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Mobile Suit Gundam - The Second Century (Part 1: Prelude 0099) - Page 3
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  1. #41
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Episode 5 (continued)

    Episode 5 continued...

    "Good hardcover books are worth their weight in gold these days, Jolie," Athena tells her new junior executive officer.

    "Yeah, well 'weight' is certainly the word," Jolie replies, setting the heavy books down on the couch in Athena's office, "so is there going to be a test, or something?"

    "The only tests that matter, Jolie, are the ones you'll face out there," Athena replies, with a slight pointing gesture to the world beyond her office door, "There's much more to being a successful officer than being able to pilot mobile suits and handle weapons. You'll need to know some of everything, and be able to do a bit of everything."

    As Jolie frowns at the books, Athena looks through Jolie's personnel file on her palm Datareader, "Jolie 'Phuong' Minh. 'Phuong' is Vietnamese for 'phoenix,' isn't it, Jolie?"

    "Yeah, that's my Vietnamese name," Jolie replies, surprised that Athena knows the word's meaning, "I didn't know you could understand Vietnamese."

    Athena grins, "I actually, don't, but I do understand Chinese, and Vietnamese is a related language. Your name sounded similar to the Chinese word for 'phoenix,' 'feng,' so I just guessed that was it. 'Phoenix' Minh...the ancient Greeks believed that the phoenix represented rebirth."

    Jolie shrugs, "I didn't know it represented anything."

    "In a way," Athena says, "the name was prophetic. You've kind of been 'reborn,' in a manner of speaking."

    "Yeah," Jolie remarks wryly, "reborn as your contract killer."

    To that, Athena's response is to take an envelope from her desk drawer and hand it to Jolie.

    "What's this?" Jolie asks.

    Taking her handkerchief from its place in her breast pocket, Athena replies, "Your first paycheck, my dear mercenary."

    As Athena begins wiping her fingers tersely with the handerchief, Jolie opens the envelope. Her eyes widen at the figure on the check.

    "Two-thousand credits?"

    "You'll earn more after you're promoted," Athena says.

    "No," Jolie says, looking for the right words, "it's just that. Wow. I've never had this much money before. I used to have to risk my neck just for some loose change back in Industria."

    Athena smiles, repocketing her handkerchief, "Well, now you risk your neck for about two-thousand credits a month."

    "...and a shot at Alexander Miguel's head?" Jolie says, turning serious.

    Athena exhales after a moment's uncomfortable silence, "Like I told you before: we'll have our day of reckoning with the Zeon, sooner or later."

    "'Sooner' can't come soon enough," Jolie grates.

    Athena offers Jolie a cigarette and lights it for her, then lights one of her own, "Anyway, I've provided you with the books I want you to read, but you don't have to finish them right away. Right now, I think it's better if you got better acquainted with your squad mates. You and the rest of the squad are dismissed until reville at 0400 tomorrow."

    "Great!" Jolie enthuses, her good mood returning, as she takes her books and her paycheck with her.

    "Jolie..." Athena says before Jolie can get out the door.

    "Yeah, what is it 'Thena?" Jolie replies, pausing.

    Athena grins at her charge, "Don't spend your entire paycheck partying, all right? You don't get another one for a month, and YOU'RE buying the next round of drinks at the Officer's Club."

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

    Some 5,000 kilometers out from Side 7's zone marker, Earthside, a convoy of Federation supply ships is on approach to Green Noah Garrison from its launchpoint in Florida on Earth. Various civilian and military supplies are being ferried to Side 7 from Earth, and the cargo includes a myriad of goods ranging from nourishment formula for infants to ammunition for weapons. The convoy even includes a shipment of mobile suit replacement parts.

    As such, the convoy is heavily guarded: its escort includes two Salamis-class battlecruisers and nine mobile suits (RGM-89 Jegans) divided into three squads.


    An Earth Federation Forces Salamis-class space battlecruiser

    Captain Ilongo N'Gula, commanding officer of the Federal Armada ship Moonshadow, sends a transmission to Garrison Noah, "Garrison Noah, this is E.F.S.S. Moonshadow, registry EF6243235, on approach from Canaveral Point. Awaiting authorization for approach with supply convoy from Earth."

    The answer from Garrison Noah comes momentarily, "Affirmative, Moonshadow, convoy and escort are cleared for approach."

