Part 95: Mission 27 (Setsuko) - Widening Rifts
Chapter 26: Widening Rifts
Harry's deployed with the rest of ZEUTH in his golden Sumo. Quattro says that it takes a certain amount of confidence to pilot the gaudy machines, so the man must have serious skill.
Horace has cleaned the nanoskin shreds out of the thruster veins in the Turn A's legs, enabling it to fly; he and Astonage have also stocked its chest up with weapons. Loran wonders if it's finally reached its original power, but there's definitely a lot more hidden in the robot - like all that data on the Angels.
Harry makes a squad with Loran.
Harry still expects an answer, but it can wait until after the battle, and until then, he can't have Loran dying on him. Besides, aiding our mission is his job.
So here's the plan: there's a small natural tunnel that goes along the valley wall. We need someone to pass through it while we draw the Lohengrin's fire, then disable the cannon. But the tunnel will only fit a machine the size of, say, Shinn's Core Splendor. Athrun makes sure Shinn's got a handle on it. As the Captain, he wouldn't have assigned Shinn to the mission if he didn't believe in Shinn.
Yassaba yells at Shinn not to screw up, and Shinn snaps back. Is he going to be okay? Eiji offers to take the G Attacker in instead, but Toga won't hear it.
The Lohengrin's starting to charge, so Shinn jets off.
: (Shinn, just focus on what you have to do...)
: (And I'll try to forget about Four...)
: Don't you have anything to say to Kamille?
: There's nothing I can say. This is Kamille's problem to deal with.
: That's pretty mean.
: It's not my job to be nice, but that still hurts coming from you.
: Well, I'm glad you think it's a good time to crack jokes.
: (What's going on between 2nd. Lt. Reccoa and Lt. Quattro?)
The Federation deploys its defensive formation and the Lohengrin, which is an impressive sight now that we're looking down its barrel. Ray's perfectly confident Shinn will hold up his end, though. The Lohengrin takes a minute to charge up, according to Horace's intel; all we need to do its draw the enemy's attention.
So the objective is to beat all enemies, in four turns if you want the Battle Mastery. Don't think this is an easy stage! The Lohengrin is a big threat, and you'll see why in a minute. This one is another hard level.
The ∀ has gotten a little upgrade. First, it can fly, which is always useful. More importantly it's gained a new attack. The Beam Drive Unit, a post movement ALL attack. The Beam Saber also got an upgrade to 1-2 Range, so with the Linear Seat it's a much more handy attack.
Loran's the only one who gets close to any enemies this round, he's not in much danger due to being able to pretty much always have Focus up.
: (I should be happy that the Moonrace and Plant are entering an alliance...)
: (But it means the Moonrace will have to take a more active stance in the war.)
: (Maybe the White Doll and I are facing the same question...)
I end the turn and...
It's impossible to dodge the sheer power of Lohengrin Gate's namesake; 2/3/4 random units, depending on difficulty, have their HP cut in half. Watch your battleships! It immediately starts charging again; since it takes a minute to do so, it'll fire once per turn. This was always the plan, though; we have to bet on Shinn!
Behold the stage's gimmick. Half a dozen losses have come from a battleship getting it and thus swarmed and destroyed. Nothing I can do other then adapt. The battleships are staying in the back this stage, too risky for them to get involved.
Guys swarm Loran, but with Focus up they can't touch him. Harry Ord, on the other hand, is untouchable as his natrual state.
Oh hey once every other enemy in range attacks Loran, somebody moves to hit someone else! Of course, it's Quattro. So you know, not going to work.
Clear off some grunts and Bright learns a new level of Support Attack and Snipe(20)
Which gives Setsuko room to hit these guys in Tri Formation with a Tri charge of her own.
: The Virgola's a little bit faster, a little bit stronger...
: As I improve, the Virgola responds!
I guess with two dice rolls at 80% odds one miss isn't bad...
Move up Kouji...
And finish the group with Harry!
Then Athrun does what he does best. Namely smash Squads with Tris and ALLs.
: (Just focus on what I'm fighting...)
: (If I die, I'll never get to see Four again...)
And then Amuro finishes off another guy on to the enemy phase.
With Athrun having had his HP halved twice now, he's a prime target for the mooks. Granted, they can't really touch him.
Life is just not fair.
Not fair at all.
See the spot where I think I'll reset?
It's a miracle.
Then those things start moving up.
On my turn a casting of Vigor helps a lot, because I'd rather not have the Minerva shot down.
Good enough job Toga.
I don't bother moving the battleships, just take potshots at weakened grunts.
The enemies are starting to get a little dodgy, so I have Maria use Attune on Toshiya.
Boss casts Invincible and Guts because I'd rather not have him die.
Kappei bruns a Strike and leaves one enemy squad near dead.
See how hard this mission is? It's really easy to lose someone because with that cannon suddenly glancing hits are a big deal when your HP is quartered.
At least now I won't have to worry about enemy TRI attacks.
Toshiya even learns Spirit(30) from it!
It's clean up time before the bigger nastier ones show up.
Talia learns Guard(40)
Thank you range boosting!
