be eliminated.

    An extremely cunning and heartless combatant who is as skillful in politics as he is in battle, Alexander Miguel is, despite his horrifying beliefs, a charming and erudite man. He is a master politician with great charisma, capable of swinging large numbers of people to support him in even the most insane schemes. He is an Adolph Hitler of the future, but Hitler never had Alexander Miguel’s charm. This makes Miguel perhaps the most dangerous man who ever lived.

    Even Alexander Miguel has a human side. His cold-hearted cruelty is tempered by his affection for his younger brother Jonah, for whom he has cared since the death of their father many years earlier. It dismays Alexander that his brother Jonah takes up arms against him, but even this will not dissuade Alexander from his ultimate goals.

    What Alexander does not know, however, that a little girl whose family he once killed has now grown up to become the Earth Federation Forces’ most dangerous soldier, and she is determined to kill him.


    Alexander Miguel in manga form. Again, no idea what actor would be suitable to portray him. Perhaps Jude Law.

  17. #37
    Moderator Suet Seung's Avatar
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    Oi, It took me forever to get into Star Trek: The Final Frontier and all the sci-fi genre and I'm still not into it. Even Star Wars is just mildly interesting to me, yes it seems blasphemest to not be crazy over something like Star Wars. So I'm not sure when I could start reading this type of genre.

    I just wanted to comment so you know I noticed your writing.

    You have my support!

    Now if I could find time to continue my writings, except nowadays, my time is no longer mine but the uni. Oh evil pursuit of education! Drives me crazy sometimes!
    I just love how you Captivate My Mind

    Self reminder - Update blog more often and continue editing/writing for TOV fanfic.

  18. #38
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangs
    Yes, Ken's efforts here are commendable. Too bad I was never really into Gundam, I watched Gundam Wing but it never really satisfied me to the point of wanting more and digging the other gundams. Good job Ken, sorry I can't read your fanfic because I can't relate to it.
    GUNDAM WING is not very representative of the GUNDAM story I'm writing, and to tell you the truth, I'm not a fan of GUNDAM WING or any of the recent GUNDAM series or movies myself. The GUNDAM I like and that my fanfic is based upon is the old, 1980s GUNDAM series. You're a fan of ROBOTECH/MACROSS, correct? The old GUNDAM is very close in feel to ROBOTECH/MACROSS, and the story I'm writing has much more in common with ROBOTECH/MACROSS than it does with GUNDAM WING. You might like it.

  19. #39
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suet Seung
    Oi, It took me forever to get into Star Trek: The Final Frontier and all the sci-fi genre and I'm still not into it. Even Star Wars is just mildly interesting to me, yes it seems blasphemest to not be crazy over something like Star Wars. So I'm not sure when I could start reading this type of genre.

    I just wanted to comment so you know I noticed your writing.
    Thanks.

    The sci-fi aspect of my story is somewhat downplayed. It's more of a backdrop to the story than a story element, which is what you see in STAR TREK (and to a lesser extent, STAR WARS). I think that my approach to the story straddles the line between Asian tastes and Western ones. It's influenced a bit by many different interests of mine.

  20. #40
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    By the way, folks, please feel free to suggest potential templates for character design for the characters of Jonah Miguel and Alexander Miguel (based on my descriptions of them). I do think Jude Law would be a good basis for Alexander Miguel (the villain), but I just can't find a suitable template for Jonah.

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