Part 74: Noble, and Beautiful
Moving on from the Euphemia incident, Britannia, the AEU, and the HRL are finally forming a military alliance to answer the growing threats to the world from within and without, overseen by the U. N.'s Peacekeeping Council.
Marina watches, glad that the three great nations of the world are finally joining together as one, but Sirin reminds her that that's not quite true. The nations are trying to keep their enemies closer, as they say, especially since the leaked Celestial Being secrets are public knowledge. The three nations will ensure they are advancing, but none faster than the others, and while it is a different world from the one before the treaty, smaller nations like Azadistan will only suffer for it.
Even so, Marina believes it's progress that the world is standing up as one against the Imperium, but even that's far from true. Britannia's Areas are rising up in protest against the massacre of the Elevens, and the Imperium's DAMons descend on these conflicts like vultures; four whole Areas have had their government facilities reduced to warring wastelands as a result.
Sirina asks if Marina had heard anything from Euphemia, since the two were personal friends. It's strange - Euphemia was beaming about the SAR plan before it happened, and she can still hardly believe what Euphemia did.
But it's kind of ironic; the Imperium is a symbol of war that unites the world against it. Isn't that what Celestial Being was trying to do? Marina hadn't thought of it that way, but it makes sense that their endgame was to turn the whole world against it as one - just like what allegedly happened when the Frontier's Earth was attacked by aliens. The question is, how does Celestial Being feel that the villain is being played not by them, but by an outside force they can't direct? And how do they, the rest of GOONZ, and their rumored associate Elgan Roddick feel about the establishment of the U. N. Forces?
The GOONZ catch each other up on the route split. In Japan, there was the Heterodyne attack, the Mechabeast invasion, and the Jet Scrander, ending in the defeat and seeming withdrawal of Dr. Hell... but also the death of Michiru and Saotome's vow to destroy the world. In Area 11, of course, one thing happened which rocked the rest of the world, with the Imperium capitalizing on the confusion. The rest of the GOONZ are just as mad as anyone at Euphemia's trick, but only Lelouche and C. C. know the truth of what she tried to do.
Kappei's glad to see Banjou again, since they were the best team in ZEUTH - Watta's almost jealous of how close a pair they are, since he's Kappei's new partner. Banjou promises they'll figure out a teamup with all three of them - the best three-man super move ever!
In the meantime, F. S. is planning our next move with our fearless leaders; we have a lot of enemies on our plate, after all...
Sumeragi's got a delivery; the Ptolemaios' Assault Bays have finally arrived from space. The Assault Bays upgrade the ship's MS bays with external weaponry, as well as the ability to connect their built-in GN Arms to either Exia or Dynames, expanding their range and firepower. This means the Ptolemaios is no longer defenseless in combat.
Moving onto the joint issue of the U. N. Forces and the Celestial Being leak, Ozma doesn't see the problem. Shouldn't the U. N. be equipped to fight the Imperium? Sumeragi confirms for us Sirin's theory that the Imperium is doing, after a fashion, what Celestial Being aimed to, but the problem is something Zero points out Ozma, being from offworld, wouldn't see: the danger that the wrong person could assume complete control of the UNF. Such as the Celestial Being traitor himself, for instance. If one person was manipulating all of this from the shadows, we would have to assume they had all the cards.
At least the UNF is under the oversight of the WPC, so Chairman Roddick is the one holding the leash. We may not be able to trust him all the way, but it's probably in his best interest to keep it tight for now - and we have higher priorities at the moment. The CB traitor has ties to the PMC in Moralia, and there we might find a clue to his identity - though one false step and we will find the world at our throats. For now, it seems like our best course of action is to keep an eye on the UNF while showing our stuff defending the world from the Invaders, beastmen, and Imperium.
But let's turn to F. S., who, with his stable of mysterious robots, unlimited well of resources, and completely unhackable server, clearly knows something we don't. He'd like to say he'll tell us in time, but the others aren't having it. Can he at least tell us what he wants?
The reason he's in GOONZ, he murmurs, is "to safeguard the future of humanity, nothing more or less."
That's not much of an answer, but he says it's true, and no bit an understatement. We should understand it soon enough, anyway - "With the current of history beginning to accelerate, he won't be able to sit idle."
Ru says someone's at the door. That's highly unusual - Dragon's Hive is unmarked and secure. Who would even know how to find this place? Whoever it is, they seem to just want to talk. Ru says it's a group of idols...
Are you kidding me?
