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Thread: Mobile Suit Gundam - The Second Century (Part 2: The Second Century)

  1. #41
    Senior Member sheraldine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Episode 2 continued...

    Jonah looks at the two beautiful young women dreamily, “I’d hang with you two anywhere.”

    Episode 2 continued...
    men!


  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine View Post
    men!


    Something would be seriously wrong with Jonah if the likes of Jolie and Athena didn't hold his attention.

  3. #43
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    BTW, sheraldine (and everyone else reading), I added the following lines of dialogue for Athena and Jolie to Post # 39:

    "Funny you should say that," Jolie says wryly, "Weren't you the one who told me the other day not to rush things? Nice advice, talking out of both sides of your mouth, 'Thena."

    Athena grins, ready for that, "I told you to not rush in without a plan, but I didn't tell you to dither indecisively. Being able to strike the balance between caution and promptness is the the art of victors. Remember that, Jolie."


    I had to add that in belatedly because I realized that Athena had given Jolie two contradictory pieces of advice: first, don't rush in; second, don't hesitate. So I had to clarify what Athena was actually trying to communicate to Jolie.

    So if you're inclined, re-read that part with the added dialogue; it makes much more sense that way.

  4. #44
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    EPISODE 3: ANTEBELLUM

    An alarm clock sounds in Jonah Michaels’ quarters at the Centurion Team’s barracks at Garrison Noah. Jonah emerges blearily from under the covers and turns the infernal noisemaker off. The hour is 0700.

    On most days, he would already be three hours AWOL for duty, but today is Sunday…a rare day off for the Centurion Team.

    Which doesn’t mean that Jonah plans to spend the day in bed. Free time is too valuable a commodity in military life to waste away by sleeping.

    Jonah rises and dresses, in civilian clothes for the first time in what seems like ages…loafers, a pair of jeans, t-shirt, and letterman style jacket. To Jonah, such garb feels much more natural than the Earth Federation Forces uniform he is obliged to wear during most of the week.

    Jonah is looking forward to completing the sketch he started making of Jolie on the day he met her, about a week and a half ago. But why face a sketch when the real thing is just a few doors down the corridor?

    Jonah opens the door to his private quarters. He has scarcely stepped out of the room when Jolie appears as if out of the air and latches onto his arm.

    Has she been camping out all night here, or did she just teleport in right now? Jonah wonders.

    “A-ha! Finally!” Jolie bubbles, all youthful, girlish energy, “Let’s go!”

    Jonah regards Jolie and feels his heart race. Like himself, Jolie is wearing civilian garb: a denim outfit with a jacket and a skirt even shorter than her uniform's (a centimeter or two shorter and she’d likely be busted by the authorities for indecent exposure). Her beautifully shaped feet are exposed by the black flip flops she is wearing.



    Jolie's fashion sense tends towards short skirts. It should be noted that Jolie is approximately twelve or thirteen years younger than Joey Meng appears in this photo, so adjust your visualization accordingtly.

    Waking up to a sight like this can certainly make a guy’s day, Jonah thinks to himself with a smile.

    “Where are we going, Jolie?” Jonah asks.

    “Remember that favor I wanted you to back me up on the first day you were here?” Jolie asks.

    “Yeah,” Jonah replies, having been curious about it for quite some time, but having not pressed the issue with Jolie.

    “Well, now’s when you have to make good on it,” Jolie says with mischief in her eyes.

    “Uh-oh,” Jonah says.

    “Uh-oh, what?” Jolie demands, “You’re not gonna back out on me, are you?”

    Jonah says, “No, of course not…but I’d feel a lot better if I knew just what it is I’m supposed to be backing you up on.”

    “You’ll know soon enough,” Jolie teases, “Just come with me.”


    A few minutes later, Jolie and Jonah are in Major Athena Ibaz’s office. Unlike Jolie and Jonah, Athena is, as usual, in her Earth Federation Forces uniform. Athena has given her subordinates the day’s leave, but the workaholic Centurion Leader has a full business day scheduled in preparation for the team’s deployment to the Outer Solar System in two weeks.

    “A dance party?” Athena asks, rubbing a hand through her lovely reddish-gold hair.

    “Yeah,” Jolie says, “you know…for the team. We’re gonna be on full combat status after we’re deployed, and we won’t have any R&R until who knows when! It’ll be good for morale.”

    Jolie elbows Jonah, giving him his cue.

    Jonah adds, “Major Ibaz, I agree with 1Lt. Minh. Good morale is a key component to victory. A demoralized corps of troops can’t hope to prevail because they don’t believe there’s a good life worth fighting for. Our unit is going to be deployed for months…possibly longer. It would greatly help our cause if our soldiers go into battle with relaxed minds.”

    Athena, who has been smiling through Jonah’s spiel, asks, “Are you finished, Chief Michaels?”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Jonah replies.

    “That was some speech,” Athena says, then turns her gaze at Jolie, “Did you put this poor boy on the spot for you?”

    “No!” Jolie says defensively, “He…um, he really feels that way, don’t you, Jonah?”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Jonah says, addressing both Athena and Jolie simultaneously, “It’s my observation, although I basically agree with what Lt. Minh has already said.”

    “All right,” Athena finally says with a sigh, “No need for the elaborate charade. If you want to do this dance party, you have my permission, but Jolie: you’re in charge of organizing it and supervising it. I’ve got my hands full with three dozen somewhat more important matters right now.”

    “Just leave it to me,” Jolie grins.

    “So just when are you planning on having this dance party?” Athena asks, pouring herself a cup of coffee.

    “Tonight!” Jolie replies.

    Athena looks at Jonah, who shrugs helplessly.

    “Tonight?” Athena says, pulling out her handkerchief from the breast pocket of her uniform to wipe her elegant, slender fingers, “Isn’t that cutting things a little close?”

    “I have like eleven hours,” Jolie says, “I can get it all done in three!”

    “Just what’s your plan?” Athena asks.

    Always asking for a plan! Jolie thinks to herself in frustration. Athena could be so anal sometimes.

    “The Andromeda Nightclub is doing a 1950s/1960s rock revival dance tonight starting at 21:00…real live band as well as a deejay,” Jolie says.

    “Sounds interesting,” Athena concedes, replacing the handkerchief in her uniform breast pocket, “All right. You take care of it, then.”

    “Thanks, ‘Thena! You’re the greatest!” Jolie enthuses, “C’mon, Jonah! We’ve got a lotta ground to cover today!”

    Jolie drags Jonah away again, leaving Athena in her office.

    Athena smiles. Jolie and Jonah amuse her no end. She needs no other diversion: just watching the two of them operate is amusement enough.

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  5. #45
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    Episode 3 continued...

    Elsewhere in Green Noah One Colony, a military shuttle touches down in the gigantic airlock of the Green Noah spaceport. No sooner does the shuttle come to a halt on the deck of the airlock than does a convoy of limousines rush towards the spacecraft.

    The limousines come to a halt. From the limousine farthest back in the convoy exits General Bright Noah of the Earth Federation Forces. General Noah and his staff wait expectantly as a mobile staircase is positioned at the space shuttle’s door.

    After a few minutes, the shuttle door opens. Standing at the threshold of the door is an Earth Federation Forces officer.

    Captain Beecher Olech, age twenty-seven, is a veteran of the First Neo Zeon War. Some eleven years earlier, he was drafted into the AEUG under circumstances so incredible that even Beecher can barely believe that it all happened. Born and raised in the Shangrila Colony of Side 1, Beecher had been a salvage collector when, in U.C. 0088, he and his friends Judau Ashta, Judau’s younger sister Reina, Elle Viano (now his wife, Elle Viano Olech), Roux Rouka, Ino Abbav, and Mondo Agake became the new crew of the AEUG flagship Ahrgama after most of the ship’s original crew had been killed, disabled, or turned up missing after the final battle against the Titans at the Gate of Zedan in early U.C. 0088. Beecher became a crewman under Captain Bright Noah’s command aboard the Ahrgama, and the desperate shortage of personnel faced by the AEUG in general and the Ahrgama in particular meant that Beecher, through the course of the war against Haman Khan’s Neo Zeon Forces, served as his comrades did as everything from frontline mobile suit pilot to cook to laundry room attendant.

    Early in his days as an Ahrgama crewman, Beecher had been known as a self-centered practical joker and all-around goofball. Beecher and his friends matured quickly through the course of the war, however, and during the war’s final months, Beecher was actually placed in command of the Ahrgama’s successor, the flagship Nahl Ahrgama. Beecher led his comrades to victory against the Neo Zeon in late U.C. 0088, becoming a hero of the AEUG/Earth Federation Alliance during that war.

