Chapter 14: Exhaustion
“We can’t keep this up much longer, sir! We’re all exhausted, we haven’t had a break since this war started!”
“I know that, Strafe! Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about that until we reach Africa!” It was the daily argument between Strafe and Daryl. The two had constantly clashed over what needed to be done. Unfortunately it had gotten nobody anywhere. Privately, Ransac believed they did it just to relieve stress.
“Attention all personnel! Prepare for immediate combat! Again.”
“Oh come on! That’s the eighth time this week!” Burst Dom.
“Stop whining and just do your job.” Snapped Longshot.
The group quickly got into their mobile suits. By now it had been done so many times they could do it in their sleep.
“They’re trying to tire us out, that’s all this is.” Said Ransac, mostly to himself.
“Ya, well it’s working.” Snapped Dom.
The group became quiet as they exited their airlocks. Now was the hard part. Almost immediately the group had to dodge beam fire.
“Damn it, at least let us get out!” Said Ransac as he immediately brought the Rush Gundam into a rapid dive.
The Aquatic Flags pursued Ransac, almost entirely ignoring the others. He was now facing over 15 mobile suits, with another squad holding the others off.
“So it’s going to be this game is it?”
Ransac pulled out the Fin Blades, severing the arm of a flag as it charged. Following this he delivered a powerful swinging kick while swinging the fist of the Gundam to crash into the head of another suit.
Before he could continue, he was suddenly tackled by two of the flags, pinning him down against the hull of the Atlantis Base. While the two held him down, the others began to deliver a bombardment of beam fire into the armor of the Gundam.
Alarms went off within the cockpit. If something wasn’t done the Gundam would be finished. A sudden plan entered Ransac’s head. Now he had a way out. Maxing out the thrust of the Gundam, he slowly forced the two back. Once that was done he made a straight shot for the surface.
“Follow me if you can!” Taunted Ransac as he shot one of the aqua flags in the chest with his beam rifle. The mobile suits did exactly that.
The Gundam suddenly exploded out of the water, soaring high into the sky. Below the aqua flags rose their heads out of the ocean, bringing their rifles to bear against the now airborne target.
Ransac took out another 2 mobile suits before he was forced to stop. Despite the Gundam being able to fly normally, the Aquatic Armor traded that for underwater maneuverability. And Ransac was now falling rapidly back towards the water. He decided to put the fin blades to good use.
Just before striking the water, the Rush Gundam tossed the fin blades downwards, destroying one mobile suit while removing the arms of another. Using the momentary distraction, Ransac delivered a powerful downward thrust with the Gundam foot, smashing through another mobile suit before crashing into the ocean.
Pulling out the physical sword, He dashed at a flag, slicing it in half with the blade. He suddenly swung around to block a vertical swing from an enemy beam saber. As the blades locked, the section behind the blade suddenly opened to reveal the ends of four sub machine guns. The flag was torn apart by the sudden close range barrage.
Instead of continuing their assault, the flags suddenly took off, heading outside of the battlefield. Ransac took a breath of relief. He was exhausted after those maneuvers.
“We can’t keep this up, we need to get out of here, away from the water if we have to.”
“I agree entirely, and I think it’s time we pulled something risky. Return to the main hanger immediately, don’t use the airlock.” Ordered Daryl over the com.
Ransac did as told, waiting as Atlantis Base rose to the surface again. Once that was done, he followed the others into the main hanger. Syrene beckoned them over to a mobile suit elevator at the far side of the hanger.
“So what are we going to do?” Asked Ransac.
“We’re going to use the assault container to get the Gundams out of here. From there the ship will use it’s optical camouflage to get it out of here safely. Without the GN-Particles to blow it’s cover, it shouldn’t have any further trouble.” Explained Daryl.
“The assault containers? And here I thought you weren’t serious with the risky part.” Said Dom as he loaded his Agas onto the elevator. Ransac followed once Dom rose out of sight.
“You won’t need the aquatic armor.” Said Syrene.
“Roger, detaching armor.”
Ransac began pressing buttons as he loaded into the elevator. With a loud hiss the aquatic armor fell off of the Gundam. As they fell, the armor was caught by mechanical arms that brought the pieces out of sight.
“Ransac, Rush Gundam, loading into second assault container.”
Ransac waited as the elevator loaded the Gundam into the container. With a sudden shake of the mobile suit, he realized it was also being turned onto it’s side.
“We’re re-equipping the standard armaments, stand by.”
Ransac watched the screen as it indicated the reattachment of the GN-Claws. Good, now he would be able to operate without worrying about being surrounded.
“You will be passed control of the assault container once docking is complete.” Announced Syrene.
“What?! I don’t know how to fly that thing!”
“Relax, the controls are connected to the Rush Gundam, just pilot like you normally would, hopefully you won’t need to use the weapons.”
The Gundam suddenly stopped moving. A loud whirr announced that the GN-Drive was connected to the Assault Container. The monitors flashed to replace the Gundam with an image of the container.
