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This article, Gundam SEED: Path to Redemption/Story, is property of DragonKnightRyu.

"Regular Talking"

"Radio"

Thoughts

Chapter One: A False Peace

ORB Space Colony Heliopolis Marseille III-class''

"Y'know Capt. we are either very lucky or walking straight into a trap if that Nazca-class that been following us hasn't attacked us yet," said a 6' tall blonde haired blue-eyed Lieutenant with a sinewy frame and lightly tanned skin. "Because I am getting a bad feeling about this."

"Mu you are to paranoid for your own good, how do you sleep at night?" The Capt. asked with a chuckle. Turning serious he said "ZAFT wouldn't dare to try anything now that we are docked in a neutral colony"

"I don't know Capt. my gut hasn't proved me wrong yet," Warned Mu La Flagga "The last time I ignored the feeling Endymion happened and I rather not have this colony destroyed thank you."

The Captain sighed as he looked at the ace pilot "ZAFT is a strong organization and the only reason this war went on is because ORB has maintained its policy of neutrality," He explained as he looked out the viewport at the work crews that are resupplying the ship "they would not dare upset the neutrality that has kept ORB out of this."

Before Mu could respond however several pilots came in and requested permission to disembark. "We would like to get familiar with our new machines as soon as possible." one of the pilots explained to the captain.

"Very well and do be careful ZAFT may have spy's posted here." The captain said as he saluted. He turned to Mu with a resigned look "Do you think they will be alright?" He asked.

"Honestly Captain those kids won't last too long in the machines the Operating System(OS) is far too complicated to be operated during a fight." Mu said honestly with a sigh as a faraway look crossed his face "If only he was still here, than we would at least have a chance at making a better OS." The Captain grunted his agreement as he knew who Mu was talking about, Mu turned towards the exit "I'll take my squad on patrol" he said over his shoulder "I don't want to get caught with my pants down again, the last time that happened we lost to many good people."

Nazca-class Vesalius

"Is this wise sir?" asked the ship's captain as the ship floated just beyond the colony's scanner "Shouldn't we at least wait for confirmation from the council?"

"If we don't act now Ades we will surely regret it," a man answered, he was around 6' with long blonde hair that ended at his shoulders, he wore a white mask with reflective glass eyes covering the upper part of his face, and wore the standard white ZAFT commanders uniform, "I have reason to believe that the units are nearly completed, we can't let this opportunity slip us by."

Anders didn't respond but still shifted uncomfortably is his seat as he monitored the bridge. "Still commander Creuset if we do this we risk making ORB our enemy." he said in concern.

Rau le Creuset just smiled at Anders response "Don't worry captain ORB won't dare to retaliate due to the fact that they are already breaking the treaty," he said before frowning "Also Intel states that the 'Dragon of Endymion' in the colony."

The Captains eyes widened "Do you think he's involved?" he asked nervously remembering the havoc he could wreak on the battlefield with his captured and customized Mobile suit prototype.

"No he isn't," Rau said as Anders sighed in relief "He is only an assistant to one of the professors on campus, but we still need to be careful to make sure he does not get involved, it's bad enough that Mu la Flagga the 'Hawk of Endymion' is involved, but if he were to help them than things will get difficult for us."

Anders hummed his agreement as two red coat pilots entered the bridge. The first was a male around 20 that stood around 5'8", with black hair in a military style crew cut, and had eyes that were light brown in color. His companion was a female around 22 with straight sun-blonde hair that went just past her neck, she stood around 5'7", and had deep blue eyes.

"Commander Crueset the teams have launched and are proceeding according to plan." The female said as they both snapped salutes.

"Thank you Naleen, I want you and Jacques to standby in your machines in case of emergency." Rau ordered as he returned the salute.

"Yes sir." The soft spoken man confirmed as the two of the turned to leave.

"Those two truly are opposites," Anders commented after they had left "Silent Death, so quiet that you wouldn't realize he was beside you until he speaks while Golden Eye's you could hear and see her coming from a mile away."

"That's true," Rau agreed at his friends comment "but they are extremely skilled and work flawlessly with each other. If you will excuse me I will go join them in the hanger I have a feeling I will be needed on the field soon." He said as he turned and left the bridge.

Anders sighed after he left "Why is it that the better the pilot the odder they are?" he asked no-one in particular as the crew chuckled.

Heliopolis, Park

"Hard to believe that ZAFT actually attacked Kaohsiung, I wonder if ORB will be alright?" A 16 year old female said directing the question to the man sprawled on the bench beside her. She was around 5'5" with wavy chocolate brown hair that fell just past her shoulder blades that framed amethyst colored eyes that sparkled with kindness, she had a slender frame with C-cup breasts, and was wearing a sleeveless black dress shirt along with black jeans and running shoes.

"To be honest Kira I'm surprised that they didn't attack Kaohsiung sooner due to the mass driver being there" the male teen said lazily yawning towards the end "and as for ORB, not even ZAFT is cocky enough for that due to the fact that ORB has some of the most advanced technology in the world. Taking on ORB and the EA would be suicide."

"I know" sighed Kira "but it doesn't stop me from worrying about it Ryu." Lieutenant

"Well if I were you I would be more worried about the revisions to the Operating System(OS) that the professor gave you." Ryu said slyly with a chuckle. At 18 he was around 5'12" in height with light brown hair in a military crew-cut and laughing green eye's, he had a solid build that spoke of a martial artist, he wore a white undershirt underneath an open blue button up t-shirt, along with a pair of comfortable blue jeans and sneakers. At a distance the two looked like siblings but as you got closer you could easily spot the difference between them.

"I know that Ryu," Kira huffed "but isn't this something you should do Ryu? I mean you are the Professor's assistant after all."

"Well Kira to be honest I am not the greatest at it, besides my reasonability is to fix all the stuff that you and your friends break." Ryu countered with a laugh as Kira blushed

"Well If someone didn't cross the wires wrong than it would have worked!" Kira yelled in embarrassment at her friend/mentor who only laughed harder.

"Hey I wasn't the one who designed that deathtrap so don't blame me if the schematics were wrong!" He shouted back as he dodged a ball of paper that Kira threw at his head.

"Shut up!"Kira shouted back as she crossed her arms across her chest and huffed in agitation "I swear you live just to tease me."

"Of course he does, if he didn't who knows how tense you would be Kira." a mirthful voice said, turning they saw a 5'4" tall male with brown hair and green eyes and a average build, beside him was a 5'3" tall girl with brown hair, blue eyes and a slender frame.

"Plus it's kinda cute how the two of you act like a married couple." The girl giggled as Kira blushed an interesting shade of crimson and Ryu slipped out of his seat and landed on his ass.

"Mir!!" Kira shouted at the girl as the said girl started laughing harder "It's not like that!"

"Sure Kira whatever you say, right Tolle?" Mirralia Haw teased as she playfully elbowed her boyfriend Tolle who was laughing at Ryu's flustered expression.

Once Tolle calmed down he explained that the professor was looking for them to give them some more work that he needed done.

"Are you kidding me!?" Kira asked/shouted incredulously "I haven't even finished the last stuff he gave me!"

"Not to mention I'm still working on that blueprint for the Deep Space Survey and Development's (DSSD) newest mobile suit design he wanted me to look over." Ryu chipped in as a green and yellow metallic bird landed on Kira's shoulder.

"Birdie?" It chirped mockingly at Ryu who glared at the machine.

"I. Hate. That. Bird. MOCKING ME!" He shouted pointing at Birdie with a tick mark on his forehead as everyone laughed at him "Why does that that damn bird mock me?"

"'Cause he knows you hate it." Kira giggled as she gathered up her stuff "and because it's funny." She added quickly dancing out of Ryu's reach as he took a small swipe at her growling before taking chase throwing paper balls at her as the other two followed laughing.

Elsewhere in Air-ducts

"All charges set Athrun." A green haired, brown eyed teen around fifteen standing at 5'5" wearing a red ZAFT pilot uniform reported to another teen wearing the same uniform with blue hair, green eyes and standing around 5'7".

"Right, thanks Nicol," Athrun said before turning to the rest of the pilots, 8 were wearing red pilot suits, while another dozen wore green pilot suits "you all know the plan Izack," pointing to a silver headed, blue eyed, 5'5" tall teen "you get the 'Duel', Dearka," A 5'9" tall blonde haired black eyed teen with heavily tanned skin "you get the 'Buster', Nicol you get the 'Blitz', Lev," a 6' tall giant teen with a thick body, coarse dark brown hair, and light brown eyes "you grab the 'Grizzly', Yuuka," a slender teen girl with an attractive figure, long red hair and sky blue eyes and lightly tanned skin "you're to grab the 'Lightning', Rusty" A 5'6" tall teen with brown hair and eye's "you grab the 'Strike' while I grab the 'Aegis'."

With a quick round of "Yes sir" the pilots quickly made their way through the air ducts heading to their objectives.

Vehicle Terminal

"I'm telling you guys it's nothing like that!" said the 5'3" tall red headed blue eyed teen girl to her two friends as Kira and her friends approached.

Looking over one of the friends spotted them "Hey Mir!" she shouted "Have you heard, Flay received a love letter from Sai."

"It isn't like that!" Flay protested in embarrassment as the others laughed at her plight "Why won't you believe me?"

As the four gossiped Ryu just shook his head from beside Kira and Tolle "I honestly have no idea how you can understand that gibberish Kira." He muttered as rubbed his temples with his thumb and middle finger of one hand "Is it some kind of language that all females are born with?" he asked as Tolle nodded in agreement.

"Would it make you feel better if I said yes?" she asked with a small laugh before two people caught her eye "Hey look its Liz and Chris. Liz! Chris! Over here!" she shouted waving at the two catching their attention.

The sibling Dante's were already heading towards them and waved in acknowledgement "Hey Kira, Ryu, Tolle." Liz greeted happily, she was a 15 year old coordinator that was inch shorter the Mir and had green eyes and light brown, almost dirty blond colored, shoulder length hair. She was wearing faded blue jeans with a rip in the left knee, and a bizarre purple and black stripped hoodie. Chris meanwhile was a year older than his sister and a couple of inches taller than Kira. He had grayish-green eyes and dark brown hair that was styled into short, slicked back spikes. He was wearing blue jeans with a simple leather belt, a black t-shirt, and a gray unzipped hoodie. A pair of dog tags hung around his neck.

"How's it goin'? Professor Kato call you guys back as well?" Chris asked pleasantly.

"Yeah apparently he's got more work for us back at the lab." Ryu said groaning "Why did I take that job offer, all I thought it would be is giving advice to you guys every now and then, I think karma has it out for me."

Everyone laughed as Kira patted his back reassuringly. A cough interrupted the moment for the group, turning they saw a group of two males and one female standing behind them. The female was 5'9" with black hair and purple eyes and had a no-nonsense attitude about her, the first male was slightly shorter than the female with brown hair and black eyes, the second male had dark brown hair, black eyes and was a couple inches taller than the female. "If you're just going to stand around chatting may we please use the terminal."

Ryu quickly stepped aside with the others "Please go on ahead, we need to wait for our friend to finish gossiping." He said

"Thank you." She said as they walked past and boarded the vehicle. After the group left Kira and her friends minus Flay and her friends boarded their own vehicle and started off to the Labs.

Professor Kato's Lab

As Kira and the others entered the lab a 5'6" tall blonde haired blue eyed teen wearing orange tinted glasses looked up and smiled in greeting at them "Hey guys!" He said in greeting "Glad you're here Kira Professor Kato needed some help on a new Operating System(OS) for a project he's on."

"What! But I'm still working on the stuff he dumped on me the last time!" Kira exclaimed "Why doesn't he dump some of this stuff on Ryu?"

"Because I apparently have to finish a deep space mobile suit design by tomorrow." Ryu said with false excitement before noticing the person in the corner leaning up against the wall. The person was wearing a large trench coat making it impossible to determine the gender, the large bucket hat the guest was wearing didn't help that much either, the only thing Ryu saw was a small tuft of blonde hair peeking out under the hat and light brown almost gold eyes that widened slightly when the person saw Ryu.

"Who is that Sai?" Kira asked the teen that was going over the work with her.

"No clue," the blonde admitted "Some friend of the professor's apparently. Anyway I'll help you out with this stuff." He said as the two of them sat down and began working.

Narrowing his eyes at the blonde stranger Ryu studied the person more closely before sighing and getting back to work on the blueprints They better be damn grateful that I'm doing this, he thought I'm gonna have to pull an all nighter to get the 401's blueprints done. Settling in he started typing away on his computer putting the stranger out of his mind. We need to find a suitable way to allow the 401 to catch the solar winds so that it doesn't run out of energy, nuclear energy is all well and good outside of the N-jammers range, but even that has a limit.

Vesalius

"Begin the operation!" Ades ordered as the crews leapt to obey.

Inside the hanger Rau le Crueset sat in his white Cgue watching as several GINN's launched 'Hmm, this sensation, could it be La Flaga?' he thought to himself before bringing his own suit to the catapult "Ades I'm launching as well." He said over the radio "Naleen and Jacques standby for sortie but do not launch just yet."


"Understood sir," came the Naleen's reply "Good luck and fly safe sir."


"Will do, Rau le Crueset, Cgue, launching!" He shouted as his suit was launched down the catapult.

Harbor

"Dammit I hate it when I'm right!" Mu shouted as he dodged yet more gunfire from some Ginn's who had started attacking the harbor blowing up the Marseille III'-class that he came in on "What the hell is ZAFT thinking attacking an ORB colony, unless... SHIT, I don't know how but they know about the G-weapons."

Feeling his danger sense flash he quickly through his Zero into a tight 180 turn and fired his linear gun at another Ginn that approached from behind. As he was occupied with the Ginn several others flew past and entered the colony "Dammit!" Mu swore as he finished the Ginn. He was about to chase after them when he suddenly felt another awareness around him 'Could it be... Rau le Crueset.' He wondered as he flew through the wreckage. Suddenly pulling his machine into a steep dive he managed to dodge several shots from a white Cgue that came out from behind a piece of wreckage.

"Can you sense me just as I can sense you? Mu la Flaga?" Rau mocked over an open channel "You always have gotten in the way of my plans, although you probably could say the same to me."

Inside Heliopolis

"Feh, stupid Naturals, so predictable." Izack mocked "Look at them scurry around like little pests."

"I wouldn't underestimate them Izack," Rusty warned "that's how you get killed."

"There they are," Dearka said cutting off Izack's response pointing to a military convoy with five transports "But I only see five of them."

"The other two must be in the warehouse, change of plans Rusty and I will go and secure the ones in the warehouse the rest of you grab yours if it's there, if not then grab the closest one." Athrun said when suddenly the entire colony shook and several mobile suits came in firing at the convoy "There's the signal. Go, go, go!"

Activating their thrusters the team made their way down to the convoy fire off shots from their assault rifles. Landing beside one of the trucks Yuuka quickly dispatched the guards around the truck and checked inside the convoy transport "Lightning has been secured." She said into her radio as she climbed into the mobile suit.

"Grizzly secured." Came Lev's confirmation as he got into his own suit.

"Duel secured"-Izack

"Buster secured"-Dearka

"Blitz secured, let's get these back now." Nicole Suggested as he activated the Phase shift armor turning the suit black before taking off. The rest quickly followed suit a followed Nicol out as the GINNs continued to wreak havoc.

Professors lab

"What the hell was that!" Chris shouted as the station shook "Is everyone alright?"

A quick course of affirmatives and Ryu cursing about his luck followed the question. "Did a meteor ht us?" Liz asked in confusion as everyone stood back up.

"No, it wasn't" Ryu said opening a safe under his desk and pulling out a scoped MP5, every one's eyes widened at the sight of the gun "That was someone attacking the colony. Everyone is to make their way to a safety shelter stick together and do not separate from each other." He order as he pulled out several clips and a flak jacket.

Leading the way Ryu led them down several corridors when the professors guest suddenly took off down one of the side corridors. "Hey wait!" Kira shouted Running after the guest.

"Kira!" Chris shouted as both he and Liz took off after the pair.

"Mother Fucker!" Ryu cursed as he ran after them "Get to the shelters!" he ordered over his shoulder.

Kira and the others managed to catch up to the guest just as another explosion rocked the building causing everyone but Ryu to fall. It also caused the guest's hat to fall off revealing long blonde hair and a feminine face. "You're a girl?" Chris stated dumbly as he thought she was a guy.

"What the hell did you think I was?" The girl shouted as both Kira and Liz glared at Chris who was looking very uncomfortable at the moment.

"Now is really not the time for that." Ryu growled as he walked forward "Thanks to Blondie there our original route is cut off," looking behind them the group saw that the passageway was indeed collapsed "This way, we'll go though the factory and go to the shelter there. This time stay close." He said directing the last part to the blonde who gulped.

Leading the way Ryu led them to the factory floor and unfortunately the only way had gunfire erupting from it. Entering into the factory they saw several ZAFT soldiers attacking the dock workers that were defending several mobile suits in shipping containers. The group stared in shock at the machines as the guests shouted out something about a father betraying them, noticing that ZAFT had saw them Ryu pushed them along towards the shelter while keeping an eye on the battle for anyone aiming at them.

Reaching the shelter Ryu hit the comm system "Open up we have several civilians that need an evac now!" he shouted over an explosion.

"There is no more room here, we can take one more however." The reply came back slightly fuzzy. Looking back Ryu was torn between who to throw into the elevator, he really wanted to secure Kira's safety the most. Almost reading his thoughts Kira grabbed the guest and shoved her into the elevator as the guest protested.


"We can go to the other side." Kira stated over the girls arguments "We know this place better than you do so we will be fine." Hitting the door control they watched the girl pound on the door in protest "C'mon let's double back." Kira said as Ryu took point.

As they crossed the walkway Kira happened to look down just as a ZAFT soldier started sneaking up on one of the mechanics "Watch out!" She shouted to the mechanic who reacted on instinct and turned and shot the soldier sneaking up at her.

"Chris! Liz! Kira! Ryu! What are you doing here?" shouted Chris and Liz's aunt Johanna who was taking cover behind one of the mobile suits "Get down here now!"

Taking a risk Kira listened to her and leapt over the railing and landed beside the mechanic who she shouted at earlier just as the said mechanic got hit by a bullet. Aiming his MP5 Ryu started raining bullets at any of the ZAFT soldiers not behind cover as Chris joined his mom while Liz joined their uncle Nick who had been shot in the stomach. Seeing that everyone was boarding a mobile suit Ryu quickly leapt down to the final mobile suit just as one of the ZAFT reds got there acting on reflex Ryu leapt out of the way as the red shot off some bullets until his clip ran empty. Bringing up his own gun Ryu tried to shoot but a definitive 'click' informed him that he was out of bullets, using his now empty gun he blocked a knife swipe from the red and quickly placed a heel right in the pilot's solar plexus before leaping into the suits cockpit and starting the boot sequence.

G'eneral

U'nilateral

N'eural-link

D'ispersive

Autonomic

Maneuver Synthesis System

Glancing over Ryu saw that a ZAFT red had been charging Kira and the mechanic and just as he was about to do something he saw the red freeze in shock as Kira murmured something. Ryu sighed in relief as she was dragged into the cockpit of the suit they were standing on. The five suits in the warehouse stood up as the building collapsed around them framing the in a sea of flames.

Chapter Two: It's Name is G.U.N.D.A.M

With Kira


Kira was breathing quickened unconsciously as the mobile suit she was in rose up, she could not believe it, Athrun Zala, A peace-loving boy who hated the thought of war was a part of ZAFT and was attacking Heliopolis? Why Athrun? She asked herself Why are you doing this?

"This is GAT-X105 Strike," the mechanic that was piloting the Strike said over the radio "GAT-X000 Dragon, GAT-X305 Raven, GAT-X310 Zephyr, respond on this channel."

"GAT-X000 Dragon here," Ryu's voice crackled over the radio with sharp precision "Give me a second, I'm trying to work out the kinks in the OS. Kira are you alright?"

"I'm fine Ryu, just a bit shook up." Kira responded and smiled when she heard Ryu sighed in relief and was about to say something when the mechanic interrupted her.

"Who are you?" She asked insistently "I don't recognize you as any of the G-weapon pilots."

"Relax Ramius," Chris and Liz's aunts voice came through the radio "He can be trusted, Liz are you there?"

"U-uncle Nick is d-dead." Liz stuttered out still in shock of what happened "I-I couldn't do anything."

"It's alright Liz I know you did your best." Johanna soothed before returning to the situation at hand "Ramius, let the girl with you, Kira, pilot the suit, she will be able to fix and use the OS."

"What a civilian?" Ramius asked in shock "Are you kidding me let a civilian pilot top-secret mobile suits? Kids no less."

"Would you rather die?" Ryu asked impatiently as he finished his calibrations and activated his suits phase-shift (PS) turning the suit black and woodland green "Miss Dante I assume that Chris will be piloting the Raven than?"

"Yes""WHAT!?" came the reply

"Kira, Chris get started on the re-calibrations," Ryu snapped the order making everyone flinch "Chris you protect your sister and Kira support me when your able, I'll keep the GINNs busy." Before anyone could say anything Ryu activated his twin thrusters and launched the Dragon at the incoming group of incoming enemies.

With Ryu


Armaments: CIWS Igelstellung, no good in this situation, to many enemies; IWS: Hydra Missile Shield, no good either possible collateral Type 71 beam rifle also can badly damage exterior wall, Ryu thought to himself as he scrolled through the weapons of his mobile suit I guess that leaves the Mesamune heat blade. Taking a deep breath he unfolded the heat blade and held it at the ready, exhaling he started attacking the mobile suits in front of him.

Dodging the shots from the GINN in front of him Ryu lashed out with the blade destroying the offending gun before boosting back to dodge several more shots from his opponents partner. Gritting his teeth Ryu fired his Igelstellungs forcing the suit to back off, his danger sense flashing Ryu quickly brought up his shield and blocked the sword thrust of another mobile suit. Narrowing his eyes he saw that four of the seven attacking mobile suits were surrounding him as the other three moved to attack his friend "Watch out the enemy is heading to your position!" He called out over the radio alerting the others.


Back to Kira


Hearing Ryu's warning Kira quickly forced Ramius out of the pilots seat and pulled out the keyboard and started rapidly typing away to fix the mobile suit's OS mentally reviewing everything Ryu told her about mobile suits and their designs.


Flashback


"Every mobile suit no matter how advance is reliant on one thing," Ryu instructed Kira and her friends as they sat around in professor Kato's lab. It was a year after Ryu had started working with them as Kato's assistant and Kato had asked Ryu to instruct them on mobile suit design and production "It is reliant on its OS, without it the mobile suit cannot function or even move. The only reason that ZAFT is the only one using mobile suits is not because the EA is unable to, but because coordinators are the only ones able to handle an OS that fully brings out the mobile suits performance, as of yet there has been no successful attempt at a natural-use OS."


"But why are we learning this though," Sai asked in confusion "None of us want to be mobile suit designers or engineers."


Ryu laughed a little at this "True," he admitted "but it never hurts to know something like this, if the worst comes and ORB is forced into the war and you know how to design or repair mobile suits than you will be able to avoid getting sent to the front lines, that is why I am instructing you on this." His face adopts a forlorn look "The frontlines is where nobody should be sent especially ones as young as you."


"But your only two years older than us," Kira protested "Shouldn't you be included in ones as young as you?"


Ryu only chuckled sadly as an answer.


End Flashback


With Chris


Chris was doing the same as Kira trying to get his sister to to the same as well when a Pair of GINNs landed in front of them guns at the ready "Oh fuck!" he swore as he brought up his duel hyper velocity shield cannon to block the shots as he activated his PS turning the suit Midnight blue with red trimming before returning fire with his Igelstellungs forcing the suit to dodge to the left, unfortunately he forgot about the second suit and was tackled to the ground by said mobile suit who now stood over him with its heavy sword at the ready to stab him.


"NO Chris, Aunt Johanna!" Liz shouted firing her beam rifle at the suit missing by good bit.


It served the purpose however as the suit was distracted long enough for Chris to bring his cannons to bear and fired off a shot at point blank to the cockpit destroying the suit. Gritting his teeth as the Raven slid along the ground, blown back by the explosion "Aunt Johanna are you alright?" Chris asked in concern as he stood the suit back up beside his sister's mobile suit as she activated her PS turning her suit light blue with red trim and bronze joints.


"I'm fine just a little dazed." She replied "just focus on the enemy."


"R-right." He stuttered as he turned back to the final GINN who was bringing his rifle to bear. Activating the thrusters Chris dodged to the right while approaching the suit and drawing one of the beam sabers at the suits waist. "Eat this!" he shouted slashing at the suit who jumped back.


Chasing the GINN he slashed once more as it dropped its gun and brought it sword to bear, unfortunately the sword did very little and ended up cut in half as Chris' saber continued its original path and cut the cockpit. Remembering what happened the last time he hit the cockpit he jumped back just before it exploded clearing him from the blast radius.


Back to Kira (Gee, I wonder who the main character is?)