    After war’s end, almost all of Beecher’s friends returned to civilian life. Judau went to Jupitarius with Roux Rouka, and last Beecher heard, the two had gotten married. Reina became a schoolteacher back in her home colony of Shangrila. Beecher’s old buddies Ino and Mondo invested the handsome reward pension they were awarded by the Earth Federation Government into an engineering firm that has since grown relatively successful (it’s no Anaheim Electronics, but it’s profitable enough to ensure that Ino and Mondo will retire in style someday). Beecher, having acquired a taste for command, formally enlisted in the Earth Federation Forces Space Fleet in U.C. 0089. For his distinguished service to the Federation as a volunteer/freedom fighter during the First Neo Zeon War, Beecher was fast-tracked into a command position, being given his first formal command of a Federation warship in U.C. 0092. Beecher was not assigned to the combat theater of the brief Second Neo Zeon War in U.C. 0093, but has steadily been commanding patrol ships for the Federal Forces in both Cislunar Space and the Outer Solar System for the past six years.

    In U.C. 0095, Beecher finally married his longtime girlfriend Elle Viano, whom he’d known since they were in high school together. Elle piloted the RX-178 Gundam MK-II during the First Neo Zeon War and had saved Beecher’s life on a half dozen occasions (and he, hers on an equal number of occasions). They had fallen in love towards the end of that war and had been together since. At present, Elle is pregnant with their first child, and Beecher's acceptance of a new command at this time has caused no small dispute between the couple. But how could he turn down General Noah’s request? General Noah has great faith in Beecher’s decision-making and leadership abilities, and has tapped Beecher specifically for this new command. Once the worst example of insubordination and lack of discipline, Beecher has ironically grown to become an excellent commanding officer,

    Beecher removes his officer’s hat to reveal his short cropped hair. Long gone is the shaggy mullet of his youth, replaced by a much neater, much more military-appropriate cut. He had been such a slob during his youth that it is difficult for those who had known him then to see him as the polished, “STRAC” officer he is today.

    Beecher approaches General Noah and salutes the senior officer smartly, “General Noah. Captain Beecher Olech of the Federal Space Fleet reporting for duty, sir!”

    Bright returns the salute with a smile, “At ease, Captain.”

    The two men shake hands. It has been years since they’ve seen each other, but when General Noah proposed deploying the new Federal Forces battlecarrier Amuro Ray to the Outer Solar System, Captain Olech was the first man who came to Bright’s mind to serve as the ship’s commanding officer.

    “How has Elle been, Beecher?” Bright asks, “I hear you two are going to be parents soon. Congratulations.”

    “Thank you, sir,” Beecher replies, “Elle’s doing fine. She’s in her seventh month. She was right pissed at me when I told her I’d accepted the commission.”

    Bright chuckles, “You’ll have to forgive me for breaking up your family, Captain. Being a Federal Forces officer demands sacrifices sometimes.”

    Beecher, a hint of his old boyish playfulness emerging, replies, “Well, whatever it is we’re going to be doing, I hope we can get it wrapped up before Elle has the baby.”

    Bright sighs, “I don’t think that’s likely, unfortunately.”

    Changing the subject, Beecher says, “I’ve read the specs on the new ship, the Amuro Ray. Now that’s one hell of a ship. Armed to the gills with the latest shipboard weaponry. The most sophisticated battery of navigational computers ever installed into a spacecraft of its size. Engines that can carry the ship from Earth to Saturn in two weeks. This ship makes the old Ahrgama…even the Nahl Ahrgama look like an old 20th Century space shuttle by comparison. The idea that I was going to be given command of this baby is the only reason I agreed to this, Bright.”

    Bright replies, “Or your latent sense of military responsibility.”

    “Yeah, that too,” Beecher says, “Who’d have thunk it, huh?”

    Bright tells Beecher, “A Special Forces unit is being assigned to your ship: the Centurion Team, commanded by Major Athena Ibaz. They’ll be operating independently, but they will respect your authority as captain of the Amuro Ray.”

    “Yeah, I’ve heard of them,” Beecher replies, “They were all over the news last year. Didn’t they save your life down in Shanghai during that little Mafty brouhaha last November? They’re the team with the new Gundam, right?”

    General Noah nods, “Two of them now. They’ve recently recruited a second Newtype pilot and rolled out a new Gundam-100 unit that’s been assigned to him.”

    “Just like old times,” Beecher remarks nostalgically, his thoughts going back a decade to the days when he was part of an Ahrgama crew that boasted several Newtypes and three Gundams (the MK-II, the Z, and finally, the ZZ).

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  6. #46
    Senior Member sheraldine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    EPISODE 3: ANTEBELLUM


    Jolie's fashion sense tends towards short skirts. It should be noted that Jolie is approximately twelve or thirteen years younger than Joey Meng appears in this photo, so adjust your visualization accordingtly.

    Episode 3 to be continued...
    do you really have nearly every picture of her? it is me, or she trying to a la sharon stone?? J/K!

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheraldine View Post
    do you really have nearly every picture of her? it is me, or she trying to a la sharon stone?? J/K!
    I don't have *every* publicly released photo ever taken of her (I wish), but I don't think it would be too far to suggest that I might have the largest private collection of her photos in North America, at least.

    In this photo, I think she's trying to *avoid* a "Sharon Stone" situation.

    That becomes something of an inside joke with Jolie too, given her short skirts. This *is* anime, after all...

  8. #48
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    Episode 3 continued...

    Jonah sits in a comfortable easy chair at a fashion boutique in Green Oasis City. He stretches tiredly and glances at his watch. 12:15.

    Since 10:00, Jolie has already led Jonah through a good percentage of the boutiques in Green Oasis City.

    Shopping for women’s clothes is not exactly one of Jonah’s favorite pastimes, and he has already endured over two hours of it. It’s a small price to pay, however, for being able to be with Jolie, especially seeing her in some of the outfits she’s been trying on.

    Jolie is looking for something in a 1950s/1960s style, but none of the outfits she’s tried on has quite fit her requirements. Jonah isn’t sure what Jolie has in mind, but is game to helping her find it.

    “Jonah,” Jolie’s voice comes from behind the curtain of a dressing booth.

    “What’s up, Jolie?” Jonah asks.

    “Could you come in here a sec?” Jolie’s voice returns from behind the curtain.

    Jonah gasps.

    “C’mon, hurry!” Jolie insists, “We haven’t got all day, boyo!”

    Jonah looks around nervously. Satisified that nobody is watching, he slips into the tiny dressing booth.

    The booth (and that’s quite truthfully all that it is…a booth) is small, as most enclosed spaces in space colonies tend to be. With Jolie and Jonah both inside the booth, there is just enough room for them to maneuver.

    Jolie is wearing a purple dress reminiscent of the “poodle skirts” of the 1950s. On the wall is hung the denim outfit she came into the boutique dressed in.

    “Zipper won’t go up on the back of the skirt,” Jolie says to Jonah, “I can’t get the angle to put any leverage into it. Give me a hand, ‘K?”

    “All right,” Jonah says, giving the zipper a light tug. It rises slowly, resistingly. The backs of Jonah’s fingers brush briefly upon the smooth warmth of the back of Jolie’s thighs as he struggles with the zipper.

    One sweat-inducing minute later, Jonah has the zipper in place just above the pleasant, tiny bump of Jolie’s buttocks. His face feels as hot as the surface of the sun.

    “How do I look?” Jolie asks.

    Jonah considers the awkward angle. He’s standing just a few centimeters from Jolie, “I don’t know. I can’t see that well from this angle.”

    “OK,” Jolie says, “Go back out and wait a minute. Let me get the socks and shoes on.”

    “All right,” Jonah replies, stepping out of the tiny booth back into the display area of the boutique.

    The boutique manager, a middle-aged woman, and several shoppers who have since entered the clothing retailer, give Jonah appraising glares and walk slowly away.

    Red-faced, Jonah takes a seat back in the easy chair, wondering if he will be forever known among the people of Green Oasis City as a pervert who hides in women’s dressing booths.

    Jolie emerges from the dressing booth, clad in the garb that a teenaged girl who had lived 250 years ago might have worn.

    Jonah smiles at the sight. The image is perfect: Jolie’s long, fine black hair is tied in a pony tail with a purple bandana. The white blouse, purple poodle skirt, and bobby socks complete the image.

    “Jolie,” Jonah says, trying to find the right words to convey his delight, “You look incredibly cute.”

    Jolie grins brightly in response, augmenting the cuteness factor far beyond safe levels. Jonah begins to wonder if he’s too young to have a stroke.

    “OK. I’ll take this outfit then,” Jolie says. She disappears back into the booth to change back into her regular clothes.

    The store manager approaches Jonah and asks, “Is that pretty young lady your girlfriend?”

    Surprised by the suddenness and directness of the question, Jonah can only stammer, “Um…w-well, we kind of just met a week or two ago. She’s very friendly and sweet though, and I like her…a lot.”

    The store manager smiles, “She comes in here about twice a month…sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. She’s an army girl. A mobile suit pilot, I think.”

    Jonah says, “I know. I’m in the same military unit that she’s in. In fact, she’s my direct superior.”

    “Oh,” the store manager replies, somewhat embarrassed, “That’s a surprise. I would have never guessed you’re a soldier. You look more like a student.”

    Jonah smiles, indicating the dressing booth with a toss of his head, “Well, she doesn’t look like your average soldier either.”

    “No, she doesn’t,” the store manager concedes, “she reminds me of my daughter. So young, so pretty, and so full of life. I think it’s awful that young people like you are being forced to fight in the war. What’s the point?”