“You will be launched via catapult deck, we’ll meet you back at Africa Base.” Informed Daryl, replacing Syrene at the com.
“Roger that, wish me luck.”
“You don’t need it, beginning countdown."
Ransac took a deep breath in anticipation of the launch. Once outside he was to fly something with systems he’d never used before.
“Launching in 3, 2, 1. Launch!”
Ransac slammed back into his seat as the Assault Container shot straight out of the ship, leaving him to take control.
Chapter 15: Assault
The Assault Container settled into a smooth flight over the ocean. Ransac went over the systems to make sure everything was alright. He also began to familiarize himself with the controls. The Assault Container was different than a mobile suit by about a mile.
The container had no limbs to utilize, limiting it’s assortment of weapons. What weapons it did have were all facing the front, meaning he had nearly no means of warding off an attack from behind. The container, however, made up for this with it’s sheer speed and firepower. Ransac was sure that if he was attacked, he could either outrun or quickly remove them.
“Hey, you there?” Said Dom’s voice over the com.
“I thought we were running on com silence?”
“We are, but I hate flying alone, especially in this thing, we could be attacked at any moment.”
The plan was that each assault container would fly on a different path from each other. This was to confuse the enemy should they pursue. Unfortunately, that left each pilot to their own defense, unable to rely on backup should they be attacked.
“I’m sure Karith wouldn’t pursue us that fast, he’d have difficulty tracking us in these things.”
“It isn’t Karith I’m worried about, remember, we’re still part of Celestial Being, to the rest of the world we’re public enemy number 1.”
“The blocks are focusing more on a joint desert exercise than the oceans. I think we’ll be fine.”
“Eh, well I’m close to my entry point, I’ll see you there.” With that the com went silent again. Ransac leaned back in his seat to think. He had forgotten the rest of the world was against them. He had been so focused on Karith that he briefly forgot Celestial Being’s agenda. The elimination of war through armed force. Ransac gave a brief chuckle at the irony.
“They’re trying to remove war, we started one.”
Suddenly three AEU Enacts appeared on the monitor. They weren’t flying towards him but were close within visual range. Ransac immediately activated the optical camouflage of the assault container. The optical camouflage made the container nearly invisible to most eyes, it would take someone with a well trained eye to notice it. He hoped none of the pilots had seen him.
Fortune seemed to be with him. The Enacts veered off to another direction. Even better, he had reached his target. Without hesitation, Ransac brought the assault container into a steep dive into the ocean. With a loud crash, the container entered the ocean.
“It should be around here somewhere.” He thought out loud.
A rock formation suddenly opened up, revealing a long underground tunnel. It was the underwater hanger entrance for Africa Base. Ransac brought the container into the tunnel, making sure to avoid the sharp rocks as he went. Finally, he broke the surface of water. The hanger was in a flurry of action as he docked the container.
“What’s going on?” Asked Ransac as he climbed out.
“Incoming mobile suits, it’s a large force.” Replied an engineer as he dashed by. Ransac immediately switched to remove the Gundam from the container.
“Even here they find us, just what is going on?” Demanded Ransac to the air. Within minutes the Rush Gundam was back on it’s feet. With well practiced precision, Ransac loaded the Gundam onto the catapult deck.
“We only have the Gundam and the Agas Heavy Armor to use, so don’t be reckless out there!” Informed Daryl.
“How is it you keep beating us here?! And what do you mean? Where’s Strafe and Longshot?” Demanded Dom.
“They had a complication in their flight, they’re going to be later than we had hoped.” Ransac groaned in response. They were to face a large group exhausted and at half strength. This wasn’t going to end well.
“Ransac, Rush Gundam, intercepting targets.” With that, the Gundam launched from the catapult deck.
“I’ll provide cover fire from the base.” Announced Dom as he connected his Agas with a large cable. He connected himself directly to the bases GN-Capacitors and particle storage. Ransac moved out of the way as Dom fired a series of massive beams at the approaching enemy. A few of them managed to strike, some destroyed entire suits, the others only removed an leg or an arm.
“Damn, I forgot how maneuverable Flags were, Ransac, you gotta keep them busy!”
“Roger, engaging targets.” Ransac activated the GN-Claws. With relative ease he directed them at the closest targets, having them lay down a steady bombardment of beam fire. While the enemy was distracted, he drew the physical sword and charged. He managed to eliminate one of the flags, slashing straight through the middle of the mobile suit, before he found himself under attack by a single flag. “Now we can settle this.” Said Milliardo over the com. “Somehow I think this will never be settled.” Replied Ransac in a surprisingly calm tone. Milliardo responded by bringing down his sword onto the head of the Gundam, a move that Ransac barely managed to block. Ransac returned with a kick to the chest of Milliardo’s Flag, succeeding in driving it back. With a mental command, two of the GN-Claws turned to rush at Milliardo. With a surprising ease, Milliardo brought his beam rifle around to destroy one of the claws, swinging around to dodge the remaining as it soared past. Ransac didn’t give him a chance to destroy the other one. Firing a few shots at Milliardo using the GN-Rifle in the physical sword, He closed the distance to deliver another kick, this time to the back. Ransac attempted to deliver a second kick, but Milliardo was faster.