    The arrival of the convoy proceeds seemingly undisturbed. Captain N'Gula feels that perhaps he could begin to relax.

    But his day was to take a dramatic turn.

    Episode 5 to be continued...

  2. #42
    Senior Member Tom's Avatar
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    Ken! This is TommyH and I'm back (for the worst). I'm surprised you didn't make a wuxia fanfic!

  3. #43
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogeyman
    Ken! This is TommyH and I'm back (for the worst). I'm surprised you didn't make a wuxia fanfic!
    Welcome back, Tommy. I'd been wondering why you'd voluntarily had your account deleted (why?) in addition to have stopped posting at the forums.

    I hope you've been reading/enjoying my GUNDAM fanfic. I didn't write a wuxia fanfic because I don't think I'd be very good at it. Jin Yong, Gu Long, and other professional wuxia writers are familiar with numerous ideas from Chinese history, literature, medicine, and martial arts about which I only have a passing, superficial knowledge. Therefore, any wuxia story I would write would be laughably inferior to any of their work.

    I am, however, more knowledgeable about the world of MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM, and it provides the right kind of setting for the telling of my story.

  4. #44
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    Episode 5 continued...

    About ten kilometers away from the convoy, a squad of five mobile suits lies in wait, hidden from both the convoy's surveillance equipment and Garrison Noah's tracking devices by a thick field of Minovsky particles. Four of the five mobile suits are about a decade old: two are RMS-108 Marasais used by the Federation's Titans Corps during the U.C. 0080s, and the other two are MMT-1 Gaza C's, which were the first new production line mobile suits to be used by the Axis Neo Zeon Forces during their invasion of Cislunar Space in U.C. 0088. These mecha, although now obsolete, were considered cutting-edge weaponry in their day, and as such, still command a hefty price on the black market. The leaders of the ISRLA would not authorize their deployment unless absolutely necessary for the success of its ultimate goals.

    The fifth mobile suit, however, is the gem of the squad: an MSN-03 Jagd Doga from the days of Colonel Char Aznable's final rebellion in U.C. 0093. This mobile suit, recovered from storage aboard a Neo Zeon spacecruiser that had escaped from Axis Fortress shortly before the defeat of Colonel Char, has been dedicatedly maintained and is in rollout condition. Within its cockpit sits its pilot, the Newtype Caitlin O'Rourke, aged 25.

    Caitlin O'Rourke had been a 21-year old graduate of the Neo Zeon military academy when the final confrontation between Colonel Char's Neo Zeon forces and the Earth Federation Forces' Lond Bell Corps broke out in the spring of U.C. 0093. 2Lt. O'Rourke, whom the Flannagan Research Agency had identified as a Class-1 Newtype (whose illustrious lineage included Colonel Char himself, Lalah Sun, Haman Karn, and the Federation and AEUG mobile suit aces Amuro Ray, Camille Vidan, and Judau Ashta), but at the time of Colonel Char's demise, 2Lt. O'Rouke's training had not yet been completed and she was not deployed into battle until the outcome of the battle had already been determined. Until Colonel Char had discovered the advanced Newtype Quess Parayana and selected Quess to pilot the mobile armor NZ-333 Alpha Azieru, Caitlin had been at the top of a list of candidates (along with Gurney Guss) to pilot the mammoth mecha against the Federal Forces. With the demise of the Neo Zeon Archduchy following the loss of the Colonel Char, Caitlin O'Rourke drifted purposely for a while. A ward of the Neo Zeon state, without family or close friends, Caitlin finally hooked up with Dr. Artasia Som Daikun's Independent Spacenoid Republic movement in U.C. 0095. Knowing of Caitlin's abilities, the ISRLA has continued Caitlin's training and development, deploying her only on missions of top priority.



    Historic Newtypes from GUNDAM's past. Left to right: Amuro Ray, Char Aznable, Lalah Sun, Camille Vidan, Judau Ashta, Quess Parayana

    Hence, her assignment to the capture of this convoy.

    "2Lt. O'Rourke," one of the ISRLA pilots "suited" in a Gaza-C reports, "the convoy has begun its approach towards Garrison Noah."

    Caitlin acknowledges that information with hissing eagerness, "Excellent. They'll be entering the Minovsky field soon, making them momentarily undetectable by Garrison Noah's surveillance mechanisms. That's when we'll strike."