    What indeed? Jonah wonders glumly.

    Jolie emerges from the dressing booth, the outfit she has decided to purchase in hand. She brings it to the store manager for checkout.

    “Found what you wanted?” the store manager smiles.

    “Yep,” Jolie replies, “Pretty much what I had in mind.”

    The price of the outfit is significant, although not unreasonable, and Jolie, as an officer and veteran, can afford it. Never one to save her money, Jolie probably would have purchased the outfit even if she couldn’t afford it.

    Mission accomplished, Jolie takes Jonah by the arm and begins dragging him along once again, “Let’s go!”

    One thing is for certain, Jonah reflects, Hanging out with this girl is going to definitely keep me in shape…or leave me dead from exhaustion!

    Episode 3 continued...

  9. #49
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    Episode 3 continued...

    Having blown a substantial portion of her monthly salary on her party dress, Jolie decides to keep lunch simple. She and Jonah are sitting at an outdoor (relatively speaking, as they are inside a space colony after all) café specializing in Southeast Asian casual dining. Jolie, being of Chinese-Vietnamese heritage (her ancestors were Chinese immigrants who migrated to Vietnam back in the 20th Century and had stayed there through the Vietnam War and subsequent calamities during the next two and a half centuries), is inclined to go for the quick, inexpensive, and familiar bowl of pho noodles…or two or three of them.

    Jolie seated crosslegged (Indian-style) on one of the café’s wooden chairs, works through her third bowl of pho. Jolie’s sitting in such a position in her short, tight denim miniskirt gives Jonah an exquisite view of Jolie’s long, luscious legs.

    However much his eyes are feasting, however, Jonah’s mouth is being subjected to a sensation of far less sensual appeal. Having grown up in a space colony that had few (if indeed any) inhabitants of Vietnamese descent, Jonah has never eaten pho in his life, and he finds the spiciness of the traditional Vietnamese noodle dish a bit overwhelming. It’s like having a volcano erupting inside his mouth, scorching his tongue and singing his gums. Jonah figures it’ll also be hell on his G.I. tract on the way down.

    Jonah stares amazed as Jolie polishes off her third large bowl of pho and then signals to the waiter, “Can we have an order of egg rolls here, please? Thanks!”

    Jonah, taking a long drink of ice water to cool his tongue (and cool his nerves, overheated by the sight of Jolie’s beautifully crossed legs), remarks, “You know, I have no idea how you keep that slim figure of yours. The way you eat, you should look like a balloon and weigh as much as a small cow.”

    Jolie smiles, “I eat it, but I don’t retain it. It doesn’t get a chance to turn into fat because I sh*t it all out. Every couple of days, I get these attacks of constipation where I have to push so hard to poop that I feel like I’m giving birth out of my butt.”

    Jonah puts down his chopsticks, having lost his appetite.

    Jolie begins giggling, enjoying the effect her frankness is having on Jonah, “What’s the matter? Did I gross you out?”

    Jonah takes another sip of water, smiling, “Well, yeah…there are other things you could talk about at lunch rather than your bowel habits.”

    “You’re right,” Jolie says, her voice teasing, “We could talk about your bladder habits.”

    That gets both of them laughing. Jonah is not one to indulge in toilet humor, but Jolie cracks him up. He feels completely at ease with her…largely because she’s so at ease with herself.

    Jonah admits to himself that Jolie’s complete candidness is one of the qualities he finds so appealing about her. Jolie is very direct about her thoughts and feelings, and she expresses exactly how she feels without any reservation. There is a complete honesty and lack of pretension to Jolie that Jonah admires. She is one of the few people Jonah has ever met who can say that she is true to herself, which is a quality that Jonah likes, but sees too little in most people. Jolie is an individual with no secrets.

    Jonah becomes momentarily crestfallen as he recalls that he is a being more than just a little hypocritical in this matter. Should he tell Jolie the truth about himself? How would she react if she knew that his brother was the killer of her family?

    Jolie uncrosses her legs and draws her knees up to her chest, giving Jonah an even greater eyeful. Jonah gulps, his mind blank except for the information being fed into his brain by his eyes.

    The waiter arrives with the egg rolls, and Jonah orders some more ice water. To his combined relief *and* disappointment, Jolie lowers her legs into a normal seating position, her bare feet settling back into her flip flops.

    I don’t think she’s even aware how much she’s turning me on, Jonah thinks to himself, closer to the truth than even he suspects.

    During his high school years, Jonah had no shortage of casual “girlfriends,” but those were, without exception, social acquaintances…friends in the platonic sense. There had been a number of girls he had known that he had found attractive, but those were usually forgotten after a short time. None have ever come even close to mesmerizing him the way Jolie has. Jolie has initiated something of a second sexual awakening after puberty for Jonah, but her attractiveness to him runs much deeper than her obvious sex appeal. From the moment that he first saw her, Jonah has not been able to shake (nor has he wanted to shake) an indelible feeling that somehow, he and Jolie had always been destined for each other.

    Chewing on an egg roll in a manner that convinces Jonah that Freud was right about everything he had written in Psychoanalysis, Jolie says, “JoMi JoMi...”, pronouncing it “joe me, joe me.”

    “I’m sorry, what?” replies Jonah, distracted on several levels.

    “I just noticed our names,” Jolie says, “They’re kind of similar. JOlie MInh. JOnah MIchaels.”

    If she knew my real surname, they’d be even closer, Jonah thinks, before replying with a grin, “Yeah…you’re right. Hah. I never thought about that.”

    Jolie smiles, “Maybe we really were meant for each other. Hmmm… that gives me an idea.”

    Wondering what crazy scheme Jolie has in mind now, Jonah says, “Uh-oh…”

    “There you go with the 'uh-oh' again,” Jolie says in mock anger, “Why 'uh-oh' now?”

    “Uh-oh,” Jonah says grinning, “because your ‘ideas’ usually get us into trouble.”

    “This one won’t,” Jolie promises, asking the waiter to bring the bill for their meal, “I promise you: this is going to be cool!”

    After a little struggle over who gets to pay the bill (a struggle that Jolie ultimately lets Jonah prevail in), Jolie leads Jonah into town again.

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  10. #50
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    Episode 3 continued...


    Back at Garrison Noah, Major Athena Ibaz is locked in her office, carefully studying a top secret file on her computer containing a detailed diagram of Phobos Fortress in Mars orbit. The Earth Federation Intelligence Agency has accumulated data on all the major Neo Zeon fortifications in the Outer Solar System, and Athena is studying them for points of vulnerability. Athena makes notes on Phobos Fortress’ troop deployment patterns and armaments distribution, as well as where key infrastructure necessary for the moon fortress’ operation lie.

    The Special Forces’ assignment to the Outer Solar System, officially, is strictly observational and, if necessary, defensive. Athena has no illusions about the Special Forces launching a frontal assault against any of the Neo Zeon factions in the Outer Solar System. The Outer Solar System is now the domain of the Zeon; the Federation has very little military presence out there. Although the Neo Zeon factions are scattered and at odds with one another, any one of them still has many times more than adequate resources to rout a Federation Special Forces unit so far removed from Cislunar Space. As Athena understands it, the Federal Forces are sending a fleet of seven ships, including the battlecarrier Amuro Ray, to which the Centurion Team has been assigned, for this mission. That’s enough to protect a space colony from stray Zeon incursions, but not nearly enough to fight a full scale war.

    Athena has long supported General Bright Noah’s proposal to take the war to the Neo Zeon in the Outer Solar System. Over the past twenty years, Zeon has threatened Earth three times under three regimes. General Noah reasons that Earth will continue to be threatened by Zeon unless the Zeon are put down once and for all.

    For personal as well as pragmatic reasons, Athena is in complete agreement with this goal.

    The relatively paltry forces assigned to this particular mission, however, indicate that the Federation Security Council does not support such an objective. Typical. The Federation’s weakness has always been that it has always been reactive rather than proactive. The Federation should have stopped the Zeon from the massive arms development it conducted during the U.C. 0070s. The Federation did not, and the result was the One Year War. The Federation should have pursued the Zeon to Axis Fortress in the Asteroid Belt, but did not; the consequence was the First Neo Zeon War. The Federation should have given greater resources to the Lond Bell Force to pursue Colonel Char Aznable. The Federation did not, and as a consequence, Char came close to creating the nightmare of nuclear winter on Earth before he was foiled by the sacrifice of Captain Amuro Ray.

    Unfortunately, Athena concedes, the Federation is likely to make that mistake once again.

    Sighing, Athena draws a cigarette, places it into her mouth, and lights it. She blows forth some smoke before turning her thoughts to another concern.

    Athena contemplates, Jolie seems to be really attracted to that new pilot, Jonah Michaels. As Jolie’s friend, I’m happy for her. As her commanding officer, I’m worried that it’ll affect her combat effectiveness. It could be a distraction she can’t afford in battle.

    Athena shakes her head, placing her cigarette on an ashtray, Someone once said that love is the first casualty of war. Truer words perhaps have never been spoken.

    Athena opens the drawer of her desk. She takes out a framed photograph of Hathaway Noah, recently provided to her by her friend, Dory Ischinda.