Okay, fine, Eida's brought her whole gang to our super secret robot base, nothing wrong with this (only Grace is genuinely suspicious of her resourcefulness). Super secret bases have their advantages, though - Eida tells the girls to kick back and relax, since there's no chance of any stalkers or paparazzos finding them here. On the other hand, they're sure to find their boys here, aren't they? Sheryl, despite being on break, has brought her manager because she is all business... and because she's still not completely fit again after that last concert.
Nia wanders, completely lost, into their room, and Eida instantly jumps on her and tries to get her to sing with them. Nia starts singing Aimo, making them think she's on Team Ranka, but then she says that she heard it from her dad since she was a baby! The song wasn't made public until Bird-Human, of course, but it goes back much further for Ranka, the only memory she has from before Ozma found her.
Nia explains that her dad is the king of the beastmen, confusing the issue even more, before finally remembering that she was on her way to somewhere. She skips out, leaving Ranka completely gobsmacked, and Grace, always the only carver in a drawer full of butter knives, wondering why the king of beasts would know the song from Ranka's memories.
Chapter 37: Noble, and Beautiful
Alto, the dog, is taking Sheryl and Ranka out for a joyride - together, both stuffed into his back seat. He congratulates Ranka on managing to get a break, but the truth is that she was supposed to be on tour with Eida in Area 16 before violence broke out and it was called off on account of danger. In fact, half of GOONZ would have leapt at the chance to escort Sheryl or Ranka themselves, and Alto suspects he landed the duty because he doesn't particularly feel anything for them. Not the best thing to say, Alto!
But Sheryl brushes it off and offers some music for the ride. Of course, the VF-25 doesn't have a speaker system, but who needs one when the real thing is right there? Only one of them can sing, though; Alto chooses Sheryl, the same choice as he made at Gallia, and Alto and Ranka both enjoy What 'bout my star. They chat about Eida again as Sheryl sings; Ranka still has no idea how Eida found Dragon's Hive. What if we asked Johnny?
Alto is warned that a beastman squadron is approaching just as they arrive, squawking that they've found the humans the Spiral King wants. GOONZ is on the way, but Alto will have to protect Ranka and Sheryl until they arrive...
Being that GOONZ is arriving from the east, and we are under no particular time pressure...
Alto can just head to the rendezvous point and wait.
Two turns later, GOONZ arrives; they may not have been around to protect Sheryl and Ranka from the beastmen, but damned if they're not going to give them a beating for it. Yet again, Grace is the only one focused on the important points: the beastmen were also there at Sheryl's concert all those moons ago. "Do the monsters know of the power of music?"
Johnny finally reveals to Ranka that he's a Dancouga pilot, and Rasse is totally ready to show off the Ptolemy's new firepower.
Watch out, Simon! They're attacking from above!
They wouldn't stand a chance if Gurren-Lagann had its own wings...
Here we go, Rossiu! Super!
(If I can't protect them now, then why do I fly?)
(I have to... this is my sky to fly in!)
I'm just going to skip right along.
Sumeragi learns Guard with perfect timing for her new, less-constantly-defending role.
Beastmen being beastmen, they clean up in a couple of turns.
Simon's glad Ranka's safe; she inspires him, you know. GOONZ finally starts to clue in to the fact that this isn't the first time the beastmen have attacked a musician...
But now we have Invaders to deal with!
One of them goes for Alto's craft...
And the Red Dancouga swoops in to save him! Alto wonders why it would save him, but Team D remembers that the R-Daigun stepped in at Gallia Base as well - not to save Alto, but for Sheryl and Ranka. Ranka realizes that the pilot can only be Eida Rossa.
Eida and Johnny look sadly at each other, but the Invaders are still hungry for, seemingly, pop star blood. Why would the mindless, savage Invaders do this? Yet again, only Grace seems to have an idea - "Going by this, Little Queen's awakening will have an even greater impact than I calculated. Or is it Sheryl?"
Dancouga and R-Daigun call a cease-fire to fight off the Invaders. Johnny only has one thing to say about Eida's revelation: "Just make it out alive."
And now we have a clock - wipe out all enemies within three turns of the Invaders' arrival. Unfortunately, it's not going to be that easy.
Oh, stop pretending you haven't already told us who it is five times over.
The main problem with the Invaders is going to be the ones far to the west.
I think we'll be okay, though.
Unfortunately, there's also something else approaching from above.