    "Lieutenant," the same Gaza-C pilot, a young man by the name of Evanhart ventures, "do you think it's true what our intelligence people said about this convoy's cargo?"

    Caitlin checks her Jagd Doga's surveillance gear, in particular its radiation tracer, "If so, the Federation's hiding it well. In any case, we must make sure this cargo does not reach its destination. It could be a disaster for our people."

    A chorus of "Yes ma'ams" affirm Caitlin's orders as her team prepares to swoop in.

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

    Back at the Centurion Team's residence compound, a fierce verbal confrontation escalates.

    "I say that the new XO is hotter," Corporal Geoffe Sutcliffe insists for the umpteenth time, "That Jolie's eyes are like pure electricity, mate. And her legs...oh!"

    "She is cute," Tomo Higashi concedes, "but she's just a kid, man. Now Captain Ibaz: that's a real woman. If the Captain weren't our CO, I'd seriously date her."

    Geoffe says, "Captain Ibaz is definitely a dish, but c'mon, isn't she just a bit too intimidating with that upper crust attitude of hers? I'd be scared to date her 'cause she's just too posh. Athena's a cutie, yeah, but she's too uptight and serious to be fun to be with; she never lets her hair down."

    "Well, her hair is shorter than Jolie's," Tomo grins, "but I have a thing for redheads myself."

    "Just let us know when you've determined which one of us is more attractive," Athena's velvety voice suddenly cuts in.

    "Captain Ibaz! Chief Minh! Ma'am!" Sutcliffe and Higashi burst to their feet and salute nervously. The rest of the team giggles at their discomfort.

    "High command has detected some irregularities near the supply convoy," Athena tells her team seriously, "we've been ordered to escort the convoy in. I want you all to suit up and report to the MS deck immediately."

    "Yes, ma'am!" the Centurions salute as one.

    Episode 5 to be continued...

  5. #45

  6. #46
    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng
    Hey, I thought that was me!
    cheers for us, then!

    OT:

    do you think you can finish that GUNDAM fanfic of yours before i finish my FYP? that is in another 2months? i dont really fancy of waiting for fanfic updates
    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
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    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 -

  7. #47
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c
    cheers for us, then!

    OT:

    do you think you can finish that GUNDAM fanfic of yours before i finish my FYP? that is in another 2months? i dont really fancy of waiting for fanfic updates
    The thing is, the story was finished twelve or thirteen years ago, but it was written on an obsolete word processing software (PFS: First Choice - ever heard of it?) on a 286 PC. That computer and the software on it are LONG gone (and even if they weren't, I don't know how the original files would be transferred to my current computer). Fortunately, I printed out hard copies back in the day, so I'm manually retyping it onto my current computer.

    The final product is well over 1,000 pages. I am definitely not going to be finished transferring it all over in just two months (especially since I'm doing a great deal of editing along the way; thirteen years have shown me how much my writing *used* to suck).

    Nevertheless, I update frequently, so readers won't be left hanging too long. It helps that the basic material is already written.

  8. #48
    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    the last of my spam for this thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng
    The thing is, the story was finished twelve or thirteen years ago, but it was written on an obsolete word processing software (PFS: First Choice - ever heard of it?) on a 286 PC. That computer and the software on it are LONG gone (and even if they weren't, I don't know how the original files would be transferred to my current computer). Fortunately, I printed out hard copies back in the day, so I'm manually retyping it onto my current computer.

    thirteen years ago? to own a computer back then is considered sophisticated enough....you gotta have lots of money to buy a computer back then.....


    Nevertheless, I update frequently, so readers won't be left hanging too long. It helps that the basic material is already written.
    well, im glad you finished the fanfic, coz at least i know it wont be abandoned... no wonder the chapters are coming in rather smoothly....
    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 -

  9. #49
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c
    the last of my spam for this thread....
    No worries. As a Supermoderator (puts on big "S" on chest), I can cut the last few posts on this thread and move and attach them onto my fanfic thread at the Fanfic Forum, where we can continue the discussion.