    Athena contemplates the image of the roguishly handsome young man, inhaling deeply again from her cigarette.

    Athena gently touches the image with her slender, delicate fingers, wishing she could touch the substance of Hathaway’s actual person rather than just his image on celluloid.

    Athena sighs, and replaces the framed photograph in her drawer, closing it.

    I can’t afford to be distracted either, Athena resolves.

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  11. #51
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    Episode 3 continued...

    At a small shop in downtown Green Oasis City that specializes in the making of embroidered patches, Jolie is explaining to the clerk what she wants.

    “It’s for two military jackets, Federal Forces style,” Jolie tells the clerk, “I want it to say “JoMi, JoMi…that’s “capital ‘J’, small ‘o’ and capital ‘M’, small ‘i’ on two rows on a black field.”

    Jolie calls out to Jonah, who is sketching something onto a piece of paper, “Hey, Jonah…are you ready with that design?”

    “Almost,” Jonah says, working the pencil gently, but steadily, “Just a few more details…there. What do you think?”

    Jolie admires the design…a stylized “C” (for Centurion) enveloping two hearts, bearing the logo “JoMi, JoMi.”

    “What does ‘JoMi, JoMi’ mean anyway?” the clerk asks, curious.

    Jolie explains, “My name is Jolie Minh. His name is Jonah Michaels. Our names are kind of similar, so that’s why it’s ‘JoMi, JoMi.’”

    “I see,” says the clerk, smiling, “Are you two engaged or anything like that?”

    Jonah and Jolie look at each other, exchanging embarrassed smiles, and Jonah says, “Actually, we just met a week or two ago.”

    “Some couples tie the knot after even less time,” the clerk remarks.

    “Speaking of time,” Jolie says, “how much time will you need to make the patches?”

    The clerk shrugs, “Twenty minutes, maybe. Half hour, tops. Want to wait around while I make them?”

    “Yeah,” Jolie enthuses.

    The clerk takes the design and sets off the work to make the customized patches.

    As they watch the clerk work the sewing machine, Jonah says, “Do you think Athena will mind our adding these to our uniforms?”

    “Nah,” Jolie says, “she’s not uptight like that. She’ll probably ask us about it, but she won’t make us tear them off our uniforms or anything.”

    “I just wonder if we’re sending the wrong message to the rest of the team,” Jonah says, “That we’re different from them. Special, somehow.”

    “There you go again,” Jolie says rolling her eyes, “Don’t sweat it. Besides, we are special. We’re a team within a team. We’re the Centurion Team’s ‘JoMi, JoMi’ Duo!”

    Jonah smiles. Jolie has that effect of putting him at ease with her boundless vivacity and humor.

    Twenty minutes later, the patches are finished. Jonah and Jolie are quite pleased with the result and pay the clerk for his services.

    They place the patches on each other’s upper arms at the spot where eventually, they will be sewn onto their uniform jackets: “JoMi, JoMi.”

    It is to be their unique signifier, their code, forever. Shared by no others.

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  12. #52
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    Episode 3 continued...


    When the space colonies were first designed a century and a half in the past, engineers and social scientists alike agreed that for the sanity of the colonies’ inhabitants, the internal environment of the space colonies would need to resemble that of Earth as much as technology would allow. After one-hundred and fifty years, those engineers and social scientists have achieved great success in this endeavor, and literally billions of people (the lion’s share of the human population, in fact) lives in reasonable comfort in the space colonies. The vast majority of the Spacenoid population can live their entire lives in the space colonies, never setting foot on the mother planet (the realm of elites). Inter-colonial immigration has become common since the end of the One Year War, with many people choosing to depart the crowded Cislunar colonies for the Frontier colonies in the Outer Solar System.

    Side 7’s Green Noah 1 Space Colony, Green Oasis (site of the Garrison Noah Federal Forces base), is among the youngest space colonies in Cislunar Space. Completed just before the beginning of the One Year War, it is highly favored by space colonists loyal to the Earth Federation given its proximity to Earth and great distance from Side 3, the epicenter of Zeon. Side 7 has not been immune to Zeon incursion. Indeed, a turning point in the One Year War occurred at Side 7 in September of U.C. 0079 when the Zeon launched a destructive, but unsuccessful attempt to capture or destroy the Federation’s V-Project mobile suits…the original RX-78 Gundam, RX-77 Guncannon, and RX-75 Guntank.

    An extraordinary combination of civilian urban center and military base, Green Oasis is one of the relatively few space colonies to feature a topography of rolling green hills. Those fortunate to have lived on or at least visited Earth have compared Side 7’s hills to those of Scotland on Earth, punctuated by suburban areas and more heavily populated urban zones. The hills of Green Oasis, artificial though they might be, nevertheless provide the colony’s inhabitants with a place to which they can momentarily escape the cares of their lives and find some tranquility.

    Jonah and Jolie have ascended to the top of one of these hills, from which they can see the entire layout of Green Oasis Colony. Their home and headquarters, Garrison Noah, lies six kilometers on the other side of the colony, clear across the colony’s long axis.

    Jonah and Jolie sit back-to-back, leaning against one another. In two hours, they would need to return to Garrison Noah, but before that, they want to cherish every second of precious free time that they have.

    “It’s so peaceful here,” Jonah says, closing his eyes, feeling the circulating internal air conditioning that passes for a fresh breeze in a space colony, “I wish we could stay up here forever.”

    Jolie says, “I don’t. This grass is prickly to sit on.”

    “Oh, come on,” Jonah teases, “Where’s your appreciation of nature?”

    “Nature?!” Jolie laughs, “Jonah, we’re inside a space colony!”

    “All right, then,” Jonah concedes, “Artificial nature. How’s that for an oxymoron?”

    “An oxy…what?” Jolie asks.

    “’Oxymoron,’” Jonah repeats, then explains, “That’s when two words contradict each other. Like ‘artificial nature,’ or ‘jumbo shrimp,’ or ‘dry water’…you get the idea.”

    “Oh,” Jolie says noncommittally, barely listening, “You know, my vocabulary is barely eighth grade level. I stopped going to school when I was in fifth grade. During the past two years, though, Athena has been tutoring me and helping me to catch up a little.”

    “I’m sorry,” Jonah says, “I didn’t mean to make you feel self-conscious.”

    Jolie smiles, “Forget it. I wasn’t much of a student even when I was in school. I think I was getting straight C’s the last semester before my family was killed.”

    “Didn’t like to study?” Jonah asks.

    “Hated it,” Jolie says, “But Athena’s turned me on to reading a bit. She dropped a ton of books on me the first day I joined the Centurion Team.”

    “Any favorites?” Jonah asks.

    Jolie replies, “Macbeth by Shakespeare was pretty cool, once you got past all that old English B.S. I also liked Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Athena showed me the movie Apocalypse Now which was based on that book, and it was pretty good.”

    “Ever read any Dickens?” Jonah asks, “like A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations?”

    “Nah,” Jolie says, “Dickens is too long-winded. Athena gave me A Tale of Two Cities once and I swear I couldn’t get past that first paragraph.”

    “It’s a great book,” Jonah remarks, “About love and sacrifice in a time of conflict and hatred.”

    “I’ve read a book like that,” Jolie says, “Ever read The Giant Eagle and Its Companion by Louis Cha?”

    “No,” Jonah confesses, “I’m sorry. I’ve never even heard of it.”

    Jolie laughs, “I’m not surprised. Even these days, few non-Asian people know about it. I was kind of surprised that Athena did, but that girl knows EVERYTHING.”

    “What’s it about?” Jonah asks.

    “It’s an adventure story,” Jolie says, “but mostly it’s a love story…about a man who waited sixteen years for his lover, even though he had no idea whether or not she was still alive.”

    “Sounds tragic,” Jonah says.

    “It ended happily,” Jolie says.

    “Not all stories do,” Jonah remarks darkly.

    “I hope ours does,” Jolie says softly.

    Jonah feels the soft warmth of Jolie’s hand touching his. He gently grasps her hand and holds it lovingly in his own. Jolie leans back closer to him and closes her eyes. Jonah hears the telltale sound of contentment in the gentle sigh that Jolie lets out.

    Jonah relaxes, soaking in the happiness he feels at the moment. When he left Phobos City, he had no idea that he would find Jolie, but now that he has, he counts all his blessings that fate has led him across the cosmos to her.

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  13. #53
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    Episode 3 continued...

    Far, far away, millions of kilometers across space from where teenagers contemplate the first stirrings of love, the tides of war gather and swell once again.

    From the bridge of his flagship Cassius, General Alexander Miguel is deep in thought, contemplating the obstacles that he must eliminate to impose his order upon the world.

    Colonel Ross Davenport, Miguel’s first officer and personal adjutant, notices the brooding of his commanding officer, “Problem, my lord?”

    Miguel comes out of his dark contemplations to reply, “No, Roth, no. Just thinking about humanity…its weaknesses and its needs.”

    “My lord?” Davenport asks, mystified.

    “Humanity has great potential, Ross,” Miguel says, “its destiny is to reach out to the universe and rule its countless stars, but it will never reach that potential unless it rises forth from the mire.”