Kira grunted as her suit collided with the ground after the enemy delivered a particularly nasty kick, on the upside though she was finished with the reconfigurations to the Strike Now weapons, what the..'"Armor Schneider that's it!" she yelled incredulously before gritting her teeth and flipping the mobile suit to its feet avoiding the downward thrust of the GINN's sword. Glancing behind the suit her eyes widened in fear at the sight of her friend What are they doing here!'


Narrowing her eyes she faced the suit again and pulled out the Anti-Armor knives and charged the enemy strafing to the right to dodge the shots being fired by the GINN. "Stop it!" She shouted stabbing the joints of the two arms of the mobile suit. Everything was still for a minute before the pilot ejected from the suit.


"Get away from the suit!" Ramius shouted in panic, right before the suit self-destructed causing Kira to recoil violently and the mechanic to smash her head on the bulkhead rendering her unconscious.


"Kira are you alright?" Chris' worried voice came over the radio.


"I'm alright, but Miss Ramius smashed her head on the bulkhead and is unconscious." She reported as the stood the suit back up, checking the surrounding area she sighed in relief as she saw he friends cautiously come out of their hidey-hole.


With Ryu


Ryu ducked under a sword swing from a mobile suit and returned the favor by thrusting his sword into the central wiring array in the suits chest disabling it, bringing his shield up he blocked shots from the GINN approaching from the right as another, the one he initially disarmed came in from the left sword in hand. Activating his thrusters and launched himself into the air dodging the left suits thrust Now where is the third? he asked himself in a bored tone Not behind, so, that leaves ABOVE! Pushing his suit into a barrel roll that many thought only possible in mobile armors Ryu dodge the sudden slash from the final mobile suit surprising the pilot long enough for Ryu to slash off one of the arms followed up by a kick to the cockpit sending the suit down to the ground and the pilot dazed.


Keeping his thrusters active he swerved to avoid ground fire from the suit still armed before diving at it and shearing off its head rendering it blind. Landing behind it he kicked the suit to the second one causing them to collide and fall to the ground in a heap before they could do anything though Ryu drew his beam rifle and shot then blowing them both up. Surveying the area once more he spotted the fourth suit flying away trying to escape, sighing Ryu put the rifle away and turned away heading back to his friends I guess it's time for me to come out of retirement. He thought ruefully.


"This is Ryu, Kira, Chris, Liz, any of you there?" He called out hoping for the best.


"Kira here, we're all fine," Kira's voice came through "The mechanic is unconscious with a bad blow to the head and we found Mir, Sai and Tolle, we're at the central park right now."


Ryu let out the breath he was holding when he heard Kira's voice "Understood I'll be there soon."


Exterior


Mu swore as he Dodged some potshots that Rau had taken losing his second gunbarrel "This day just keeps getting better and better." He muttered sarcastically firing at the white Cgue the Rau was piloting, movement from the harbor caught both of their attention as a single damaged GINN exited and made a beeline for the Nazca-class.


"Oh, did Miguel's team fail?" Rau questioned out loud "Better inspect this myself." He then proceeded to enter the Harbor with Mu hot on his heels


Central Park


Ryu sighed as he dismounted the Dragon near the other mobile suits and descended to the others, looking at Mir, Tolle and Sai his eye twitched as he look back to Kira and the others "Does no one follow my orders?" he asked Kira in confused voice causing her to giggle.


"Only those we like." She joked back getting a chuckle from Ryu.


"Can you take a look at the OS for the Dragon?" Ryu asked turning serious "I don't think this is over yet and I want to make sure the suits are properly prepared, Chris take a look at the Raven and finish tweaking if it needs it." Turning to Liz he raised an eyebrow "Are you going to pilot the Zephyr for now?" Ryu asked her as the other two did as asked.


Liz bit her lip in thought before nodding in affirmation "You guys will need the help right?" she asked rhetorically "You want me to make sure the Zephyr is up to snuff right?"


Ryu nodded before turning to Johanna "Where are the Strike's weapons?" He asked in confusion.


Johanna sighed rubbing her head "They are normally stored in a warehouse near the factory," she answered "but we transferred them to the prototype carrier we were building alongside the G-weapons, the Archangel. But with this attack I believe they probably targeted it with the initial explosion."


"Take Sai and see if there are any of the weapon packs left," he ordered pointing to Sai "Mir, Tolle can you please see if there is any food and water nearby please, mobile suit piloting can be very draining."


The four nodded and went off to do as requested with Sai and Johanna hotwiring a nearby car. I hope that this is the worst the day has to offer, he thought to himself as he made his way over to the sleeping mechanic Than again I am the bitch of Murphy's Law.


Ramius groaned as the woke up a half-hour later and opened her eyes to see the artificial light of the colony "So sleeping beauty awakes." A voice to her right stated and a hand appeared holding a bottle of water "Drink, it'll help with the headache."


Following the arm Ramius saw a young man with green eyes and short military-style brown hair "W-who are you?" she asked weakly.


"Ryu Hisanaga, I was piloting the Dragon," he said shortly "Drink, you need the water."


Accepting the bottle Ramius opened it and drank deeply draining a quarter of the bottle in one go. More alert she sat up and looked around the improvised camp and saw that two additional civilians were speaking with the siblings from the warehouse as the girl who took control of the Strike, Kira if she remembered right, sat in the Zephyr typing away on the keyboard while eating a granola bar.


"Johanna and another civilian went to see if there are any weapon packs left in storage for the Strike." Ryu said from next to her "We've been trying to see if we can contact the Archangel to see if anyone survived the blast."


Ramius whirled to him reaching for her sidearm that was no longer there her eyes wide in shock and fear she looked at Ryu who was holding her sidearm "How do you know about the Archangel?" she growled.


"I know because Johanna told me about it," he said in a bored voice as the others looked on "Besides it doesn't matter right now as we need to be prepared in case ZAFT returns to try and finish the job."


Ramius relaxed slightly at his explanation and relaxed even more when he handed her gun back to her. As she reholstered the gun Johanna and Sai returned in a transport with a crate and parked behind the kneeling Strike. "Thankfully there was one left." Johanna explained as the crate opened up "So we should be able to boost our radio range with it."


Ryu nodded and signaled Kira to get the Pack mounted on the Strike and frowned as he felt a tingle in the back of his head "Liz, Chris mount up!" he ordered as he made his way to the Dragon leaving a confused Johanna and Ramius behind "I have a feeling that ZAFT is on their way!"


"Ryu!" Kira shouted from the now armed Strike "Communications just cut out!"


Ryu swore violently "Mount up NOW." He literally roared the order as the trio got in their mobile suits Power is halfway, I cannot prolong the battle.


A sudden explosion jerked every ones heads to the sky as they saw a whit Cgue and a Moebius Zero entered the colony with the Zero's gunbarrels missing. I only know of one Zero pilot left, and I only know of one ZAFT pilot that pilots a white mobile suit. Ryu thought to himself as he watched the Zero lose its linear gun "Let's move people!" he shouted over the radio as he launched the Dragon into the air "Kira when you get a shot, take it!"


"Understood." She confirmed in a shaky voice as the the non-combatants took cover behind the transport truck.


"Liz, Chris careful," Ryu warned as they approached the white Cgue "If my guess is correct than we're fighting an ace, so be on guard and cover me."


With Rau


'So that's why Miguel and the others failed, Rau mused there were more prototypes than anticipated.' Boosting forward he collided swords with the Green-Black mobile suit as the other two tried to flank him from both sides, chuckling he tried to drag the Green-Black mobile suit into the line of fire only for the suit to ram the broad side of the shield into Rau's Cgue surprising him. However his reactions were quick enough to dodge the shots that the other two took at him. As he continued to trade blows with the Green-Black mobile suit he couldn't help but feel he had fought a person who piloted like the one in front of him now, it suddenly clicked into place and Rau's eyes widened from behind the mask. I have to confirm this. He thought to himself as he opened and area-wide radio-link.


"I don't know why your here piloting an EA machine, but it certainly has been a while, hasn't it, Dragon of Endymion Ryu Hisanaga!" Rau shouted over the link causing all movement to freeze on the battlefield.


Suddenly a chuckling broke out over the link "I haven't heard than name for almost three years," Ryu said over the channel in a reminiscent voice before turning to ice "I hope you're ready Rau le Crueset the White Duelist, because you have dragged me out of retirement by threatening my home and friends, and I will not stand for it!"


Rau grinned as he blocked another strike from Ryu's blade and quickly lost it when the blade continued to cut through Rau's sword boosting backward Rau managed to avoid the glowing edge of the blade "Like it?" Ryu's mocking voice came through the radio "This blade doesn't just cut, it melts."


Rau's only response was to take out his gun and start shooting.


With Kira


Kira was in shock at the revelation of who Ryu was, she had guessed that he was a soldier, ZAFT due to the fact he was a coordinator, but the legendary coordinator ace of the EA, the only coordinator pilot of the EA who went missing after Junius Seven. That was defiantly shocking news to all of them. It still doesn't change anything Ryu never hid anything from us, she thought to herself as she continued to watch the ongoing battle between the two aces It is understandable that he would hide this from us because he would want to fade into atomicity. A sudden beeping caught her attention and saw a text message from Ryu telling her to get ready for an opening and for Chris and Liz to get ready to prevent Rau's escape.


With Ryu


Ryu was breathing heavily as the adrenaline coursed through his system dodging Rau's shots and returning his own as the deadly dance continued Defiantly out of shape, he thought to himself in frustration I should have done more than basic workouts.


Gritting his teeth he fought off the effects of a high G-force turn to dodge another shot from Rau 10% power left, I hope they are ready. Narrowing his eyes Ryu took the risk and launched off a volley of missile from his shield along with a salvo of shots from his beam rifle draining the last of his energy he made sure he touched down safely hoping his plan worked.


With Chris


Seeing the missile volley Chris launched the Raven into action pushing the suit to the maximum thrust he started shooting at Rau with Liz keeping him on the defensive and hopefully clearing a shot for Kira as the two of them ganged up on Rau they could clearly see why Ryu had trouble with this guy Does this guy have eyes on the back of his fucking head!? Chris thought in wonder as he fired off a shot from his rail cannons from behind that Rau dodged "Liz! Come from below!" Chris shouted over the radio as he charged in firing his railguns and drew his beam saber only for Rau to introduce the Raven's head with the Cgue's foot.


Watching Chris saw Liz fly in desperately firing hoping to hit their elusive foe on to be disappointed as he weaved through the shots like a dancer and responded by grabbing the Zephyr and throwing it into the Raven causing the pair to crash into the ground, unfortunately for Rau it gave Kira a clear shot at him that she took firing her Hyper-Impulse Cannon. She barely missed the main body but took the arm and gun out, along with creating a hole in the colony wall "OH FUCK!" Kira swore violently as everyone else stared in awe at the power of the cannon. A second explosion tore through the ground two miles from the combatants and out of the debris rising like its namesake was the Archangel.


"Well, that changes things." Rau muttered as he saw the Archangel's guns turn in his direction "You win this round Dragon, but our little war has just begun." He called out as he maxed out his engines heading for the newly created exit.

Ryu snorted "Perhaps duelist," he muttered quietly "But the next time I will be ready and waiting." Turning his mobile suit he opened a video link with Kira and smiled sheepishly "Sorry to be a bother but could you help me get the Dragon on to the Archangel?" he asked as Kira giggled and moved the Strike to grip the armpits of the Dragon and boosted the both of them up to the landing platform of the ship as Chris and Liz gathered the others up and brought them up and set them down gently.

Groaning Ryu stretched his back as he stepped out of the cockpit of the Dragon and sighed as he heard his back crack loosening it before activating the decent line and descended to the deck every inch of him looking like a veteran fighter. He was soon joined by the others and quietly eyed the group that came out to meet them, he quickly recognized three of them from the transport terminal and smiled at the sight of a stocky black haired mechanic who was with them. He memorized each of the faces there and was trying to gauge if they were a threat or not as Ramius explained the situation. The Moebius Zero from earlier landed near the G-weapons and out from the cockpit came Mu la Flagga who looked around intently before locking eyes with Ryu and grinned but first approached the bridge crew "Lieutenant Mu la Flaga requesting permission to come aboard." He stated officially while snapping a salute "Where is your Captain?"

Natarle, the female from the terminal sigh heavily at the question and looked at Ramius, Murrue Ryu learned was her first name, "The Captain is dead as is most of the senior staff, as of right now lieutenant Ramius is the ranking officer." She reported as Murrue gasped in shock.

Quickly regaining herself she turn to Mu and gave him permission to come aboard, once that was cleared up Mu quickly advanced to Ryu and gave a broad grin that Ryu returned as they clasped hands "It's good to see you alive and well Hawk." Ryu said jovially as Mu laughed.

"Same to you Dragon." He retorted before peering at the three other teen pilots.

Seeing his gaze Ryu introduced him to his friends "Guys this is Mu la Flaga, the Hawk of Endymion, we flew together on the same squad before I retired from combat." Ryu explained with a grin as he named off each of his friends names as he pointed at them each in turn.

"So it's true then?" Kira asked quietly.

Ryu smiled sadly and nodded before turning to Ramius and the rest of the crew who were all staring in shock "Can you spare some dormitories for us?" he asked politely "These three are almost asleep on their feet and I would like to give my story somewhere quiet. If you have doubts to my identity than just ask Johanna, Mu or Murdoch over there, they each know me well enough to answer some of your questions."

Murrue blinked then looked closer at the pilots, Kira was swaying slightly, Chris was yawning as Liz was drooping her eyes and leaning against her brother for support as they all tried to stay awake "Oh, right, Neumann, bring them to one of the spare dorms for now." She said pointing to the taller of the two males that the group had met earlier.

Once they had settled in Ryu sat down on the edge of Kira's bunk as he looked around at everyone "As you heard, both from Hawk and Rau le Crueset, I am the Dragon of Endymion, the former EA ace pilot that vanished after Junius Seven." Ryu explained heavily sighing "They never told me about their plan to nuke the colonies and during the attack when I saw the Peacemaker forces I snapped and started massacring them, the one time that myself, Rau le Crueset, and Andrew Waltfield, the desert tiger teamed up, I was told it was quite the sight. Unfortunately however we couldn't stop them all." He glanced at Chris and Liz, they had lost their parents and all of their friends at Junius Seven "Still haunts me to this day, I wasn't fast enough, strong enough, I wasn't aware enough. Still wake up screaming sometimes..." he trailed off with a vacant look full of regret and sadness.

"We don't blame you Ryu," Liz said reassuringly and Chris nodded in agreement "Knowing that you tried is enough."

"Why did you join the EA in the first place." Kira asked curiously tilting her head to the left as she looked at him.

"I wanted to change people's perceptions on coordinators by showing them that we are not all the same," he explained "I wanted to deconstruct the illusions that the EA had built up on coordinators, as you can see I wasn't as successful as I wished to be." Shaking his head "Enough of that for now though, we need to get some sleep." Standing up he was about to climb up on the bunk above Kira's when her hand caught his.

"Can I talk to you alone for a minute first?" she asked plaintively her eyes anxious. Blinking Ryu nodded as Kira led him out of the dorm and into an unused room and shut the door, turning to Ryu she chewed her lower lip with a light blush on her face "There was something I've always have wanted to tell you," she admitted as Ryu waited patiently with a look of concern and curiosity "and well with everything going on I didn't want to leave behind many regrets in case something happened," she wrung her hands and looked directly at Ryu "I admire you, more than admire really, I, I think I've fallen in love with you."

Ryu inhaled sharply at her admission as Kira ducked her head finding her shoes extremely interesting at the time. Because she was looking at the ground she didn't see Ryu move towards her and she gave a small start when she felt his arms wrap around her. "You want to know something?" he asked quietly whispering into her ear "I've fallen for you as well, Kira."

Her amethyst eyes wide she looked into Ryu's sincere green one in shock as he begun to lower his head, closing her eyes she felt his lips brush against hers in a light kiss and shivered in delight as she felt electricity run down her spine. Opening her eyes she looked at Ryu and smiled at him before she stood on her toes and pressed her lips against his again moaning softly as his calloused but gentle hands ran through her hair. She felt his tongue brush against her lips and opened her mouth and moaned deeper as Ryu's tongue began to massage hers while exploring her mouth.

When they finally broke for air they were both heavily flushed and were smiling broadly at each other "That was..." Kira trailed off trying to find an answer

"Amazing? Breathtaking? Utterly enjoyable?" Ryu supplied his eyes twinkling as he held Kira.

"All of the above." She answered resting her head against his chest and listened to his steady heartbeat before yawning.

Chuckling he nuzzled her hair and inhaled her sent of lavender and lilacs "Shall we return to our room and let the others know?" he asked lightly.

Kira nodded for a remained still for a minute before breaking away, they returned to the dorm and saw everyone still awake, they all turned as the pair entered the rooms and their jaws dropped at the sight of Ryu and Kira holding hands. A sudden squeal of excitement from Liz broke the revere that the group was in as she suddenly darted forward and glomped Kira "You finally told him!" she shouting in glee as she hugged Kira tightly causing her to turn blue and Ryu looked on in concern.

"She is starting to turn blue Liz." He said trying to pry her off of Kira who had turned purple "Correction: she has turned purple now."

Breaking away Liz blushed in embarrassment and muttered an apology as she sat back down beside Chris and Ryu and Kira sat down across from them as everyone offered their congratulations causing Kira to blush as she rested her head on Ryu's shoulder their hands entwined on her lap. A sudden yawn from her caused Ryu to chuckle "I think we need to get some rest," he said gently as he lay Kira on her bed "We are all tired and have had a long day."

Everyone nodded and went to their beds and Ryu kissed Kira he was about to pull away when Kira grabbed his arm "Can you sleep with me tonight?" she asked "I need the comfort."

Ryu smiled gently and kissed her again before lying next to her facing her while drawing her close. "Of course Kira." He whispered gently as she wrapped her arms around him and nuzzled his chest smiling as she drifted off to sleep. Kissing the top of her head he drew the blankets over them before falling asleep himself.

Chapter Three: A Collapsing Land

Archangel, Captains Quarters.

"So what do you know about Ryu Commander?" Murrue asked as she, Mu and Natarle sat in her new quarters. "I mean, the average soldier only knows rumours and what Command told us."

Mu sighed as he lent back on his seat "Well I can tell you that he's one of the best mobile suit pilots that I have ever seen, he has only been beaten once and that was when he was facing both Rau le Crueset and Andrew Waltfield at the same time, still gave them a good beating too," Mu explained "Off the battlefield he is a normal teenager, well, mostly normal. Anyways he is highly protective of his friends and would walk through the gates of hell and walk back out with the devil's head to ensure their safety, which is probably why he was piloting the Dragon."

"So, what do we do now captain?" Natarle asked Turning to Ramius who sighed.

"I want your honest opinion Commander, how likely are we to get Ryu and the other kids to keep piloting the G-weapons?" she asked seriously

"Ryu might be easy, he probably is already planning on piloting the Dragon already, so long as we make absolutely sure that we are not holding his friends against him, than he would probably rip us to shreds to protect his friends." Mu warned "As for his friends, I honestly don't know, that girl Kira might if Ryu does, they seem very close, as for the siblings my guess is where one goes the other follows, just a guess though."

"I'll go talk to them, mind helping me Commander?" Murrue asked standing up "Ryu would probably respond better to you than me."

Mu chuckled as he stood up "Might be a good idea." He agreed good naturally.

Vesalius, bridge

"It's confirmed, Ryu Hisanaga is piloting one of the G-weapons." Rau declared as he entered the bridge "However it seems that it was not originally his plan to, he was protecting his home."

"How do you know that sir?" Nicol asked in confusion "I mean it is true that he vanished after Junius Seven, but he could have been overseeing this project."

"Because I heard it straight from the Dragon's mouth, so to speak." Rau explained

"WHAT!" Izack exploded "You would believe something that, traitor said!?"

"The Dragon is very well known for his honesty," Jacques said quietly "If he tells you something, it is what he knows to be the truth."

"Which is exactly why he attacked the peacekeeper force at Junius Seven," Naleen explained brushing a stay stand of hair behind her ear "He didn't know or he would have warned us about it, he is no traitor, if anything he might have done the most for coordinators."

"How?" Yuuka asked in confusion "He joined the EA right, so, how does that help the coordinators?"

"He was trying to change the soldiers perceptions on coordinators by showing them we are not all the same," Lev said suddenly surprising the other red coats "Showing them that we all do not wish for war."

"The fact remains that we need to beat him and destroy this new battle ship that the EA has created." Rau commented "Have our remaining GINN's load up with D-class equipment."

Everyone inhaled sharply "D-class, sir?" Yuuka asked nervously "But isn't that meant for storming fortresses? Couldn't that destroy the colony?"

"Who cares!" Izack snarled "They chose their side."

"The colony didn't," Lev snapped back in a rare display of anger "Morgenrate did."

"Enough," Rau commanded "I don't like this any more than you do, but that ship must be destroyed. Naleen, Jacques, the two of you are in command of the mobile suits, go in with your regular equipment, the two of you will have to deal with the Dragon as my Cgue is damaged."

Nodding the two GINN pilots left the room "Sir," Athrun said calling Rau's attention "May I sortie in the Aegis as well? There is something I need to confirm about the pilot of the Strike."

Rau frowned as he looked at Athrun his mask hiding the curious look in his eyes "Very well," Rau relented "Just remember to follow orders, understood?"

"Yes sir." Athrun confirmed saluting before taking off to the hanger with a determined look on his face Is it really you, Kira?

Archangel, Dormitories.

As Kira slowly woke up she realized two things, first Ryu was no longer in the bed next to her and second there were voices coming from the hallway. Sitting up she rubbed her eyes and looked over at the open doorway and heard Ryu's voice come through "Yes I do understand the situation Captain, and yes I will pilot the Dragon to defend Heliopolis not this ship," he stated sounding agitated "However I will not force the others to pilot the remaining G-weapons, that is their choice alone, if anything I would prefer that they didn't even have to get in the mobile suits in the first place."

Getting up she walked over to the door and peered outside to see Ryu leaning up against the wall his arms folded and glaring at Murrue and Mu who were standing across from him "I had hoped that this would never had happened, if I did know than I would have gotten them out of here before ZAFT struck," Ryu admitted sighing deeply "I'll talk to the others, but I will not push them in any direction, and if they chose not to pilot a G-weapon you better leave it at that."

"We will Ryu, don't worry." Mu reassured waving his hands in a placating manner.

"It's not you I'm worried about Mu." Ryu said sadly and he got up and walked back to the dorm room, backing up Kira let him entered and faced him with a determined face.

"I'm not letting you fight alone." She stated resolutely.

Ryu smiled sadly and pulled Kira close to him resting his forehead against hers "Thank you Kira," he whispered gratefully "But are you sure that this is what you want?"

"Yeah," she confirmed in a whisper "If we don't than who will?"

Ryu chuckled as he kissed her lightly "Good point, lets wake the others and talk to them." He said drawing away reluctantly and turned to the other who were still sleeping. An evil grin suddenly spread across his face as his eyes twinkled in mischief "I think I know how to wake them up." He stated as he suddenly stood ramrod straight "UP AND AT'EM," he shouted in a drill sergeant-like voice causing the teens to start scrambling and fall out of their bunks in surprise and panic.

When they finally came to their senses Ryu was holding his sides in laughter as Kira was trying but failing at holding in the giggles "Not funny Ryu." Chris growled glaring at Ryu as he stood up and dusted himself off.

"For me it is." Ryu admitted as he calmed down before settling into a more serious demeanor that caused everyone to unconsciously stiffen "The Captain has brought to my attention that the original pilots for the G-weapons were killed in the initial attack on Heliopolis." He stated "She has requested that Kira, myself, Liz and Chris to remain as the pilots of the G-weapons that we piloted initially, Kira and myself have already accepted, Chris, Liz it is completely up to you if you wish to continue piloting the Raven and Zephyr, we will not think less of you if you chose to sit out."

"No need to worry, I'll keep fighting, our home needs to be defended, right?" Chris said with a grin.

"I'm fighting too." Liz stated as she stepped forward.

"No you are not." Chris said suddenly turning to his sister "I do not want you fighting, it's too dangerous."

"So you don't think that I can handle it?" Liz accused poking her finger into Chris' chest "And just who was it that saved your ass, huh?"

Chris didn't falter "Yes you did save me, but I still don't want you in such a dangerous situation where you could get killed!"

"Newsflash Chris, we are in that situation right now!" Liz shot back "And I for one would rather go down fighting!"

Chris growled lightly until he felt Ryu's hand on his shoulder "She just wants to make sure that you'll be safe Chris." Ryu said calmly before turning to Liz "And he wants to do the same with you Liz." He turned back to Chris "You can argue all you want but in the end it is still up to her if she wants to fight or not, do you really think that I want Kira or any of you to fight?" he asked rhetorically "In the end it your decision if you fight or not."

Chris glared at Ryu for a minute as Ryu met his glare with a calm look before Chris sighed relenting "Fine, just, just make certain that you stick close, alright?" he pleaded.

"Alright Chris," Liz said solemnly before grinning "I'll be nearby to save your ass again."

