Part 41: Malice in the Sands
Shioni Regis goes before the U. N. to petition them to form an organized front against the terrorists, lumping in the Celestial Being, Colony, and Black Knights fighters with the WLF in the process. All the big names on the world stage are there, including Chairman Elgan Roddick, who can't say she's wrong.
Within the Ptolemy's computer core, Tieria notices that 18 class A conflicts have been brought to a close since Celestial Being came out, but 25 new ones have sprung up. Could the tides of politics be moving so fast even Veda's quantum computing power can't keep up? Or is someone seeding it on purpose?
Setsuna pays Marina a visit in Azadistan. He asks her why the world is so distorted - by the fault of man or god? Marina is sure it's neither of those, but can't give the answer Setsuna hoped she'd have. He cries, "Where is the distortion?!" and runs off.
And holy shit Orange just met Patrick.
The infamous Sir Orange, I presume.
Who are you?
I can't believe there's someone in this joint army of elite pilots from all three great nations who doesn't know about me.
I'm Lt. Patrick Colaseur, the super ace of the AEU. You'd better remember next time, Sir Orange.
Then, my proud Lieutenant, permit me to introduce myself. I am Marquis Jeremiah Gottwald,
and you slight me with the name "Sir Orange."
My apologies. I thought it was just a nickname.
But just between you and me, what is "Orange"?
Viletta breaks this foolishness up by reminding Orange that Princess Cornelia has set up this opportunity and it would be the rudest to spoil it with petty infighting. Kewell, who is desperate for relevance, spits that this mission is nothing to be proud of. Britannia sent the Purebloods into this rat hunt, and if that's not enough...
They have to share it with an Honorary! Lloyd smirks and reminds Kewell that he doesn't have a choice in the matter, so he might as well enjoy it. "Look, we've already made friends with Lt. Sodapop, or was it Cider?"
(It's Cola. I mean Colaseur.) Lloyd and Cecille introduce themselves too. As Kewell implied, Suzaku and the Lancelot are going to be in on this operation. "Britannia gave us Sir Orange and a Number?" rages Patrick. "Are they even trying?"
But Britannia isn't the whole Union, and they've sent their other ace pilot. Graham has seen Patrick in action waaaaay back at the Elevator, and he thanks Patrick for letting him witness the Gundam's power. Patrick gets mad again,
until this lady smacks him back to his senses (though she has to do it twice) and introduces herself as Kati Mannequin, the joint operation commander. Patrick falls for her hard and settles down immediately. (She just slapped him, so I guess he's into that.)
This wouldn't be complete without the HRL aces showing their faces.
And Zechs and Noin are joining Graham at the spearhead of the operation. This chapter's gonna be fun!
When Zechs and Graham last parted, it was with the promise that they would meet each other again with new weapons at their sides. Dr. Eifman has completed the Overflag for Graham's team, and Zechs has been finding out some interesting stuff. He's managed to get his hands on the Tallgeese - fairly simple with the aid of the Romfeller Founcation - but the test pilot of OZ's machine simply couldn't handle the G forces. Far from being cowed by this, Zechs vows to master the robot so as not to waste his sacrifice.
There's one new face: a Joshua Edwards, a smug douchebag who rattles Graham's chain, and upon learning of his promotion from flight to high lieutenant, asks if he shot down his commander and warns Graham's subordinates to stay away from his firing line. Graham brushes him off, but Joshua leaves with a smirk.
Suzaku wants to know what those two are so excited about. They're just going to beat down the WLF, right? Count Lloyd reveals the truth: they're actually in on a trap for GOONZ...
Chapter 20: Malice in the Sands
Our current target is a handful of WLF units.
GOONZ approaches from the south.
All of them are suspicious of the WLF's meager defense force. Zero is sure that they've walked into a trap, but where is the trap? Does the WLF even have the power to crush GOONZ if they wanted to?
Tieria demands Setsuna and Heero follow his commands this time. Both respond with a hearty "...".
Right, let's clean this up fast.
There's nothing interesting about blowing up more WLF guys so I'm just going to cut to the trap bit.
GOONZ starts getting comfortable, but Wufei shows up to yell at them for walking right into the trap.
Sure enough, the U. N. joint forces close in from all directions at once! Cathy frantically hails them to protest that there are non-terrorists here, but to no avail. Luckily, Wufei agrees to help - "You're all fools, but I can't let you fall here."
Oh, and here's the fun part - there's finally an SR Point involved, and it's to take out all enemies within three turns.
No problem, right?
So we have Allelujah engaging the HRL.
Heero and Wufei to fight Zechs and Noin.
Setsuna dancing with Graham's Overflag team.
And of course, Zero and Karen dealing with Britannia's Knightmares.
With backup, obviously.
Noin's Aries goes straight for Wufei.
I've finally found you, Gundam! Now you'll pay for Victoria Base!
You again! I told you I refuse to kill women and the weak!
I am a soldier! And I will defeat you in the name of all I believe in!