    Miguel rises from his seat, walks over to the forward viewing port, and takes in the vastness of the cosmos in a grand gesture, “The endless universe, waiting to be claimed by humanity’s hands if only the people could rise above their limitations. Ross, humanity is like a child who has grown to adulthood, but has never left the cradle. Its body is mature, but its mind is still infantile. To reach its potential, humanity needs a leader…a guide.”

    Davenport smiles, “The Zabis…Haman Khan…Char Aznable…all of them tried, but failed. You, my lord, will succeed.”

    Miguel replies, “Perhaps. The Zabis…Lady Haman…Colonel Char…all of them had the vision and the will to be the leader that humanity needed, but they lacked strength. At heart, they were all true Zeon, but did not bring sufficient power to bear to achieve their hallowed goals.”

    Davenport says, “And so our first goal is to accumulate and consolidate power?”

    “Correct,” Miguel says, “We will eliminate our so-called ‘rivals’ and take the power that their feeble and incapable hands are unworthy of wielding. Then, we will take the power of the moles that rule the Earth. After we have eliminated the Earth Federation forever, then I can lead the true humanity…enlightened and evolved humanity, forward to claim its true destiny.”

    “Your destiny is to rule billions, my lord,” Davenport enthuses.

    Miguel turns to his subordinate with a look of surprise, “Billions? Oh, no, Roth. We have no use for ‘billions.’ Of those billions, the vast majority are simply worthless burdens…the result of humanity’s Earthborn tendency to breed like beasts. This empty baggage will need to be eliminated before the chosen people can embrace the cosmos.”

    “My lord, do you mean…?” Davenport ventures.

    “Project Alpha/Omega: humanity’s rebirth…refined, streamlined, perfected. Doesn’t it make your heart race with excitement, Ross? You will be there to witness humanity’s ascension to a new, higher level of life. The degenerates of Earth will be artifacts of the past, and we will lead the real humanity on a glorious new course for eternity.”

    “Yes, my lord,” Davenport replies, the gleam of mad ambition and fierce loyalty in his eyes.”

    Alexander Miguel quotes from his favorite biblical passage, from Revelation 21: 1-8, “’I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.’ The slate of the old and the degenerate will be wiped clean, and a new humanity will rise proudly from the cinders of a martyred, purified, and renewed world.”

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  14. #54
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    Episode 3 continued...

    Far removed from his elder brother’s ominous and terrifying contemplations, Jonah Michaels stands outside Jolie Minh’s door at the Centurion Team’s dormitory, waiting for his girlfriend to finish dressing.

    Jonah has been able to assemble a simple outfit that approximates the look of a 1950s teenager: a letterman’s jacket, a t-shirt, blue jeans, and a pair of canvas sneakers appear to fit the bill just fine.

    Jolie, as Jonah has come to recognize as being typical of her, is taking her time dressing up. It only took her a few minutes to get into that outfit back at the boutique, so why has she been locked in that room for forty-five minutes?

    Jonah is about to knock on the door when it slides open. Jolie grabs onto Jonah’s raised hand, wrapped in a fist, and twists it down.

    “Ow,” Jonah complains.

    “Just ‘cuz I took a few minutes longer to get dressed doesn’t mean you have to get all punchy on me, Jonah,” Jolie says teasingly.

    “I wasn’t,” Jonah says, shaking his wrist, which still tingles. What kind of grip did Jolie just use on him, anyway?

    “I was about to knock on the door when…” Jonah tries to explain.

    “Never mind,” Jolie says, rolling her eyes. Jonah is adorable, but he can be kind of thick sometimes in his naivety, “You wouldn’t make a very convincing girlfriend-beater anyway. Maybe a guy who gets beaten up by his girlfriend, yeah…”

    Feeling finally coming back into his wrist, Jonah remarks, “Let’s just go.”

    “Hey, you aren’t really mad, are you?” Jolie says, “I was just kidding. Don’t be so thin-skinned!”

    Jonah isn’t, but he likes teasing Jolie as much as she likes teasing him.

    Jonah scoops Jolie off her feet in one quick move that surprises even Jolie.

    “Fine,” Jonah says, “I’ll be thick-skinned. Hope your skin is as thick as mine!”

    With that, Jonah pretends to make a vampire bite at Jolie’s neck, causing Jolie to giggle in delight.

    “So who are you?” Jolie asks as Jonah relents, “Count Vlad Jonah?”

    Jonah feigns a Transylvanian accent, “I vant to zuck your blood…”

    With that, Jonah goes after Jolie’s neck again. Competitive as ever, Jolie attempts to “bite” back.

    The door of Athena Ibaz’s quarters slide open. The commanding officer of the Centurion Team smiles as she spots her two subordinates and friends.

    “You two ought to get a room,” Athena remarks.

    “Hey,’Thena!” Jolie says, letting Jonah put her back on her feet, “That’s a great outfit you put together!”

    Indeed. Like Jolie, Athena is wearing a 1950s poodle skirt, blazing red with a similarly crimson red bandana securing the ponytail that Athena has tied her gorgeous honey-blonde hair into. Thus attired, Athena looks a good four years younger than her tender twenty years.

    “Never underestimate the inventory of a thrift shop,” Athena remarks, “The same one we use to get disguises when we’re sent on undercover missions.”

    Jolie knows the one…in one of Green Oasis City’s relatively seedier districts. Even Zeon military uniforms are available there.

    “Anyway,” Athena says, “We’d better get moving. We’ve got the Andromeda booked from 21:00 to 0:00, and we don’t want to waste anybody’s time.”

    Jolie whispers to Jonah, “Athena’s anal about punctuality like that.”

    Athena remarks from across the room, “And I’m all ears to snide little comments about me too. Let’s go, you two!”

    Jonah and Jolie dart ahead of Athena. Athena smiles at the backs of the disappearing young couple

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  15. #55
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    Episode 3 continued...

    It is Golden Age of Rock ‘n Roll Nite at the Andromeda Nightclub in Green Oasis City, a club especially popular with young Federal Forces officers. A live band is on stage playing their versions of songs that were hits during the middle decades of the 20th Century.

    The band tears through a wild rendition of “Twist and Shout,” made famous by the Isley Brothers and later, the Beatles:

    Well, shake it up, baby, now, (shake it up, baby)
    Twist and shout. (twist and shout)
    Cmon cmon, cmon, cmon, baby, now, (come on baby)
    Come on and work it on out. (work it on out)

    Well, work it on out, honey. (work it on out)
    You know you look so good. (look so good)
    You know you got me goin, now, (got me goin)
    Just like I knew you would. (like I knew you would)

    Well, shake it up, baby, now, (shake it up, baby)
    Twist and shout. (twist and shout)
    Cmon, cmon, cmon, cmon, baby, now, (come on baby)
    Come on and work it all out. (work it all out)

    You know you twist your little girl, (twist, little girl)
    You know you twist so fine. (twist so fine)
    Come on and twist a little closer, now, (twist a little closer)
    And let me know that you're mine. (let me know youre mine)

    Well, shake it up, baby, now, (shake it up, baby)
    Twist and shout. (twist and shout)
    Cmon, cmon, cmon, cmon, baby, now, (come on baby)
    Come on and work it on out. (work it on out)

    You know you twist your little girl, (twist, little girl)
    You know you twist so fine. (twist so fine)
    Come on and twist a little closer, now, (twist a little closer)
    And let me know that you're mine. (let me know youre mine)

    Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now. (shake it up baby)
    Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now. (shake it up baby)
    Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now. (shake it up baby)

    Members of the Centurion Team are spread out across the dance floor, boogieing the night away. It’s a rare moment of release for the team, busy are they usually are with the business of protecting the Federation’s interests from Zeon and ISRLA threats. A few hours of respite wherein they can temporarily forget that any or all of their lives could be forfeit tomorrow. For one night, at least, they can celebrate being young and alive.

    Jonah and Jolie work up quite a sweat dancing to the manic rock ‘n roll classic. Neither of them has much of a dancing “style” so to speak, but in rock dances, style counts for little anyway. It’s all about energy, and Jolie has enough to spare for herself and Jonah alike. The Mashed Potato…the Watusi…the Twist…every single variation of dance from that long ago era of Earth history comes into play.

    There is scarcely a moment for a breather before the band launches into another fast paced early Beatles tune:


    I wanna be your lover baby
    I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your lover baby
    I wanna be your man
    Love you like no other baby
    Like no other can
    Love you like no other baby
    Like no other can

    I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man

    Tell me that you love me baby
    Let me understand
    Tell me that you love me baby
    I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your lover baby
    I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your lover baby
    I wanna be your man

    I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man

    I wanna be your lover baby
    I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your lover baby
    I wanna be your man
    Love you like no other baby
    Like no other can
    Love you like no other baby
    Like no other can

    I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
    I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man

    “Well,” Jonah remarks, out of breath and panting, “Now I know how you really are able to eat three bowls of pho at lunch and still look like a willow.”

    Jolie smiles, drenched in sweat, “What? You didn’t like the explanation I gave?”