Kouji's ready to knock this one down with some help
Tetsuya hits Level 6 Prevail, which means it's now crossed the point I think there it's actually going to be useful.
Quattro clears out another leader and leaves the easy pickings squadmates behind.
Which Amuro leaves the remaining one for counter-kill fodder.
Darn it Boss.
Of course target the weakened Battleship.
Thankfully the King Beal survives and the weakened enemies are taken care of.
Kouji's targeted too, but his Prevail is well in range to make sure not much can seriously hurt him. Gets Mazin Power going to boot.
He's even somehow dodging, hilariously enough.
Mazin Power is hilarious.
Back to my turn, let's take a look at this new thing.
OK New Federation. Are you going to admit you're the bad guys now. Because you have giant chimera-spider mechs with massive claws. I mean, seriously. However, these things are pretty tough, and I'll probably have to get them on the counter kills. Which means I need to be able to blast them, their barriers, and their squaddies fast. Which means TRIs. Thankfully they're in Center Formation, which Tri-Formation gets a damage bonus against!
Give them a good blasting Setsuko!
And then Amuro leaves this one for the counter kill.
Mazin Power boosted Double Burning Fire is hilarious.
And more grunts are out of the picture. This brings up Toga to 130 Will but...
It's about time for Sandman to give the Gravion order, but he's nowhere to be heard from. Mizuki wonders if he knows what's happening between Toga and Eiji.
No God Gravion this stage. Sorry.
Time for another shot at these things.
And problem mostly solved.
Harry will continue to weaken this one and he deserves more videos because he's Harry Ord.
Hah. It hit Loran but it didn't actually do any damage hilarious.
Kamille finishes off one of them.
With Accel Kappei finishes off another.
And finally, Athrun.
The Lohengrin Gate still has firepower up its sleeve. We might stand a chance with that cannon out of the picture...
But the Gells-Ghe aren't about to give us the chance. They surround and pin down the Minerva as the cannon charges once more...
But the cannon is stopped by a charge from Yassaba, who's fed up of sitting around. He's got Corin in the gunner's seat! He's changed his tune on the Gundam and now thinks it's a kickass hero who defends the innocent, or something. (Kiel can't believe it's the man she knows.)
The little robot can't destroy the cannon itself, but it did buy just enough time for Shinn! The Minerva quickly deploys the Gundam parts and the Force Silhouette, and Shinn takes out the Lohengrin for good. (Corin cheers for the Gundam's dashing entrance. It's not a demon after all!)
Yassaba, his mission done, drives off with Corin. Setsuko and Loran wonder what the deal is, but at least he's doing fine. Perhaps, wonders Kiel, seeing Shinn and Loran fight for good freed him from the Gundam's Curse.
Anyway, the cannon's down; we just have to clean up the rest of the defense to finish our mission.
: You built this huge cannon here, brought your war to this place...
: You're the reason this war won't end!
Guess who's weakened battleships are now surrounded? Mine! Kill me.
At least a casting of Vigor might keep the King Beal alive.
Might as well snipe it.
You're up Shinn.
: Kids like Stella only exist because the Federation won't give up its war!
: If it weren't for you, Stella wouldn't have to fight!
Good job there.
Aaaaaaaaa getting Toga shot down is a Loss Condition! OK I barely make it to the next turn.
Why are you so cruel to me SRWZ, why.
This is suffering.
So cast all the Trusts.
Let's face it though, these things are fresh while my guys are at max Will, and since I can heal up now without worry about the cannon there isn't much of a problem. Amuro just knocked this guy to 1500 HP in one round.
Comparing Setsuko and Amuro, Setsuko does more damage per hit, but Amuro can take out a single target better with Attack Again. Setsuko does do better against entire Squads and she has innate Support Attack which is great.
Basically I two-shot them all.
Now that the soldiers are all gone, Shinn turns his guns on the facility. Loran flies in to stop him; they've surrendered, haven't they?
: They're Federation! They're enemies of ZAFT and of the Moonrace!
: Maybe they were, but they're still human beings!
: Maybe you don't know their names or what they look like, but they're alive! They have lives!
: Loran's right. You did well today, but the battle has ended.
: Take a good look, Toga. What Shinn did is exactly what you did in Hong Kong.
: Not at all.
: What he did was attack an enemy that could not fight back. A mere waste of resources.
: Did you listen to a word Loran said, asshole?
: Please... please, stop...
: Cut it out, you two! We've got incoming from above!
: Th-those are...
Zeravire! So they did get brought through the quake; they must have been quietly watching the whole time! Shinn forms up with Harry and Loran; against these things, it's best to fight together. Likewise, Toga decides we can't wait for Sandman and gives the order to combine!
: What's the matter, Eiji? Something wrong with the G-Attacker?
: I can't do it.
: I can't do it! I won't trust myself to this guy!
: Then combination would be futile regardless. We'll continue fighting separately.
:You don't even care about anything but efficiency, do you? Are you seriously a robot or what?
: G-Attacker, just remember that it was you who refused to combine.
: Yeah, I'll remember! Let's just get this over with!
That's just grand! More random reinforcements!
