Chapter 7: Tension
Ever since the group had returned to the base, things had been different. From the second he stepped out of the Gundam, Ransac could tell that all eyes were on him. Before arriving, Strafe had sent a private report directly to Commander Daryl, detailing everything that had happened. Though Ransac wasn’t sure of everything Strafe had said, he had a pretty good idea.
To confirm this, Ransac spotted Daryl watching him very carefully through the corner of his eye. He even detected Syrene watching him, pausing as she spoke with Strafe. Embarrassed, Ransac stormed off to his room.
When Ransac got there, he slammed the door shut, clenching his fists tightly shut. With a sudden roar he slammed his fist into the wall.
“Damn it! Just what the hell are they playing at?! It’s been a year since I’ve escaped and now they’ve come back to haunt me!”
Unable to express his emotions fully, Ransac threw himself onto his bed, biting down on the covers to prevent himself from lashing out again. For a while the room was silent, until a knock came from the door.Without waiting for a reply, the door swung open. Strafe walked in carrying a white helmet.
“Locking yourself away won’t change anything.” Said Strafe.
Ransac swung around to glare at Strafe. A glare Strafe met evenly with one of his own. Strafe continued to speak.
“If you want to stay locked up however, I’ll be glad to take your place, you caused quite a disaster in that battle.”
“You have no idea what happened to me during that fight.” Snapped Ransac.
“Don’t I? I believe your Quantum Brainwaves clashed with those of the pilot. It caused you great agony to be near him didn’t it?”
Unable to form an appropriate comeback, and interested in what Strafe had to say, Ransac nodded.
“Here, take this.” Strafe tossed the helmet to Ransac, who caught it in his hands. He slowly inspected it before facing Strafe again.
“What is it? It looks like a normal pilot helmet to me.”
“That is a special helmet. It is designed to block Quantum Brainwaves, basically, if you wear that if we encounter them again, you won’t suffer like you did before.”
With that Strafe left the room. Before leaving sight however, he turned his head to view Ransac through the corner of his eye.
“Don’t make me regret this.” He added. With that Strafe left down the hall.
Ransac returned to inspecting the helmet. It seemed normal in appearance. If what Strafe said was true, he would be able to deal with that pilot without issue now.
Ransac suddenly realized he hadn’t eaten since he had arrived. That was now coming back to haunt him as his stomach gave a loud growl.
Deciding Strafe was right, Ransac left for the mess hall. However, when he got there, he could hear hushed whispers.
“Don’t know why he’s shutting himself away from us, doesn’t sound healthy to me.”
“He just received a sucker punch from his past, Dom, a past he would rather forget. Would you like it if something highly unpleasant from your past suddenly appeared right before you with a gun in hand? If that was me I would do exactly what he’s doing now.” That was Longshot’s voice.
“You shut yourself from everyone even on a good day. I’m just saying he’s being pretty dull about it, if it was me I would do everything I could to try and prevent it from happening again.”
“Hush Dom, you’re being rude.” That was Syrene’s voice.
“Why? He can’t hear me can he?” Syrene whispered something that Ransac couldn’t hear to Dom.
Tired of hiding behind the corner, Ransac entered the mess hall, stopping as he watched the reactions of everyone.
Dom became very pale. He immediately turned all his attention to a bowl of cereal he had, watching it as if it was alive.
Longshot pulled his trench coat up to his face, unfolding a newspaper he was holding to block Ransac’s gaze.
Syrene, however, seemed the least affected by the sudden arrival. Instead of hiding her gaze, Syrene watched him carefully before walking over to a cupboard to pull out a box of cereal and a bowl. When she was finished, she handed the bowl to Ransac before leaving the room. He caught her blushing a little before she left.
Still angry at Dom and Longshot, Ransac sat at another table, forcefully eating his cereal. It was at that moment that Strafe and commander Daryl entered the mess hall.
Immediately the two detected the tension in the room. Daryl sighed.
“I haven’t felt this much tension since the last battle of the first Solar Wars. Ransac, get over here. Dom, that cereal isn’t going anywhere.”
When Ransac didn’t move, Daryl growled in his throat.
“That was an order.”
Unable to fight his superior officer, Ransac reluctantly moved over to the seat Daryl had set out for him at the table. Dom also slowly lived his gaze from his cereal.
“Now, am I to believe that Strafe’s report was accurate?”
Ransac nodded his head, taking a spoonful of cereal into his mouth to prevent him from having to talk.
“We know the Super Human Institute was sending out Super Soldiers. They’re doing it because Celestial Being poses a threat to them. We know this because one of the Gundam Meisters, Allelujah Haptism, has suffered the same thing you did with a Soma Peries.”