Everyone chuckled at Chris' flustered expression when suddenly the ship alarm started going off Level One battle Stations, all Pilots to your machines. Natarle's voice barked through the intercom.

Ryu swore colorfully before he started barking out his own orders "Liz, Chris, Kira, I'll show you the way to the Hanger, Everyone else, stay here." He said before running off to the Hanger with the rest close on his heels.

Storming into the Hanger they jumped into their machines and started powering up "Hey what about a pilot suit!" Murdoch shouted out to Ryu.

"No time!" he shouted back as he sealed the cockpit and started up his mobile suit and opened a video link with Kira "Hey Kira, use the Sword Striker pack, it's close range so it should prevent any damage to the colony superstructure."

"Understood, Be safe Ryu." She pleaded "And don't do anything to reckless."

"I will and I won't" he swore before kissing his lips and placing them on the screen where her lips were, smiling she returned the gesture before closing the link.

Settling into his seat he opened a link to the bridge "Control this is Hisanaga, do you read?"

"Control here, I read ya." Mu's voice filtered through

Grinning Ryu shook his head "I need the Trikeros Shield unit and the sniper rifle."

"Ask and yea shall receive" Mu joked as Ryu's suit got loaded up "Fly safe and Hunt well Dragon."

"Same to you Hawk. Ryu Hisanaga, Dragon, Engaging the enemy!"

"Chris Dante, Raven, Taking off!"

"Kira Yamato, Sword Strike, Launching!"

"Liz Dante, Zephyr, Let's go!"

Once they were in the air Chris and Liz both flipped their machines into mobile armor mode with Kira catching a ride on the Raven and Ryu leading the way. A golden flash caught Ryu eyes as they flew onward to intercept the enemy mobile suits "Well damn, there here too," he said before flipping open his radio "Alright listen up you will split up and attack your targets separately, leave the gold and black GINNs to me. They're aces and you're not quite ready for them."

They all replied affirmative as they accelerated forward with Kira attacking the Aegis while both Chris and took a pair of GINNs each. Hanging back Ryu drew out his sniper rifle and activated the sniper mode causing the 'V' on the suits forehead to slide down reveling a high powered camera and causing a targeting scope to slide down in the cockpit.

With Naleen

Naleen sighed as she rolled her neck prepping for combat when her alarms went off alerting them of the approaching mobile suits "We have four confirmed bogies boys," she alerted the others as her Golden colored GINN was customized with a high powered Radar that worked well with her sniping skills "Remember Leave the Dragon to myself and Jacques."

"Understood, leave the Strike for me." Athrun said over his radio.

After a quick chorus of affirmatives they group split up and attacked their respective targets with another pair attacking the legged ship. Frowning Naleen searched the battlefield for her target only to be forced to dodge a series of green beams from her right. Turning she saw the green-black figure of the Dragon quite a ways away with its rifle at the ready firing off high-powered blast. Bringing her own sniper to bear she took aim and started firing at her opponent only for the shots to bounce harmlessly off of the suit. Come on, where are you Jacques. She thought in frustration as the pair continued to exchange sniper fire with Ryu being forced to dodge as she was now aiming for his camera on the Dragon's forehead.

And as if summoned Jacques appeared behind Ryu in his black custom GINN with sound and heat dampeners and a Radar proof alloy coating his katana slashing at Ryu from behind. And as if he had eyes on the back of his head Ryu ducked under the slash and delivered a viscous kick to the black GINN's torso knocking it away before putting his rifle away and bringing Mesamune to bear and activating his Trikeros' built in beam saber. Naleen swore that if that suit had a face it would be grinning like a madman.

With Chris

Chris swore violently as he barrel rolled under another blast from the GINN carrying the beam cannon before firing some shots Duel Machine guns and cannons forcing the GINN to evade the attacks before Chris had to evade yet again when the second GINN opened up with its cannon "Dammit they are shooting far to recklessly," he swore as he saw the shot impact with the ground "If they keep this up, they'll destroy the colony."

Gritting his teeth Chris transformed into his mobile suit mode and returned fire with his cannons before drawing one of his beam sabers and going in close for an attack only for the opposing GINN to suddenly drop under the attack leaving Chris wide open "Well shit," he muttered as he brought up his shield and blocked the shot causing his suit to buck backwards from the blast.

Turning into his Mobile armor mode he charged straight at the GINN that fired the shot surprising the pilot as he broke through the dust that had been kicked up from the blast. Firing his short range energy cannons he tore through the opposing suit destroying it, before transforming back into suit mode and squaring off against his final opponent.

With Liz

Rolling her fighter like mobile suit Liz dodge the series of large missiles that were fired at her before switching to mobile suit mode and firing her beam rifle destroying the missiles before they could impact with the colony "You god damn reckless idiots!" She snarled as she dodged a shot from the second GINNs beam cannon and shot back at the GINN only for it to dodge.

Pushing her suit back she dodged the other suits slash from its katana before she opened up using her shoulder mounted rail guns tearing the top half of the GINN apart before it exploded. Switching into her jet form she dodge the blast that the final GINN shot off before she fired a volley of missile's forcing the GINN to go on the defensive, she then switched to suit mode and drew one of her beam sabers and started attacking her opponent in close range in the hopes of preventing him the chance to attack.

"Just fall already!" she shouted as she was forced to dodge a kick followed up by a cannon blast. Putting away her beam saber she quickly pulled out her beam rifle as the pair continued to exchange shots.

With Kira

Quickly maneuvering the Strike Kira went on the offensive with her Anti-ship sword clashing with the Aegis' own beam sabers when a communication from the Aegis broke through "Kira, Kira Yamato, is that you?" Athrun's voice asked.

"Athrun, Athrun Zala!"

"Kira, what are you doing in an Earth Forces mobile suit?"

"I could ask you the same thing Athrun, why are fighting with ZAFT forces, I thought you hated war!"

"I do hate war, but the EA must be eliminated!"

Kira flinched at her old friend's anger filled tone "So why? Why are you piloting for the EA, don't you know what monsters they are, Kira!"

"It's not the Earth Forces that I'm flying for Athrun," Kira said calmly "I'm fighting right now so that my home isn't destroyed!"

Kira could here Athrun inhaled sharply through the radio "I'm fighting so that my friends aren't killed, all because you are attacking my home!" she shouted punctuating it with a kick to the Aegis' torso forcing the Aegis to back off. "I really do not want to fight anyone, especially you Athrun, so please, don't make me chose between my friends!"

"Can't you see that your so called friends are using you!" Athrun snarled as he righted the Aegis "They only want you to fight for them, they don't care about you!"

"Bullshit Athrun, the people that I am fighting for have never cared that I am a Coordinator, they accepted me for who I am, and who ever said that I am the only Coordinator! My friends are both Coordinators and Naturals! In case you forgot, you are in an ORB colony! Where both Coordinators and Naturals live together."

"I don't believe that! If they were truly neutral than they wouldn't have constructed the mobile suits for the EA!"

"It was Morgenrate, not the government, that constructed the mobile suits, an independent company!" Kira shouted as she pushed the strike forward and slashed at Athrun.

"Kira." Athrun muttered as he dodged the slash and tried to put some distance between them

With Ryu

Ryu had to admit, the pair had improved since he last fought them in the battle of Endymion, their team work was streamlined and often put him on the defensive, even after he destroyed Jacques' katana forcing him to use his rifle instead. Moving to the side he dodged a shot from Naleen's sniper rifle as she kept her distance from the dueling pair, bringing his suit around he drew out his sniper rifle but didn't go into sniper mode, instead he brought both the rifle and Trikeros to bear on Jacques GINN and fired off a series of shots crippling the machine and removing it from combat before turning back to Final opponent "One down, one to go." He muttered as he went into sniper mode and started a deadly dance with the golden sniper.

Archangel, Bridge

"Dammit, we aren't getting anywhere like this," Mu growled as the Archangel shook from the numerous impacts to the hull from the pair of GINNs circling them unable to take them out with the warships missile's or Igelstellungs "Give me full control of the Godfrieds!"

"Commander La Flagga!" Natarle protested "Do you know how astronomically impossible it is for you to hit a GINN with the main cannons?"

"Don't you know, I make the impossible possible." Mu bragged as he took control of one of the Godfried cannons and took aim at one the GINN's dancing around the Archangel pulling the trigger he managed to hit the GINN destroying the lower half of the mobile suit, but also destroying the main support structure of the Colony "OH SHIT!"

With Ryu

Ryu's eyes widened as he saw the support structure get destroyed "No, I've failed, GOD DAMMIT ALL." He swore violently as the colony started to fall apart. Looking around frantically he saw the ZAFT forces beginning to withdraw from the colony, to his right the Zephyr and the Raven were both trying to get to the Archangel fighting against the winds generated by the explosive decompression looking over to where he saw Kira last his eyes widened in fear as she was desperately fighting against the winds and trying to avoid the Aegis who was in mobile armor mode trying to capture the Strike in its claws.

"Kira!" Ryu cried over the radio out at he started firing off volleys of shots from his rifle forcing the Aegis to back off as the Dragon flew in between the Aegis and the Strike "Back off" he growled to the pilot of the Aegis both the Mesamune and the beam saber of the Trikeros extended and ready for combat when the station shook again causing the mobile suits to lurch. Acting quickly out of instinct honed by battle Ryu quickly turned his mobile suit and withdrew his weapons to grab the Strike just as the station gave one final lurch as it fell apart with its pieces spiraling off into space separating the Dragon and Strike from the Aegis.

With Athrun

Athrun snarled as he punched the view screen in front of him as his suit was drifting helplessly away from Kira and the Dragon "Dammit. Why did he have to go and interfere?" He questioned no one in particular half wanting to go back and kill the pilot of the Dragon Not that you would be able to, a voice whispered in the back of his head After all, he is the legendary Dragon of Endymion and has more experience and Skill than you.

"Dammit." He cursed once more as he turned his suit around and made his way to the Vesalius.

With Kira

Kira groaned as consciousness returned to her, her head aching from when it smashed against the cockpit when Heliopolis fell apart "No," she whimpered as she saw the debris float around her "I've failed."

"No, we've failed." Ryu's sad voice filtered through the radio as his face popped up on the video link "I'm sorry Kira, if only-"

"Don't," she whispered surprising Ryu "We did our best, and the only people who got hurt are the ones who refused to evacuate to the shelters when the warning came on."

"Yeah," he whispered back giving a sad smile "C'mon, let's get back to the Archangel, I've already reported that we are alive and well, Chris and Liz are fine to, they managed to get aboard before the station collapsed."

Kira nodded in relief as she maneuvered her suit beside Ryu's as they started back to the Archangel, they had just about reached the rendezvous coordinates when Kira saw something out of the corner of her eyes "Ryu!" she shouted when she recognized the object "It's an escape pod, its thrusters are damaged."

"Understood, let's round it up and fulfill our good deed of the day." He confirmed lightly as he made a course correction while Kira gave him a small smile of gratitude.

They each grabbed a side of the pod and started back on course for the Archangel and both gave a large sigh of relief when it came into view "Archangel this is GAT-X000 Dragon and GAT-X305 Strike," Ryu called out "We have picked up a damaged life pod and are requesting permission to board."

"WHAT!?" Natarle's shocked voice came through "You can't honestly expect us to-"

"Ensign Badgiruel," Murrue interrupted "Are you suggesting we leave these civilians here to die?"

"Of course not Captain, but-" the ensign protested weakly

"But nothing," the captain snapped "Bring them aboard Mr. Hisanaga, Miss Yamato."

"Yes ma'am" Kira responded with a smirked that was shared by Ryu as they both touched down and guided their suits into the hanger before parking the suits onto the bracing and recharging platforms and stepping out.

Pushing off from the Strike Kira allowed herself a moment to adjust to the feeling of a Zero-gee environment before making her way over to to Ryu who was floating nearby the escape pod. He smiled reassuringly as he slipped an arm around her shoulder as he held her close to him "Don't worry," he soothed "I'm sure your parents are fine."

Kira only bit her lip gently as she pushed herself deeper into the embrace "I know, but I still worry." She admitted.

"Kira! Ryu!" a shout called their attention to the pod where Flay had just exited and had spotted them "Are we on a ZAFT ship?" she asked in fear.

"No, this is a prototype EA vessel." Ryu responded as soothingly as his patience allowed, he never really could stand the girl, to prim and proper really.

"No way you're lying!" Flay gasped "Those are Mobile Suits."

Ryu groaned as he felt a headache coming on "Their EA prototypes," Kira responded before Ryu, thankfully "C'mon Sai is here to."

"Sai's here!" Flay exclaimed hopefully.

Cafeteria

Ryu sighed in relief as they left Flay with Sai and their civilian friends to explain everything to the red-head That girl give me a headache just by speaking. He moaned to himself as he and Kira made their way through the hallways to the dorm they had occupied last night when Mu intercepted them. "What's up Hawk, and make it quick were tired." Ryu commented and punctuated it with a yawn.

Mu only gave snort as he passed the two of them packages "Here these are your uniforms," he explained "Ryu, the captain decided to have you as her second in command on the ship and direct control of the pilots."

Ryu raised an eyebrow as Kira looked slightly bewildered "Let me get this straight, she wants me, the guy who left the EA after slaughtering lord knows how many EA soldiers at Junius Seven?" he as incredulously "IS she on something, cause I'll have what she's having."

Mu laughed out loud at his comment and his confused expression "She want you to be her second because you have actual combat experience and, unlike me or Badgiruel you have the trust of the civilian pilots and a portion of the civilians from the escape pod and most of the mechanical crew led by Murdoch." He explained as he repeated what Murrue said to him before she sent him to give the news and deliver the uniforms.

Ryu sighed as he tucked the package under his arm "Fine, but I'm going to bed." He moan as he started walking again only for Mu to stop him once more.

"You have your own quarters now Ryu," Mu said "All of the crew does, but we're having to double up due to space constraints, as it is I'm bunking with Neumann, the ships pilot, Chris and Liz are sharing a room because their sibling, and unfortunately the two of you will have to share a room as well." He added with a sly smirk.

Ryu and Kira blinked at the blond before Ryu groaned once again and rubbed his temples "You had something to do with that didn't you." He stated as Mu whistled innocently while Kira was fighting down a blush that threatened to overtake her, but was failing miserably.

"Anyways I'll show ya to your quarters." Mu said after being forced to dodge a half-hearted punch from Ryu.

After Mu guided them to their room Kira stepped into the bathroom and quickly discarded her civvies and changed into the under garments that was provided realizing that she couldn't wear her uniform to bed she started blushing furiously I'll Kill him. She swore as she thought of that bastard blond before she noticed something other than her uniform in the package. It was a simple white shirt that was a couple of sizes too large for her, but would work well for sleeping in. Well, maybe I'll just kick him in the nads. She amended with a smirk as she put the shirt on before gathering up her clothes and exited.

Ryu promptly blushed a light shade of pink when he saw that Kira was only wearing an oversized shirt as she giggled at his flustered expression she stole a light kiss before he gather his own stuff and entered the bathroom and exited a short while later in a pair of boxers and a shirt and smiled at the form of Kira curled up in one of the beds fast asleep. "Good night Kira." He whispered softly as he pulled the covers over her before tuning the light off and climbed into his own bed and promptly fell asleep.

Chapter 4: Phase Shift Down

Explosions flashed through the sky as a 16-year old Ryu weaved through the endless tide of GINNs that ZAFT had sent out to destroy the base at Endymion. Raising his rifle Ryu started returning fire at the one's targeting him and his squad. They must really fear the capabilities of the Moebius Zero if they sent three of their fleets to wipe the Zero corps base. He thought to himself as he continued to punch through the GINNs that were attacking the base "Have they made contact with Headquarters yet?" he asked his squad mate and close friend Mu la Flagga.

"Not yet no," Mu stated as his Zero's Gunbarrels destroyed a GINN that got too close to the third member of their squad Mickey Johansson who had a silver coloured Zero "For some reason We can't get through."

"There is some kind of interference with our long range communications" Kyle Flynn a pilot of a dark blue Zero speculated "ZAFT must be breaking out some new toys."

"I hate it when they do that." Mickey complained as he returned the favour by disabling a GINN that was on Mu's tail.

"I hear that" Yuna Falcon sighed, she was a pilot of a white Zero with blood red stripes "I just hope that this damn war would end already." Flipping her Zero she fired her rail guns blasting away a GINN that tried to take her from behind.

"Got that straight," Ryu said as his bayonet pierced a cockpit of a GINN before throwing it at a second GINN as it exploded taking said GINN with it "Kyle any idea's on where the interference is originating from?"

"Just give me a sec," Kyle responded as he rolled away from a series of shots from a GINN "Got it, it's at the center of the fleet though."

"Son of a bitch." Yuna cursed, she was officially the squad commander but most of the time someone else would lead the squad if they had more experience in the terrain they were fighting in "Any ideas?"

"Don't tell me your thinking of charging straight in Commander." Mickey pleaded in alarm

"Alright then, I won't tell you, I'll order you to." Yuna retorted seriously "Ryu you take point and show'em just how good that suit of your is."

"Yes ma'am," Ryu confirmed with a grin as he drew out his katana and took the point of the V formation the squad took up "Besides Mickey don't you remember our motto?"

At once the entire squad chanted "Make the Impossible Possible." As thy retracted their Gunbarrels and accelerated to the ZAFT fleet.

As they charged forward the other Zero pilots seeing the legendary Falcon Squad started taking the fight to the enemies rallied around them and joined them in a charge that would be remembered for ages to come. Leading the pack Ryu quickly activated what made the ZGMF-X990 Codename: X so dangerous "GO FANGS" he shouted as the prototype DRAGOON system on his mobile suit activated launching six dagger-like objects from the container on the X's waist and circle around him before moving to his will and started punching through the armor of the GINNs disabling some and destroying others as his sniper-like accuracy pick off many who approached him and his katana finished off anyone lucky enough to get close to him as the Zero's behind him opened up with their own weapons raining bullets upon the ZAFT fleet.

Unfortunately as the battle wore on more and more of the Zero's started to fall, even with the advantage of their wired Gunbarrels and each pilots spatial awareness, their small contingent were no match for the endless tide that was the ZAFT fleet. Mickey swerved out of the way of rifle fire of one only to be met by the heavy sword of another "Mickey!" Kyle yelled as his long time friend went down in flames "You BASTARDS!" With that as his war cry Kyle plunged head first into the swarm of GINN descending upon them tearing through them until one of the GINNs shot through his reactor blowing the armor up taking Kyle and two GINNs unfortunate enough to be too close with it.

"God Dammit, Kyle!" Ryu yelled in desperation as his Fangs tore the offending mobile suit apart while his rifle shot through a cockpit of another and his thrown Katana pierced yet another one. "Mu, Yuna, Form up!"

Following his advice the other two remaining squad members flew up beside him as they continued to punch their way through the screen of GINNs blocking them from their objective. After finally punching through the trio started weaving through the anti air fire from the Battle ships in the main fleet as they tried to shoot down the remaining members of Falcon Squad.

"Ryu," Yuna whispered as he flipped around and emptied his final clip into a GINN pursuing them "Take care of yourself and keep moving forward like I know you can and always remember, I love you."

"Yuna?" Ryu asked in confusion as he turned around only to see Yuna's red stripped white Zero Kamikaze their target ship right where the engine would be causing a chain reaction blowing the ship up. "YUNA!" he cried out his eyes widening in fear as he hoped beyond hope that he would see her Zero burst through the explosion like he had see many times before only to be damaged beyond what any bullet could hope to accomplish as he and Mu stared in horror.

Ryu suddenly had a vision of a crystal the same color of his jade-green eyes spiralling through a black background before it shattered in a golden explosion of light causing a wave of clarity to wash over him and his eyes to morph to golden coloured with slitted draconic pupils, letting out a roar that many survivors would report to be draconic in nature Ryu charged the Shocked GINNs that surrounded them as Mu watched in utter awe.

"YUNA!" Ryu shouted as he jerked out of his dream shooting up in his bed completely drenched in cold sweat shaking as tears streaked his face.

"Ryu," Kira asked in concern moving over to his bed his shout having woken her up "What's wrong?"

Ryu suddenly pulled Kira closer to him surprising her slightly before she wrapped her arms around Ryu reassuringly and started rubbing his back as sobs racked his body. They remained like this for awhile as Ryu calmed down and recovered from his dream "Thank you Kira." He whispered gratefully as he remained in her embrace.

"You're welcome Ryu," she whispered back "Do you want to talk about it?"

"It was a dream about the battle of Endymion," he explained after a couple seconds of silence "That day my entire squad save Mu died. Mickey, always the whiner, but would always have your back no matter the situation, Kyle, the man who could pull off a Braveheart while hacking the ZAFT mainframe. Mu, the guy who made us laugh as he joked in the middle of the battle, I was the guy who made the insane plans and pulled it off, like hijacking a prototype ZAFT mobile suit as they showed it off during a demonstration to the upper echelon of the supreme council, or making a regular Moebius a weapon of mass destruction. Then, then there was our commander Yuna, she, she was brave, beautiful, smart, and like everyone else in the squad, slightly insane." He chuckled with Kira as he remembered his old squad "We had two mottos one was from Mu and our most known 'We make the impossible possible', than one from me 'those who abandon the mission are trash, but those who abandon their comrades are less than trash'. Yuna and I were in a relationship when Endymion happened," Ryu admitted to Kira as he pulled away slightly to look her in the eyes "She died when she rammed her Moebius Zero into the ZAFT flagship that was carrying a Jamming device that blocked off long-range communications." Closing his eyes he allowed a few tears to slip down his face in regret "That was not the worst part though, afterwards I, I went completely berserk, destroying anyone who got in my way, all of the Zero pilots save Mu died during that battle due to the ZAFT attack, and when I stepped out of the cockpit of my mobile suit Mu said that for the briefest of seconds, my eyes became draconic, and any survivor from ZAFT and Mu reported that just before I went berserk I let out a draconic roar that filled the airwaves, that alone caused me to earn the nickname Dragon."

Once he finished his story Ryu let out a massive sigh that was filled with sadness as he separated from Kira and looked down at the floor not meeting Kira's eyes "Ryu," Kira whispered gently as she placed a hand on his shoulder causing him to look up and meet her concern filled eyes "That must have been terrible for you, having to carry that."

Ryu smiled sadly at Kira "It is," he whispered hoarsely "Harder than you can imagine, I pray that I can redeem my own failures not only at Endymion but at Junius Seven as well. I've done a lot in that regard, like teaching you guys about mobile suit design so that you would not have to go through what I did," he gave a rueful snort "Look at well that turned out though."

"Stop," Kira said sternly surprising Ryu "We chose to get in the cockpit of those Gundams. It is not your fault."

Ryu smiled at Kira thankfully and gave a small chuckle "Yeah, I suppose it isn't," he admitted before he blinked and looked at Kira in confusion "Wait Gundams?"

Kira smiled sheepishly as she gave a small blush "An Acronym that I saw during the boot-up sequence." She explained.

"Gundam," Ryu said as if testing out the word than grinned "Definitely sounds better than G-weapon."

Kira smiled brightly her boyfriend glad that he was smiling again "Thank you," she said before yawning "Now let's go back to sleep shall we?" she asked and made to to stand up only to be stopped by Ryu.

"Mind staying with me for the rest of the night?" he asked softly looking at Kira with a plaintive look.

Kira smiled at sat back down before pushing Ryu down and crawled under the covers with him resting her head on his shoulder "Of course I don't mind Ryu." She said settling herself in and gave him a kiss on the lips "If it's you, than I would never mind."

Ryu blinked before smiling and kissed Kira back before pulling her close "Thank you," he whispered as they drifted off back to sleep "I love you."

"I love you too Ryu."

Are you watching Yuna? Ryu thought as he drifted off It hurts, but I'm doing as you asked and allowing myself to move forward, and I love you as well, Yuna.

OoOoOo

Vesalius, Bridge

"The legged ship will go one of two ways," Rau announced as the Crueset Team stood around the briefing table on the bridge "They will either make a straight line for the moon to rendezvous with the 5th fleet, or they will go for Artimis base and resupply there."

"Where do you believe they will go commander?" Nicol asked curiously.

"Normally I would say they would go to Artimis," Rau admitted with a frown "But with the Dragon aboard I cannot say for certain."

"Why is that?" Yuuka asked in confusion.

"He has an annoying habit of proving us wrong any chance he gets." Naleen stated in annoyance "I don't know if I will strangle the guy for causing us so much trouble or shake his hand for his genius, probably both."

"Hn." Jacques grunted in agreement as he eyed the map "They will most likely go to Artimis."

"Agreed," Rau said nodding his head "Let us wait and see what their move shall be."

OoOoOo

Archangel, Ryu and Kira's room

Ryu groaned as he woke up to an alarm clock going off causing the weight on his chest to shift in annoyance "God damn blasted machine." Kira groaned in annoyance as she slowly sat up with a large yawn and slapped the off button "Morning Ryu."

"Mornin'," Ryu greeted wearily as he sat up smiling at Kira as he gave her a quick peck on the cheek and chuckled "Nice hair."