Then I will show no mercy! Come, fight with Nataku and me!
Meanwhile, Zechs' Tallgeese takes aim at Heero.
It's you and me, Gundam! This Tallgeese is a fine match for your machine!
It's the OZ commander we fought in Africa and Area 11.
My name is Zechs Marquis! And I will fight in a manner befitting the title of the Lightning Baron! For all my fallen men!
I guess Patrick has nothing better to do. He picks on poor, defenseless Ptolemy.
Outta my way! Patrick Colaseur, ace of AEU, coming through!
Wait a minute, I'm being promoted to the ace of the whole world! Gotta look good for Colonel Mannequin!
A couple of downed mooks later, some extra blips appear on the radar.
It's the PMC Trust's Red Shoulders, led by Riemann...
as well as Ali al-Sachez in his new Mobile Armor!
He traps Exia in the MA's immobilizing Plasma Field.
And grapples Virtue with the armor's bulk when Tieria intervenes.
So Tieria purges Virtue's armor, revealing the Gundam Nadleeh at its core, but curses at himself for having to show his hand and reveal the Nadleeh's existence.
He's really beaten up about it.
And the clock is still ticking.
This is perfect! I'll show Graham Aker and the whole world what I can do!
I'll show them that Joshua Edwards is the real ace of the Overflags!
By picking on Zero and failing. Good job!
Actually, Zero gets harried by several Overflags, though he manages to evade all their fire.
And Graham, of course, goes straight for Setsuna...
with an attack called the Graham Special?!
Together at last, my beloved Gundam!
I see many Gundams here today, but only you made my heart skip a beat when you descended from the sky bathed in divine light!
My feelings have not waned since that day! My chest leaps at your sight!
I have no time for this. This ends now!
That was pretty disappointing, Graham.
Meanwhile, over in the HRL's team, goddamn snipers.
Pieres targets Allelujah. Surprise.
Gah! This headache... it's the HRL soldier from orbit!
Pathetic, Hallelujah! Let me handle this!
Bird of Celestial Being! I will destroy you and complete my mission at last!
What's your name, girlie?
He's hailing me!
Tell me already.
Second Lieutenant Soma Pieres, Augmented Soldier #1!
Soma Pieres. I like it.
It's a good name to die with!
(Hallelujah... get back...)
(You're no fun. Fine. If you insist, knock yourself out, Allelujah.)
I'm not like you... I don't enjoy murder!
Ouch. Allelujah blames the headache.
And Sergei wants after Allelujah too.
But what does he know? He's not a super soldier.
(We're ordered to crush Celestial Being and all their associates, even if it harms civilians...)
(There is something deeper to this operation. And it is trying to force the three nations, no, the whole world to change...)
Britannia is last of all.
(The three are trying to remove the Peacekeeping Council's forces under the guise of attacking the WLF.)
(Fine, it's suspicious that the Chairman has deals with the Gundams and Black Knights, but that doesn't mean we should attack the civilians too.)
(I can't tell what's right and what's wrong with this world anymore...)
At last you are at my mercy, Zero! I will redeem myself of the humiliation you have caused me!
If it isn't Sir Jeremiah. This desert is making me thirsty, so an orange sounds lovely right now.
Stop calling me that! I am Jeremiah Gottwald, a proud knight of Britannia!
Orange does not get a break.
At last, the PMC moves, with Riemann shooting for Chirico.
(If Proto One's strange behavior is due to what happened on Rid, then Chirico is likely involved.)
(Chirico Cuvie. You cannot continue to exist - and I will negate your power myself!)
Apparently Chirico's RSC parts got unequipped at some point. I'm not sure when, but I'll fix this posthaste.
Riemann repeats that Chirico can't have survived.
And at long last, the turn ends.
Nadleeh is extremely different from Virtue. Its weaponry is mostly (P) and relatively close range. Its armor is thin, but the machine is fairly nimble and comes with a jamming field to increase its mobility (as well as that of other units nearby).
As a bonus, Tieria will continue to deploy in Virtue, but can purge its armor at any time in a stage to convert it to Nadleeh and will automatically do so to survive if Virtue ever falls to 0 HP.
But let's not forget the guy who did it to him. Sachez' Agrissa is big and nasty, he has all his godawful boss skills, and he has full access to his Plasma Field, which leaves any unit it hits unable to move, attack, or even take defensive or evasive actions when targetted.
Anyway, let's take turn 2 from the top.
Noin drops an ISC unit.
With Captain Jeffrey's guidance, Heero has a pretty good chance to hit Zechs now - and it looks like Zechs isn't the best at handling the Tallgeese yet.
Otto. You gave your life to complete this Tallgeese, and I won't let your sacrifice go to waste.
But I ca't give you your other wish just yet. The Peacecraft name is still too heavy for me to bear...
Now Heero's getting even more of Jeffrey's influence.
Heero, Wufei, and Jeffrey should be enough to take down Zechs in a turn.