    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c
    thirteen years ago? to own a computer back then is considered sophisticated enough....you gotta have lots of money to buy a computer back then.....
    Not really. Home computers have been fairly common since the middle of the 1980s, and by the early 1990s, were almost ubiquitous in the U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c
    well, im glad you finished the fanfic, coz at least i know it wont be abandoned... no wonder the chapters are coming in rather smoothly....
    The stuff is all there. All I need is the resource of time.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Tom's Avatar
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    Ken...sorry to say but it is quite difficult to read without any prior knowledge to Gundam at all. I think your fanfic would recieve MUCH MORE attention at a Gundam forum.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogeyman
    Ken...sorry to say but it is quite difficult to read without any prior knowledge to Gundam at all. I think your fanfic would recieve MUCH MORE attention at a Gundam forum.
    exactly my thoughts, maybe u can write a wuxia fan fic
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  12. #52
    Senior Member Tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuNaR
    exactly my thoughts, maybe u can write a wuxia fan fic
    me..? i tried, failed, tried again, failed again...don't know if i should try again...

  13. #53
    Senior Member ghostdarTeal'c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogeyman
    me..? i tried, failed, tried again, failed again...don't know if i should try again...
    uhmm...i think LuNar was referring to Ken when he suggested the wuxia fanfic writing....

    but ken, dont listen to them.... SCI-FI rocks! at least i'll read your fanfic.....
    Last edited by ghostdarTeal'c; 03-17-07 at 10:19 PM.

  14. #54
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostdarTeal'c
    uhmm...i think LuNar was referring to Ken when he suggested the wuxia fanfic writing....

    but ken, dont listen to them.... SCI-FI rocks! at least i'll read your fanfic.....
    Heh. Thanks. I know my limitations. In light of what Jin Yong, Gu Long, and even other writers on this forum have done with wuxia, there's nothing I could add to the genre that would make it any more original or interesting.

    This GUNDAM fanfic, on the other hand, I'm quite proud of.

    Updates have been slower lately...busy in my daily life. I'll post more soon, however.

  15. #55
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogeyman
    Ken...sorry to say but it is quite difficult to read without any prior knowledge to Gundam at all. I think your fanfic would recieve MUCH MORE attention at a Gundam forum.
    You're probably right about how this would fit more naturally on a GUNDAM forum, but I want to test it out here among non-hardcore GUNDAM fans first. While the GUNDAM fans would definitely get more of the references, they're also likely to nitpick little details to death rather than enjoy the story.

    Here, with a more general audience, people can enjoy the characters and story rather than get bogged down by GUNDAM esoterica. Knowing all that stuff enables a reader to appreciate the story on a deeper level, but ideally, one shouldn't need it. The characters and their conflicts should be at the core of the story.

  16. #56
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    Episode 5 continued...

    Cait O'Rourke's Jagd Doga and its attendent squad of Gaza-Cs continued to shadow the Earth Federation Forces convoy, its presence hidden from the convoy and its defenders by Minovsky particle interference.

    "All right," Cait instructs her team through an encoded signal, "on my mark: STRIKE!"

    In a shockingly abrupt, but intricately coordinated maneuver that had been practiced hundreds of times before, the small ISRLA mobile suit squadron launches its attack. Twin blasts from the missile packs of two Gaza-Cs quickly immolate the bridges of the two Salamis battleship escorts, leaving the two heavily armed ships incapacitated.

    "Code Red! Code Red!" shouts 2Lt. Xiang Lu, commanding officer of the Jegan mobile suit escort, "Convoy is under attack by unidentified targets. All units form defensive perimeter!"

    Reacting to 2Lt. Lu's orders, the Jegans form a defensive circle around the Moonshadow.

    "Second phase," Cait O'Rourke grimly orders her squad.

    The two Marasais, which carry between them a powerful Hyperbazooka particle cannon, charge the massive WMD powered by the twin mobile suits' nuclear fusion battery packs. The Marasais take aim at the crippled Salamis closest to the Moonshadow and its Jegan escort.

    "We have a lock on the enemy ship's nuclear fusion engine," reports Carney, the pilot of one of the two Marasais.

    "Fire at will," Cait replies.

    Electromagnetically charged hellfire erupts forth from the muzzle of the massive Hyperbazooka particle cannon. The brilliant light of the beam is the brightest object in local space for a moment, until the explosion of the Salamis' nuclear fusion engine overwhelms even its extreme luminosity.

    The shockwave of the nuclear explosion within such proximity throws the Federation mobile suits like rag dolls in a hurricane. Several Jegans collide, the force of impact causing them to fragment. The shockwave alone damages several more.