Blinking Kira ran a hand through her hair and winced as it ran into tangles "Dammit, I hate bed head." She moaned as they climbed out of bed.

"Go and have a shower first Kira," Ryu said as he started stretching "I need to go through some exercises anyways."

Nodding Kira gathered her uniform and stepped into the bathroom as Ryu began to go through some Tai Chi katas to stretch his body before he started going through some of his more serious katas that he had pick up during his travels and his stint in the military, Kira walked out of the bathroom wearing the EA's female volunteer uniform but the shirt was the same blue that the strike had and was wearing a white miniskirt just as Ryu was going through a series of kicks that would have any regular guy wincing in pain with the fact that he was essentially doing splits making it very uncomfortable for those who weren't flexible enough.

"Wow," she breathed in amazement when he finished "That was amazing."

Ryu grinned at Kira's praise "Thanks, that one always did give me trouble," he admitted as he looked Kira over as she blushed in embarrassment "You look good Kira."

Still blushing Kira smiled at him "Thank you, now go have shower stinky." She ordered sternly causing him to chuckle sheepishly.

"Right, right, I'm going." He assured as he picked up his uniform and entered the bathroom.

After his shower Ryu stepped out wearing a modified volunteer uniform that had a shit similar to Mu's but dark green with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows with the Lieutenant bars on his chest and had the last three buttons undone along with black pants. Kira gave a whistle "You look nice." She commented as he gave a slow spin with a grin plastered on his face.

"Thank you," he said right before someone knocked on the door "Just a sec!"

Going over he opened the door to reveal both Liz and Chris wearing volunteer uniforms in the colors of their mobile suits (Chris-Shirt: Midnight blue with red edges, pants: white. Liz- Shirt: light blue, miniskirt: red.) "Hey," Chris greeted as Ryu let them in "So you guys got your uniforms to huh?"

"Yeah," Ryu confirmed as he picked up his MP5 that he had thrown into the Dragon when he had jumped in and started taking it apart and cleaning it "And the captain in her infinite wisdom decided to put me in as second in command and mobile suit commander."

"Ouch," Liz commented with a wince of sympathy as Chris snorted "So what do we pilots need to do anyways?"

"Well for the most part I suggest you get to know your machine better while you help the maintenance crews maintain you mobile suits," Ryu suggested after a moment of thought as he continued to clean the gun in his hand "Which by the way I will head down and do myself after I check in with Captain Ramius, or you can see if they have a shooting range and learn how to fire at the very least a handgun in the off chance you get shot down. And then you could go to the exercise room and work out."

The trio nodded as Chris and Liz left to go to the hanger leaving Kira and Ryu alone once more. After closing the door Kira walked up behind Ryu and wrapped her arms around his neck lightly and watched as he started putting his gun back together "How are you feeling?" she asked in concern.

"Better, definitely better," he reassured standing up and turned to face her wrapping his arms around her waist "Thank you for listening to me last night, I, I needed to get that off of my chest."

"Ryu, I will always listen to you if you need to talk," she reassured "I just don't want you to become a crotchy old war vet with a bitter chip on his shoulder." She added with a grin causing him to laugh.

"Yeah, that would be sad." Ryu agreed and kissed her firmly on the lips while running his hand through her hair while she pulled him in deeper into the kiss each forgetting their fears and worries, right up until the communications consol beeped making Ryu go off on a colorful cursing spree before he answered "Hisanaga, what is it?" he asked as blunt as ever.

"Captain Ramius and Commander La Flaga want you in the briefing room." Natarle answered shortly still agitated that he was a higher rank than her.

"Understood Ensign, thank for the warning." Ryu responded and cut the link missing the snort from Natarle "Right I gotta go, will you be alright?" he asked Kira in concern.

Kira only waved him off "I'll be fine Ryu," she reassured "I'll just go down to the hanger and help out with the Strike's maintenance."

Ryu smiled at her and kissed her once more before leaving the room and making his way to the briefing room to talk with Murrue and Mu.

Vesalius, Bridge, two hours later.

"Sir contact!" one of the bridge crew reported suddenly causing all present to snap to attention "Major heat source heading towards Artimis Sir!"

"So we were right," Rau mused "Follow them but keep an eye out for any traps."

"Yes sir!" the crew chanted as they leapt to their tasks.

"I want you all to get to the hanger and get ready to launch," Rau ordered the red coats "If you cannot capture the mobile suit than destroy it, we cannot allow the EA to get their hands on them."

Snapping salutes the red coats made their way to the hanger and piled into their mobile suits 'Kira,' Athrun thought as images from the last battle flashed through his mind 'Why are you doing this? Why do you fight against your own people?' He remembered when the Dragon stopped him from capturing Kira that time 'Is he the reason? Is he manipulating Kira to fight for the EA, no, that doesn't make sense, if he was truly loyal to the EA than he would not have attacked the peacekeeper force at Junius Seven, and would have remained afterwards. So why do they fight against their own kind?'

"5 Minutes out, All suits prepare for launch."

Ryu grinned ferally as he watched the mobile suits launch from the pursuing ship and made their way to the Heat Rocket they had launched earlier towards Artimis. "Alright you guys, get ready to launch, hit'em fast hit'em hard." He said over the radio alerting the others as he settled in and moved his suit to the catapult and watched as a 'Scylla' High Energy Cannon Shield was equipped to his suit. He was now in his flight suit that was mostly black with a green chest and shoulders while Chris wore a Mostly Midnight blue with white chest and shoulders and Liz wore a light blue with red chest and shoulders. (Kira wears the same one as the anime.)

Taking several Deep breaths he looked over the vid screens at the rookie pilots, Liz and Chris were both fidgety and were looking a little green at the prospect of having to kill again, they had mostly dealt with it last night when they had both realized what they had done, thankfully Mu had been nearby and helped them get over it. Kira was looking apprehensive and was biting her lip anxiously as the 'Aile' pack was mounted onto the Strike. Switching to a private channel he opened it with Kira "Are you okay?" he asked in concern as he looked at her over the video screen "You look a little pale."

"Is this channel secure?" Kira asked nervously after getting a nod from Ryu she continued "I know the pilot of the Aegis," she admitted "I'm sorry I didn't tell you but I didn't want to believe it at first."

"Kira, it's alright," Ryu soothed wishing he could hold her right now "If you want you can sit this fight out and I can disable and capture the Aegis."

"No, no," Kira refused "That's alright, this is something that I've got to do. Thank you for offering though."

Ryu nodded "Just let me know if you need help Kira, I'll come running." He swore making Kira smile gratefully.

"Thank you." She whispered before switching back to the squad link.

"Trap is set, all units you are clear for launch." Mir's voice came through the radio, turns out that after Natarle had talked to Ryu their friends had showed up at the bridge asking if they could volunteer and assist in some way.

"Understood, Ryu Hisanaga, Dragon, Engaging the Enemy!"

"Chris Dante, Raven, Taking off!"

"Kira Yamato, Aile Strike, Launching!"

"Liz Dante, Zephyr, Let's go!"

"Mu la Flagga, Moebius Zero Custom, Launching!" While the techs were repairing the Zero they had found a Gunbarrel Striker pack and decided to repurpose it so that Mu could do more damage to his opponents even with their phase shift.

With Athrun

"Where the Hell are they!?" Izack raged as they group of 6 Gundams and two GINNs drifted through an asteroid field and had found out that the heat source had disappeared completely surprising everyone completely.

"Alright it's obvious that it was a decoy so everyone back to the-" Naleen was cut off when a massive blast of blue-red energy blasted through the group narrowly missing the Lightning surprising the entire group.

They snapped out of it when several heat sources appeared on their radars placing the suits behind them. "Dammit Scatter!" Naleen ordered with everyone quickly complying as the Dragon went into sniper mode and started exchanging fire with the Grizzly and the Lightning drawing them further into the asteroid field while Mu charged straight at Naleen and Jacques forcing their attention onto him while Chris and Liz faced off against Izack and Dearka leaving Kira against Athrun and Nicol.

"Nicol you go and help Yuuka and Lev against the Dragon, leave the Strike to me." Athrun ordered as he dodged a shot from the Strike.

"Are you sure, we stand a better chance if we-"

"Please Nicol let me handle the Strike," Athrun sounded almost pleading "The Dragon is the bigger threat right now."

"All right, but be careful." Nicol warned before launching off into the direction that Yuuka and Lev went.

Focusing on the Strike Athrun brought up his shield and blocked a shot that would have blown the Aegis' head right off "Kira! Stop this nonsense, you're only being used can't you see that?"

"I am not being used Athrun," Kira stated firmly "I had a choice and I chose the path that would allow me to protect my friends!" putting away her rifle Kira drew out her beam saber and clashed with Athrun "Why can't you see that and just leave us alone'!"

"But Kira-"

"But nothing Athrun, I know that you lost your mom at Junius Seven, but don't blame an entire race for the actions of a select few!"

"Dammit Kira, they are to blame for everything, can't you see that? They started this war, they used nukes first."

"Your sounding like a kid in the schoolyard after a fight!" Kira accused sharply as she ducked under a slash and slammed her shield into the torso of the Aegis throwing it back "Yes the EA started it, but they were being manipulated by Blue Cosmos!"

Athrun only grimaced as he drew out his beam rifle and squared off against his oldest friend.

With Mu

"Man I can see why Ryu had such a hard time against you guys." Mu commented as he swerved around a slash from Jacques and launched a rail blast at Naleen forcing her to give up her shot in favor of not getting shot.

"Coming from the Dragons old teammate that`s high praise indeed." Naleen retorted as she fired a shot attempting to destroy one of the gunbarrels but missed as Mu skillfully maneuvered them out of the way and fire several beams at Jacques who was attempting to cut another gunbarrel in half only for him to dodge.

"This is going to take awhile isn't it." Mu complained as Naleen laughed while Jacques snorted.

With Izack and Dearka

Izack snarled as the Raven skillfully avoided his rifle fire while forcing Izack to dodge the Raven's rail cannons or risk getting damaged or destroyed when Dearka intervened launching a volley of missiles forcing the Raven to go into mobile armor mode to dodge the missile, unfortunately Dearka was unable to follow up due to the Zephyr blasting towards him in jet mode guns blazing forcing Dearka to dodge or be ripped to shreds by the amount of missiles that the suit launched "What the hell are they packing in those suits?" Dearka asked plaintively.

"Don't know, Don't care, I just want them to DIE!" Izack shout in rage as he started fire multiple time but his rage really affected his accuracy allowing the Raven to transform back into Suit mode and start attacking the Duel close range with his beam saber, unfortunately, that was a mistake as the Duel, as its name suggests is meant for Close-Combat, and there is a reason why Izack was chosen for the Duel, other than being a git, and that was his much higher than average close combat scores. So using that natural gift he ducked under the Raven's swing and retaliated with a massive kick to the gut sending it tumbling back while Izack drew out his beam saber and prepared for close combat with the recovering Raven.

Dearka cursed his luck as the Zephyr was not a good match up for him with its higher maneuverability and the pilot definitely no slouch as they kept going in close forcing the Buster onto the defensive nearly the entire fight with his only main offence being his missiles and his 94mm high energy rifle, both being out stripped by the Zephyr's and the pilots abilities while the Zephyr was raining destruction with its missiles, beam rifle and rail guns Sometimes I hate my job.

With Kira

Kira was starting to get tired of this argument that continued throughout the entire fight with Athrun, she could understand why he joined ZAFT after his mother's death, but she couldn't understand the she was defending her friends, and when they reached the 5th fleet she would leave with said friends. Checking her power gauge she began to panic I'm nearly empty!? she thought beginning to breathe quicker. Gotta get back to the Archangel. Problem with that though the Archangel was too far away and with having to dodge Athrun's shots along with pushing her thrusters to their limits Kira's power quickly cut out and she was scooped up by Aegis in mobile armor mode "Dammit Athrun let me GO!"

"No! I'm doing this for your own good Kira, we ARE going to ZAFT."

"I don't want to go to ZAFT Athrun, I am trying to go HOME."

"The plants are the home to all coordinators Kira."

"Shut the fuck up, that is not my home, my home is ORB!" Kira started crying as her fear built up more and more of being unable to protect her friends, Being separated from Ryu, unable to see him smile again, to hear his laugh and his jokes, his advice, or fell his soothing presence. Hitting a pre-prepared radio sequence she set up a direct short bust communication with the Dragon "Ryu, please help me, I-I need you Ryu!" she whimpered.

With Ryu

Ryu had been maneuvering through the asteroid field ambushing the three ZAFT controlled Gundams that followed him in causing havoc and panic when he received Kira's message "Ryu, please help me, I-I need you Ryu!" Instantly he froze the three Gundams in front of him nervously waiting for something to happen, Ryu experienced the same vision as the one from Endymion a Jade Crystal spun through his mind before exploding in a golden light making his eyes become draconic once more as absolute calm washed over him. Then he roared.

Lev, Yuuka, Nicol


The three froze as they heard the roar that emanated from the Dragon, each one didn't even have the time to blink as the Dragon disappeared into the Asteroid field at speeds where a clip would kill you leaving three very afraid pilots.

Mu, Jacques, Naleen

"There is the proof that the gods hate me." Naleen moaned as she began shacking in fear with Jacques fairing no better than his counterpart wishing he at least had the galaxy between them and the awoken Dragon while Mu was beginning to worry about a repeat of Endymion.

"Don't you dare be dead kid, he needs you more than you know."

Izack, Dearka, Liz, Chris

"What the hell was THAT!" Izack shouted in shock as they witnessed the Dragon tearing past them at high speeds heading towards the Aegis "Dearka he's heading for Athrun we have to stop him!"

"Stop him?" the Raven's pilot asked mockingly "You'll have to go through us first."

Athrun, Kira, Ryu


Athrun gasped in shock when he heard the roar that made his commander shiver in fear and blanched when he saw the Dragon appear in front of of him his sword positioned to cleave the Aegis apart and only a sudden turn saved him from being skewered, but he had to release the Strike as well.

"Get to the Archangel, Kira!" he heard the pilot shout to Kira over the radio.

"R-right." She whispered before clearing the area as fast as she could receiving some help from Mu who was left alone as Naleen and Jacques did not want to cross Ryu right then.

Athrun would have gone after them but was currently trying to survive the continual assault from a very angry Endymion Dragon as he spared no expense ripping the Aegis to pieces joint by joint until the torso and the head remained with a terrified Athrun helpless at Ryu's mercy "Be thankful for your friendship with Kira," the Dragon hissed "The only reason I will not kill you for what you did is because it would break Kira's Heart, so I suggest you move along."

Turning the suit around the Dragon began to leave the field of battle "Why, Why do you care so much about Kira, your just using her!" Athrun cried out Causing the Dragon to freeze.

"Using her, USING HER," Ryu roared "If it was up to me than she would not even be in that mobile suit to begin with! But then you bastards had to go and attack Heliopolis instead of waiting for them to leave and Ambushing them! That is why she in the cockpit, not because someone is manipulating her! So I highly suggest you SHUT THE FUCK UP! And the reason I care is because I love her, I am her guardian as she is mine." With that said he turned back to the Archangel and blasted away as Vesalius launched its retreat flares from a safe distance.

With Ryu

Ryu breathed deeply as fatigue washed over him as he docked with the Archangel and left his machine. Looking over to the Strike he saw Murdoch wave him over concern written all over his face "The kid won't come out, she's in battle shock, Mu said it would be best to handle it."

Nodding his understanding Ryu enter the cockpit where Kira was staring unseeingly straight ahead as she gripped the controls tightly shaking like a leaf in a breeze. Kneeling in front of Kira Ryu spoke in soothing tones as he eased her out of the cockpit with everyone keeping a respectful distance as he guided her first to the change room to help her get out of the flight suit and into her regular uniform, he than guided her to their room still peaking soothingly gently rubbing her back. Entering their room he quickly closed and locked the door before guiding her to the bed and sat her down on his lap embracing her gently "It's alright Kira let it out I'm here, and I will always be here for you so let it out."

That broke the gates holding Kira's tears back as she clutched to Ryu like a lifeline crying her heart out about everything that has happened to her so far, losing her home and being forced to fight her friend, her worry about her parents, and her fear of losing her friends, being captured and losing Ryu. They remained like that for a long time until Kira had cried herself out and slowly began to fall asleep against Ryu "Don't leave me Ryu." She whimpered as sleep began to take her.

Ryu only shifted them so that they were lying down and pulled the covers over them and held her close to his chest "I would never dream of leaving you Kira, never, I would never leave you because I love you." He solemnly swore as he stroked her hair.

Kira smiled as she snuggled into Ryu's chest feeling safe "I love you too Ryu." She replied as she allowed sleep to claim her.

Chapter Five: The Vanishing Gundam

Vesalius, Bridge

"That could have gone better." Rau admitted after the debriefing "I nearly had a heart attack when I heard that roar again."

"What was that sir?" Yuuka asked "The minute he heard his was friend in danger he just went crazy or something."

"We are not really certain what it was," Naleen admitted "It first happened at Endymion when his Squad Commander kamikazed our flagship to remove the prototype jammer we had installed, around a third of our losses at Endymion could be traced to him."

"Holy shit," Dearka's jaw dropped "but if he could of killed us so easily than why didn't he?"

"A good question," Jacques admitted with a sigh "I believe that he is sick of killing, and would avoid it if possible, but is still willing to do so if put in a corner."

"And what of the council summons sir?" Athrun asked curious.

"The Gamow is in route with the third fleet, Athrun you will be coming with me to make our report and to get the Aegis repaired after the Dragon tore through it." Rau explained "The rest of you will be transferring to the Gamow and will be put under the command of Commander Mark Cadillac, he also has your custom DEEP Cgue's from the homeland Naleen, Jacques, So you all better get ready to transfer over, there isn't anything we can do about the Archangel right now as they are now in Artimis Space."

"Yes sir." They coursed as they saluted before leaving to their quarters.

Archangel, Bridge

Murrue sighed in relief as the Archangel made port with the Artimis base "Thank god for Ryu's plan," she breathed "Because that could have gone worse then what happened."

Ryu's plan was to launch their decoy missile in the direction of Artimis base as the Archangel stayed put in the debris field and waited for the ZAFT ship to pursue it and when that happened they attacked them forcing them to retreat His reasoning for that was that if they could get the first strike in then they could hopefully damage one of their suits enough where they would have to call off the pursuit for repairs.

"You can say that again," Mu agreed as he rubbed his eyes "Any word from Ryu on Kira?"

"She's fine now, eating in the cafeteria with the others." Ryu answered as he stepped into the bridge "Still a little shaken but nothing that will be with her forever."

"Good to hear," Murrue said honestly "Mu, Natarle and I will be disembarking when we we finish docking, so you'll be in command until we get back."

"Understood ma'am." Ryu answered saluting before he left the bridge again and made his way to the cafeteria to get some food himself. Upon entering he smiled at the sight of Kira laughing at some joke that Tolle made and quickly gathered up his food and sat down next to Kira giving he a quick peck "Feeling better?"

"Much thank you." Kira answered honestly smiling at Ryu, her night's sleep doing wonders "And thank you for coming when you did."

"Hey I promised didn't I?" Ryu asked with a big grin on his face as he tore into a piece of bread.

Just after Ryu finished up his meal amongst a conversation about random normal things a squad of soldiers busted into the room their guns at the ready "What the Fuck is going on!" Ryu roared standing up as a base Lieutenant walked in.


"Due to the fact that your ship is not in our base registry I'm afraid I must place you all under arrest," The Lieutenant said in an oily voice "So please remain calm and sit back down as we will be bringing everyone aboard this ship to this location."


Growling Ryu sat back down as he eyed each of the soldiers "Should've know something like this would've happened," he whispered "Garcia was always a snake."


As people slowly filtered in Ryu patrolled around the room asking the various staff about what they had seen while giving some orders on what to do should something else happen. Suddenly a large bald man walked in with a commander insignia with another Lieutenant following him "I am the base Commander Garcia," the large man announced in an obviously false pleasant voice "All I want are the pilots for the four mobile weapons in the hanger." No said a word as his eyes swept the room and stopped on a scared Flay "You know, the captain of this vessel is a female, so it could very well be that one of the pilots is a female as well." He suddenly grabbed Flay's arm and roughly dragged her up causing her to cry out. Ryu gripped Sai's shoulder preventing him from doing something stupid while Liz held held Chris in place oddly enough.


"That's enough Garcia," Ryu called out standing up calling all attention to him "I honestly can't believe that you think that the daughter of EA's president is a mobile suit pilot."


Garcia whirled around and looked at Ryu in surprise as he slowly walked in front of a nervous Garcia "So you were alive after all." Garcia snarled in contempt as he eyed the coordinator in obvious dislike.


"I've missed you too." Ryu said sarcastically "So what is it you want?"


"My guess is your the pilot of the Dragon?" Garcia speculated to which Ryu curtly nodded.


"La Flagga piloted the Strike as Ensign Badgiruel piloted the Raven and Ensign Neumann piloted the Zephyr." Ryu lied smoothly "Happy? Now leave the civilians alone."


Garcia snorted at Ryu "Do you honestly believe that I would believe a traitor such as yourself," Garcia sneered as he eyed the area that Ryu was sitting in "Perhaps the real pilots would come forward with a little, persuasion."


With that the guard closest to Ryu slammed the butt of his rifle into Ryu's gut. Ryu just gave a small grunt as he eyed stared at Garcia while Murdoch firmly held Kira in place "Did a fly run into me?" Ryu asked as if discussing the weather as he grinned.


Garcia growled at Ryu as he nodded to the guard who smashed the back of his skull causing him to cry out and fall to his knee "Ryu!" Kira shouted in fear.


Garcia raised an eyebrow when he heard Kira's shout and signalled a guard who shoved Murdoch and grabbed Kira roughly making her hiss in pain "Well what do we have here?" Garcia drawled smirking as Ryu narrowed his eyes "What is such a pretty young thing doing on this ship?"

Ryu gave off a low growl as he stood up and eyed Garcia darkly "Watch it Garcia," he warned darkly "Or you could lose something precious to you."

Garcia only smiled sickly at Ryu "So she's close to you than?" he questioned as he twisted her arm making her cry out.

Suddenly Ryu was in front of Garcia with his fist pulled back and punched him full in the face forcing him to drop Kira as he staggered back in pain while guards all pointed their rifles at Ryu who kept his eyes on Garcia as he righted himself "Don't kill him, yet," Garcia ordered "Knowing him if anyone but him tried to unlock the Dragon it would self-destruct."

"Learned from the last time have you?" Ryu asked rhetorically as the guards surrounded him and bound his wrists "That surprises me really, 'cause that would imply you have a brain." Garcia snarled as a guard smashed Ryu's gut causing Ryu to bend slightly and let out a grunt "What? Afraid to get close to little old me?" Ryu mocked with a sick grin that surprised his friends.

Growling Garcia stepped up to Ryu and backhanded him across the face, Ryu's only reaction was to tilt his head and smile at Garcia "Is there a breeze in the room? Or was that it?" Growling again Garcia gave a full blow to Ryu's nose breaking it and causing Kira to scream out in horror and fear at seeing him collapse. "I'll admit, that was a good one." Ryu commended as he stood back up with a slight sway "I guess your bulk is good for something other than scaring away the ladies."

Everyone just watched in awe as Ryu continued to mock Garcia as the blows rained down on him.

OoOoOo

Gamow, Hanger.

"Welcome aboard," A ZAFT red coat with shoulder length brown hair that had a single white bane running through it and had ice-blue eyes with a green trim, while he stood with the ease and grace of a veteran that was supplemented by his martial artist build "I'm Mark Cadillac commander of the Gamow and I am in charge of this mission."

"It's good to you again Mark, how've you been!" Naleen greeted cheerfully as Jacques nodded his head in agreement "Maybe now we can actually stand a chance against Ryu now."

Mark chuckled softly "Maybe, your suits are over there," he said gesturing to a black and gold colored pair of Cgue DEEP arms with Naleen's Golden one having a prototype beam sniper rifle stored onboard and Jacques having an extra heavy laser sword "Go ahead and familiarize yourselves with them," Turning to the other red coats he pointed to Nicol "Your Nicol right? The pilot of the Blitz?"

"Yes sir." Nicol confirmed snapping a salute as Mark nodded slowly looking up at the Blitz.

"The Blitz is equipped with an experimental stealth system right?"

"Yes sir."

"Humph, a cowards weapon if you ask me." Yzack snorted in contempt.

A sudden smack resounded through the hanger as Mark backhanded Yzack with a snarl on his face "You moron," Mark snarled eyeing Yzack in contempt "You don't realize that your so called 'cowards weapon' can save a lot of lives in infiltration teams allowing them to gather better information before the main attack saving the lives of countless soldiers, not to mention speaking like that to your own comrade in arms, do you really expect someone to watch your back in a battle with an attitude like that? Keep that up while your under my command and I'll not only take you off the Duel but bust you down to green coat and make sure you receive the crappiest post ever and your mother's influence will be of no help, DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR SOLDIER!?"

"Y-yes sir!" Yzack responded quickly as he saluted afraid of the sudden increase of pressure emanating from the red coated commander.