Grabbing the foot, the Flag dragged the Gundam down while pulling itself up, positioning itself directly behind the mobile suit. The Flag suddenly pinned the Gundam’s arms above it’s head.
“Damn, he’s getting better.”
“I have you now, it’s time to end this game.” Suddenly one of the flags arm exploded off. Ransac took a deep breath. It’s nice to have back up. Without waiting for Milliardo to recover, he used the now free arm to crash the elbow of the mobile suit into the chest of the Flag, forcing it to back off.
“Thanks for the help, Longshot.” “Think you can handle him on your own?”
“Attention all pilots! They’ve broken into the base! We’re under attack!” Announced Daryl over the com.
“Go! We’ll handle him!” Ordered Strafe as he engaged Milliardo. Ransac did as told and set off to return to the base. He returned to a nightmare. The hanger was filled with men firing guns at the engineers, those that could took shelter behind fallen rubble, some even managed to retaliate with their own weapons. Ransac pulled out the beam rifle to take out what soldiers he could. Within a few seconds the hanger was clear.
“Go! I’ll cover your escape!” Ordered Ransac as he climbed out of the Gundam, locking the controls to his biometrics before exiting. The engineers did as told, quickly running to find a means of escape. Ransac pulled out a small radio, quickly scrolling through the channels as he ran through the halls.
“Commander Daryl, are you there?” A few seconds passed in silence.
“Ya, I’m here, is Syrene with you?” Replied Daryl.
“She’s not with you?”
“No, we got separated when some of the walls caved in, find her, I’m alright.”
Ransac pulled out his sidearm. This was a bad time for everyone to start disappearing. He dashed through the halls, dodging fallen debris as he desperately searched for Syrene. Further down the hall he heard gun fire. Suddenly a blur of blond hair dashed passed the hall, chased closely by a man bearing a rifle. It was Syrene.
Ransac threw himself down the hall, without aiming he fired a couple shots at the man. The man barely had time to turn around before his arm was struck. Ransac fired another, this time aiming straight at the man’s head. The man dropped like a brick.
“Syrene!” Syrene swung around, relief flooding her face as she recognized Ransac.
“Thank God, I tried to disarm them, but they caught me before I could finish.”
“Disarm what?” Demanded Ransac.
“They’ve loaded the base with detonators, they’re going to destroy the base in five minutes!” Explained Syrene.
“Damn it, that’s not nearly enough time to disarm them, follow me.”
“Where are we going?” “The Hanger, I’m taking you out in the Gundam, come on!” Ransac grabbed her hand and nearly dragged her through the halls with how fast he was running.
“Get down!” Ordered Ransac as he brought them under cover from gun fire. Once he was sure Syrene was safe, he began firing his own gun.
“Grab my radio, tell the commander I’m getting you out of here!” Syrene did as told, quickly alerting Daryl to their present status. Ransac couldn’t hear everything Daryl was saying, so he focused instead on taking out the last of the gun men.
“Come on, we’re almost there!” Ransac finally breathed when the two burst into the hanger. Unfortunately, he inhaled mostly ash instead of air.
The hanger was alight in a fiery blaze. Parts of it were already beginning to collapse from the pressure. Guiding Syrene through the smoke, he had her climb up the Gundam’s ladder, following once she entered the cockpit.
“Guys, get as far away from the base as you can! It’s going to explode!” Shouted Ransac into the com.
“What?! Are you sure?” Demanded Dom.
“They’ve set explosives throughout the base, there’s no time to disarm them.” Explained Syrene.
“Orders acknowledged, everyone regroup at the orbital elevator.” Replied Strafe.
“Roger that, supplying cover fire.” Announced Longshot. Suddenly the base exploded into a massive blaze, the detonators had gone off. Ransac barely got the Rush Gundam out in time. Immediately the enemy pulled out to retreat, their mission done.
“Hold on!” Announced Ransac. He wasn’t going to let this pass that easily. Syrene nodded and held a firm grip on the back of his seat. Ransac sent the Gundam charging full speed at the enemy. With brutal ferocity he slashed one suit into pieces with the GN-Claws. Another he destroyed with a barrage of beam fire. Finally he finished another with a brutal backhand followed closely by a swift horizontal kick, crushing the enemy Flag under the force. The enemy transformed their Flags into fighter mode, giving them higher speed than Ransac dared to pursue. Instead he slammed his fists into the controls, almost shaking with rage at his failure.
“Damn it! This is my fault! If I had been better this never would’ve happened!” Spat Ransac. Before he could continue beating on himself, he felt Syrene place a hand on his shoulder.
“Nobody knew they had broken into the base. Let’s be thankful we were able to evacuate most of our people before they destroyed it.” Ransac took a deep breath. She was right, there was nothing he could’ve done. With one last look at the base as the blaze burned brighter, he swung the Gundam around. He set a course for the Orbital Elevator.