    Aboard the Moonshadow, Captain N'Gula and his crew grit their teeth and brace themselves as the shockwave of the explosion rocks their ship. Despite the Moonshadow's great mass (twice that of a Salamis-class battlecruiser) and extra thick armor, the great cargo ship is buffeted helplessly by the tremendous force unleashed by its escort ship's explosion.

    Captain N'Gula manages to snarl out, "Damage report!"

    A crewman replies, "Sorry, sir. All systems except emergency life support are offline."

    Captain N'Gula performs the only check he can without the benefit of the ship's computer and internal communications systems. Floating over to one of the bridge's windows, he takes in a visual assessment of the damage.

    Decks 1-11 on the ship's port side had taken severe damage; that portion of the ship looked like it had been stricken by a comet. The damaged decks included crew quarters, peripheral navigational systems, and a few of the less important storage areas.

    Fortunately, Captain N'Gula reflects, that hit did not, as far as I can tell from here, penetrate the reinforced inner cargo hold. If it had...

    The captain shudders at the terrible thought of what could have happened, and his fears escalate as he remembers that it could yet happen if there were to be a follow up strike.

    "Sir," a tech replies, "communications are out. I can't contact the escort squadron or Garrison Noah. We're a sitting duck, sir."

    N'Gula figured as much. For the moment, he, his crew, his ship, and its precious cargo was at the mercy of whoever it was that had attacked them.

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

    Carney surveys the damage and reports to his commanding officer, Caitlin O'Rourke, "Ma'am, confirming that the enemy escort squadron has been eliminated. Primary objective has also been disabled."

    "Excellent," Caitlin replies, "Third Phase!"

    With that command, the Caitlin's Jagd Doga and the four mobile suits under her command extend long metallic cables from nacelles within the mecha's fuselages. These magnetically-charged cables attach themselves to the hull of the Moonshadow.

    "Primary objective secured, ma'am," Carney reports.

    Caitlin tells her squad, "Attention all units. We have what we came for. Let's go."

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

    In the MS deck of Garrison Noah, the Centurion Team is sprinting towards its mobile suits.

    Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh pulls on her helmet and seals the O-ring of her normalsuit as she leaps into the cockpit of the RX-780, now designated the Centurion Gundam.

    Episode 5 to be continued...

  17. #57
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    The other Centurion Team pilots also board their mobile suits, RGM-95 GM-IVs and, in the case of artillery specialists Al-Said and Higashi, RGC-100 Guncannon-100s.

    Captain Athena Ibaz boards her newly delivered commanding officer's mobile suit, the RMS-100S Cour De Leon, a new prototype mobile suit designed for eventual assignment to all Earth Federation Special Forces commanding officers. The Cour De Leon is a transformable mobile suit, inspired by the AEUG's MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam and the Federation's own Re-GZ mobile suit combined with elements of the MSN-00100 Hyakushiki famously used by Char Aznable during his time as AEUG leader Quattro Bagina during the Gryps Conflict.

    Athena opens the communications channel to her teammates, "This is Centurion Leader to all units. The Federation supply ship Moonshadow is under attack by unidentified hostiles in Sector T45. We will deploy to rescue the supply ship. Remember: rescuing supply ship and personnel is your top priority, not engaging the enemy, understood?"

    A chorus of "Yes, ma'ams" comes through tactical net. To Athena's disturbance, Jolie's voice is not among those she heard.

    "Chief Minh, do you copy?" Athena demands.

    "Roger that, ma'am," Jolie's voice comes reluctantly.

    Athena has no doubts about Jolie's skills, but the girl's judgment is an entirely different matter. What concerns Athena is not Jolie's battle instincts, which are the sharpest Athena has ever seen, but rather Jolie's ability to see the overall, larger goals.

    That, however, is a consideration for a quieter moment if they live to see one. For now, there is the duty at hand.

    "Centurion Team, let's move out!" Athena commands.

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

    Caitlin O'Rourke has boarded the Federation supply ship Moonshadow. Pointing her sidearm at Captain Ilongo N'Gula, Caitlin makes her demands known.

    "I require your ship and its cargo, not your lives," Caitlin tells Captain N'Gula and his crew, "After we have secured our objective, I will release you and your crew. If you resist us, however, I won't hesitate to kill all of you."

    Captain N'Gula responds, "You won't get away with this. Even if you kill the entire crew, the Federal Forces will not let you escape with this ship and its cargo. They'll destroy the ship if they have to to prevent you from getting it."