"Good," Mark said calming down "Now Nicol, how long does this Mirage Colloid of yours last?" he asked a plan forming in his mind.

OoOoOo

Archangel, Cafeteria.

Back at the Archangel Ryu definitely looked liked he had been through the grinder with a broken nose a multiple bruises on his body and his uniform ripped in a couple of places while the others looked on in horror, the only thing keeping Kira back was Neumann holding her back. Garcia grinned sickly as he watched Ryu stagger back up onto his feet "I'll ask you again, who are the pilots for the other machines." Garcia asked as Ryu shook his head clear.

"Barney the Dinosaur, the yellow tellietubby and Leroy Jenkins." Ryu answered giving off a small chuckle "Didn't you hear his battle shout?"

Garcia snarled and raised his fist to to strike Ryu again "No!" Kira shouted "Please stop it, I'm the pilot for the Strike so please stop it." She pleaded desperately.

Looking at each other both Chris and Liz nodded and stood up as well "We're the pilots of the Raven and the Zephyr." Chris stated as The guards moved around them.

"There that wasn't so hard now was it?" Garcia asked snidely "Grab them and bring the girl as well, as... motivation to cooperate." All four of the pilots narrowed their eyes at Garcia while Chris' shoulders shook minutely before the guards started pushing them along to the hanger where a team of techs were swarming over the Mobile suits. "Quite the amazing series that the Alliance has made don't you agree?" Garcia said suddenly civil as he watched the techs continue their work "I have a proposition for you, work for me and help me develop new mobile weapons and I shall do everything in my power to give you your hearts desires."

"Shove it Garcia," Ryu said in a deadly tone "Remember the last time you tried 'hiring' me? This time I'll finish it."

Garcia only sneered at Ryu "We are not looking to join anyone," Kira stated her eyes full of determination "We just want to go home."

Both Chris and Liz nodded in agreement causing Garcia's scowl to deepen further "You will unlock those mobile suits or I will have you killed," he threatened "and I will start with this girl, and if that doesn't motivate you than I will start killing the civilians."

They all paled as he said that, letting out a low growl Ryu glared at Garcia with such ferocity that it caused a couple of the soldiers near him to step back in fear "You wouldn't dare Garcia," he snarled "If you did that than you would have ORB not only hunting after your head but joining ZAFT as well."

Garcia only laughed mockingly "Do you really think that we would allow that?" he asked with an insane grin "Instead we would make it look like ZAFT did it, either way we win."

Ryu gritted his teeth "Fine." He ground out relenting unable to see a way out of it.

Garcia smirked in victory as the soldiers led the four pilots to their machines with the one holding Flay following Chris. Ryu glared at the techs swarming his suit as the elevator brought him and his guards up to the cockpit. The tech sitting in the cockpit quickly vacated the seat allowing Ryu to sit down and bring down the keyboard and start typing away removing the multiple levels encryption and pass codes he put up to safeguard his suit and the data stored on it from theft.

OoOoOo

With Nicol

Nicol frowned in thought as he ghosted through space careful to prevent his heat emissions from going to high and revealing his position. Once he was past the shield radius he activated his phase shift armor and started blasting away at the shield generators destroying them and sent the confirmation signal back to the Gamow "All that's left is the legged ship." He murmured to himself as he charged to the hanger.

OoOoOo

With Ryu

Ryu grinned when he felt the station shook from an explosion from the exterior and quickly leapt out of his seat and shoulder tackled the guard in front of him while jerking the gun out of the guards hands. Turning he quickly fired off a couple of shots at the remaining guards killing them before he spied Garcia hauling his fat ass out of the Hanger. Meanwhile the other three managed to secure their mobile suits and were moving them to launch to defend the Archangel. Reaching back into the cockpit Ryu pulled out his Mp5 that was in a secured compartment along with radio headset and quickly slipped it on and tuned to the Mobile suits Radio frequency "I want the three of you to launch," he ordered quickly as he clambered down the elevator "I'm going after Garcia."

"Will you be alright?" Kira asked in concern "You did take some bad hits."

"I'll be fine Kira," Ryu assured as he face the Strike with a grin on his bruised face and waved her on "Go, I need to settle things with tub o' lard."

A small chuckle came over the radio "Be safe Ryu." She said with a slightly stern voice.

Ryu saluted the Strike "Aye aye." He said before running off in the direction that Garcia disappeared as the Strike loaded itself onto the catapult. Running through the corridors of the Artemis base Ryu smirked as he heard Garcia stutter off some commands to a group of soldiers. Slipping into the shadows he grinned as he saw Garcia panicking as he desperately made his way to the Shuttle nearby "Oh Garcia!" Ryu sang as he stepped out of the shadows with his Mp5 and stolen assault rifle in hand and pointing at Garcia's two guards. Turning Garcia's eyes widened in fear and shock at Ryu as he stumbled and fell "You two can leave if you wish," Ryu said calmly as he kept his eyes on Garcia "The only person I have an issue with is Garcia."

Looking at each other the two guards quickly made a break for the nearest shuttle leaving Garcia and Ryu alone "Just you and me Garcia," Ryu growled as he stepped forward "Any last requests? I'm in a giving mood so I just might grant it."

Garcia paled further and he tried to scramble away from the Dragon "P-p-please, h-h-have m-mercy." Garcia pleaded desperately on his knees.

That was the final straw for Ryu as the crystal exploded in his mind causing Garcia to whimper in fear when he saw Ryu's eyes change "Mercy?" Ryu questioned in a dark voice "Did you give mercy to Yuna when she pleaded for you not to rape her? Did you give mercy to those who refused to cater to your sick desires?"

Garcia trembled as Ryu stalked forward his rage building to massive proportions "Would you have given mercy to the innocent civilians aboard the Archangel after you had gotten what you wanted." He asked, Garcia desperately nodded his head trying to avoid getting killed only to stop when a bullet whizzed past his ear "No you wouldn't have." Ryu growled "Be glad though, I won't kill you," Garcia breathed a sigh of relief only to pale further at Ryu's next words "I`ll just make sure you don`t hurt another person like you hurt Yuna." With that said Ryu took aim and fired right at the point that made Garcia a man and removed it with a single shot making Garcia howl in pain as Ryu began to walk away only for the Hanger exit to collapse from an explosion.

Looking about quickly Ryu quickly spotted a mobile suit with a Gunbarrel pack on the back and quickly jumped in and made adjustments to the OS so that he could pilot it properly, though he did make sure to save the original OS for later analysis This is a variant of the Patriot series used by the Junk Guild, Ryu quickly realized How did Garcia get his hands on this'? Pushing away that line of thought Ryu quickly tore out of the hanger hoping that he could make it to the Archangel.


With Kira


Kira grunted as her suit collided with the inner wall of the base after a particularly nasty kick from the Blitz This is not good, she thought to herself My suit is definitely better at close combat with the Sword Striker unit, but I lose manoeuvrability, the Blitz however is well versed in all types of combat focusing on manoeuvrability. Ducking a slash from the beam saber of the Trikeros shield unit and countered by swinging her massive Anti-ship sword at the waist of the Blitz only form him to dance out of the way. Not to mention that my sword is bulky and large, good for ships, but not so good for Mobile Suits. Sighing she quickly dodged several shots from the Blitz and threw her beam boomerang and followed up with her rocket anchor. This Blitz easily dodged the boomerang but got caught off guard when the Rocket anchor Latched onto his Trikeros and dragged him towards the Strike as it prepared to swing its massive sword.


Quickly thinking Nicol Detached the shield and backed out of the way of the sword. "Damn," a soft voice came over the radio surprising Kira "You win this round Strike."


Kira smirked as the Blitz saluted and started moving away avoiding the raging battle between the Raven and the Zephyr against the station defenders "You almost had me." Kira admitted as she flew off attaching the Trikeros to the Strike as a badge of honor and started cutting through the station defenders leaving a slightly shocked Nicol about how young the pilot sounded before shaking his head and left the battlefield.


With Ryu


Ryu groaned as he spotted three mobile suits approaching the Hanger, two CGUE DEEP arms, one gold and one black, and the last one was a familiar Green-red custom CGUE "Well, well," he drawled catching the attention of the three mobile suits "Look who it is, Mark Cadillac, the Samurai of Junius Seven. It's been awhile, ZAFT finally decide that Creuset wasn't good enough for me?"


"Something like that," Mark chuckled as he drew out his custom Katana "where is the G-weapon you where piloting?"


"Ahh, thought I'd give those two a handicap for this battle." Ryu joked with a small grin "So, how shall we do this?"


"Jacques, Naleen continue the mission," Mark ordered as he and Ryu began to circle each other with Ryu drawing out his beam saber "I'll deal with the Dragon."


"Yes sir." Naleen confirmed as both she and Jacques boosted towards the Artemis base hanger.


"Let's go!" Ryu shouted in challenge as he slammed his saber against Mark's katana both of them grinning widely as they continued to exchange blows only for the other to dodge or block the shot. Separating the two brought up their respective long range weapons and exchanged fire with each other never landing anything outside of a glancing blow. Grinning Ryu activated the Wired Gunbarrels on his suit and started opening fire on Mark with both his Gunbarrels and his machinegun forcing Mark to do nothing but evade as Ryu rained the blows upon him.


Suddenly switching Tactics Ryu switched his Rifle to his shield hand and drew out his Beam saber with his remaining hand and recalled the Gunbarrels and clashed swords with the Green CGUE once more only for Ryu to aim his rifle at the CGUE's head forcing Mark to break off the power struggle or be crippled "I see your skills haven't dulled that much Ryu." Mark commented as they started circling once more.


Ryu chuckled "Since when does a soldiers skills truly dull?" Ryu mused with a smirk "After all when you have something you wish to protect..."


"That is when you find true strength!" Mark finished with a grin as he clashed swords once more with Ryu "I still remember that day when we first fought."


Ryu's laugh was full of mirth as he ducked under a slash and returned the favour with a kick to the CGUE's gut "I was the Idealistic Fool."


"While I was the Insane Idiot." Mark added with his own laugh as he recovered from the kick and fired his Shields vulcans at Ryu who also dodged as well "I learned quite the lesson from you that day."


They both laughed as they once again crashed their swords together enjoying the pure test of skill with each other.


With Chris


"I like this weapon," Kira stated as she fired the Trikeros beam rifle at another base mobile armor "I'm gonna ask Murdoch to permanently attach it to the Strike."


Liz chuckled as she flipped from mobile armor to suit mode as the last of the defenders began to flee "Archangel the path is clear." She said over the radio "And it seems that Kira found a new toy to play with." She added with a laugh.


Chris sighed as he shook his head at the pairs banter, having mostly hung back due to having Flay in the cockpit with him he could only chuckle weakly as the pair continued to joke with each other. He realized that this was Kira's way of holding off the shock from her first kills and left it be until they landed. Suddenly his proximity alarm went off and reacting on pure instinct he barely managed to dodge a sword strike from a black CGUE DEEP arms while the Strike and the Zephyr dodged sniper fire from a golden one. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't these the pilots that Ryu advised we do not engage?" Chris asked rhetorically as Flay gave a small scream when he threw the Raven into mobile armor mode hoping to put some distance between him and the Black CGUE.


"So Ryu warned you of use huh?" A light, joking Feminine voiced asked "I'm flattered that he thinks so highly of us."


"Hn," Jacques Grunted as he missed the Raven again "Don't see why he warned them, they are fairly skilled."


"Umm, thank you?" Liz said in confusion as she rolled into her armor form and fired a volley of missiles at Jacques forcing him to back off from his pursuit of the Raven followed up by the Strike coming down with and overhead slash only to be forced to break off or be shot at from Naleen's sniper.


The three rookies did their best against the pair and to their luck the two vets were still not used to their new suits thus keeping them on a somewhat even playing level when the Archangel thankfully appeared guns blazing on the two enemy suits forcing them to retreat "I never thought I would be this thankful to see that ship." Kira admitted as they made their way to the Archangel and was supported by a course of agreements from Chris and Liz as they boarded.


With Ryu


Ryu groaned as his rifle made the wonderful sound of clicking indicating that his gun was empty while he had no spare clips left. The spinning of Mark's vulcans indicated that he was running on empty as well as no bullets were coming out. To add to their pleasure both of their suits were screaming an alarm that their suits were running on empty as well. "Looks like it's another draw." Ryu stated as they started drifting away from each other.


Mark sighed "Looks like it," he agreed than spotted Naleen and Jacques fleeing the battlefield "That's my cue to leave."


With one final salute to each other the pair both sped off making their way to their respective flagships. Landing on the Archangel just as the Artemis base exploded with one final spectacular explosion Ryu braced himself to the interior of the hanger as the ship rocked. Once it was over he disembarked and greeted a depressed Kira "Let me guess, first kill?" Ryu asked concerned when Kira nodded he drew her into a hug "You're not a monster Kira," he soothed gently as they floated along "You did what was necessary to protect yourself and our friends," he smiled at her "Let's get you into a shower and then I'll give you a back massage, how does that sound?"


"Sounds wonderful." she said with a slight smile as she linked arms with him and made their way to their room smiling as he described his fight and past with his 'rival' so to speak. As Ryu gave her his promised massage after he forced her to eat something she smiled "Thank you Ryu." She whispered quietly drifting off to sleep.


Smiling Ryu kissed her forehead and drew the covers over her "Your welcome Kira." He said before going to his desk and activating his terminal and putting in a series of upgrade requests to the Gundams and the new Patriot Zero that Mu would pilot once the OS was perfected "I swear Kira, I will make sure you and our friends remain safe," he whispered to himself "No matter what."

Chapter Six: The Scars of Space

Archangel, Hallway


Flay sighed to herself as she walked through the halls of the Archangel reflecting on the recent events that had happened in the last few days, first they had been attacked at Heliopolis by ZAFT, then chased for days by said ZAFT forces and when they had finally had a chance to catch their breath at Artemis base they were double crossed by the base commander, had Chris dragged her into the cockpit of the Raven with him who knows what would of happened. She had gained a bit more respect for the pilots of the Archangel after experiencing the dogfight that had erupted during the escape, she had never been so scared, but somehow knowing that Chris was behind the controls reassured her that she would be fine. Also after seeing Kira in that depressed state opened her eyes to how alike Coordinators were to Naturals, unlike what the propaganda said Coordinators were not unfeeling monsters but could be kind and caring people. Artimis had also opened her eyes to the evil that Naturals carry as well.

She stopped at the door to Ryu and Kira's room and hesitated for a minute before knocking on the door "Just a minute!" She heard Kira's voice float through before the door opened a couple of seconds later with Kira standing there dressed in shorts and a slightly large T-shirt "Oh, Flay what is it?"

"I-uh, I just wanted to say thank you for all you've done," Flay stuttered out "You all have done a lot for us and yesterday made me realize that coordinators aren't as bad as the media makes them out to be."

Kira blinked at Flay with the classic 'deer caught in the headlights' look "Uhh, thank you Flay," she began hesitantly before she gave a soft smile "That means a lot, thanks for telling me that Flay. How are you feeling by the way?" Kira asked as she stepped back and made a 'come in' gesture inviting Flay into the room "I mean with everything that has been going on."

Flay smiled as she entered the room and sat down on Kira's bed as Kira moved around getting dressed "I've been doing fine, still a little shocked though at all that has happened."

"Tell me about it," Kira said empathetically "I never thought that I would end up playing tag with against ZAFT elites in an advanced prototype warship piloting a mobile suit. Although I do have one thing to be thankful about all this though." She admitted with a bright smile.

"What's that?" Flay asked curiously.

Kira grinned at the redhead "I'm with Ryu now," she stated "I've had a crush on him since the day he started working with Professor Kato, and well since then I've grown to admire him, he is content with who he is, he admits his flaws and uses his strengths to their fullest." She gave a small giggle "Not to mention he knows when to relax and when to be serious, it doesn't hurt that he's pretty cute too."

Flay sighed "I hope that I can someone like that." She admitted.

"What about Sai?"

Flay shook her head "Don't get me wrong, Sai is a very nice guy, it's just, I don't feel that connection." She said slightly depressed.

Kira sat down beside Flay and rubbed her back and smiled reassuringly "Don't worry, just have some faith," she advised "I'm sure you'll find the right person for yourself."Besides he might be closer than you think. She added to herself "C'mon, I need some coffee and Ryu asked me to help him oversee the upgrades to the mobile suits, wanna come?"

Flay smiled and nodded as the two of them stood up and left the room heading to the cafeteria.

OoOoOo

Shuttle, en route to the PLANTS

As he boarded the shuttle to the PLANTS Athrun's jaw dropped at the sight of an empty shuttle but for one passenger, the reason for his loose jaw was that the passenger was his father. "F-father." He stuttered in surprise, but when his father gave a slight glare he straightened himself and saluted "I mean Chairman Zala."

Patrick nodded "You are not to mention that you have seen me here today." He ordered sternly and Athrun and Rau sat down across from him "I've come to talk to the two of you about your report to the council you will be giving on the G-weapons, I want you not to mention that the other G-weapon pilots other than the Dragon of Endymion."

Athrun blinked in confusion "Why?" he asked simply.

Patrick turned his blank gaze to his son "Because we need more support for this war to continue, and if the people believe that naturals are able to pilot mobile suits than they will support a larger military budget, and I don't think I need to mention how much they fear the Dragon alone."

Athrun stared at his father blankly, he wanted to continue the war, sure his mother died because of it, but to continue it would be a waste of good men and women on both sides. "F-father?" he questioned only to be sent a short glare.

"You of all people should know how necessary it is to remove this blight from existence Athrun." Zala growled and he folded his hands in front of him "All I need from you is to omit the fact that the pilots are coordinators during your report than I will handle the rest, understood?"

Athrun and Rau nodded as Patrick stood and left before Athrun sighed and lent back into his chair with his commander frowning in thought This is going to be a long trip. Athrun predicted to himself as he stared out the window.

OoOoOo

Archangel, Hanger

Ryu sighed as he eyed the current problem in front of him in the form of a stubborn mobile suit that refused to cooperate, he had been up all night working on the Strike, Raven, Zephyr and their newest addition the TMSF-081RWG Patriot Zero upgrading them and running general maintenance on them with the maintenance crews watching in some kind of reverent awe, now he was working on his personal mobile sit the Dragon. He took a deep breath, "YOU STUPID ASS MORONIC RUSTED HUNK OF JUNK!" he shouted giving the Dragon a swift kick "HERE I AM TRYING TO UPGRADE YOU AND MAKE YOU EVEN BETTER WHILE YOU ARE REFUSING TO COOPERATE WITH ME! DON'T YOU WANT TO BE THE EPITOME OF KICKASSNESS!?"


That was the scene that Kira and Flay walked into when they entered the hanger with the regular crews cowering in fear as Ryu began to hit the mobile suit with a wrench with a sadistic smile on his face. Flay gave Kira a worried glace as Kira sighed and rolled her eyes "Every single time he pulls an all-nighter," she mutter before shouting "RYU! COFFEE!"


Ryu froze and stared at Kira with a borderline worshipping look before he broke the world record for the 50 meter dash grabbing the coffee "Thankyouthankyouthankyou!" He kept repeating hugging Kira whole rolled her eyes again and lightly smacked his head with a grin.


"You're welcome, now please stop scaring everyone." She requested with a giggle as he separated himself from Kira with a grin and motioned for them to follow.


Picking their way through the spare parts and equipment the littered the hanger Ryu led them over to where the Strike was docked "Now as you can see we have permanently mounted the Trikeros unit to the Strike, as per your request we kept the color the same, we have also added a katana for close combat and when your suit is out of power, it's coated with an Anti-Beam Alloy so don't worry about clashing with beam weapons with it." He explained before leading them over to the Striker packs bay "I've also managed to create some new striker packs with the equipment we have on board, the Sniper Striker has a Mirage Colloid and enhanced radar with it, while the Aqua Strike has enhanced sonar and several torpedo launchers for underwater combat and last but certainly not least is the Gunbarrel Striker pack, it comes equipped with Beam Gunbarrels and me and Mu will give you a crash course later when we have a chance."


Kira blinked as she looked over all of the striker packs "Wow, you did this in one night with limited resources?" She asked amazed.


Ryu chuckled "Not really no, Johanna already had some of the base work laid out, I just put it together and gave them a few tweaks." He admitted "The Raven and Zephyr both received hard-points to mount weapons from the striker packs and some additional weapons, the Raven now has a missile armament while the Zephyr has a pair of Gatling Cannons." Ducking under a stray piece of equipment Ryu started making his way back to the Dragon "For the Dragon I'm only doing some basic stuff like upgrading the wiring and tweaking the reactor a bit to increase the power, mostly experimental stuff that I want to test before using it with your guy's mobile suit." Stepping up to the open panel of the Dragon that he was working at earlier he downed the last of the coffee "And that pretty much sums up the upgrades, be sure to go over your OS and make sure that it's up to speed with the upgrade," he gave Kira a quick peck on the cheek "Thanks for the coffee."


Kira gave him a sunny smile before walking away with Flay whose head was spinning at all the information that she just received. Ryu sighed and turned back to the Dragon "Are you ready to cooperate now?" he asked the suit and could of swore that it somehow smirked at him, or was the the lack of sleep affecting him?


Bridge


Murrue sighed as she looked over the supplies list in her hand and eyed the report on the remaining water levels willing them to increase from the low levels they were at. "So does anyone have any idea's on where to get water?" she asked with a raised eyebrow not really expecting an answer.


Mu coughed into his hand "Well there is the debris belt," he suggested "In particular Junius Seven."


"WHAT!?" nearly half the bridge shouted in disbelief while the other half simply stared at him. "Is that wise sir, we'd be desecrating the grave of millions." Natarle blurted out in shock.


Mu sighed "Yes I know it would be, but we need that water if we are to make it the rendezvous with Halberton alive." He stated "Do you know where else we can find Gallons of water for free?"


"Mu's got a point." Ryu stated as he walked into the bridge with a coffee in his hand "We are in a life or death situation, as much as I dislike having to do it, it is necessary right now for our survival."


Murrue nodded reluctantly in agreement "That is true, Are the mobile suits ready to be launched?" she asked.


Ryu gave a sharp nod and passed her a clipboard "They are, this is a list of all the upgrades that were made," he answered "The pilots have been given copies and have reviewed them, all they need is some testing."


"Very well," she sighed "Inform the pilots to get ready to launch, your objective is to protect the Mistrals as they gather the necessary amount of ice that we need."


Ryu and Mu both saluted and coursed "Yes ma'am." Turning they both exited the bridge and started making their way to the rec room that the pilots spend their spare time at.

"Are you sure your okay with doing this Ryu?" Mu asked cautiously "You can sit this out if you need to."

Ryu shook his head "No it's alright." He answered "It'll be a bit troublesome but I can deal with it."

Mu nodded in acceptance before he grinned "So how are things going with the little lady?" he asked suddenly making Ryu blink before smiling softly.

"It's going good." He said in a soft voice before stopping and looking out of a view port leaning against a railing "It's funny, I feel more of a connection to her than I ever did to Yuna." He turned and looked at Mu "Loosing Yuna was hard Mu, But if I lose Kira..." he trailed off unable to finish the sentence.

Mu nodded gravely and placed a hand on Ryu's shoulder "You won't lose her kid," he reassured with a grin "Especially if you're the one protecting her."

Ryu smirked at Mu and they both started making their way to the rec room. Upon entering they saw Chris in the workout area running through a martial art kata while Kira and Liz where sitting on the comfy chairs gossiping with each other "Pilots listen up!" Ryu called out getting the three rookie pilots attention "We will be launching soon to collect resources from the debris belt, most notably water, the only thing is we have to collect the water from the remains of Junius Seven." He paused at the gasps from the pilots "Liz, Chris, I can understand if you wish to sit this one out."

Chris shook his head "No, We are low on pilots already and if we sit this one out and we're attacked than we won't be as prepared." He said with Liz nodding in agreement.

"Besides I think we need closure," Liz agreed "So we'll be launching as well."

Ryu nodded in acceptance "Very well, we'll be acting as scouts and guards for the mission making sure that we aren't surprised if pirates or ZAFT, if you do see signs of them DO NOT engage, report back and keep hidden while we determine if they are a threat or not, if they are making hostile actions towards our area or if they spot us than you have permission to engage."

The three nodded and Mu, Liz and Chris left leaving Ryu and Kira alone. "Are you okay?" Kira asked quietly as she wrapped her arms around his waist as he wrapped his around her shoulders "You seem tense and worried."

Ryu sighed deeply "I'm worried," he admitted honestly touching his forehead to Kira's "I don't know what would happen to me if I lost you as well."

Kira smiled reassuringly at him and place a hand on his cheek "You won't lose me Ryu," she stated "because I don't want to lose you either." Kira pulled away slightly to look at him better "So long as we watch each other's backs we'll be just fine."

Ryu smiled gratefully at her "Yeah, yeah I guess you're right." He admitted before he lent in and kissed her "What would I ever do without you?"

Kira giggled "You'd probably become a crotchy old war vet with a chip on his shoulder." She retorted making him laugh "C'mon, we better go get ready."