Ransac lifted his head at the mention of Soma. Now he was curious.
“Soma Peries? I know her.”
Daryl nodded. “She pilots the first Tieren Taozi, and from what I’ve heard, is causing Celestial Being quite an issue. Being close to Soma seems to cause severe pain to Allelujah, from what I’ve been told, their Quantum Brainwaves seem to crash against each other quite violently.”
“Why are you telling me this commander?” Ransac had a feeling he knew, and it made his heart jump.
“Because now the Super Human Institute has become a problem for Celestial Being, and as Allelujah is a Super Soldier, they’ll know all about it by now.”
“They’ll target it for an armed intervention.” Said Ransac. As he spoke his feelings of anger seemed to vanish abruptly. The problem was going to come to an abrupt halt if Celestial Being had anything to say about it.
“Sir, I’d like to add any information I can supply.” Daryl nodded.
“Permission granted, I’ll brief you in a couple hours, for now, get some rest, all of you, you’re going to have a
busy week once things get rolling.”
The group all left the table, each leaving for their rooms. As he left, Ransac gave a small grin. He had nothing to worry about now.
Chapter 8: Anger
The commanders words had been prophetic. Celestial Being had targeted The Super Human Institute for an armed intervention. According to Longshot, the intervention had been carried out by Allelujah in his Gundam Kyrios. Their primary facility in space was destroyed, leaving them without their primary means of creating new Super Soldiers. In addition to the armed intervention, Celestial Being had leaked information about the Super Human Institute publicly to the world. Humiliated, the Human Reform League was forced to shut it down permanently.
Upon hearing this, Ransac had been happier than he had ever been before. No more innocent people would be turned into living weapons for the sake of war. Upon announcing the news to everyone though, he realized a dread truth.
“Yes the Super Human Institute is closed forever. Now nobody will have to fear being turned into a super soldier. But did you ever stop to consider what that armed intervention really did?” Said Longshot to Ransac. Confused, Ransac shook his head.
“That facility was home to probably thousands of innocent people who probably had no idea about the truth of their existence. The facility was destroyed utterly, there’s nothing left. All those men, women, and children, gone within a blink of an eye.
The horror sunk in with Ransac. He had wanted the Super Human Institute to be removed, but he had never wanted innocents to die like that. It was the reason he had joined Star Strike. To protect them.
“Celestial Being wouldn’t do that though. I thought we were fighting this war to protect innocents by ending all conflict.” Said Ransac, disbelieving what he was hearing.
“Necessity can be a cruel mistress.” Was all Longshot said.
Ransac had to sit down in his seat to analyze this. Now that he thought about it, Celestial Being had always carried out their armed interventions like this. They had always tried to avoid harming civilians, but in the end, that was harder than it sounded. Ransac sighed.
“I hope we never have to perform something like that.” He said. Longshot nodded in agreement.
“As do I, but if we are forced to, we’ll have to it if it means saving more lives elsewhere.”
“That’s a hard way at looking at it.”
“And you wonder why I’m never happy.”
The conversation came to an end when Dom entered the mess hall.
“Why is it we always meet in here? We have orders to launch.” Said Dom.
Ransac and Longshot followed Dom to the locker rooms, changing into their uniforms before leaving.
“Still wearing that helmet huh?” Asked Dom, referring to the helmet Strafe had given Ransac.
“We never know if we’ll meet up with them again, better safe than sorry.”
In truth, the helmet gave Ransac a form of security. A way to block out the truth of him being a Super Soldier. He knew it wouldn’t erase that, but it helped to relieve the stress from his mind.
When the group had launched, Ransac waited for further instruction. The wait ended when Commander Daryl entered the com.
“Your mission is to enter the Sahara Desert, from there you will deal with a small group of armed terrorists. Our reports say they are currently relying mostly on Enacts for mobile suits. Good luck out there.”
When the group arrived at the destination, they were met with a shock. Below them was a nightmare.
The city below them was covered in a fiery blaze. The entire city was covered in it. Below, Ransac could see fire fighters struggling valiantly to put them out, but they were hopelessly outmatched by the sheer ferocity of the flames.
“Shouldn’t we be helping them? That city will be destroyed at this rate.” Asked Dom.
“There’s nothing we can do, we’re not equipped to put out fires. The only thing we can do is find the ones who did this.” Replied Longshot.
“Then what are we waiting for?” Demanded Ransac angrily.
Without a second thought the Rush Gundam launched forward into the desert. Ransac watched his sensors with extreme intensity. Someone was going to pay for this.