    Caitlin smiles mysteriously, "Not this ship...not with the cargo in its hold."

    The crewmen of the Moonshadow are mystified by Caitlin's remark. The Moonshadow was indeed carrying vital supplies from Earth to Side 7, including mobile suit parts and armaments that the ISRLA would find useful. Furthermore, true to Captain N'Gula's remarks, the Federation would consider the ship, its cargo, and its crew expendable if the ISRLA were to seize them. The ISRLA terrorist's remark represented an empty threat.

    But was it? Captain N'Gula's face blanched the moment that the ISRLA rebel leader mentioned the ship's cargo.

    "I wouldn't count on the Federal Forces coming to your rescue, Captain," Caitlin says to N'Gula, "My guess is that at this very moment, Federal High Command is probably scheming of ways to move us as far away from any inhabited space colony as possible."

    N'Gula swallows, unable to speak. If the enemy knew what the Moonshadow carried in its cargo hold, and was willing to exploit it, the day would end in disaster.

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

    "Anna, are you getting anything on your sensors?" Athena asks from the cockpit of her Cour De Leon.

    "Not yet ma'am," Corporal Anna Horowitz answers, "this is where the Moonshadow was last heard from, but there's not a trace of her here now."

    From the cockpit of the Centurion Gundam, Jolie spots pieces of metallic debris, "There was definitely a firefight here. This must have been the Moonshadow's escort squad."

    Athena magnifies the image of the debris on her scanner, confirming Jolie's observation, "This is Jegan wreckage...no sign of enemy debris. The escort squad was routed."

    Jolie remarks, "Looks like the enemy hijacked the Moonshadow...probably for supplies."

    Athena reflects upon that, "Great trouble to go through for supplies. It would have been easier for them to raid one of our supply depots closer to Side 3 than hijack a single ship out here near Side 7. They took quite a risk for a relatively small gain."

    "Maybe it's propaganda," Geoff Sutcliffe pipes up, "You know...just to show the Federation that the ISRLA can strike so close to our base at Side 7."

    "I doubt it," Athena responds, "That would only be the case if they put on a spectacular show of force. They're being stealthy; the civilian media isn't even aware of what's going on here."

    Even as she speaks, Athena pulls up a readout of the Minovsky particle saturation in the area. It is not unusual for this part of space to be heavily saturated with Minovsky particles (most of which are released by the Federation itself to deter enemy long range attacks), but there is a mysteriously higher concentration approximately 57 kilometers out at bearing seven-zero.

    "Anna," Athena says, "Bearing seven-zero, 57 kilometers out. Is the concentration of Minovsky paticles usually that high?"

    Anna runs the current data against previously-gathered reconnaissance data, "No, ma'am, not out there. That extends a little further than the Federal Forces usually release Minovsky particles within the Side 7 zone."

    Athena smiles, They released excess Minovsky particles to shield themselves from detection. Ironically, in so doing, they left a marker for us to follow.

    "All right," Athena says, "Proceed to Bearing two-five-zero."

    The squad begins to protest, and Anna is the first to speak, "Two-five-zero? That's directly opposite to where the Minovsky particle concentration is, Captain."

    "Don't question your orders; just follow them," Athena replies tersely, but evenly before she issues an additional order to her junior executive officer, "Jolie, I want you to separate from the squad and investigate the Minovsky field concentration. If you find the source, neutralize it and rendezvous with us immediately."

    Jolie, understanding Athena's plan, replies, "Yes, ma'am."

    Athena continues, "The rest of you follow me. Approach slowly and cautiously. When we make contact with the enemy, your objective is to draw the enemy away from the Moonshadow. Move out."

    Episode 5 to be continued...

  18. #58
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    The ending of the latest installment has been modified since I posted it yesterday; I feel that the modification better illustrates Athena's cunning and ability to "read" her enemies.

  19. #59
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Episode 5 continued...

    At the center of the heavy Minovsky particle concentration at 57 kilometers Bearing seven-zero relative the Centurion Team's previous position, a dark-colored AMX-017 Quebeley Mass-Production Type lies in wait.