PLANTS Council chambers

Athrun sighed as he watched the proceeding before him and lent back in his seat a bit I can't believe that father wants me to lie to the council about the pilots, he wants to continue the war? What does he gain from this? he asked himself as he turned his gaze to his commander who had a slight smirk on his face I can't help but feel that Commander Crueset is planning something as well, he sighed again oh well, not much about it I can do now, I can't really go against my father in front of the entire council especially when the reports state that the pilots are Naturals.

"Athrun," Crueset said suddenly breaking Athrun out of his reverie "It's time to give your report."

Athrun blinked and nodded before standing up and made his way to the podium. Taking a deep breath he pressed the video control showing a picture of the Aegis "Right, first up is my personal mobile suit the GAT-X303 Aegis, it is a transformable attack use mobile suit," he pressed the button again showing the Aegis in its transformed mode firing it's Scylla cannon "In its transformed state it is meant for attacking transports, battleships and hardened structures." He pressed the button changing the the Duel as it clashed with the Raven "Next up is the GAT-X102 Duel, it is a close combat mobile suit currently being piloted by Yzack Joule," the screen changed to the Buster as it combined its guns to form the cannon "Next we have the GAT-X103 Buster, a long range artillery type mobile suit whose main weapon can combine to form a high velocity cannon capable of taking down battleships in a couple of shots, it is currently being piloted by Dearka Elsman," the Blitz appeared as it fired the lancer darts from its shield "This is the GAT-X207 Blitz, it's a stealth/melee type mobile suit equipped with a Trikeros defense/offense unit and a prototype Mirage Colloid generator that can render the unit invisible to radar and the naked eye, the pilot is Nicol Amalfi," the screen changed to the Lightning as it sped forward "The GAT-X220 Lightning is a high speed attack mobile suit that uses a prototype thruster system to massively increase its speed, its armaments are minimal because of this though, it's piloted by Yuuka Mizuki," The Grizzly showed up on the screen as it fired off its long range beam cannons "GAT-X130 is a transformable heavy assault ground based mobile suit meant for storming bases, as you can see it comes equipped with heavy beam weapons that can rival a battleship and has extremely dense armor that is hard to penetrate, it does sacrifice its speed for this though," this time the Raven showed up as it transformed into its mobile armor form "The GAT-X305 is the first mobile suit that is still in the hands of the enemy, we didn't know about this mobile suit in our report but from what we have seen it is an attack use mobile suit with dual rail guns and short-range energy cannons as its primary weapons, the pilot is unknown and assumed to be a Natural," the Zephyr appeared as it fired a volley of missiles before transforming back into mobile suit mode "GAT-X310 Zephyr, an interceptor type mobile suit that was not in our report, all we know is that it has minimal weapons including missiles, beam sabers and rifle, the pilot is unknown and is assumed to be Natural," Three different pictures appeared this time of the Strikes three different forms "The GAT-X105 Strike from what we gathered from our reports it is a multi-use type mobile suit with three different packs for multiple situations, a 'sword' pack that includes a beam boomerang, a rocket anchor and an anti-ship sword, the 'launcher' pack includes a Hyper-Impulse cannon that can punch through a colony wall and a combo weapon pod with duel missile launchers and a Gatling cannon, the pilot is unknown and is assumed to be Natural," it switch to the Dragon as it fought against Jacques and Naleen switching from melee mode to sniper "Finally we have what we believe might be the precursor to the G-weapons and the most dangerous of all of them, the GAT-X000 Dragon, it's an all-purpose type suit like the Strike but instead uses different types of shields like the Trikeros unit, a missile shield and a Scylla cannon shield, it also comes equipped with a prototype heat blade that can melt through any metal that it has encountered thus far, a prototype high density beam sniper rifle that is used in junction with its high powered camera hidden in the forehead and finally it comes equipped with two energy transfer cables that can steal the battery power of a mobile suit or replenish its allies, We have confirmed its pilot to be the Dragon of Endymion Ryu Hisanaga."

Chaos erupted in the room as the councilors began to shout out in disbelief as Siegel Clyne tried to restore order when Rau le Crueset stood up and called attention to himself "Councilmen please calm yourselves!" he called out and surprisingly it actually worked "While it is true Mr. Hisanaga is piloting the G-weapon Dragon he was forced into it when we mistakenly attacked Heliopolis. He had spoke to me during our brief engagement and told me that his only wish was to defend his home and friends, I believe that if the legged ship rendezvous with the 5th fleet he may leave and return to ORB, although I am not certain on this matter as the Naturals may try and change his mind on this matter."

Mutterings could be heard throughout the chamber as this new information settled into their minds "How do we know this to be the truth though, he is a well known member of the EA?" Ezalia Joule questioned angrily.

"Have you forgotten what he did during the Bloody Valentine incident?" Siegel asked "If he didn't do what he did than we would have lost more than Junius Seven."

The council broke into mutterings again as Patrick stood up "Exactly, if it were not for him and our faithful soldiers than the Bloody Valentine would have been the end of the coordinators," he shouted angrily "Now that they are able to not only pilot mobile suits, but build these monstrosities! We must step up our efforts and eradicate this plight that has set itself upon us!"

The council began to shout their agreements and despite the best efforts of Siegel they would not calm down and continued to give their support to Patrick If this continues, the world will spiral into hell. He thought to himself as he sat down in defeat.

Kira, Junius Seven Space

Kira sighed as she guided the sniper equipped Strike around another piece of debris as she continued her patrol route around the perimeter of the destroyed PLANT, she surveyed the area sadly looking at the destroyed homes in the area, Chris and Liz had taken hard seeing their home again and Ryu had given them permission to go and pay their respects to their family as he, Mu and herself did the patrols. Mu was taking this opportunity to test out the new OS that Kira helped Ryu develop for Natural use while Kira was using this chance to test the Strike Sniper Pack. Looking over to the right she smiled gently at the sight of hundreds of paper flowers that Liz, Flay and the civilian children made for paying their respects to the the fallen innocents of Junius Seven. A sudden beeping caught her attention "What, a distress signal..." she wondered out loud before switching to the radio "Ryu I picked up a distress signal at point 045A, requesting permission to inspect."

"Granted," Ryu affirmed "Use your Mirage Colloid in case of a trap."

"Understood." Kira replied before switching the radio to standby and activated the stealth system and headed towards the signal. When she was about two klicks(Military term for Kilometers) away she stopped and brought up the sniper rifle and activated the high power camera to scan the area. Almost immediately she spotted a totaled civilian ship with a reconnaissance GINN inspecting the wreckage. Kira locked onto the cockpit and raised the rifle as she continued to monitor the GINN when one of the Minstrels suddenly flew by Kira catching the attention of the GINN. Cursing Kira fired her shot right before the GINN could react piercing the cockpit destroying it. Deactivating the Mirage Colloid she radioed Ryu "One Reconnaissance GINN was destroyed, it had spotted one of the Minstrels and was preparing to attack, found the source of the distress signal though, a downed civilian ship, to recent to be a part of the wreckage from the debris belt, should I search for survivors?" she questioned.

"Yeah, see if you can find any life signs aboard the ship or any life pods." Ryu answered crisply "Do you need any assistance?"

"No I'll be fine." Kira replied before cutting the link and moving to inspect the wreckage No life signs on the ship... she thought to herself before switching to long-range scanners Hold on..."I got something Ryu, it's a life pod."

"Understood, bring it to the Archangel, our operation is wrapping up now." Ryu ordered as Kira grabbed the pod and boosted back to the Archangel.

"Yes sir, see you there." Kira answered with a grin and a mock salute that made Ryu chuckle before breaking the link.

Archangel, Hanger

The Gundam Pilots, Mu, several of the bridge staff and some security forces gathered in front of the pod that Kira brought in as Murdoch worked at cracking the pass code to open the pod "Alright I'm opening it now!" Murdoch announced as the security forces raised their rifles and pointed them at the pod door as it opened up.

"Haro, Hello, Haro!" A mechanical voice suddenly shouted as it flew out and smacked right into Ryu's forehead knocking him back.

"Goddammit!" he cursed as a second figure emerged from the pod making several peoples jaws drop in shock at who it was "Well doesn't this make things more complicated." Ryu groaned as he righted himself and looked at their newest passenger.

"Hello everyone, my name is Lacus Clyne," The pink haired pop star greeted "Thank you for saving me."

Chapter Seven: The Pink Songstress

Ryu, Mu, Murrue and Natarle inspected the girl that sat calmly before them in the Captains quarters. Ryu was leaning against the wall beside the door while Natarle and Mu sat on a chairs across from Lacus while Murrue was behind her desk "So you were going to Junius Seven for a memorial service when the EA forced an inspection on your ship and acted aggressively making your crewmen nervous, they then proceeded to force you into one of the life pods when the EA soldiers suddenly attacked you and launched you away from the ship." Murrue reiterated what Lacus had just told them. At Lacus' nod Murrue lent back into her seat and heaved a sigh "Just like you said Ryu, things got more complicated."

"I apologize if my presence causes you any problems." Lacus said apologetically with a small bow.

"Sorry, Haro, Sorry!" the red Haro added from its spot on her lap between her hands.

"Well we can't really do much about it now, she isn't a member of ZAFT and, while albeit important, she is only a civilian so we can't hold her hostage or ransom her away." Mu stated before he sighed "Admiral Halberton would be able to send her back to the PLANTs once we rendezvous with the 5th fleet."

Ryu rubbed his forehead as he shook his head "Blue Cosmos is going to have a field day," he muttered catching every ones attention "Four coordinators piloting their 'top secret' Machines and Lacus Clyne daughter of the supreme chairmen of the ZAFT council. Yeah this'll end well." He muttered at the end and did air quotes on top secret.

"But ma'am I have to disagree with you there, we could use her as a bargaining chip with ZAFT-" Natarle began only to get cut off by Ryu.

"If you even think of following through with that sentence Ensign I will personally make sure that you will never see the ground again." Ryu snarled standing up straight his green eyes flashing dangerously "That would be the same as me and the others using Flay as a bargaining chip with Halberton to make sure we get to ORB safely, you would be showing the world that the EA doesn't care for the rules of war. No one would trust you to keep to your treaties and then break them off." Natarle shrank back under his hard glare and gulped when she heard of the possible ramifications, Turning to the captain Ryu's look softened "Are there any Blue Cosmos supporters that you know of on this ship?" he asked her.

Murrue sighed and folded her hands in front of her with her elbows resting on the desk "I honestly don't know, and that is not a good thing when there is a VIP coordinator on board." She admitted with a sigh "Where are we going to put miss Clyne for now than?"

"I'll talk with Kira, see if she minds if Miss Clyne bunks with us," Ryu offered with a shrug "It's not like we haven't shared a bed before. And don't you dare say anything Hawk." He added when he say a perverse grin on Mu's face "Or so help me you'll be singing Soprano."

Mu chuckled as Lacus watched the two of them with a confused expression "There is no need to go through so much trouble for me." She started only to be cut off as Ryu waved his hand dismissively.

"Don't worry about it, we're low on space anyways as we have the civilians from Heliopolis as well," Ryu explained before turning to Ramius and gave a salute "I'll go speak with Kira now Captain."

Murrue nodded as he turned and left the room, as soon as the door closed he was ambushed by an excited Liz "Is that really Lacus Clyne?" she demanded as she pinned a surprised and shocked Ryu to the wall.

"Yes." He answered cautiously "It is Miss Clyne, now can you let me go I need to speak with Kira."

Liz squealed as she let Ryu go deteriorating into her Fangirl state making Ryu slowly back away as he searched for an escape route, spotting Kira he grabbed her and made a swift retreat around the corner leaving Chris and the others to deal with Liz. Kira giggled as she saw Ryu pant from exertion from trying to get away from Liz "You really fear fangirls don't you Ryu?" she asked teasingly as she grinned at him.

Ryu shivered "That was nothing, I've seen several commandos go into that state," he said with a haunted look "Ever since then I could never sleep in the same room as Hawk."

Kira laughed out loud as Ryu mocked glared at her. Walking over he held her gently "Are you alright?" he asked in concern "I know that you were pretty shook up with destroying that GINN."

Kira rested her head under Ryu's chin and nodded lightly "I'm fine, it's just the shock of the kill." She said honestly "I'm fine now though."

Ryu smiled at his girlfriend as he ran his fingers through her hair "Good," he whispered before sighing "How would you feel if Miss Clyne bunked with us for awhile?" he asked her "With the space constraints and the fact that we don't know if anyone is a Blue Cosmos supporter, we need to make certain that she's safe until we rendezvous with the 5th fleet."

Kira thought for a moment before nodding "Only if I get to share your bed." She agreed making him chuckle and squeezed her lightly "Whatever you want Kira." He said lightly before letting her go "How is the Strike handling after the upgrades?" he asked as they made their way back to the captains quarters.

"It's a lot better now, the lag time has been reduced several seconds and the sniper pack at least works fine." She answered "Though I think the power drain for the Mirage Colloid is a bit more extensive then what you estimated it would be. Can you take a look at the readouts for me and tweak it if possible?"

"Sure Kira." He agreed with a grin "I'd be happy to, want to learn how to do maintenance and minor repairs while we're at it?"

Kira grinned at him and nodded and after informing the captain the pair made their way to the hanger.

Vesalius

Athrun laid on his bed staring up at the ceiling lost in thought reflecting on what he learned just a couple of hours ago. Lacus, who had taken a trip to Junius Seven for a memorial service, had gone missing, possibly kidnapped, he and Rau now carried new orders for a search and rescue for Lacus. He wasn't able to sleep because of his worry for his fiancé, while he may not love her in that way he still cared for her deeply and would do anything to protect her, rolling over on his side he saw his new roommate fast asleep and remembered meeting him shortly after being informed of his new mission.

Flashback


"Now that we are clear on your orders I want to introduce you to a pilot who will be temporarily joining your squad," The admiral said as he gestured to a man off to the side, he was about 6'3" with short blonde hair and blood red eyes "This is Ragnos Vermeer, he's the pilot of an experimental mobile suit."


Ragnos saluted "A pleasure to serve under you sirs." He said crisply as he relaxed slightly "I'm the pilot of the rebuilt ZGMF-X990."


"The X?" Rau questioned looking a bit startled "I didn't know they were actually rebuilding that suit."


"The council was impressed with the suits performance, right up until The Dragon stole it during the demonstration." The Admiral said "Do you know, the council also put in a suggestion to use that as a simulation for commando teams."


Ragnos smiled at the admirals joke "I've definitely have some big shoes to fill though as the X's pilot."


End Flashback

"Are you alright Athrun?" Ragnos asked jerking Athrun out of his revere "You look like something's troubling you."

Athrun gave a wry smile "A couple of something's actually, first is Lacus obviously, but..." he searched for a way to describe his predicament without revealing that he knew the pilot of the Strike "A friend I have in ORB and I have been having this argument," Ragnos raised an eyebrow and motioned for Athrun to continue but said nothing "We're disagreeing on whether or not she should be living in the PLANTs because she's a coordinator, she says that she doesn't want to, but I just want to make sure she is safe."

Ragnos nodded with a frown "Let me guess, your friend is the pilot of the Strike." He said shocking Athrun "Don't worry I won't tell anyone, the only reason I guessed is because you said she lived in ORB and in all of your fights with the Strike you both slightly hesitated in your attacks. Has she told you why she is fighting for the EA right now?" he asked.

Athrun sneered "She believes that she is protecting her so called friends." He snarled the word "but they're just tricking her to fight for them!"

"Have you met these friends of hers?" he asked curiously to which Athrun shook his head "Than why do you judge those you have not met? The way I see it is that she doesn't want to fight you, but she's in a position where she has to chose between two groups, you and her other friends. That would be a tough choice."

Athrun clenched his fist tightly "Also her and the Dragon are apparently in a relationship." He reveled surprising Ragnos.

Flashback


"The reason I care is because I love her, I am her guardian as she is mine."


End Flashback

Ryu's words echoed through his head as he thought back to that moment "That's a surprise." Ragnos finally said after awhile "It sounds like your envious of the Dragon." Athrun jerked in surprise as he stared at his roommate in shock who chuckled "You just have to accept the fact that what she is doing is what she believes is right, is she in the wrong? I don't know, and in the end neither do you. You have to accept the fact that the two of you are on different paths now, who knows, maybe in the future your paths will cross again in better circumstances, but until that time, what will you do?" Ragnos laid back down and closed his eyes "That is where many make their mistakes, I hope you can find your path, not the one someone else laid out for you."

Athrun remained silent as Ragnos' words coursed through his head.

Archangel

Ryu yawned as he and Kira stepped into the cafeteria to get some dinner after finishing the the maintenance and repairs for both the Strike and Dragon as well as making some minor adjustments to the Raven and Zephyr. The pair sat down next to Chris, Liz and Flay, who had apparently hit it off well with Lacus after learning she was a daughter of a leader as well, who were talking and eating with Lacus. "Hi," Kira chirped brightly "We haven't been properly introduced yet, I'm Kira Yamato, the pilot of the Strike."

Lacus smiled at the brunette "It's a pleasure to meet you Miss Yamato, my name is Lacus Clyne." She said with a slight bow of her head.

Kira groaned "Please don't call me that, makes me feel old." She said plaintively giving a puppy eye look.

Lacus and the other laughed at Kira while Lacus nodded in agreement when Birdie suddenly swooped in and landed on Ryu's head "Birdie?" It questioned looking at the newcomer and her Haro.

"Oh my." Lacus said as she looked at Birdie "What is that?"

Kira smiled brightly "It's a mechanical bird that an old friend of mine from the Lunar Academy gave me," she explained "His name is Birdie."

"Haro!" Lacus' Haro shouted as it jumped out of her lap and onto the table in front of Ryu who looked at the red ball nervously before it jumped up to catch Birdie. Unfortunately it missed its target and smacked Ryu in the forehead as Birdie took flight.

"OW!" Ryu's shout resounded through the cafeteria as everyone laughed at Ryu's expense as Haro continued to chase Birdie around the room. Sitting up Ryu glared at the red ball and the mechanical bird as he rubbed at his forehead "Sooner or later, I will dismantle them." He warned as his eyes held a dangerous glint in them.

"If you did that then I would never speak to you again." Kira threatened frowning at Ryu how began pleading with her not to do that.

Everyone was laughing at the pair when an announcement suddenly came on "Attention Personnel and Civilians, we have recently made contact with an escort sent by Admiral Halberton of the 5th Fleet led by George Allster." Kuzzey, who had taken the role of communication, announced to everyone's delight.

Flay's eyes widened at the sound of her father's name and started crying in happiness while Kira hugged Ryu and Liz and Chris exchanged high fives. The whole mood of the Archangel changed with that simple announcement, the civilians were talking excitedly about the prospect of returning home while the crew were relieved and relaxed that they had allies en route. The pilots were relieved that they may not have to fight again anytime soon, although some where having second thoughts to their plans.

Chris sat back in his chair forehead creased in thought What should I do? he asked himself Grandfather always taught us to fight for one of three things, honor, A cause they truly believed in and to protect a life. What should I do?

Liz was having similar thoughts while Kira was concerned about Ryu rejoining the EA What would I do if he did, would I want to stay just to be with him? she wondered as she leant into Ryu with his arms wrapped around her shoulder Well, it's like Ryu always says, if it has no impact on the moment than wait and see what happens.

Bridge

Murrue stood between Mu and Natarle as they talked with the Vice Minister and the Captain of the Menelaos Captain Hoffman. "So I hear that my daughter is onboard correct?" George asked eagerly leaning forward in his seat.

"That is correct sir," Murrue confirmed with a smile "She is doing well and is safe and sound."

"And what of Hisanaga, have you had to throw him in the brig yet?" Hoffman asked jokingly "Still remember when your squad was stationed on my ship La Flagga."

Mu chuckled sheepishly "Sorry about that Captain, but to be fair the guy was a member of Blue Cosmos." He countered making the Captain laugh.

"We should be able to rendezvous within the next day, until then Archangel." Hoffman dismissed with a nod as the link closed.

Murrue smiled gently and turned to the Heliopolis volunteers "Go ahead and visit your friends," she said to their delight "Also can you ask Ryu to report to the bridge please?"

They nodded and left the bridge to go celebrate with the rest of their friends and a short while later Ryu stepped into the bridge and saluted "You called Captain?" He asked.

Murrue nodded "What is the status of the mobile suits?" she asked.

Ryu cocked an eyebrow but answered nonetheless "The mobile suits are all ready to launch when you give the word ma'am, we had to make several adjustments to the OS for the Patriot Zero and added some of the spare Striker Hard points to it, while the G-weapons are all fully functional, why?"

"A feeling I have," she answered honestly "I don't want to get caught with our pants down."

Ryu smirked in understanding "Anything else you need from me ma'am?" he asked.

"To stop calling me ma'am for one." She answered as she waved her hand in dismissal.

"Whatever you say," he answered as he saluted "Ma'am."

Murrue's eye twitched as the rest of the bridge crew stifled their laughter.

Three hours later, Ryu and Kira's room.

Ryu groaned as he stretched out in his room, it had been a long day for him, he hadn't gotten any sleep since Junius Seven and he was looking forward to getting some sleep. "Tired Ryu?" Kira asked teasingly as she hugged him from behind. It was just the two of them in the room then with Lacus in the bathroom having a shower and getting changed.

"Yeah I am." He admitted turning in her embrace and put his arms around her "I can't believe that were going to going home soon."

"I know, these past few weeks have been exhausting." She added as she kissed him "Sometimes I feel like I'm going to wake up in the morning and this has all just been a dream."

Ryu smiled in understanding as they both sat on the edge of him bed "I know how you feel, It was the same for me after I left the EA, Like I was going to wake up to the sound of Claxons instead of my alarm." He said as he rubbed her back.

Kira bit the inside of her lip as she leaned against him "What do you plan on doing when we linkup with the 5th fleet?" she asked surprising him.

"I plan on returning to ORB with you Kira." He answered reassuringly "Why do you ask?"

Kira sighed "Because I'm worried that you'd stay with the Earth Forces," She admitted "I don't want to lose you Ryu, I'd rather stay a pilot beside you than lose you."

Ryu blinked several times before smiling softly and held Kira tighter "I don't want to lose you either Kira, you mean a lot to me as well," he agreed "The only way I'd remain a pilot is if you decided to continue pilot Kira."

Kira blinked away a couple of tears as she buried her face into his shoulder while he ran his hand through her hair "Thanks, I needed to hear that." She said gratefully after they broke apart.

Lacus came out of the bathroom to the sight of the pair leaning against each other savoring the moment and smiled gently at the sight "So cute." She stated catching their attention and making them smile "I'm kinda envious of you though."

Kira stared at the pinkette "Why?" she asked simply "There definitely isn't much to be envious about."

Lacus blushed a little "Well you have someone that cares for you deeply, and loves you." She answered honestly "Me, I'm engaged to someone who is more of a sibling to me than anything."

Kira smiled in sympathy "Well at least he is there for you right?" she reassured making Lacus smile.

"Yup, Athrun's the one who made Haro for me." She explained making Kira jump in surprise at Athrun's name.

"Your engaged to Athrun, as in Athrun Zala?" Kira asked in shock making both Ryu and Lacus look at her blankly.

"Why yes, do you know him?" Lacus answered confusedly.

"Athrun's the one who made Birdie," Kira said "Guess he hasn't lost his touch with machines."

Ryu blinked as he suddenly realized something "He's the pilot for the Aegis isn't he?" He asked gently making Kira nod he head sadly with a couple of tears sliding down her cheeks.

"It hurts ya know, having to fight your best friend," Kira explained her voice slightly rough "And the worst part is that he refuses to accept the fact that I'm fighting to protect my friends."

Lacus frowned "That surprises me," she admitted "That he wouldn't accept that, he always wishes to protect his friends as well."

Kira sighed slightly "He always was stubborn when his beliefs were challenged." She admitted "Unfortunately there isn't much I can do about it now."

Lacus nodded in agreement with a slight smile before a yawn escaped her lips "Sorry, but it's been a long day." She apologized.

Ryu waved the apology off "It's no problem," he reassured "We understand." With that the trio then climbed into bed with Kira and Ryu sharing a bed the trio drifted off into sleep.

Archangel, Bridge, Next Day

Murrue sighed in relief as she caught sight of the Menelaos and its two escorts "Looks like things are finally heading our way for once." She commented as she leaned back into her chair.

"We're still not out of the woods yet." Mu amended with a slight crease in his forehead "We still need to make it to the rendezvous point."

Murrue hummed in agreement as they hailed the Menelaos "Captain I don't think you realize just how glad we are to see you." She stated when the video link opened.

Hoffman chuckled "I think I can relate." He said with a smile and opened his mouth to say more when alarms erupted on both ships "What is going on?"

"Sir we have an enemy contact," Hoffman's radar officer reported in a panicked tone "There are: eighteen GINNs, The Aegis, and what appears to be the X sir!"

"What the X!" Mu shouted in disbelief even as Sai confirmed the numbers "So they really did rebuild it."

"Captain! The Archangel stands ready to assist!" Murrue volunteered immediately.