    The couple laughs, even as the lights dim on the dance floor.

    The band’s bassist comes up to microphone as his bandmates retune their instruments, “All right. After a couple of fast numbers that got your feet moving, how about a slower number to get your hearts beating, eh?”

    The bassist cues in the start of a slow-tempo ballad, suitable for slow dancing.


    I give her all my love
    That's all I do
    And if you saw my love
    You'd love her too
    I love her

    She gives me ev'rything
    And tenderly
    The kiss my lover brings
    She brings to me
    And I love her

    Jonah takes Jolie into his arms and holds her gently. Jolie leans her head on Jonah’s shoulder and closes her eyes. They sway gently to the soft music. Time stands still, and space is confined to the single spot they occupy on the dance floor. For a moment, the universe is empty of all others except they two.

    A love like ours
    Could never die
    As long as I
    Have you near me

    Bright are the stars that shine
    Dark is the sky
    I know this love of mine
    Will never die
    And I love her

    Jonah sighs gently with contentment as he holds Jolie’s weightless warmth to his chest. Having her so close to him now, Jonah wonders how he could have gone the first seventeen years of his life without her. Jonah wishes he could change the past…so that he could have grown up with Jolie from childhood. Of course, that is a nonsensical dream. He is grateful to have her here, now, and prays that he always will.

    Jolie leans closer into Jonah’s chest, feeling warm, secure, and at peace in his arms. For much of Jolie’s life, there has been anger and bitterness – over the loss of her family and the evil she has witnessed. None of that matters at this moment. In the sanctuary of Jonah’s embrace, Jolie finds a happiness she once only dreamed of. She needs nothing else and wants nothing else.

    Bright are the stars that shine
    Dark is the sky
    I know this love of mine
    Will never die
    And I love her

    The song ends and the lights rise. The band announces that it will take a fifteen minute intermission before continuing its performance.
    Much to the Centurion Team’s amusement, Jonah and Jolie are still locked in their embrace, completely oblivious to the fact that the song has stopped playing.

    Athena grins, then gracefully motions to the rest of the team to leave the floor to the two young lovers.

    A full five minutes after the music has stopped, Jolie opens her eyes to realize that the lights are on, and that she and Jonah are alone on the dance floor. At the same moment, Jonah also drifts back down into reality.

    They turn their heads to see their Centurion teammates smiling amusedly and encouragingly at them.

    Athena leads the applause, followed by the rest of the team.

    Jonah and Jolie turn to each other, grinning ear to ear.

  16. #56
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    Episode 3 continued...

    “My lord!” Colonel Roth Davenport bellows, rushing into General Alexander Miguel’s private office in Phobos Fortress, “Two enemy Armadas are approaching Phobos, sir! Our advance scouts have identified them as belonging to the Jupitorius and Callisto factions!”

    “Excellent,” General Miguel replies, preoccupied with a razor-sharp letter opener that was once a combat knife belonging to a Federal Forces soldier Miguel had killed years ago with the selfsame knife.

    “Excellent, my lord?” Davenport responds, confused.

    “Are they mostly preoccupied with fighting each other?” Miguel asks.

    Davenport replies, “Yes, my lord. The two factions began this engagement three days ago, and the fighting has drifted into our territory. Our intelligence personnel don’t believe that they’ve come to attack us, but nonetheless…”

    Miguel has heard enough. The time has come to act, “Scramble three squadrons of Gwajin cruisers and Mouzzei battleships. Also, send out an attack force of fifty mobile suits from the Lanceheart, Iron Mace, and Blackwhip squadrons. I will lead the counterattack personally.”

    Miguel stabs the knife deep into a small cushion on his desk. Miguel twists the knife with savage relish before rising from his seat and striding to the mobile suit hangar.

    Their power should be mostly depleted having fought for three days and come such a great distance, Alexander reasons, They’ll be ripe for the taking, but first, I need them to help me put on a little show for the right audience.

    Aboard his flagship La Rapier, General Napoleon Spector leads several squadrons of the Jupitorius Zeon Army into battle against his rival, Admiral Lara Constantinas, Governess of the Callisto Zeon.

    Spector, a tall, but obese man of about fifty years, is a veteran of all the wars that Zeon has fought against the Earth Federation. Having first ascended to the rank of general under the command of Regent Haman Khan during the First Neo Zeon War, Spector was dispatched by Fuhrer Char Aznable in U.C. 0093 to secure Jupitorius under Neo Zeon control. Since seizing control of the strategic gas mining colony, Spector has built up his own power base, expanding his portion of the Zeon military with the ultimate goal of reunifying Zeon under his rule.

    One advantage that Spector enjoys over his rival Zeon warlords is the vast energy resources that Jupitorius supplies. Jupitorius supplies much needed hydrogen and helium gas needed for the nuclear fusion generators that provide energy to everything from space colony life support systems to spacecraft to mobile suit weaponry. Even the Earth Federation Government, to some extent, is beholden to Spector and his gas mines.

    The latest conflict was provoked by the most recent attempt by General Lara Constantinas to launch a lightning raid on Jupitorius and take those gas supplies for her Callisto Zeon Forces. Admiral Constantinas had been a close personal friend of Regent Haman’s. It was once believed that should Regent Haman perish, her role as military leader of Zeon would fall to Admiral Constantinas. The end of the First Neo Zeon War was so chaotic, however, that the lines of succession were never executed as planned, especially after the disappearance of Duchess Minerva Zabi. Eventually, after the Fuhrer Char Aznable reorganized Neo Zeon in U.C. 0092, Constantinas was given command of the Neo Zeon Callisto Armada. After the loss of the Fuhrer, Constantinas commanded the armada on her own personal authority, using Callisto as a base from which to prey upon Jupitorius’ vast gas supplies.

    Three days ago, the Callisto Zeon Armada commenced a massive assault on Jupitorius, but were forced back by a powerful counterattack by the Jupitorius Zeon Forces. The Callisto Armada was able to prevent the Jupitorius Forces from attacking its base of operations on the Jovian moon of Callisto, leading the Jupitorius Zeon instead towards the orbit of Mars…into the control zone of the Principality of Phobos Zeon. Admiral Constantinas hopes to deplete some of the Jupitorius Zeon Army’s power by leading them on a distant chase across space before confronting them, but gambles on the likely probability that her own forces’ fuel and ammunition supplies likely would not hold out.

    Episode 3 to be continued...

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    Episode 3 continued...

    “Press the attack!” General Spector orders from his command chair aboard the flagship La Rapier, “Push them past the Asteroid Belt!”

    “My Lord,” interjects Tweedy, Spector’s second-in-command, “the Callisto Forces are about to enter the Phobos Control Zone. Perhaps it would be wise to withdraw…”

    “Nonsense!” Spector responds like angry thunder, “I’m not afraid of Alexander Miguel any more than I’m afraid of that woman Constantinas! Continue pressing the attack! We’ll crush the Callisto and the Phobos today! Jupitorius is the true successor to the Zeon legacy! Sieg Zeon!”

    The ships and mobile suits of the Jupitorius Zeon Army continue to pushing forward, its Dreissen MK-IIs and Zaku-IIIs brutally immolating the Callisto Zeon Forces’ Gaza-C, Gaza-D, and Galubaldy Delta mobile suits. Thousands have already died on both sides during the past three days of fighting, and many more would die still before this battle would end.

    Aboard her flagship Artemis Moon, Admiral Lara Constantinas receives reports of the losses being sustained by her forces as they begin to retreat into the Phobos Control Zone.

    An aide reports, “Madame Admiral, we’re sustaining heavy losses. Our 1st, 18th, and 32nd mobile suit squadrons have been wiped out by the enemy, and we’re down to two mobile suit carriers, a destroyer, and our flagship!”

    A tech reports, “Now entering Phobos Control Zone.”

    “We’ll be caught between two enemies if Alexander Miguel deploys his forces, and he surely will,” reasons Admiral Constantinas, a severe and martial-looking woman of forty-five years, “but the Phobos Forces will be able to draw the Jupitorius Army’s fire away for us, perhaps long enough for us to escape the battle and make a run for home. We need to regroup.”

    “Madame Admiral,” the tech reports, “We’ve detected the approach of mobile suits and a squadron of attack ships from Phobos Fortress.”

    “Prepare to withdraw from the Phobos Zone,” Admiral Constantinas orders.

    “Madame Admiral,” the tech adds, “Jupitorius Army units closing in.”

    An attack force from the Army of the Principality of Phobos Zeon, commanded by General Alexander Miguel, bears down upon the other two factions of warring Zeon, who have dared to bring their fight into his territory.

    No matter, Miguel reflects with a malicious grin as he sits, normalsuited in his black Nightingale mobile suit, it will work to my advantage.

    General Miguel opens communications from his mobile suit to all ships and mecha in his attack force, “This is the Leader. Commence attack. Target: Jupitorius and Callisto forces.”

    The Gellonds, Kruger (a new Zeon mobile suit descended from the Gouf line, designed for space combat), and Geara Doga MK-IIs of the Phobos Zeon Army unleash a heavy torrent of beam and missile fire, which is soon followed by a massive volley of cannon shots from the capital ships that support them.