Suddenly the suit detected a small group of mobile suits flying away from the area. With determination Ransac brought the Gundam into a full charge at them.
“Just where the hell do you think you’re going?!” Roared Ransac as he fired a shot from the GN-Claws. The enemy dodged the shot, swinging around to face him. The leader, flying in a blue colored Enact, pulled out a beam saber.
“Well you’re not a krugis punk but I guess you’ll do!” Replied the leader through the com. He charged at Ransac with a fierce counter attack, bringing his beam saber into a rapid series of swings, each nearly striking the Rush Gundam.
Ransac was immediately on alert. This guy was good, no arguing that. He had to be careful or risk losing the Gundam. The pilot nearly removed the Gundam’s head with another violent swing of his beam saber. Without warning the pilot suddenly changed tactics, delivering a powerful kick directly to the Gundam’s chest. Ransac struggled to pull out of the fall, succeeding just before crashing into the ground. Now it was Ransac’s turn to attack.
“Claws, get him!”
The GN-Claws erupted from the Gundam, keeping the enemy pilot busy as Ransac brought out a large physical sword to bear. With the pilot distracted, Ransac charged at him. He was about to deliver a powerful swing to the chest when he was stopped by a sudden punch directly to the Gundam’s head. The pilot had seem him coming.
“Dammit he’s good!” Swore Ransac.
The GN-Claws meanwhile, had managed to graze the opponents shoulder.
“You’re going to pay for that paint job, with your life!” Snarled the pilot.
Without hesitation the pilot delivered a series of kicks to different parts of the Gundam. Ransac had no choice but to brace for impact with the ground under this assault.
The Gundam crashed into the ground, leaving a small crater where it had fallen. Before Ransac could get up however, the Enact grabbed the Gundam’s head.
“I’ll take this as a souvenir.” Taunted the pilot as he began to pull on the head.
Ransac managed a lucky swing, severing the arm holding the head with his physical sword. At the same time he managed to deliver a kick to the Enact, forcing it away.
“Who are you?” Snarled Ransac has he tore the arm off the head of his Gundam.
“The name’s Ali Al Saachez. Don’t forget it, it may be the last thing you do.” Snarled the pilot.
“We’ll see.” Replied Ransac.
The Enact suddenly charged at Ransac again, wielding it’s beam saber in it’s remaining hand. Before it could reach him however, the Enact suddenly found itself stopped by a massive particle beam.
“Back off! Or you’ll have to deal with me!” Snarled Dom.
Ali laughed over the com.
“And here I thought I would have some more fun. Enjoy your life while you can punk! Because I’ll be cutting it out of you next time I see you!”
With that he swung his Enact around, flying away from the group to rejoin his comrades. Ransac angrily tried to follow him. He was prevented by Strafe, who had grabbed the Gundam’s shoulder to prevent him from moving.
“The fires are dying out, the city received additional help from the local towns. Now is the time we get out of here.” Announced Longshot.
“Agreed.” Said Strafe.
Ransac reluctantly gave up on chasing Ali al Saachez.
“I hate people like him.” was all he said.
Chapter 9: Surpise
Shortly after the battle, the group received new orders. They were to head to the ocean and wait there for further instruction. Still fuming, Ransac obeyed the order without a word. Once they arrived, they waited patiently for their instructions. An hour passed without any contact. Finally Ransac grew tired of waiting.
“Just what are we waiting for anyway?!” Demanded Ransac.
“Any moment now.” Replied Strafe.
Before Ransac could ask what he meant, the Gundam’s sensors detected something massive beneath them. Ransac looked down into the water, what he saw was a massive shadow growing larger rapidly. The group instantly rose higher into the air.
With a sudden eruption of water, like a breaching whale, a massive ship exploded from the water. The resulting wave managed to sweep the group into the ocean water, leaving Ransac to float in awe.
“Everyone, welcome to Atlantis Base.” Said Strafe.
The base stopped to a soft bobbing on the waves, waiting almost patiently for the group to approach it. Out of the sides of the ship slid open a large door, it was a hanger for the mobile suits. Once the group landed inside, the group were surprised by commander Daryl. He addressed each of them as they exited their mobile suits.
Ransac looked around in awe.
“Just what is this place anyway?”
“Surprised? Don’t worry, I was too when I first learned of Atlantis Base. This is our research and development base, it’s constantly on the move within the pacific and only comes up when it needs too. It was here that your mobile suits were created.” Explained Daryl.
“Plus they have excellent sushi here.” Said Dom with a large grin.
“I want each of you to get used to this place, we’re going to be using it for a while.” Said the commander.
