Part 156: Mission 44 (Moon Route) - PrologueAlright, seems like people want to go rescue Tessa and Kaname ASAP.
Lets get to it, then!
We start off with aboard a new battleship escaping Plant airspace, Athrun telling Lacus how his father has changed and all he has left in him is hatred of the Naturals.
This means that the fight between Zaft and the Earth will continue until one side or the other is destroyed - unless someone can stop it.
Lacus certainly intends to try, having stolen the Eternal - the support ship for the Freedom and Justice - to join in the fight; she's got songs of peace to sing and if she can convince at least a handful of people to stop fighting, shell take to the battlefield herself.
Waltfeld, still alive and acting as the Eternals captain, detects approaching enemy troops.
With the loss of both the Freedom and Justice, it seems like Zaft has tightened security; the Zaft forces start attacking, not caring that Lacus is aboard the Eternal, which proves just how much the Zala faction's warmongering has gained control.
Waltfeld can only do so much to evade, but luckily for him he gets some unexpected support from the Serpent Tail and Wufei.
It seems they've been sent to keep Lacus, the girl who can alter the course of this worlds war, safe...
Neo-Wärter has already made it to the moon, its entourage split in three.
While Kazuma and the crew search for the Whispered, Athrun is off to Plant and the Space Knights (plus Tomoru) are investigating the lunar surface, hoping for a trace of the Radam mothership buried underneath.
D-Boy was able to remember that much despite his increasing mental degeneration, but the rest of our people are hesitant to probe his past with the effects of Blasterization encroaching; there's a general sense that the decisive battle is coming up soon.
Kazuma notes that it's almost Christmas, the one-year anniversary of the score being settled the Marimea army and wonders if Santa has any presents for our group this year.
Our people are having trouble getting the lunar citizens to talk to us about the whereabouts of the Successors, they dont seem particularly fond of Earthlings.
Its expected, Kisaka thinks, considering that the scars from the war between Earth and Moon, 100 years ago, have yet to fully heal; in fact, this part of town has become something of a red light district of the shadier kind, and there's probably nowhere better for the Successors to hide.
Kurz and Saburouta are trying to get Harry to relax and join them scouting the strip-joints but Sousuke tells them to stop playing and focus on the task.
Kazuma is noticing how intent Sousuke is to find Kaname and Tessa
Mao and Clouseau are worried about his determination becoming a liability, making him take reckless decisions; Kazuma asks Clouseau if Sousuke would act like someone had deliberately recorded over the best scene of his favorite anime.
Mind you, the scene was erased off Clouseau's videodiscs by Kurz (after Kazuma selected it)!
Clouseau, every inch the wrathful anime fan, runs off in hot pursuit of Kazuma; the girls watch this, Mao commenting how Kurz and Kazuma have been waiting to mess with Clouseau for a while (as payback for all his lectures).
Meanwhile, a "certain girl" goes up to Sousuke with a message she says is from a mister "Nine Dragon"...
All this time, the Successors have been trying unsuccessfully to brainwash the Whispered.
Kaname and Tessa have been resisting their methods and the Successors are running out of patience regardless of their threats, the girls refuse to yield; Kaname has been taking this time to berate her captors, asking how they planned to kidnap them if they didnt even have a way of getting the information thats just stupid.
Tessa adds that any attempt at forcible mind control will probably result in their Whispered powers being destroyed.
Their captor's impatience has something to do with plans drawing to a close he leaves to prepare other methods, adding that he only needs ONE more "priestess" before they can all head to Mars.
As the guy stalks off, Tessa admits that she was half-bluffing about that last bit, since no one knows how the Whispered really work.
It's clear they're kind of delicate and, as such, the little Harmony trick Tessa pulled on the Danaan is something they shouldn't use unless absolutely necessary.
The danger is that one can lose sight of oneself during the fused state, like milk and tea blending to become one inseparable drink.
But dangerous or otherwise, they've got to use their powers to escape. The change in the Successor's urgency says that they'll probably pick one of the two girls to live, and kill the other off.
It's not clear if the talk about needing one "other" priestess means they've already got more Whispered under their thumb or what, but it's pretty ominous regardless.
Kaname is feeling dejected that shell spend Christmas Eve, her birthday, as a captive; Tessa finds this quite the coincidence, as her birthday is also on that same day.
Kaname doesnt think its a coincidence but before they can discuss it, one of Hokutens men shows up to take Kaname away.
Sousuke has answered "Nine Dragon"'s call, leading him to none other than Gauron, who managed to stay alive (though he is a bedridden, quadruple amputee) thanks to his Lambda Driver protecting him from his units explosion.
Regardless of his state, hes happy to see Sousuke again and likes how Sousuke's got a wounded look in his eyes.
Sousuke isnt in the mood for Gaurons antics and draws a gun to get Kaname's location out of him; problem is, Gauron says that he's long since left Amalgam and doesnt know.
He does know what's going on in the world though, thanks to the brats he's been raising.
Sousuke knows that he cant force Gauron to speak, hes wouldnt break, so he even resorts to begging him for whatever information he has.
Gauron hates the sight of the great Kashim acting like that, thinking back to when Sousuke was a merc in the desert, his eyes full of neither hesitation nor care for his or anyone elses life - the eyes of a saint.
Gauron had rather fancied killing such a person, lacking in human frailties, but the now-troubled Sousuke is totally not worth his time.
He says that they are the same and Sousuke should not try act like a normal guy now; Sousuke yells at him to shut up but Gauron isnt finished he says Sousuke's become worthless after all the high school and Mithril and Neo-Wärter shit.
Hes been drawn in by their speech about friendship and humanism and now theyve sucked out all of his strength, like parasites, turning him into a weakling like them the Kashim he knew would never fit in with these people!
As Gauron asks if he really enjoys the company of such weaklings, Sousuke yells at Gauron to shut up again but is so distraught that he can't shoot straight enough to end his miserable life.
That said it is Christmas eve, so Gauron is prepared to tell Sousuke of Kaname's end: taken out by the assassins of the Successors to force Tessa to cooperate.
He lovingly recounts Kaname's blood-splattered schoolgirl uniform; she was pretty tough and didnt beg for her life - her last words were simply "I'm sorry".
Now who could that be directed towards?
He could show him a picture of Kaname but its unnecessary: he is content seeing the despair all over Sousukes face and, as "Santa", he has one more present to give: hell blow them both up and end their suffering!
Hell, Sousuke will even be able to meet his girlfriend in the afterlife.