What the hell are these things? There's no data on them anywhere in our databanks, but they sure don't look terrestrial. Banjou recognizes them - "heralds from the Moon."
The alien robots fire on us; the Daigun dives in to engage. It's taking fire, but Totally Not Eida groans that she has to do this - for the Earth's future! Team D wants to be right by her side...
Then show me how much you want it.
Final Dancouga appears, burning with the same energy as Nova's God Beast Mode - but much more powerful. Its crew shout that Dancouga's wild, untamed power must not be leashed by reason - and it's about to go wild!
This attack takes shots of itself, honestly.
Shinobu covers the Daigun's escape from the line of fire. Banjou explains that Final Dancouga is F. S.'s ultimate weapon, the original robot Nova was based on. We'll have to take out those unknown before they can explain everything, though. (Not that they can explain what the aliens are either.)
Also, the three turn time limit is still in effect.
There are only a few of these "Regulus Alpha" machines, but they're rocking about 16000 HP each, so knocking down the one that Shinobu kindly beat up for us sounds like a good place to start.
I can't afford to lose! R-Daigun and I are here to fight these!
Shinobu! Are you okay?
I'm all recovered now. No more holding back!
Which means it's back to dealing with Shinobu's recklessness for the rest of us...
Heh. Back to the fun.
I don't care what world we're in - we know what we have to do!
Anyone wants this planet, they'll have to go through us!
We'll unleash the beasts within us... let's go wild!
Great, more mysterious unknown enemies.
I don't think they've come to introduce themselves.
Then let's send them home. The hard way.
Right! Dancouga Nova's not backing down from a fight with anybody!
"Hell Stingers" reduces mobility, but it doesn't really matter to the likes of Dancouga (or Team Invincible, for that matter).
So it is the first turn of 3, we're more or less nicely spread out, the Invaders don't take more than a couple of hits, and we have a power team ready to welcome the Regulus to Earth.
Poor Setsuna's getting swarmed.
And this happens in Regulus news.
Most of the Invaders need another hit at best at this point.
In fact, let's ignore the Invaders; there's just one straggler left.
Those Regulus actually withstand a few hits.
Okay! Time for the Zambot Moon Sun Bird Attack!
Hey! You mean the Trider Bird Sun Moon Attack!
That name sucks!
Well, so does yours!
That's enough, you two. All together now!
Okay! Finishing attack!
But they can't stand up to the might of the Invincibles.
Anyway, these last two should be eas--
Fuck you too.
At least now we can hit it properly, since its buddy only has one support.
And there go the Invaders.
Final does something completely unnecessary. Enjoy.
And Nova offs the last enemy standing.
And that's it. Eida leaves, but the Final crew promises that we'll see her again eventually. "If you walk the same path, someday you'll walk it together," says Ryo sagely.
F. S. has given Final permission to fill us in. Probably because the ones who would come finally did. Would this be the "oncoming threat" F. S. warned us about at the party?
Since I brought Trider and Daitarn, I get the benefit of both their skills, I guess. Nostalgic.
Eida reports her loss to her boss, the oddly named Vladimir. She's not particularly broken up that Eida abandoned the Trinities or that they've been iced along with Laguna Harvey - she never liked that partnership anyway. What matters is that the Daigun has enabled Nova to achieve God Beast Mode. If anything, Vlad is surprised that Eida, once a hollow shell of a girl, now has the willpower to make her own decisions against her orders. Is it because of her work as a celeb? It doesn't matter; by and large, things are still going according to plan. But why wouldn't it? It's WILL's plan.
This is not according to plan, though. Now that they are no longer of use to their former allies, the PMCs have been ordered to take care of them. Vlad tells Eida to escape; she'll distract the soldiers. "You have to survive. The future of the human race depends on it."
There's no need for that.
You don't deserve to know my name!
H-how... did he get us all so fast...
Sandman is the best, and I'll forgive him for not being by our side. He says a friend of his asked him to come help them. A friend?
"Indeed." Sandman smiles gently. "WILL is waiting to meet you."
Back at Dragon's Hive, F. S. promised us answers and Team D wants some. Team Cyber Beast Force is impressed by their new partners, and F. S. begins with their Dancouga. Its tech isn't of this world - it was brought to this one by a dimensional quake some years ago. They had just had a hard battle against Emperor Muge Zolbatos, an alien who tried to conquer their Earth, and they were in bad shape when F. S. happened across them - so bad that F. S. had to put them in suspended animation while they went through their years-long healing process and he repaired their Dancouga. It was over those years that he had Dancouga Nova built in Final Dancouga's image. F. S. didn't know if or when he'll ever come to this Earth, so Nova was created preemptively in case that ever happened.