Ransac was about to do just that when Daryl stopped him.
“Except for you and Longshot, I have orders for you both.”
“You are to both head to the surface and check the extent of the damage to the city. See if that group left any evidence of where they are hiding. Also, you are not to use any mobile suits, you will be given a car, civilian clothing, and side arms, but nothing else.”
Ransac held out his arms as one of the crew members gave him new clothes and a gun. Looks like Longshot was driving. Within a matter of minutes Ransac and Longshot were ready to go.
They found the jeep they were to use and sat in it. Once that was done, the hanger doors opened wide again, this time with a large metal bridge connecting it to land. Longshot drove down onto land, taking them into the direction of the city.
Once in the city, Longshot parked next to the sidewalk.
“I’m going to drive around for a while, see if anyone needs help, you continue on foot from here.”
Ransac nodded and jumped out of the car, making sure his gun was hidden from sight. Longshot drove on, leaving sight when he turned down a corner. Ransac began walking down the street.
It occurred to Ransac that this was the first time he had been out in public since he had escaped the Super Human Institute. He took his time as he looked into buildings that looked intact, checking to make sure nothing would happen to it. It was a few minutes after this that Ransac realized he was being followed.
With this knowledge, Ransac turned into an alley and began to walk faster. Behind him he could hear footsteps matching his speed. Suddenly Ransac swung around, pulling out his gun as he turned. He was met with the sight of a man running at full speed out of the alley. The man turned and gave a chuckle as he ran.
Ransac ran to pursue this man, following him out of the alley into the streets. The man dodged and weaved in and out of the street, giving Ransac trouble with keeping up. The man lead Ransac outside of the city.
As Ransac stopped a few meters behind him, the man pulled out a gun, aiming directly at his head.
“Hello Subject E-58.” He said
Ransac’s heart nearly stopped at this. The man knew who he was.
“Who are you and how do you know that name?” Demanded Ransac, he couldn’t identify any facial features due to a large scarf the man wore across his face, only leaving his eyes exposed, though behind goggles.
“My name for now in unimportant, but you’ll find I know much about you.”
Ransac growled. This man had purposely drawn him out of the city just for this. Ransac slowly reached for the emergency beacon on his belt.
The man suddenly fired a shot that landed very close to where Ransac’s foot was.
“Don’t want that now, I’d rather have a chance to speak with you before you summon your allies.” Sneered the man.
“Alright, you have my attention.” Replied Ransac reluctantly.
“Good, I have waited over a year for this moment. It is time you came home.”
“What are you talking about? I have no home, at least not with you.”
The man raised his head and laughed.
“Of course you do, the Super Human Institute will always be your home, it’s where you were born after all.”
Ransac grew pale. But something the man said didn’t make sense.
“The Super Human Institute is shut down, it was exposed by Celestial Being.” The man laughed again in response.
“Did you honestly believe that something with that kind of resources would just vanish like that? Sure many of the scientists were arrested, but Karith remains free, and he misses you ever so dearly.”
Ransac grew even more pale at that name. Karith had been the one who had created him, and it was also Karith who had nearly killed him before he had escaped.
“Karith? What does he want with me? He ordered me to be terminated.”
“He regrets that now, you were his perfection, and now he wants you to come home, to help him.” As the man said this, his voice became a reluctant growl.
“Help him with what? What does he have planned?” Demanded Ransac.
“Why, the elimination of Celestial Being of course. That group must pay for what they’ve done to the Super Human Institute. It’s forced us to do some unfortunate things to ensure our survival.”
Ransac’s eyes grew wide. The elimination of Celestial Being? Suddenly things started to make sense. The nuclear power plant, the strange battle with the Tieren Taozi’s, and the city burning.
“He hired that mercenary to burn this city down didn’t he? He thought Celestial Being was getting close to finding him so he set up a distraction under the guise of a terrorist sect, didn’t he?” The man clapped in response.
“Very good, Karith told me you were smart, good to know things haven’t deviated that far.”
“Tell Karith he can go to hell.” Ransac fired a shot from his gun, but the shot went wild as the gun was blasted from his hand by another gunshot. The man had moved faster.
Before he could fire again however, the man’s scarf was suddenly grazed by a bullet. The scarf suddenly fell to reveal an brief shock to Ransac before the man took off at a full run. Longshot appeared next to Ransac, continuing to fire at the man, but none of the shots hit.
"Are you alright?" Asked Longshot
Ransac couldn't reply, he was shaking in fear. The reality of the situation crashing down upon him. He recognized that face, he could never forget it. Because that face, was his.