Fortunately, they're low on Will and in Center Formation.
The SUMO has a post-move TRI, which is handy.
Loran learns another level of Support Attack.
Easy enough, and the enemy phase comes.
: We saw these things in Toga's and Eiji's world, and now they show up here, too!
: But they're not touching this world if we've got anything to say about it!
: You came all the way down here, Zeravire? But now that you're on Earth, we'll take you on!
: Be careful, Kappei! We don't know what they're after! Don't get too aggressive!
And of course one targets Toga.
: We, the Gran Knights, will destroy the Zeravire! That's what I exist for!
: Eiji, just fight. You're going to get killed if you don't focus.
: Yeah, fine! But this is the last time!
I think you turned out OK.
Come my turn again the Zeravire get blown up. Shinn can put on the hurt.
Blowing up more gets Luna to learn a new spirit command!
* Rouse(40) - Increases the Will of all pilots in the Squad by 5
: Zeravires! You think they're gone, and they pick a time like this to drop back in!
: Then it's up to us to beat them!
: (What are they after, though? Were they planning to pick us off in an out-of-the-way place like this?)
Reccoa learns Cheer(40)
Heizaemon picks up another level of Commander.
It seems obvious that if the Zeravire came out into the middle of nowhere to attack us, they must be after Gravion in particular. (Thinks Heizaemon, Sandman's battle is about to reach its climax.)
Anyway, we won; now we can deal with all we've been putting off. Eiji and Toga are still not talking to each other; on the other hand, Athrun wants to see Shinn after docking.
"This battle," ruminates Heine, "has opened rifts we cannot ignore."
Athrun hits Shinn. Shinn insists he was "saving" those people, so Athrun slaps him again. "This is war. You are not a hero. You are not in a position to make your own judgments! You have power, so keep that power in mind!"
The others understand why Athrun did it, but Toshiya wonders if it'll have the right effect. Shinn is... a little unstable, to say the least; there's a good chance he'll just explode, or go off and sulk. It's the flip side of how brilliantly happy he was after that battle near Orb. He's fighting for the joy of protecting, but does it always work that away?
"He's a fool," mutters Tetsuya. But as he's jumped on, he adds, "that makes him innocent. And those who act bravest are the ones holding the most inside them."
The problem with Shinn is that normally, Kamille would be there for him. But right now, Kamille has more on his mind.
Meanwhile, Loran and Kiel are seeing off our new friends. Actually, Horace wants to stick with ZEUTH, since he's still fascinated by our machines. Guen promises to speak to the captains for him.
That leaves just Harry, Loran, and Kiel; Harry once again asks what Diana is doing here, and Kiel repeats that she's Kiel. Either way, his mission should be to protect Diana - and those Diana puts her trust in.
"Understood, Kiel Heim. My duty as a soldier of the Royal Guard is to defend Queen Diana."
That means he must trust this Kiel, as ever, to Loran; can he? "With my life," Loran swears.
Teteth has apparently been hanging around. She introduces herself and says she wanted to thank Loran for his battle today, getting very close to him. Loran is extremely uncomfortable, to say the least; Kiel steps in and orders Teteth to back off. "I'm sorry," mewls Teteth. "I thought any man would appreciate this, but this one's still too innocent."
She's identified Kiel as a woman not of this Earth. That makes her Teteth's target, though; she'll be back...
Bad news, though! Eiji's nowhere to be found on any of the three ships, and his room's been completely cleaned out!
News of today's battle has reached the Archangel on the UN. As the new alliance expands the scope of the war, ZAFT and Moonrace forces have breached the Lohengrin Gate, they say, and the Chairman's side is not just ZAFT but a whole special task force of machines. But the real breaking news is a video showing a ZAFT suit destroying a base full of defenseless noncombatants!
Also on the UN is a giant egg-shaped cloud over the Pacific Ocean. The Federation seems to have enlisted Gekko State to aid in the investigation job. Isn't it strange that those rebels should be working with the Federation? But Chandra's heard rumors that Gekko State has broken up with ZAFT, as well. Word travels fast on the UN, it seems.
But Cpt. Murrue advises not to lean on it any further. They themselves have seen how the big rumor mill spun their own battle at Orb. Better to rely on news from people they actually trust. What they know they have to be worried about are the alliance between ZAFT and the Moonrace, a balance to the one between the Federation and Orb. What if Plant is actually gathering support to wage war on planet Earth, though? Dividing the universe into two, one against the other...
And yet so far, Plant has remained diplomatic while the Earth exiled the Coordinators and Spacenoids, swayed by the Titans and Blue Cosmos. In that case, it seems like their best bet to support is the Chairman, but Cagalli can't forget that it was Coordinator assassins who came for Lacus, and Durandal who has her impostor. That doesn't mean Durandal is behind the assassination attempt, but Kira doesn't like the fake Lacus either. Whatever else he's doing, he's lying to people.
"Then let's find the truth for ourselves," says the real Lacus. "Is that not why we left Orb with Cagalli?"
Tetsuya vs the Zeravire
: One new foe after another...
: Well, we can handle a few invaders! I, and ZEUTH, will drive you back!