    The violence and chaos of mobile suits at war.


    The vast display of firepower rocks both the Jupitorius and Callisto forces alike, momentarily halting their battle.

    General Napoleon Spector grits his teeth as the beam and missile impacts rock his flagship.

    “Damage on Decks 3-7 reported,” a tech announces.

    “Reactor leak on Carrier Three reported,” a second tech adds.

    “Seven mobile suits lost,” a third operative reports.

    “Identify new enemy targets!” Spector orders.

    “Gellond, Kruger, and Geara Doga-IIs. Phobos Zeon registry,” comes the prompt reply.

    So, Spector concludes, Alexander Miguel has decided to throw his gauntlet into the battle as well, eh? He’ll pay for his insolence just like that b*tch Constantinas!”

    “All units counterattack!” orders Spector, “Destroy all Phobos and Callisto targets!”

    “My Lord, they’ve begun their counterattack,” Colonel Ross Davenport reports to his commanding officer, General Alexander Miguel.

    “Excellent,” Miguel replies, malicious pleasure in his voice, “Withdraw our forces towards Frontier 8.”

    “Frontier 8, my lord?” asks Davenport quizzically, “With all due respect, my lord, that’s Federation-controlled space.”

    “Do not question my orders,” Miguel says coldly, “Do it.”

    “Yes, my lord,” Davenport replies, relaying the order to the Phobos Zeon Army.

    “My Lord,” Tweedy reports to General Spector, “the Phobos Forces are withdrawing.”

    “So soon?” Spector laughs, “Alexander Miguel…son of our late colleague, General Carloman Miguel. I always knew that the boy never had the spine that his father did. His father was a real man…a real warrior, and a true loyal Zeon. How far this apple has fallen from the tree!”

    After a moment’s pause to reflect upon his old friend and colleague from wars past, and how he will now engage his old friend’s son in combat, Spector orders, “All units: pursue Phobos forces! We’ll eliminate two birds with one stone today!”

    The Jupitorius Army tails the withdrawing Phobos Zeon Army in the direction of Frontier 8.

    Watching these developments from the Artemis Moon, Admiral Lara Constantinas knows that now her moment of opportunity.

    “Follow them!” the admiral orders, “We have enough in reserve to polish off the exhausted victor!”

    Upon the admiral’s orders, the remaining Gaza-C and Gaza-D mobile suits of the Callisto Zeon Armada converge behind the battling Phobos and Jupitorius forces

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  18. #58
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    Episode 3 continued...

    At Frontier 8, the Civil Defense Patrol of the Earth Federation Forces has detected the approaching Zeon forces.

    Colonel Richard Maiter issues the deployment order to the Frontier 8 Civil Defense Patrol, “This is CDP Command to all units. Hot scramble, hot scramble! This is not a drill! Enemy units approaching at a distance of 40 km and closing fast! Launch and intercept!”

    Squadrons of Core Fighters and GM-III mobile suits tear forth from launch tubes scattered across a dozen Frontier 8 colonies. Accompanying them are two Magellan-class battleships.

    The Federal Forces will now also join the fray.

    “Withdraw!” General Miguel orders his troops.

    Disengaging quickly from their battle against the Jupitorius Army, the Phobos Army retreats to the edge of Frontier 8 space.

    The Jupitorius Army is about to give pursuit to the fleeing Phobos Army when it finds itself being attacked by the Frontier 8 Civil Defense Patrol.

    General Spector notes the situation with rising anger, “Goddamn it, now the Federation is interfering too!”

    The Jupitorius Army engages the comparatively pitiable Frontier 8 CDP force. The Federal Forces defenders are greatly outnumbered and overwhelmed.

    Approaching from behind, the nearly forgotten Callisto Armada bears down upon the occupied Jupitorius Army.

    Admiral Constantinas orders harshly, “All units, open fire! Target: Jupitorius Army units!”

    The Gaza-Cs and Gaza-Ds of the Callisto Armada renew their assault. Suddenly, the Jupitorius Army finds itself besieged on two flanks by the Frontier 8 CDP and the Callisto Armada.

    From a distance, General Alexander Miguel watches the chaotic situation with glee.

    General Spector sees the Federation’s Civil Defense Patrol and the Callisto Armada bearing down upon his army on two sides. There is also the Phobos Zeon Army to worry about, waiting in the wings just outside of the battle zone, ready to rejoin the fray at just the wrong moment.

    Spector says, “We need to get them off our backs! Take shelter in Frontier-8 colonies!”

    In an eerie replay of events that had occurred at Frontier 8 six months earlier, the Jupitorius Zeon mobile suits force their way into a heavily populated Frontier 8 space colony, disregarding the innocent lives that they threaten.

    1Lt. Roger McConnell, current leader of the “Roundheads” 139th Mobile Suit Squadron of the Federal Forces’ Civil Defense Patrol, orders his subordinates, “Right! The intruders are penetrating our defenses! Withdraw to defend the colony!”

    The GM-III units of the Roundhead Squad pursue the Jupitorius and Callisto forces fall back into the Frontier 8 colony, in pursuit of the Jupitorious Army’s mobile suits.

    Trailing behind are the mobile suits of Admiral Lara Constantinas’ Callisto Armada.

    Observing it all with maniacal satisfaction is General Alexander Miguel, who says to himself, “Such disorder…such carnage…such turmoil…it’s perfect.”

    Make no mistake: Alexander Miguel is not one who values chaos and disorder.

    Quite contrarily, Miguel values order above all else.

    But this disorder that he planted today will furnish him with the opportunity he needs to impose his order upon the world.

    Without a leader to guide it, humanity is weak, disorganized, and fearful. With the correct leader, humanity can be strong, unified, fearsome.

    Alexander is certain that he must be that leader. Humanity needs him. It is his destiny to lead humanity to greatness within its potential.

    But first, the maggots that bog humanity down must be exterminated like the vermin that they are.

    For the second time in less than a year, bedlam reigns supreme in the usually tranquil Frontier 8 space colonies.

    Jupitorius Army mobile suits crash into a residential colony housing over 600,000 civilians. While the Jupitorius Army is not here to harm the civilians or to destroy the colony, it is nevertheless indifferent to the collateral damage it creates as it uses the colony as a refuge from its pursuers.



    Dreissen-II mobile suits from the Jupitorius Zeon Army invade the Frontier 8 space colonies i early U.C. 0099

    Following the Jupitorius forces in are the mobile suits of Frontier 8’s own Civil Defense Guard. The GM-IIIs that enter the colony after the Jupitorius are indeed here for the express purpose of protecting life and property in the colony, but can it do so by engaging in a pitched mobile suit battle within the confines of the colony? 1Lt. McConnell knows it cannot, and orders his troops to standby rather than attempt to engage the Jupitorius mobile suits.

    Unfortunately, aside from his small squad of mobile suit pilots, 1Lt. McConnell has as much control over the situation and its eventual outcome as does a dust mote in a hurricane.

    The Gaza-C and Gaza-D mobile suits of Admiral Lara Constantinas burst into the space colony like bursts of angry lightning. Uninterested in the space colony and its people, but uninhibited in their zeal to destroy their enemies, the Callisto Armada mobile suits open fire indiscriminately, striking enemy mobile suits and innocent civilian structures alike.




    A Gaza-D mobile suit from the Callisto Zeon Armada

    The Jupitorius Army, finding itself under siege, similarly cares little about the combatants caught in the middle as it returns fire against its enemies.

    The Civil Defense Guard, seeing that the slightest hope that the colony could spared the devastating ravages of a mobile suit battle in its confines, responds with a measured display of force against aggressors on both sides…not understanding or interested in the particulars of Zeon politics, but resolved to sheltering as many lives as possible from the horrific outcome of the confrontation between those particulars.

    A Zaku-III peppers a Gaza-D with autocannon fire, having seemingly prevailed, but sustaining a fatal hit from the Gaza-D’s head-mounted beam cannon before its heavily damaged enemy explodes into a fireball. The double explosion propels superheated gas and metallic shrapnel across hundreds of square meters, condemning dozens to painful, burning, shredding deaths.




    Outmoded GM-III mobile suits comprise the Federal Forces' Civil Defense Guard at Frontier 8. They are quickly overwhelmed by the more powerful and numerous Zeon mobile suits.

    A Gaza-C counterattacks a GM-III attempting to drive it away from a residential complex, firing its missile pod indiscriminately. The GM-III disappears behind a brilliant flash of light, a concussive, ground-shaking roar, and a rain of metallic scrap parts. Seconds later, the same Gaza-C is felled by a Dreissen-II’s beam tomahawk impaling it from behind. The Gaza-C succeeds in setting the Dreissen-II ablaze with its beam cannon before itself fireballing into nonexistence.

    Aboard his own GM-III (Officer’s Type), 1Lt. McConnell struggles against a Dreissen MK-II. The beam saber of McConnell’s mobile suit is drawn as he parries the Dreissen’s beam tomahawk slashes. At the same time, McConnell raises the arm-mounted shield of his GM-III to block raking fire of the Dreissen’s wrist-mounted triple beam cannon.