As for Dancouga's mission of equalizing armed conflict? That's a complicated answer, so I'll start with F. S.'s words: "Dancouga Nova is not merely a weapon. It is all life on Earth." Within its body is kept vital data on every life form on Earth, enough to recreate those organisms if the planet were ever destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. However, there is a single entry in that database which has always been incomplete, the most complex species of all: humans. To complete it and achieve Nova's true purpose, F. S. had various people pilot it so it could collect data from them. That's why everyone on the Nova is so different, because Nova has to learn about every kind of human. Of course, Team D is not mere data samples. F. S. also selected a team capable of pushing Dancouga to its limit and ultimate form, the God Beast Mode.
On the other hand, if Dancouga is just a time capsule of life on Earth, why couldn't they just fill out the database by analyzing humans quietly or using sample containers? Basically, why does it have to be a war machine at all? Why interfere in conflicts, why mount guns on the thing? And why prolong war by supporting the losing side?
F. S.'s answer: that Dancouga must be a weapon, and must be strong, to protect humanity. From that oncoming threat? "That is among them, I suppose," says F. S. We all know there's a lot threatening this planet; F. S. says with certainty that a war will come that will destroy the planet, and all of Dancouga Nova's power will not stop it, and only the void of space will remain for it and its vessel of data. Dancouga Nova is simultaneously a defender of the Earth and an ark to preserve it, and it must be ever more powerful for it to fulfill both of those duties.
So let's talk about the Daigun. F. S. says it's the work of an ally of his, someone with the same goal. The two Dancougas must fight, struggle, and drive each other to ever higher heights of power, so that they will have power enough to stand up to "the strongest foe." And no, he won't confirm for us who's in it.
F. S. won't deny that technically, Dancouga doesn't need Team D anymore. It's extracted their data and could probably fight as well as them on that alone. Nova's the important thing here; the machine itself will be the world's only hope when Armageddon falls.
Hope? Don't make me laugh!
If you've given up before the battle's started, you have no right to use that word!
I'm with her.
Dancouga's an ark? So you're planning your escape before you've even begun to fight!
We owed you for saving us. That's why we've been helping you. But after hearing that, I'm done.
If we keep working for you, we'll turn into losers too!
That's the CBF philosophy.
You gotta want to win to have a chance.
We refuse to be beaten until we don't have an ounce of strength left to fight.
Every single one of us would agree.
Then what would you do?
Isn't it obvious? We're joining GOONZ. They don't like your style either.
Yep. We're at your service.
We're glad to have you, CBF.
Let the strongest foe come. Let our doom fall. We welcome anyone who would rise up against them.
Mr. F. S., I understand your logic, but we can't accept it.
...fine. We're allies, nothing more. I won't stop you.
Use the two Dancouga as you wish.
Goodbye, F. S. We'll do things our way from here on out.
Thanks for everything. We haven't forgotten what we owe you.
On the other hand, Tanaka doesn't believe F. S. was still telling the whole truth.
As for WILL, their reaction just proves to him how tough they are - but that may prove humanity's undoing. Mankind has not ceased war since the dawn of the race - why would they stop now just because they're threatened with extinction? "Even the Imperium can be considered an artifact of humanity's arrogance."
F. S. has faith in humanity, and he knows WILL is aware of at least one reason why. "Songs?" says WILL with robotic evenness. "There is just a possibility that it deserves faith. But the other me, the one who denies that possibility, has made his move."
The other WILL is watching humanity very closely now that the Imperium and the UNF are poised against one another. It's clear what his judgment will be...
Meanwhile, Edwards Base is receiving thirty new GN Drives, the reactors allegedly using Gundam tech. Each of the major nations will maintain control of ten units, giving each one ten seats in the joint army, but that's in addition to whatever else they can supply. For instance, Zechs's Tallgeese won't use a GN Drive, and Britannia has its own new unit which Schneizel is adding to the UNF. Britannia will also likely assign the Overflags to spearhead their end of the operations, with Graham in the lead, of course. But Graham turns the Overflag down - he will fight to the end in a flag, as he vowed to the late Howard Mason. To make up for the Flag's lagging specs, he wants Billy to mount one of the GN Drives in it. It's going to be a Flag destined to slay a Gundam.