Hoffman sighed as he glanced at the Vice-President "Normally I would say to go on ahead, but against these odds we need the assistance." He admitted reluctantly "Archangel take position at the back of the formation and launch your mobile suits please."

Murrue sharply nodded and began to shout off orders as Mu took off to the Hanger "All Hands level One Battle Stations! Plots are to report to their machines and standby for Launch!"

Rec Room

Everyone in the room froze when the announcement that they were going into combat came over the line before the pilots broke off into a sprint heading to the hanger. Chris and Kira stopped when they heard Flay call out Chris' name "Please, please protect my father!" she pleaded her grey eyes shimmering with unshed tears.

"We'll do our best Flay." Kira promised reassuringly "But we really need to get moving now."

In the Hanger Ryu was shouting off his own orders to the pilots "Listen up, your machines still haven't been fully tested yet with their new upgrades, so if you are having ANY troubles whatsoever than I want you to fall back to Archangel and get it looked at I don't care how you feel about it, it is an ORDER! MOUNT UP!" he shouted over the sound of the hanger as they dashed to their machines.

"Mir, mount up the Gunbarrel Pack!" Kira requested as the Strike settled into the Launch Catapult.

"Get me the 'Trikeros' unit." Ryu ordered as his Dragon settled into the second catapult and went over the contact report "The X? Alright listen up Kira you're on the Aegis, Liz and Chris you'll be joining the defensive screen that the mobile armors are prepping, Mu I want you at the back of that screen, you're still not used to that machine so you won't be at top form, but if you see a hole fill it, everyone, leave the X copy to me."

A course of 'yessir' followed his orders as he and Kira were given the all clear for launch.

"Kira Yamato, Gunbarrel Strike Launching!"

"Ryu Hisanaga, Dragon, Engaging the enemy!"

Next up Chris and Liz were loaded into the catapults.

"Liz Dante, Zephyr, Let's go!"

"Chris Dante, Raven, Taking off!"

Mu was the last to be loaded as his suits weapons were equipped "Mu la Flagga, Let's show'em how it's done!"

The Five suits streaked through space as they took up their positions and waited the enemy, they didn't have long to wait as a wave of GINNs lead by the Aegis and the X-copy smashed into the defensive screen. Narrowing his eyes Ryu charged at the X with his beam rifle and Trikeros firing drawing the pilots attention to him "I'll be you playmate for today Rookie." Ryu stated as he extended the Mesamune and clashed against the X's katana, Ryu was slightly surprised to find that the X's sword wasn't cut by his swords heating abilities "So the X received some upgrades has she?" he asked tauntingly "No matter, it is only a copy of the original!"

Ryu suddenly reversed his suit causing the X to lose its balance before he swung again only for the X to roll out of the way and pull out its rifle and fired off a beam at the Dragon that Ryu dodged. "True this may be a copy," the Pilot admitted "But it's the pilot who matters, not the Machine!" with that the fangs of the X were launched and circled the X before launching out at Ryu.

With Kira

Kira grunted as the Strikes new Katana smashed against Athrun's beam saber in a battle of dominance before she slid out of the way of his second saber and returned the favor with a kick to the Aegis' gut that he dodged by backing off "Finally taking me seriously Athrun?" she questioned as the two suits circled each other both of their allies avoiding the area they were fighting in.

"Yes," he admitted "I have come to the realization that you are fighting for what you believe in, and I can do nothing to swat that, so I will answer your conviction with my OWN!" He shot forward again and clashed with the Strike before suddenly shifting to the side and kicking out with one of his feet beam sabers only for Kira to block with the Trikeros before she backed off a little "There will be no more holding back on my part Kira, I will come at you with everything I have."

Kira smiled grimly in her suit as she felt something stir in her, she quickly recognized the feeling, Battle Lust, Ryu called it during one of the sessions when he was teaching basic mobile suit tactics to the others.

Flashback


"During battle most of the veteran soldiers will tell you that the most important thing is to kill your emotion," Ryu dictated as they sat around in the hanger in front of the mobile suits "That is not completely correct, you need to throw away your anger, pride, arrogance and your fear. Those four will reduce your abilities to either react of think clearly, but that does not mean you can't feel them, fear for example, when controlled, can warn you of ambushes or stronger enemies. In extreme cases though, they can help awaken a phenomenon that I call Battle Lust."


"Battle Lust?" Chris asked in confusion "You mean where you only want to fight and kill right?"


Ryu shook his head "No, that is Bloodlust, Battle Lust is when you reach a state of a single minded purpose, defeating your enemy," he clarified "You focused on your enemy and your enemy alone, this is a boon and a bane."


"How?" Kira asked tilting her head slightly.


"Because you are so focused on your opponent you can almost predict there moves," he said "Not perfectly but you will have a better idea of what they are about to do. However, the bane is that you will not be aware of anything other than your opponent, meaning if your friends are in trouble than you will not be aware of this. So if you feel something like this come about you in combat, only submit yourself to it if absolutely necessary."


End Flashback

Kira steeled herself I need to do this. She resolved herself and allowed the feeling sweep over her and focused completely on Athrun "If you won't hold abck than neither shall I!" she stated as she activated the Gunbarrels and started her assault on Athrun.

With Chris

Chris narrowed his eyes as he dodged a blast from a GINN carrying a heavy beam cannon, to him the soldiers, while skilled and high in number, did not present the challenge that the pilots of the Le Crueset Team did, not that he wanted to fight them, especially when he compared his current opponents to the pair that Ryu warned them to stay away from. With those two their teamwork was streamlined and flawless, but these guys, while they worked together had many holes that he exploited in an eerily similar manner to that pair. "Is it just me or do you feel like those two Cgue pilots that Ryu warned us about?" He asked his sister as they tore through another GINN.

"Yeah, I know how you feel," she agreed "I guess we need to work on our teamwork some if we hope to match them." She proceeded to transform into jet form and fired her Gatling Cannons tearing through another GINN before she moved back to back with the Raven as they protected each other "I am so glad that Ryu made these upgrades."

"Here here!" Chris agreed as he transformed the Raven and fired a series of missiles taking out some of the Missiles that were heading for the Menelaos.

With Mu

Mu grunted as he flipped his suit around in a back flip unused to the g-forces that went with such a move before he aimed at the GINN that attacked him and returned fire destroying the suit before noticing a couple more in bound and activated the Gunbarrels and started raining hell upon them. However despite the best efforts of both the Archangel's and their escorts pilots they were slowly losing the battle as one of the escorts ships blew up in a fiery explosion "Goddammit!" Mu swore as he blocked a salvo of bullets before returning fire with his rifle and gunbarrels "We're getting creamed out here." Scanning the battle field he saw Ryu currently busy dodging the X's Fangs as he returned fire while Kira was completely occupied with the Aegis showing a level of skill he hasn't seen from the young teen yet. Chris and Liz were in a no better situation as they were occupied by several GINNs that kept switching out tiring out the pair.

Cursing he ducked under a swing from another GINN he then drew his beam saber and cut the GINNs arm off before kicking it away into another GINN "This is gonna be a lo-o-ong day." He predicted as he prepared himself for the next wave of GINNs.

With Ryu

The Dragon Flipped over as a pair of fangs tried to pincer him and destroyed the with a swing of his Mesamune before shooting another destroying the last of the fangs and focused once more on the X "Not bad Rookie," he commended "But not good enough!" charging in, he activated the beam saber of the Trikeros and clashed against the Bayoneted rifle and katana in a struggle for dominance that he was slowly winning when he suddenly opened up with his Igelstellungs forcing the X back even further and followed it up with a slash that removed the left arm of the mobile suit before kicking it and sending it tumbling back.

About to press forward in his attack he paused when the X disarmed itself and raised its remaining hand in surrender "I've clearly lost this round," the pilot admitted "It seems that I am no match for the legendary Dragon after all."

Ryu drifted in front of the suit alert for any sign of treachery "What's your name rookie?" he asked genuinely curious.

"Ragnos sir, Ragnos Vermeer." The pilot replied proudly.

"Ragnos huh," Ryu mused before turning away "I suggest you leave the field of battle before your killed Ragnos."

Boosting away Ryu paid him no more mind as he charged in and started attacking the suits that were surrounding the Menelaos giving aid to its strained defenders and gazed over the battlefield he saw that, even with the loss of the X, the ZAFT forces had the victory, it was just a matter of when.

Archangel

Flay and Lacus both sat in the cafeteria with Lacus doing her best to help soothe the worried Flay "I'm sure that your father will be fine Flay, have faith in your friends." Lacus said calmly as she placed a hand over Flay's.

"I-I do i-it's just I'm worried for them." She admitted "I-I don't want them to get hurt trying to protect my father because I asked them to."

Lacus smiled gently at the redhead "I'm sure that they will return just fine," she soothed "They are all strong in their own ways," *The Dragon Slashed through the Cockpit of a GINN* "Each carry a burden," *The Strike and the Aegis clash again as one of the escorts blow up in the background* "But they move forward," *The Raven in mobile Armor Form fires it short range energy cannons and flies through the debris of the destroyed suit* "And strive for their future," *The Zephyr is in mobile suit mode firing its gatling cannons and beam rifle at a volley of missiles* "And protect those precious to them." *The Patriot Zero launches its gunbarrels and fires off a volley of shots, each destroying a mobile suit.*

Flay smiled at the pinkette as she felt some of her worry fade away.

With Athrun

As the Strike and Aegis clashed once more neither paid any attention to the battle around them, they were completely focused on one another. If Athrun wasn't fighting her right now, he wouldn't have believed that this was Kira he was fighting, the skill Kira was showing was completely different than from the other time they had fought, she truly was putting her all into it, and matching Athrun blow for blow so far. It wasn't all that surprising to him really, sure she was slightly clumsy. But she had a learning curve like no other, and with her being wing mates with The Dragon and Hawk of Endymion she was definitely bound to pick up pointers and tips from the two veterans.

In all honesty he was actually enjoying the fight with Kira, neither were aiming for 'lethal' hits and were pushing each other to new limits, but he was also aware that it may not remain that way either but it's like Ragnos said: It's what I do that matters. He reminded himself and he transformed into mobile form and fired the Scylla main cannon and destroyed Kira`s last Gunbarrel, that however pushed his energy into the red zone. Both fighters paused as they stared at each other trying to guess at what the other would do. Athrun was the first to make his move as he saluted and turned the Aegis away, somehow knowing Kira wouldn`t attack "See ya Kira." He simply said with a hint of a smile.

With Kira


"See ya Athrun." Kira replied as she turned her suit to the Archangel and started making her way there. As awareness returned to her she made note of the fact that the Menelaos was the last remaining ship aside from the Archangel and the pair were holding strong against the tide of GINNs with the four other Mobile Suits acting as their stalwart guardians supported by the remaining Moebius' "This is Kira Yamato heading back for resupply!" She called out on the allied channel and immediately a squad of Moebius' broke off and formed up around her.

"Allow us to escort you back Ensign Yamato." The squad commander said as they flew towards the Archangel "It's the least we can do for you keeping the Aegis off our backs!"

Kira smiled briefly and had the Strike salute the Squad as she landed on the catapult "Can you load up the Aile pack please?" she asked as they removed the now useless Gunbarrel Pack.

"Will do," Mir answered and a short while later Kira and the Strike were back out in space and she rejoined the others in the defensive line.

"Hey Kira!" Ryu called "Got some news for ya from Captain Hoffman of the Menelaos, His men have christened you the Valkyrie of Heliopolis, after they saw you're performance against the Aegis. Which by the way you did damn good at."

Kira smiled at the praise "Why Valkyrie though?" she asked confused as she started firing at the remaining GINNs.

"It's an old Norse myth," One of the Moebius Pilots explained "They were the guides of the fallen souls of warriors leading the best of them to Valhalla, not only that, but they were considered the strongest female warriors, aside from the goddess, in existence."

"This is Hoffman," The Captain cut in "Save the celebrations till we're finished will ya's."

After a quick round of Yessirs the mobile suit and Amor pilots proceed to finish up the last of the GINNs with minimal casualties to their side and began mop up operations as the ZAFT Ships began to retreat firing their signal flares.

A short while later found our heroes in the hanger with a slight celebration at their first full outright victory against ZAFT as they waited for Captain Hoffman and Voce Minister Allster to come aboard "That was intense," Kira said as she sat beside Ryu on a crate of supplies pick up from the debris "I think I might have experienced the Battle Lust."

"Really, are you feeling alright?" Ryu asked in concern as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder.

"I feel fine," Kira assured "Tired, but fine."

Ryu's response was cut off when a shuttle entered the hanger and opened up to allow Hoffman and George to disembark. The entire crew that were present saluted sharply and relaxed once Hoffman returned the salute "Can anyone tell me where Flay is at please?" George asked getting straight to the point of him coming over.

The crew were spared having to answer when a shout of "Daddy!" resounded through the ship as Flay appeared followed by the rest of the Heliopolis volunteers and bridge crew.

The crew left the pair be as they had their reunion and focused on Hoffman as he spoke with the pilots "The EA owes you a great debt that we may never be able to repay." He said to the as he shook each of their hands "Know that if you need any assistance whatsoever myself and my crew will be willing to help you in any way we can."

"Thank you sir." Ryu said as the pilots saluted him that Hoffman proudly returned "It was our honor to be able to-"

"No need for all that diplomatic crap Hisanaga," Hoffman interrupted "We both know you suck ass at it."

The pair shared a laugh before Hoffman turned to Kira "Young miss we owe you for not only keeping the Aegis at bay but forcing him to retreat as well, who knows how bad it would have been were you not here, be proud Valkyrie." He turned to Liz and Chris "If it weren't for the two of you holding the Lines than chances are the Menelaos would have been lost as well, I thank the two of you for putting your lives on the line and protecting my life and the lives of the crew and our vice-minister. Thank you Black Raven and Rising Zephyr." Lastly he turned to Mu "And La Flagga, your legend grows with each passing day doesn't it?"

Mu chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head with a sheepish expression "Well I didn't do as much as those three did sir, they deserve the credit." He said gesturing to the three G-weapon pilots who each sported a light blush at all of the attention they were receiving.

Hoffman chuckled and turned to Ramius "I hear that you have the daughter of Siegel Clyne onboard, is that true?" he questioned

"Yes sir," Ryu answered for Murrue surprising them "She is under my protection and the protection of the rest of the pilots until we reach ORB where we can send her back to the PLANTs."

Hoffman nodded "Good thinking Hisanaga," he commended "Blue Cosmos will think twice of trying something if all five of you are watching over her, I'd rather they not sully the EA's reputation even further by using a civilian as a bargaining chip."

Ryu nodded in acknowledgement "If you'll excuse us sir we have had a very long day and would like to get some rest." Ryu said with a salute before the pilots left the hanger to get changed. In the Change room Ryu sighed as he stretched out his back "I had forgotten what it was like to fight odds like that, I honestly thought we had lost there for awhile, but it seems that Kira's victory boosted our morale and lowered there's quite a bit."

Kira blushed at the praise and tried to brush it off "Don't worry about accepting credit kid." Mu laughed "You three deserve it after what the three of you have done, just don't let it go to your head and become all cocky. We'd have to knock ya down a few pegs then."

Everyone laughed as they left the change room each heading for their specific dorm looking to simply get some sleep and to prepare for the next day.

Chapter Eight: Valkyrie's Awakening

Archangel


The mood on the experimental carrier was a mixture of celebration and mourning, they had their first outright victory against ZAFT, but it came at the heavy cost of two escort ships full of fellow soldiers and pilots. Flay's father had transferred to the Archangel much to Flay's delight and happiness. Ryu had been busy with helping Johanna with minor repairs to that the mobile suits had taken, mostly it was minor dents and scratches, Mu's Patriot had lost a gunbarrel and had taken some minor scrapes and dents, the Raven had an impressive scratching to the faceplate from a GINN who had been lucky for all of two seconds, Chris requested that the damage was not to be completely repaired for psychological effects, but that was the only notable thing for damages, he also had a secret adjustment he made to the color job on the three G-weapons that he has not revealed yet.

Kira had been busy making some final tweaks to Mu's OS and copied all of the data as per Ryu's request to give to the Morgenrate engineers back in ORB and had helped Ryu a little with the repairs even though he didn't tell her of his secret project. The bridge crew had been occupied with working together with Menelaos to station the survivors of the Escorts pilots and working on detecting the enemy. Liz and Chris had been doing non-stop simulations practicing on their teamwork and pushing themselves to new limits.

"So that pretty much sums up the crew reports," Mu said as he and Natarle stood in front of Murrue "Morale has skyrocketed since the rendezvous with the Menelaos and the defeat of the ZAFT forces."

"And the pilots?" Murrue asked "How are they doing?"

"They're all doing just fine," Mu reassured "Just need to make sure that Liz and Chris take a break from the simulators long enough to get some sleep and food while Ryu and Kira have been occupied with final tuning and maintenance, Kira pretty much keeps Ryu in check so there is no need to worry about anything to traumatizing happening to the maintenance crews."

Murrue smiled and nodded before turning to Natarle "How are the civilians holding up?" she asked in concern.

"The civilians are doing fine," Natarle answered crisply "With Mr. Allster among them they have relaxed slightly knowing that they'll be able to go home soon."

Murrue sighed in relief "That's good to hear," she said honestly "Let's just pray that they do not attack us."

Gamow


Mark sighed as he looked the report over, Rau and Athrun had engaged the enemy with superior forces and a prototype rebuilt X and had lost and were forced to retreat and resume their search for Miss Clyne They're getting stronger with every fight, Mark mused as he stared out the window We once had the advantage of over half of them being complete rookies, but now Intelligence are saying they have each earned an individual call sign and that the pilot of the Strike managed to fight Athrun to a stalemate. He groaned and rubbed his temples Still doesn't change our orders though, we will blitz them right before they join up with Halberton's fleet, we will have ten minutes to destroy the legged ship before we are in fifth fleet airspace. He stood up and strode to the door "Let us pray that this doesn't get any harder." He said out loud as he made his way to the bridge to give the briefing.

Archangel, bridge


Ryu frowned as he looked over the projected course to fifth fleet "We'll be attacked before we reach fifth fleet," he stated to both captains "Most likely it will be a blitz before we reach EA space, hoping to at least sink the Archangel."

Hoffman nodded in agreement over the video link "What can you tell us about the forces?" he asked.

"Their led by Mark Cadillac, better known as the Samurai of Junius Seven," Ryu said "Then there is Jacques Maddox, Silent Death and Naleen Lynn, Golden Eye. The G-weapon pilots seem to mostly comprise of rookie red coats, no clue who though."

"Not very good odds for us," Hoffman said "I can take the Menelaos and the surviving pilots and charge them to hold them off."

Mu Shook his head "It would be a waste of life Captain," he disagreed "I say we set up a trap and ambush them."

"Normally I would agree," Ryu said "But Naleen has that uncanny ability to pick out ambushes, no we need to do something else, something we haven't tried yet." Ryu stared at the map looking for something, anything they could use to their advantage and sighed "Right now all we can do is guess at what they're going to do, although they are quickly getting the hang of it our pilots are still more inexperienced than ZAFTs, our advantage lies in this ship, what is the status our armaments?"

"We have around 58 Hell-dart missiles left, enough ammo for our Igelstellungs for continuous fire for several minutes as well as around 20 rounds of ammo for our rail guns." Sai reported from his station in the CIC "We are also running low on ammo for the Raven's rail guns and the Zephyr's Gatling Cannons."

"Thanks Sai," Ryu said with a nod before turning back to the map "The best thing we can do now is to force it into a run-and-gun battle," he commented "We have the advantage in that as our suits now have a larger power supply due to the tweaks I made to the generators and our suits are more mobile than theirs."

"Agreed," Murrue said nodding "That is a sound plan, anything to input Captain Hoffman?"

Hoffman shook his head "No," he declined "Hisanaga's plan is a sound one, how soon will they attack do you think?"

Ryu shrugged "I don't know, most likely right before we make contact with 5th Fleet," he guessed "If we can link up with them than we will be safe for awhile." He sighed and rubbed his eyes "I'll get the other pilots on standby, meet ya at the Hanger Mu."

"Sure," Mu said absently as he watched Ryu walk away concern in his eyes "He's getting exhausted," he commented once Ryu was out of earshot "I only saw him like this after Yuna's death, he's worried, and scared,"

"Scared?" Murrue asked "Of what?"

Mu shrugged as he headed to the door "Of failing again." He replied just as he left the bridge leaving a silent crew in his wake.

Hoffman heaved a great sigh "I'll be getting things ready on my end." He said before the video link closed snapping the crew out of their daze.

Ryu and Kira's Room

Kira groaned as she stretched stepping out of the shower and started getting dressed, she had been occupied most of the day working with Johanna and Ryu before Ryu had gotten called away for a meeting on the bridge to discuss their plan and she was slightly tired from the physical exertion from repairing and tuning the suits and definitely had a greater appreciation for the work Ryu did nearly every day. She entered the main room and sighed happily as she collapsed onto the bed she and Ryu shared while Lacus giggled from her own bed "Never again will I complain about any work that Ryu does on any repairs." She groaned making Lacus giggle some more.

"That hard of work?" she asked slightly teasing making Kira groan.

"Urgh," she grunted as she sat up "A lot of Physical exertion, and from what they say it can be even harder in gravity, now I know why most of the maintenance techs are so burly."

Lacus giggled at her newfound friend "So what's it like in ORB?" she asked "I've only visited once or twice, but never for more than a couple of days."

Kira thought for a minute before answering "It lives up to its name of the 'Land of Peace'," she said finally "The people are happy and there are little to no coordinator and natural hatred and discrimination, I'm starting to worry though that that peace won't last, that sooner or later the EA or ZAFT will try and force the issue of joining them or be attacked."

Lacus smiled reassuringly "I'm sure it will not come to that," she reassured "My father is doing everything he can to come to a diplomatic solution and would never wish to attack ORB."

Kira smiled at the pinkette "Thanks Lacus," she said before getting an idea "How about when all this is over you can stay with me for awhile in ORB, me and Liz can show you the sights and everything."

Lacus smiled brightly "That sounds like it would be fun." She agreed just as Ryu walked into the room.

"What would be fun?" he asked looking between the two girls.

Kira smiled slyly at her boyfriend "Nothing much," she said "Just her staying with me for awhile in ORB."

Ryu chuckled lightly before losing the smile "Sorry to say this but we're on standby until we link up with the fifth fleet." he explained with a grimace and rubbed his face.

"Are you alright Ryu?" Kira asked in concern as she stepped up in front of him.

Ryu smiled reassuringly "Yeah I'm fine just tired that's all," he said hugging her "I'll be glad to get some rest once this is all over, who knows, maybe you can invite Athrun down as well when we get back to ORB."

Kira smiled "That sounds nice." She said before reluctantly slipping from his embrace and turned to Lacus "Will you be alright here?" she asked.

Lacus nodded "I will be fine thank you though." She reassured with a smile.

With a nod the two pilots left the room and made sure it was secure before heading to the ready room meeting Liz, Chris and Mu who had already changed into their suits. "Alright our main objective in this battle is to buy time as we make our way to the fifth fleet," Ryu instructed as they sat around the briefing table showing their current course "I believe this is the point that we will make contact with the enemy," he stated as he pointed at a quadrant "At this point we will have ten minutes before we hit fifth fleet airspace, it'll be a run and gun style of fight so make sure you keep pace with the Archangel, Me and Mu will be launching early and laying out some mines that will hopefully slow their advance or possibly even cripple them."

The three rookies nodded their understanding as they mentally prepared themselves for combat. Looking at them Ryu couldn't help but smile in pride "Guys," he said softly getting their attention "This may be our last battle together, and I couldn't wish for any better wing mates than you guys," he paused as he met each of their eyes "You all have matured from rookies who didn't know the first thing about combat and now I am proud to say, you are all aces in your own right, it has been an honor to fight beside you." The three rookies grinned as Mu laughed "Now go see the add on that I made to your machines."

The pilots picked up their helmets and entered the Hanger and each of the civilian pilots looked up to their mobile suits, on each of their suits right shoulder was an insignia, on Kira's was a black sword flanked by a pair of blue wings, on Chris' was a black Raven while Liz's had a eagle in flight. Both Ryu and Mu each had their personal insignia on their suits as well, Ryu's was a western dragon about to take flight while Mu's was a Hawk as it swooped upon its prey.

"Mount up!" Ryu shouted as they boarded their suits "You ready Hawk?"

"Ready and waiting." Mu said with a grin as their suits were loaded onto the catapult.

"Ryu Hisanaga, Dragon, Engaging the Enemy!"

"Mu la Flaga, Patriot Zero, Launching!"

The two suit launched simultaneously from the two catapults and flew in behind readying the containers holding the mines. Time to go. Ryu thought to himself grimly.

Gamow

"5 minutes out, switch to condition red, all pilots prepare for launch." The Captain of the Gamow ordered as the ZAFT pilots boarded their machine.

"I heard that Athrun and the commander couldn't take out the ship in their last engagement with it." Nicol mused over the radio as they sat in their suits waiting for clearance to launch "And they had nearly twenty suits too."