    McConnell lets out a savage, throat-rending battle cry as he charges the Dreissen-II with his heavily damaged GM-III. Even if he is to die here today, McConnell will not let the Zeon do any more damage to the space colony.

    McConnell smashes the arm-mounted shield of the GM-III against the Dreissen-II’s heavily armored body, driving the unprepared Jupitorious Zeon mobile suit back, but failing to knock it down.



    Mobile suits at war inside a space colony

    Sgt. Owen Bluthner, the pilot of the Dreissen-II, grits his teeth against the impact. Stabilizing his mobile suit with its powerful vernier thrusters, Bluthner snarls, “Filthy Earthnoid pig!” as he counterattacks with a powerful punch from the Dreissen-II’s armored right fist that catches the GM-III on the head/camera unit and sends the weakened Federal Forces mobile suits sprawling onto the pavement.

    1Lt. McConnell’s GM-III lies on its back. His mobile suit’s head/camera unit shattered by the Dreissen-II’s devastating punch, McConnell’s mobile suit cockpit is dark.

    McConnell knows that this cockpit will be his fiery coffin in just instants if he does not act now.

    McConnell opens the cockpit hatch of his GM-III, relying on the view directly from the threshold of the cockpit door to guide his actions. McConnell now knows that he is fully exposed to any stray fire or shrapnel that comes his way.

    McConnell sees the muzzles of the Dreissen-II’s sleeve-mounted triple beam cannon begin to glow green. It is already too late for McConnell to hope to maneuver his damaged GM-III out of the way in time. If this shot fails to get him, the next shot surely will.

    McConnell makes peace with his creator, and says a silent farewell to the parents, younger brother, and younger sister he will leave behind.

    There is a terrible explosion: the harsh glare of brilliant light, the powerful vortex of vacuum, and the deafening roar of exploding metal.

    There is fire, smoke, and burning fuel choking the air.

    At first, McConnell believes he is getting his first glimpse of Hell…all fire and brimstone, as depicted in religious iconography since time immemorial. The devil, as the legends have always described him, is crimson red, horned, and…a cyclops?

    It dawns on McConnell at that point that he is still alive, and that he is not in Hell just yet, but inside the same Frontier 8 space colony that he was in a moment earlier (although given the view from McConnell’s cockpit, whatever difference might exist seems entirely academic). The “devil” is no evil spirit of the netherworld, but a blood-red Gaza-D mobile suit of the Callisto Zeon Armada.

    Looks like that trip to Hell is coming after all, McConnell reflects ruefully, From a Callisto MS rather than a Jupitorius one. Not that it matters, of course.

    Indeed, it matters very little to a dead man what model and make of war machine killed him.

    The Gaza-D is among the most heavily armed mobile suits in the Callisto Zeon Armada’s arsenal. Featuring twin impact cannon mounted like a pair of vertical horns on its head, a missile rack armed with up to forty-eight warheads, and additional beam cannon on each of its heavily shielded forearms (plus the standard suite of beam sabers and beam tomahawks), the Gaza-D is a mighty mobile fortress of mayhem. It is a far more dangerous mobile suit than the Federal Forces’ (relatively) inexpensive, defense-oriented GM-III mobile suits…especially one that has been effectively crippled by over a dozen different strikes.

    In an act of desperation, McConnell fires the GM-III’s nearly-depleted beam rifle at the Gaza-D, expending the last of the weapon’s charge. The beams, unfocused and aimless, stray off to either side of the Gaza-D. McConnell is truly helpless now.

    Once again, McConnell resigns himself to his fate and bids farewell to his loved ones.

    Once again, death fails to claim him.

    Beside himself with terror and confusion now, McConnell sees the Gaza-D felled just like the Dreissen-II before it. From behind the growing plume of flame and smoke rises the massive armored figure of a black MSN-04S Nightingale mobile suit.

    The Phobos Zeon Army has arrived.

    Third time’s the charm, or curse, McConnell knows, I’ve gotten lucky twice, but now my luck HAS to have run out..

    But in a twist of fate that leaves McConnell grasping at the last fibers of his sanity, the Nightingale does not immolate him.

    Indeed, the menacing black mobile suit gestures at him as if to say, “Your welcome.”

    All around, Phobos Zeon Army mobile suits attack the Jupitorius and Callisto mobile suits, but leave the Federal Forces Civil Defense Guard MS alone…even when fired upon by Federal Forces MS, the Phobos Zeon MS do not return fire against the Federal Forces…only against the Jupitorius and Callisto MS.

    What’s going on here? McConnell wonders, daring to stick his helmeted head out of the cockpit of his wrecked GM-III to get a better view of the horrific scene.

    Throughout the colony, Phobos Zeon Geara Dogas and Gellonds mop up the remaining Jupitorius and Callisto MS. Those Phobos MS that are not engaged in active combat are busy putting out fires and rescuing endangered civilians.

    Weird! McConnell notes to himself, Those Zeon mobile suits seem to be trying to help us! They’re fighting the other Zeon mobile suits and actually protecting us and the colony!

    Col. Richard Maiter’s voice comes through 1Lt. McConnell’s helmet transceiver, “1
    Lt. McConnell, what’s going on? What’s the situation over there?!”

    “Sir,” McConnell says, “you’re not going to believe this…”

    Episode 3 to be continued...

  19. #59
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    I'm off to the San Diego Comic Con for the weekend, so no updates until Sunday night at the soonest. Don't worry: more will be coming before too long.

  20. #60
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    Episode 3 continued...

    Several hours later, after emergency rescue efforts have gotten underway and the damaged space colony secured from further immediate attacks, Colonel Maiter has an injured, but extremely fortunate-to-be-alive 1Lt. McConnell in his office.

    “You were right, I do find it really hard to believe,” Maiter says over a cup of coffee at the Roundhead Squad Leader, “the Phobos Army intervened…to help us?!”

    “It was the weirdest thing, sir,” McConnell agrees, “They just came out of nowhere started blasting at the Jupitorius and Callisto MS, but left us alone. Then, they started doing our jobs for us and rescued a lot of the civilians that were in danger. I could barely believe my eyes.”

    “What could it mean?” Col. Maiter wonders, “What is Alexander Miguel trying to accomplish?”

    “He has no real reason to help us, does he sir?” asks McConnell speculatively.

    “No, he doesn’t,” Maiter confirms, “Very strange.”

    Turning the discussion to a matter of more immediate and pressing concern, Maiter asks McConnell, “What’s our damage, Lieutenant?”

    “In a word, sir,” McConnell replies, “Devastating. We must have lost a dozen mobile suits today, and more importantly, the brave men and women who piloted them. Additionally, approximately three-thousand civilians in the space colony were killed in the attack, with an additional ten-thousand injured. Property damage is still being calculated, sir, but most of the engineers believe that Frontier 8’s Beaumont Colony is beyond salvaging.

    Col. Maiter sighs deeply, a sense of abject failure weighing upon him, “I’ll need to file a report immediate to Federation High Command. The Special Forces can’t get here soon enough…we have to let the High Command know that we’re in increasingly dire straits here and we need help immediately!”

    1Lt. McConnell brightens, his mood lifting for the first time all day, “It won’t be the same after the Special Forces arrive and back us up, Colonel!”

    “Let’s hope, Lieutenant,” says the colonel darkly, “that we can hold out until they arrive.”



    Back at Phobos Fortress, the pilots and battleship crews of the Phobos Army celebrate their double victory over the forces of the Jupitorius Army and the Callisto Armada today. It was a complete rout – one that would send the message that the Phobos Zeon are the most powerful and most dangerous army known to humankind, and that inevitably, the Phobos would rule supreme over not just the Zeon, but all of humanity everywhere in the universe.

    General Alexander Miguel exits from his Nightingale, coldly observing his celebrating troops and officers for a moment. He then lashes out with sudden, viper-like speed and viciousness at two nearby officers, knocking them both the ground with bloody wounds and heavy concussions.

    “Fools!” Miguel says angrily, his eyes afire with demonic rage, “What are you celebrating?! Today’s work was an opening move, not endgame! Victory lies far beyond the horizon, with many days of work and sacrifice ahead!”

    Miguel’s troops fall silent and attentive, as they have been trained to be when their Leader speaks. Many of them realize with a sinking feeling in their stomachs that the Leader had trained them to show better discipline that they did in the thrill of first triumph, and that the Leader would, if he deemed it necessary, take any or all of their lives to enforce discipline.

    But today, the Leader is magnanimous, and he settles for telling his collected troops and officers, “All of you must be prepared for the many sacrifices that will be made so that humanity can rise from the depths of the Earth to claim its legacy in the cosmos! You, my brothers, will lead them! In life, you will be their guides and their masters…in death, martyrs and heroes to all mankind. Will you claim your destiny?! Will you lead and sacrifice?!”

    “Yes, my lord!” comes the collective reply.

    “Our bodies, our minds, our souls are dedicated to but one cause: Sieg, Zeon!”

    The roar of ten-thousand voices echo throughout the massive hangar complex, “Sieg, Zeon! Sieg, Zeon! Sieg, Zeon!”



    The Flag of Zeon

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