Episode 5 continued...
“Msgt. Al-Said reported that the units we chased out of Freemont Colony have been wiped out,” Jolie reports.
“Which leaves the ones still inside the colony when we eliminated the G3 toxin plus the fleet,” Athena amends, “our fleet won’t be in effective firing range for another thirteen minutes. By the time they arrive, we need to have destroyed or chased out the remaining enemy mobile suit units in Freemont Colony, is that understood?”
“Yes, ma’am,” come the replies from Jolie and Jonah.
Msgt. Karim Abdul Al-Said’s voice comes through the tactical net, “This is Centurion Four to Centurion Leader. We’ve neutralized enemy units from the second assault wave.”
“Well done, Master Sergeant,” Athena responds, “What about our personnel?”
“All units present and accounted for, ma’am,” Karim replies, “minimal damage to mecha and no personnel loss.”
That last piece of information pleases Athena most, “All right, then. We’re going back into the Freemont Colony to help our remaining units in there finishing mopping up the enemy. Then, after the fleet arrives, we’re going after the Zeon capital ships.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Athena’s troops respond in unison.
They follow her lead, without question, as they have so many times before. Athena hasn’t led them to disaster yet.
They are, to a man or woman, confident she never will.
Captain Jason Conrad, commanding officer of the Xerxes Special Operations Team, maintains the offensive push of his squadron of ten GM-IVs as they continue their counterattack on the first wave Callisto Zeon mobile suit attack force.
“We’ve got the upper hand, people,” Conrad urges his allies on from the cockpit of his Jegan-IIS (Officer’s Custom Type), “Keep up the offensive!”
A new interloper, however, threatens to turn the tide of the battle against the Special Forces.
Lt. Colonel Leonid Bolochov is among the top mobile suits of the Deimos Zeon Imperium ruled by Imperator Konrad Von Bach. Called the “Baltic Bear,” Bolochov indeed fights with the relentless ferocity and seeming indestructibility of that mighty mammal, facilitated by his use of a new experimental mobile suit, the AMX-199 Dworvak – a fourth generation derivative of the old Zeon Dom-class mobile suits succeeding the Dreissen third generation mobile suits.
The Dworvak is a mechanical monster. Humanoid in shape as are all mecha designated “mobile suits” (as opposed to “mobile armors,” which have taken numerous bizarre forms with no anthropomorphic analogues at all), the burly armor of the Dworvak creates an impression among some of an Ursoid creature…a bear. Indeed, it looms over the Federal Forces’ GM-IV and Jegan-II
The Dworvak has much more than just mass and bulk going for it, however, for that mass conceals a large, powerful nuclear fusion engine that yields five times a GM-IV’s energy output. A part of this energy is diverted to moving the Dworvak’s great mass, which is surprisingly quick and nimble despite its bulk because of the power of the mobile suits’ nuclear fusion engine. The Dworvak’s power, however, is also largely distributed into its powerful weapons systems…including a hyper beam rifle whose firepower surpasses that of some higher caliber ship-mounted main cannon (three to five times more powerful than a standard mobile suit beam rifle) and its powerful beam mace, capable of disrupting and overriding the blade of a standard beam saber.
“Target unidentified enemy mobile suit!” orders Captain Conrad, “Fire at will!”
The Special Forces mobile suits do; the Dworvak leaps out of the line of their fire with an agility and quickness that belies its great mass. The GM-IV units scatter as their pilots realize that their attack has failed, and they must move quickly if they do not wish to become easy targets for the Dworvak.
In the Dworvak’s cockpit, Col. Bolochov briefly toys with the idea of blasting at the Feddie mobile suits with the hyper beam rifle, but thinks better of it. It would do too much damage to the colony. Bolochov isn’t too crazy about the idea of endangering civilians, but if they are in the line of fire when he must fulfill his duty to Imperator Von Bach and the Deimos Imperium, Bolochov won’t have any more qualms for their lives than a bear would for the lives of its prey. The Imperator, however, had made it clear that the Deimos Imperium requires Frontier 8 for strategic purposes and thus, undue damage to the colony should be minimized if at all possible.
The hyper beam rifle would likely cause more damage to the colony’s facilities than the Imperator would prefer. Thus, Bolochov opts for using the massive and powerful beam mace, which is capable of smashing down an enemy mobile suit as if it were made of papier-mâché.
The GM-IVs of the Special Forces and Captain Conrad’s own Jegan-IIS scramble and scatter as the Dworvak swings its powerful melee weapon at them. Sooner or later, Conrad knows, one or more of them will take a hit, and that hit will be lethal.
2Lt. Traci Buckingham of the N Team had recently celebrated her seventeenth birthday. A native of Side 5, Traci made her parents proud when she graduated from high school a year early…at the top of her class. Scholarships to the world’s best universities beckoned, and Mr. and Mrs. Buckingham saw a future for their daughter as a physician, an attorney, or perhaps a businesswoman. She broke their hearts, however, by turning down all offers of admission by the universities that courted her to join the Earth Federation Special Forces. It would have been easy for Traci to choose ivy green over mobile suit-grey, but she had come to believe that there were certain responsibilities that members of her generation needed to fulfill. A university degree, a good-paying job…none of these things would matter if there were not a safe world in which to make use of them. Traci had grown up in a time of war; she had an older brother that she had never met who was killed during the One Year War and an older sister who went missing as a consequence of the First Neo Zeon War. Further such tragedies had to be prevented, so that those fortunate enough to not be affected by them could be spared. To do so, however, Traci would need to break her parents’ hearts.
It was by no means an easy decision, and she never did win her parents’ approval for her choice, but Traci was confident that her decision had been correct. Her only regret is not being able to explain her choice to her mother and father, and seek their understanding.
As her mobile suit GM-IV gets its armored foot caught in electrical wire and goes down hard on the pavement, Traci senses that she never will.
The Dworvak lands behind her fallen mobile suit, its beam mace raised for a fatal strike.
Her comrades watch helplessly, unable to intervene.
Traci closes her eyes, making peace with her choices, asking forgiveness from her parents.
Mom, Dad…I’m sorry for leaving you like this. I love you both so much.
But Traci will get her chance to tell her parents about her love for them personally.
She will survive this day.
The Dworvak reels back, as if stricken by lightning from the heavens.
In a sense, it has.
Behind a screen of smoke, the Centurion Gundam Unit 1 of the White Phoenix, 1Lt. Jolie Minh, emerges. Behind her mecha is Chief Warrant Officer Jonah Michaels’ identical Centurion Gundam, Major Athena Ibaz’s Cour de Leon, and the Jegan-IIs and GM-IVs of the rest of the Special Forces.
Episode 5 to be continued...