Patrick's set up to go down soon as well.
"I'm not letting a single person die. That includes you!"
Akagi so cool.
So this is going well.
Crowe learns his third Spirit at last - Snipe. More range, sweet!
Ozma, for those of you paying attention to the S.M.S., learns Trust.
Now that west side is pretty much covered, we need to worry about the east half of the map. Let's pull everyone north so they're clustered up and the enemies give chase.
Orange screams incoherently and drops an Adrenaline Ampule. Go figure.
And I seriously have to start hammering on Sachez' Agrissa. Mostly using things like Alert to harmlessly drain away all the energy he's using on his Plasma Field.
Hey, it's the kid from Kurzis! I think you've played with your fancy new toy enough, don't you?
You aren't gonna win against me! I taught you everything you know about murder!
But then I learned that you are not a servant of God... when I learned there is no God at all!
So I... will become Gundam!
This might actually not happen, you guys.
You Celestial guys and the WLF sure made this planet into a party, huh?
It's a pretty good day to die, huh? And a good day for me to kill!
Well, this is bad.
All right. It looks like someone needs a taste of Gurren-Lagann.
Kamina's Sense comes in ridiculously handy.
That's a little better.
And it frees Kouji to worry about Lancelot.
That's more like it.
This'll just about end the turn.
Oh, better pull the vulnerable Ptolemy out of the line of fire.
Just one more round of dealing with these people.
Oh damn it I forgot about Graham.
I don't care what's going on behind the scenes. Lady Fate has given me another chance to dance with the Gundam.
I'll trample anyone that stands in my way!
So that's how it goes for all the bosses.
Riemann coughs up a Sniper's Kit.
Now it's just about wiping up.
We have Zechs, Ali, Suzaku, Pieres, Sergei, Patrick, and a bunch of useless assholes.
Whoops I guess these two just took out Zechs.
He drops Gundanium armor plating and runs away.
Allelujah gets the honor of finishing Pieres (with help).
She drops a precision lens.
Sergei drops an EM Antenna.
Now to see who in the now-clear west side can help out with Britannia.
Takeru and Duo take down Joshua's Overflag.
Ozma, one of the pilots with Chain Actions, takes down Patrick and steals his E-Carbon Armor.
He and Karen pick off the last two Overflags.
The white knight of Britannia! Ever a danger to my plans.
(The Black Knights are responsible for much of the terrorism in Area 11.)
(If I can take down their leader Zero, Area 11 will have peace.)
Suzaku's loot is an Yggdrasil Drive.
Ali's is a Barrier Field.
And finally, Graham's is a totally sweet Flight Module.
Simon finishes the job and gains a level in Spiral Power, putting him ahead of Kamina once again.
Here's the usual proof that I don't suck at this game.
But the U. N. joint forces are far from done. They really want our heads.
Kati demands we drop our weapons and surrender. Sumeragi needs just a moment to hatch an escape plan, but with this many forces bearing down on us, what are the chances of that?
So Heero takes it upon himself to give Sumeragi that moment...
by blowing up Wing Gundam.
He wakes up in the Ptolemy's sickbay. No one can explain how he survived, not even himself, though he's pretty badly maimed. Even the Gundam, though beat up pretty badly, is under repairs using Deathscythe's and Sandrock's spare components. Duo shrugs and says that if he didn't cough up the parts, Heero would just steal them himself.
Of course, Setsuna's the one that went back to retrieve Wing Gundam and Heero's body. Heero says his life would have been worth paying if the other Gundam pilots' mission could continue. Awww.
Even Tieria is moved by Heero's (attempted) sacrifice. He was so wrapped up in giving away the secret of Nadleeh, and there's Heero willing to give so much more for his mission. By which he means that he, Tieria, should have blown up his own solar furnace to keep his secret. Heero's only reply to that is a warning: "It hurts enough to kill you."
This gets Trowa laughing, then the other terrorists. Heero doesn't get what's so funny. Setsuna tells Heero that he, too, is Gundam.
Back in New York, Shioni is pretty mad about the joint forces losing GOONZ. But it's okay - the U. N.'s eyes are still on the fleeing GOONZ, which means no one's around to interfere with Project Uzume. Shioni gets mad at Carlos for taking it all so lightly when she's made enemies of the whole world for this plan. Speaking of which, he reminds her that she'd better get back to Limonesia or she'll miss the project going live. He's brought champagne!
Elgan Roddick swings through to cryptically warn to Shioni to step back. "You don't have what it takes to change the world," he growls. He may not have the evidence to go against her directly, but GOONZ can handle whatever the coalition has up their sleeves.
Apparently, he knew they were after GOONZ the whole time and didn't make a move against the joint attack? But why? "Because," he says, "if they couldn't handle that, we have no hope of winning the battles to come. Remember this, Shioni Regis: if GOONZ falls, this world and all the people in it are doomed!"
She curses his back as he leaves for daring to try to intimidate her, and calls out to Ime Liard to help her and her country...