    The pilot of the Quebeley is 29-year old Jordan Sinclair. Sinclair is a veteran of the previous decade's First Neo Zeon War. Ten years ago, as a teenager, he was recruited by the young Neo Zeon warlord Glemy Toto for Toto's so-called "Newtype Corps." Sinclair is an Artificially Enhanced Human...one of a few dozen developed by either the Earth Federation's Titans Corps or the Axis Neo Zeon Empire through chemical, surgical, and nanotechnological means to mimic or enhance the powers of Newtypes.

    Sinclair was not deployed until just days before the Battle of Core 3 in U.C. 0089, the event that marked the end of the First Neo Zeon War. He had taken part in Glemy Toto's attempt to usurp control of the Neo Zeon Empire from Imperial Regent Haman Khan and Duchess Minerva Zabi (now the Centurion Team's Captain Athena Ibaz). Sinclair survived the conflict and was eventually captured by Federation/AEUG forces two months after the end of the war. Sinclair spent the next three years in a Federation military prison camp at Luna II, until resurgent Neo Zeon forces under the command of Colonel Char Aznable began raiding Federation bases for useable resources, both human and material, that it would use in its renewed war against Earth.

    The Luna II Raid of September, U.C. 0092 was the first sign that the Federation had of an imminent new strike by Neo Zeon elements. Leading the Neo Zeon attack that day was a young Newtype by the name of Caitlin O'Rourke. 2Lt. O'Rourke's orders that day was to liberate as many of the Neo Zeon's captured Newtype soldiers as she could. 2Lt. O'Rourke succeeded in rescuing three, one of whom was Jordan Sinclair.

    Liberated from Federation custody, Sinclair immediately accepted a new commission in Colonel Char's Neo Zeon Imperial Forces. Sinclair didn't do so for political reasons. He had never been a politically-inclined creature, and despite several years of imprisonment and mistreatment by Federation Forces authorities, he had no interest in revenge. He joined to be with his rescuer, 2Lt. Caitlin O'Rourke, with whom he had fallen in love.

    For six meteoric months, Jordan and Caitlin were twin aces in Colonel Char's forces, wreaking significant damage against the Federation's space forces near Side 1. After Colonel Char's defeat, Jordan and Caitlin drifted together for a time before hiring out their skills and abilities as mercenary killers. Their ruthless efficiency had made them highly attractive to both the criminal underworld and anti-Federation groups that were able and willing to pay the necessary price for their services. Soon, the Twin Starkillers, as they had come to be known, developed a fearsome reputation in Federation intelligence circles.

    A year ago, the Twin Starkillers were recruited by the Independent Spacenoid Republic Liberation Army. The ISRLA was planning a vital operation that would require a year's preparation and the skills of the deadliest mobile suit pilots that money could buy. For a payment of gold boullion upon which Jordan and Caitlin could comfortably retire, the Twin Starkillers agreed to take on the assignment as the last and most dangerous job of their career. Jordan and Caitlin had vowed to each other that they would perform this final mission together, and if they survived, they would settle down peacefully together - never piloting mobile suits or killing people for politics or money ever again. Failing that, Jordan and Caitlin would die together, the Twin Starkillers forever united in life or death.

    It is this dream that drives Jordan Sinclair and Caitlin O'Rourke, a son and daughter of a generation of war, to this desperate gambit.

    Jordan's Quebeley is equipped with a Minvosky particle generator, a device that the ISRLA acquired at great cost. Jordan and Caitlin had agreed on a plan in which Jordan would draw away the Federal Forces while Caitlin and the other members of the squad that the ISRLA had assigned to them would carry out the capture of a Federation supply ship whose cargo is of great interest to both the Federation and the ISLRLA.

    The Minvosky particles are meant to confuse the Federation, but the particles equally affect the sensors of Jordan's Quebeley. Nevertheless, Jordan's Newtype sensitivity alerts him to the approach of an interloper.

    A heavy pressure weighs upon Jordan's head, tightening around his cerebral cortex like a vise. Such intense pressure, Jordan reflects, is a sign that there's a powerful Newtype in the area. The Federation has a pilot whose Newtype abilities rival or surpass even mine and Caitlin's. I'll need to use special caution.

    Vectoring towards at Mach 1.5 towards the Minovsky field that shrouds Jordan Sinclair's Quebeley is the Federation's new prototype mobile suit Centurion Gundam, piloted by Chief Warrant Officer Jolie Minh.

    Episode 5 to be continued...

  20. #60
    Senior Member sheraldine's Avatar
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    u betta update regularly, ken

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