"True," Mark agreed "But we'll show'em how it's done right guy's?"

A round of enthusiastic Yessir meet his question as his suit was moved to the catapult.

"Mark Cadillac, Heading out!"

Archangel

Ryu set the Dragon down atop of the Archangel's Bridge as he unslung his sniper rifle and began to scan for the enemy while Mu recharged his suit "Enemy contact," Ryu warn "Two klicks out!"

"Understood," Kuzzey responded "Pilots are launching."

Ryu grinned as he saw the three newly dubbed aces launch and land on the Archangel to conserve power before turning back to the scope "Enemy forces visual confirmation, Two custom Cgue DEEP arms, One Custom Cgue, the Lightning, Blitz, Grizzly, Duel, and Buster. They're entering the mine field, wait for it..., now light'em up!"

The entire minefield exploded as Sai remote detonated them engulfing the the entire area in an explosion "Waiting for confirmation," Ryu informed as he scanned the area as the dust clear "Tch G-weapons confirm unharmed and inbound, Cgue's are floating dead, unknown condition, prepare for combat! Pick you targets and engage!"

Ryu launched himself from the Archangel simultaneously as the other and boosted forwards opening fire with his sniper rifle.

Yuuka and Lev, vs. Ryu and Mu

Yuuka was shaking as they exited the surprise explosion that the three Cgues thankfully survived with minimal damage only to swear as she and Lev were attacked by the Endymion veterans. "You won't touch me!" she shouted as she pushed her thrusters to the max blasting forwards at breakneck speeds "Just how fast is this thing!" she screamed as she was bushed back into her seat from the G-forces tearing past the surprised Dragon and Patriot.

"Mu, did you just see that?" They heard one of the ask.

"Yeah I did." The other confirmed.

"God dammit," the first cursed "I was hoping for a second that I was hallucinating."

Yuuka finally got her suit under control and turned in the nick of time to see the Dragon charging her with with its blade at the ready. Reacting quickly she dropped her rifle and drew out her beam saber just in time to bock the blade. Growling she attempted to kick the suit only for it to spin out of the way and round house kick the back of her suits head, swearing violently she was nearly nailed by the Patriot only for a pair of high energy beams to narrowly miss said suit as Lev and the Grizzly made their appearance. Firing again he forced the two suits away to allow Yuuka to recover "You alright?" Lev's concerned voice broke through her radio.

"I'm fine," she reassured "Just got a little cocky that's all."

Facing their opponents they both gulped as they saw the Dragon Trikeros Beam saber activate while the Patriot's gunbarrels activated "We are in deep trouble." Lev predicted as they could of sworn the two suits where grinning.

Kira vs. Nicol

"Looks like we have a rematch." Kira heard the Pilot of the Blitz say as they circled each other "I hope I do better than last time."

Kira grinned "I dunno, you had me on the ropes back at Artemis," she admitted "So maybe it should be me asking for better luck."

The pilot chuckled as he charged forward clashing with the sniper equipped Strike "Nicol Amalfi." He said introducing himself as he strained against Kira's katana.

"Kira Yamato." Kira responded as they broke away "I hope we survive this."

Nicol chuckled as he activated his Mirage Colloid "Me too." He agreed.

Kira grinned again "Don't think you're the only one who can do that trick." She warned as she vanished as well making Nicol curse in surprise "And I suppose you know both of the weaknesses as well?"

"Yeah, I do," he confirmed "This should be interesting."

Kira chuckled as a pair of beams lanced out from two different directions from seemingly empty space "Very interesting."

Chris and Liz, vs. Yzack and Dearka

"Here we go again." Chris stated as he and his sister attacked the two mobile suits "Let's just hope our simulator training paid off."

"Same here." Liz agreed as she spun her mobile suit into its jet form and fired a volley of missiles at the Buster while Chris fired his rail cannons at the Duel as it tried to close in.

Yzack growled as he blocked the rail gun blasts "I'm really starting to dislike these two." He snarled as he evaded another shot and closed on on the Raven only for it to dance away and outstrip him in Mobile armor form.

Dearka chuckle lightly as he fired off a couple of beams and launched a volley of missiles at the quick moving interceptor "You dislike everyone Yzack." He retorted "But I'm starting wonder if these guys really are rookies." He added as the Zephyr lanced by him landing a couple of hits with its missiles doing surface damage "Thank god for this Phase-shift."

Yzack only growled as he locked blades with the Raven and began a struggle for dominance.

Mark, Naleen and Jacques

"Well shit." Mark said as he drifted in space in his heavily damaged Cgue "How did we not see the mines?"

"Their arming signals were off due to remote detonation." Jacques explained as calm as ever "Won't be able to do much but sit on the sidelines."

Mark sighed as he turned back to the battle and winced as he saw Yuuka's machine being kicked by the Dragon. This won't end well.

"Maybe we can do something," Naleen mused as she experimentally moved her mobile suits arms "Because like this I can still shoot."

"Same here." Jacques informed simply.

"Very well," Mark agreed as they all took aim "Focus fire on the Dragon."

Kira

Kira growled as she narrowly avoided another beam that appeared from nowhere and quickly checked her power gauge I`m at about a quarter of power, she thought to herself Meaning he is just about out of power if Ryu's calculations are correct.

And true to her thoughts the Blitz's grey formed faded into view as his suits main power failed, Kira switched her suit over to Phase-Shift mode and held her katana in front of the Blitz's cockpit before sighing and turning away "You're not going to kill me?" Nicol questioned curiously.

"No, there already have been enough deaths in this war," Kira answered "'I will not hesitate to kill, but avoid it if possible', Ryu told me that recently, and I will choose to follow that belief as well."

Kira could hear the other pilot sigh "I guess I indirectly owe him one then." He said making Kira giggle before she turned to survey the battle field, Chris and Liz looked like they had things in hand against the Buster and Duel, turning to Ryu and Mu her heart nearly failed when she saw Mu's Patriot missing an arm and a leg trying to get back to the Archangel while Ryu was desperately evading fire from the five mobile suits swarming him.

"RYU!" she shouted in panic and suddenly she had a vision of an amethyst seed shattering in her mind and a sudden wave of calm washed over her.

Ryu

Ryu ground his teeth as the Grizzly's High Energy Beam cannons narrowly missed him but slightly melted his armor and quickly raised his heat blade blocking the fast moving Lightning's slash and had to forgo a counterattack in favor of moving out of the way from the golden DEEP arms Cgue's sniper fire while the black one fired with its thermal cannons. Glancing over to Mu he tightened his grip, Mu was to heavily damaged to fight and was limping back to the Archangel, reacting to an alarm he quickly raised the Mesamune and luckily managed to deflect the Grizzly's Ram Cannon blast, but at the cost of his heat blade snapping in half from the kinetic force of the blast throwing him back.

"RYU!" Kira's desperate cry came over the radio alerting him to her approach.

Looking over his eyes widened in surprise when saw the Strike on faster than normal approach with its sniper rifle at the ready. Suddenly cutting her thrust Kira stopped the Strike just in time for the Grizzly's long range fire to sail harmlessly past her, boosting to the side she raised the sniper rifle and fired several shots in rapid succession nailing the Grizzly's weapons and destroying the left arm removing it from the fight, turning she raised the Trikeros Shield and fired the lancer darts at the Lightning as it tried to blindside Kira and followed it up by drawing her Katana and slashed at the joints connecting the gun arm where the Phase-Shift wasn't active removing the mobile suit. Pulling out her sniper rifle once more she dodged fire from the Three Cgue's and returned fire at the unmoving suits destroying the suits head and thus removing them from the fight. I-is that really Kira? he thought in awe as he watched his girlfriend display a level of tactics and skill she never had before And this sensation I feel, is she awakening?

The Strike's Phase-Shift faded as it ran out of power and Kira's concerned face appeared on the video screen her irises were dilated and she was panting for breath "Are you alright Ryu?" she asked in concern as the Dragon floated up beside her.

Ryu smiled reassuringly "I'm fine," he soothed as he transferred half of his suits remaining supply to Kira and "Let's help Chris and Liz finish mopping up shall we."

Kira grinned as they both turned their suits to the continuing battle.

Chris

"Fuck!" Chris swore as the Duel gave a massive kick to the Raven's midsection before raising his shield and blocked the beam saber from dissecting him and pushed away putting some distance between the pair and fired off a round from his cannons only for the Duel to block it on its shield and returned fire with its beam rifle while Chris dodged. This is getting ridiculous, Chris thought to himself as he kept the distance between the two suits He is way to good in close quarters for me to beat by myself but he is also agile enough to dodge my ranged attacks, this is definitely not good.

Liz was in a better situation as she could easily outpace the slower Buster but unfortunately she was unable land any disabling or killing blows against the enemy, she also could sit still for too long or she would be taken out by the Busters powerful cannons forcing her to expend a lot of power by moving about constantly "Just fall already!" she shouted in frustration as she fired off the last of her missiles only for the Buster to intercept it with its own. Suddenly two beams lance at the ZAFT controlled suits catching them off guard, turning they saw both the Strike and Dragon aiming at them with their sniper rifles.

Kira

Kira squared off against the Duel alongside the Raven and switched to her katana to conserve her power "I got your back Chris." She said over the radio.

"Rodger that." Chris confirmed as the two suits boosted forward with Chris colliding with the Duel allowing Kira to slip around at attempt to attack from behind only for the Duel to move out of the way and smash its shield against the Strike forcing it back, this unfortunately left him open to a rail blast from the Raven that caused the suit to stagger while Kira recovered.

Moving quickly the Pilot of the Duel boosted to the right to avoid the Raven's follow up attack before turning and clashing swords with the Strike and attempted to hit the suit with its shield again only for the Strike to stop it using its own Trikeros. Rearing her suit head back Kira lashed it out in a head butt in an attempt to force the Duel back as the Raven came in from the side tackling it.

Throwing the Raven off the Duel raised its beam saber to cut the suit only to be blindsided by the Strike when it appear stabbing its 'Amor Schneider' at the Duel's cockpit, the compact knives tore at the suits phase-shift armor and slid through one of the unprotected cockpit joints causing some of the panels in the cockpit to exploded into Yzack's face as his pained screams filled the comm waves.

Dearka

Dearka grunted as the Dragon delivered a vicious kick to his mobile suit that was quickly followed up by a punch and the another kick that sent Dearka tumbling "God dammit how can he move his suit like that?" Dearka wondered out loud. The Dragon had rushed at his discarding its now useless sword and rifle opted to instead engage it hand-to-hand much to Dearka's surprise while Zephyr opted to head back to the Archangel as it's battery supply was nearly gone.

Dearka growled as he fired off a blast from his combined rifle only for the Dragon to dance out of the way and boost forward slamming the Buster with a massive shoulder tackle. Regaining control Dearka was about to fire again only to freeze when he heard Yzack's pained screams, turning just in time to see the final part of the Strikes stroke he desperately made his way to Yzack's side "Dammit Yzack, are you alright?" he asked fearfully as he started dragging the Duel away meeting surprisingly little resistance.

"I'll kill that bastard!" Yzack raged inside his cockpit while clutching at his injured face "I'll destroy that bastard machine and that bastard pilot as well!"

Dearka grimaced as he continued on his way back to the Gamow hoping the enemy suits would let him go.

Archangel

Kira groaned as fatigue washed over her once her suit was safely secured in its docking area and slowly climbed out of her suit and floated towards the change room where Ryu met here. Ryu stared at her for a second before he pulled her into a hug, Kira desperately clung to him and buried her face into his chest allowing some tears to slip from her eyes "I was afraid there," Ryu admitted softly once the others had left "The funny thing was though, it wasn't of dying or failing the mission, I was afraid I wouldn't see you again." He gently kissed the top of her head as he rubbed her back "Thank you for saving me Kira."

"You don't need to thank me," she whispered "I was just as afraid as you were when I saw you surround desperately fighting them off, I was afraid I'd lose you." Kira looked up at him and brought his head down and captured his lips in a heated kiss while he entangled his fingers in her hair "I love you much Ryu," she whispered once they broke away "I rely on your strength so much to push me through."

Ryu chuckled softly as he stroked her face "I rely on you too Kira," he said "You give me focus, something that I would protect no matter who the enemy."


Kira smiled at him and pressed her lips to his as they floated through the change room, they didn't stop even after Ryu bumped against the wall.

Chapter Nine: Halberton's Last Stand

===

===

Gamow

Mark sighed as he looked over his damaged Cgue, the mechanics had told him that it would be easier to build a new suit than to repair it from the damage it sustained from the mines and the Strike, it was the same with Naleen and Jacques' suits, they were to be receiving a new fresh off the line prototype suit that supposedly can match the G-weapons. He looked at the paper in his hands, it was the orders that he had received "We're all going to die." he muttered bitterly.

"Why do you say that?" A voice asked, turning Mark saw Yuuka and Lev approaching him in their uniforms.

"Simple," he said "Because the Dragon is going to lose it once he finds out who our new commander is."

Lev blinked "You're being replaced?" he questioned in surprise.

Mark nodded "I am now a regular red uniform pilot like the rest of you, I was demoted because of my constant failures to destroy the legged ship," he explained "Our new commander is Victor Amsel, he'll be arriving in a hour with our new orders and replacement suits for me Jacques and Naleen."

"But why would the Dragon lose it?" Yuuka asked "Does he have some kind of history with Commander Amsel?"

"You could say that," Mark sighed "Victor is responsible for the death of the Dragon's family."

The two pilots blink in surprise "Umm, we're in trouble than aren't we?" Yuuka asked nervously "Because I remember the last time he got pissed, and, well Athrun's suit got completely totaled in a couple of minutes."'

Mark nodded "Yes I've read the report," he said "Not surprised he reacted like that, surprised that Athrun isn't dead however as Ryu always has been protective of his friends and teammates." Mark sighed as he pushed himself off the railing he was leaning on "Well I best pack up my stuff and move it to my new quarters, see ya."

Mark walked off with his hands in his pockets leaving the two rookie red coats in the hanger "I have heard some not so nice things about this Victor Amsel," Lev commented making Yuuka look at him "He's a ruthless commander who doesn't care if innocents are harmed during battle, so long as they are Naturals, he is known as the Butcher of Ontario for his actions during the North America invasion in an attempt to destroy the EA government early in the war, Victor ordered the use of D-class equipment on civilian cities."

"What?" Yuuka whispered "How could the council allow something like that?"

Lev grimaced "Patrick Zala personally defended him saying that his actions would demoralize the Naturals," Lev explained with thinly veiled contempt "This later served to be a mistake when the Dragon of Endymion went on a warpath, of course this was before Endymion happened, the council had to call Commander Waltfield for him to team up with Commander Crueset to fight against the Dragon, thankfully they damaged his suit enough to force him to retreat, but not before he issued the warning that if he ever see Victor he will tear the fleet between him and Victor to shreds to get at him."

Yuuka groaned and hung her head while she leaned against the railing "I wish that my suit was to damaged to sortie." She complained making Lev chuckle before he moved off to check his suit.

Archangel, Rec Room

Kira snuggled contently up against Ryu with a smile on her face while he ran a hand through her soft hair. The Heliopolis volunteers and Lacus had gathered in the rec room while they linked up finally with the fifth fleet I wonder what will happen now? Kira wondered as she watched Chris teach Flay martial arts while Liz sat with Lacus and Mir gossiping with each other, Sai, Kuzzy and Tolle where playing a game of pool I wonder who will stay and who will leave?

Looking up as they heard the door open they saw Natarle enter with two other unknown officers "Hello Ryu," one of them said, he had the rear admiral bars on his chest causing some of them to snap up into a salute "I haven't seen you for what, two years now."

Ryu chuckled as he untangled himself from Kira and stood up grasping Halberton's hand "Been to long Admiral," Ryu said with a smile "Glad to see someone competent is still in charge of fifth fleet."

Halberton nodded and smiled at each of the Heliopolis volunteers as Ryu introduced them "Thank you all for your hard work, I've received word from the ORB government and your families are fine, they were successfully rescued and brought back to ORB," he said gratefully shaking everyone's hand as they celebrated at the good news in turn and motioned for his aid who handed out a set of papers "These are you discharge papers, in order to avoid a slew of legal problems we registered you as enlisted personal, so thank you again for your hard work."

Halberton nodded again to Ryu and turned to leave when Flay stepped forward "I would like to enlist in the Alliance." She stated surprising everyone, Halberton turned back to her with a surprised expression "I've realized during my time on this ship that I cannot hide in ignorance while so many people are fighting to protect the peace of the people they care for, I do not want to abandon this ship for without them I would have remained in complete ignorance to what's happening in the world."

Halberton stared at the girl analyzing her, Flay met his gaze defiantly almost daring him to deny her, chucking he nodded "Very well, I assume you can take it from here Natarle?" he asked turning to Natarle who nodded and led Flay away.

Once the Admiral and his aid left Ryu looked over to the others who looked like they were having doubts about leaving "Do not hesitate to do what you believe is right." He advised surprising the others before he left the rec room and headed to the hanger.

Kira bit her lip in concern as she stared at the door he left out of only to break out of her thoughts when she heard a tearing sound, turning she saw that Sai had tore his discharge papers in half "Flay's right," he said HannahdkjkjkkjHhan"We sometimes have to fight to protect our peace."

Chris grinned and followed suit tearing up his papers "This ship needs someone to pilot those Gundams." He commented smirking.

Liz grinned at her brother and followed suit "Someone need to keep your ass in line." She teased elbowing her brother.

Slowly one by one the Heliopolis volunteers tore up their papers until it was just Kira left "No one would think less of you if you chose to return home Kira," Chris reassured "We'll be fine if you and Ryu return home."

"I-I just need to think about things." Kira said as she left the room and made her way to the hanger.

Hanger

Ryu stared up at the Dragon as the mechanics were fitting the new equipment that was transferred over "The Dragon," he said as Halberton floated up beside him "I can't believe that they wanted to scrap such a suit, heh what was their loss was my gain."

Halberton chuckled as he looked up at the suit with Ryu "I still remember the day that you came to me with the plans for the Dragon," he mused with a smirk "Such a powerful suit and the brass was hesitant to produce such a suit only to produce nine others of similar strength."

Ryu smiled sadly "If only I didn't come up with those design plans," he whispered "Than maybe Heliopolis wouldn't have happened."

"You're starting to sound like a bitter old man," Halberton commented "Regretting decisions you can't change."

Ryu sighed heavily "I feel old," he admitted "Look at me I'm 18 fucking years old and I already lost my family, the majority of my squad and a fiancé," he sighed again "How could I not feel old when some elderly haven't experienced what I have."

Halberton looked at Ryu with a frown "You still blame yourself for her death." He accused.

Ryu nodded "And not just her, but those at Junius Seven as well," he admitted darkly "I know I did all I could but still, I haven't earned my redemption yet."

"Yes you have Ryu," Kira said surprising the two as they turned to see Kira coming up to them "You earned it when you protected us, when you taught us how to fight so that we could protect ourselves and others as well, you gave us the strength to protect Ryu, I think that's enough to redeem yourself."

Ryu smiled at her and placed an arm over her shoulder and drew her close "Heh, I suppose you're right Kira." he agreed.

Halberton chuckled "Not even Yuna could get you out of those moods so quickly," he observed before winking at Kira "Thank you, I was just about to try and beat some sense into him."

Ryu and Kira laughed "Wouldn't be the first time that needed to happened." Ryu said before turning to Kira "I take the others have decided to stay?"

Kira nodded and sighed "I don't know what I want to do," she admitted "A part of me wants to stay and help protect my friends on this ship, but another part of me wishes to just go home and live in peace."

"An understandable feeling," Halberton said "After all you were thrusted into this situation unwillingly, so I can understand your wish to want to get out of it."

"Do not be afraid to make a choice using your heart Kira," Ryu advised "Life is too short, live your life the way that you believe will give you the least regrets."

"What about you?" Kira asked "What will you do?"

"I have already made my decision to follow and protect you Kira," Ryu stated as he pulled her close "No matter what you decide to do I will make sure you are safe while you do it."

Kira smiled at him and looked at her Discharge papers and tore it in half "I will protect my friends," she said confidently "And I will fight beside you Ryu and watch your back while you watch mine."

Ryu grinned back at her and pulled out his discharge papers and tore his apart, Halberton smiled at them "Then it's official as Rear Admiral of the fifth fleet I hereby promote you Ryu Hisanaga to Flight Captain and place direct command of the Archangel's pilots in your hands, if you say they will launch then it will be so," he informed "Kira Yamato for your actions in defending this ship I hereby promote you to Flight Lieutenant, you will be Ryu's second in command and when he is in absentia you are in command."

"M-me?" she asked shocked.

Ryu nodded "Sounds like a good idea," he mused surprising Kira "You have a good head on your shoulders Kira, not to mention that you are now officially an ace in the EA giving you a lot of weight with the other pilots even if you're a coordinator."

Kira blushed lightly as Halberton's aid came up to them and informed Halberton it was time to leave "Well I must be going now, I hope to see the two of you again in the future." He said as way of goodbye before he moved off to the shuttle heading back to his flagship the Montgomery.

Kira sighed contently as she leaned against Ryu "I don't know why but I feel happy," she mused "Why is that?"

"Maybe it's because you made the right decision," Ryu speculated "Or it could be the fact you know I'm not leaving your side."

Kira giggled and pushed herself up in his grasp to kiss him "Or maybe it's because right now I am simply in your arms enjoying my time with you." She countered making Ryu chuckle as they kissed again.

Gamow

Mark sighed irritably as he waited for the shuttle's passenger to disembark with the other red coats, finally the door opened and out stepped a 6'3" man with black shoulder length hair and viridian eyes, Mark snapped up into a salute "Welcome aboard commander Amsel." Mark greeted as Victor returned the salute.

"Ah, Mark Cadillac the famed Samurai of Junius Seven, a pleasure to finally meet you," Victor said pleasantly "These must be the other G-weapon pilots."

"Yessir," Mark said and introduced them each in turn "What are your orders sir?"

"We are to attack the fifth fleet as soon as you, Naleen and Jacques go over your new machines," Victor said and smiled "We shall show those damn primates who the real power in the universe is."

Mark swallowed but didn't say anything only saluted and moved to inspect the machines that came aboard for them, he had to wonder though, how did they produce new models so early after receiving the technical data only weeks ago. Sighed Mark pushed those thoughts out of his head and inspected his new Machine, the ZGMF-X01A Slash, Naleen had received the ZGMF-X02A Hawk and Jacques got the ZGMF-X03A Phantom. Meanwhile Victor looked up at his personal suit the crimson colored Prototype GuAIZ Soon, he thought Soon those dirty primates will be wiped out completely.

Archangel

"So we're to descend to Alaska's JOSH-A base?" Ryu asked as he and the other pilots stood on the bridge while Murrue relayed their orders "I suppose it make sense to boost morale."

Murrue nodded "When we arrive we will receive our new orders," she informed "We leave once the civilian shuttle is launched."

Ryu frowned as he looked at the tactical map "Ma'am with your permission I would like to launch to escort the shuttle to the decent point." He requested "Something tells me that ZAFT is going to attack and I'd rather the civilians do not get harmed."

Murrue nodded "Very well you may launch with one other person to escort the shuttle." She said with her own frown "Who do you think would lead the attack?"

Ryu shrugged "No clue, maybe Crueset or Cadillac most likely," he ventured "Other than that no clue."

Murrue nodded her thanks as Ryu motioned for Kira to follow him and get ready for launch, standing in the Hanger they said their goodbyes to Lacus who was taking the Shuttle to ORB with the rest of the civilians "I hope we can meet again," Lacus prayed and smiled at the gathered Heliopolis volunteers turned recruits "I hope your travels are safe."

"Same to you Lacus," Kira said as she hugged the pinkette "and be sure to call me when this is over."

Lacus nodded and said goodbye to the others before boarding the shuttle "Alright you guys I want you on standby in your machines," Ryu ordered once Lacus was on "Like I said I think ZAFT will try something so be on your guard."

Boarding the Dragon Ryu double checked the new equipment and OS before loading his suit onto the catapult "Dragon Berserker Frame Engaging the Enemy!"

"Aile Strike Launching!" Kira shouted as her suit rocketed down the catapult after the Dragon and took up the left of the shuttle while Ryu took the right "All Green, Civilian Shuttle you may begin your decent."

"Rodger that Strike," the pilot said as the shuttle began its decent "Thanks for the escort."

Ryu split his attention between keeping the Dragon in stable orbit while keeping an eye on the radar and the shuttle while Kira was doing the same "Heat source detected!" the radar man for Halberton's ship shouted "It's the Second ZAFT Fleet!"

"All Ships this is Halberton," The admiral said calmly "Form a defensive perimeter around the Archangel so that it can begin it's decent to earth, THAT SHIP MUST MAKE IT!"

The ships cheered as the mobile armors launched and the ships moved in a defensive screen around the Archangel "But Admiral," Ryu protested "If they are using the G-weapons you wouldn't stand a chance."

"I know Flight Captain," Halberton said "But that ship contains our best hope of ending this war, so it is our DUTY to make sure it arrives safely."

Kira could almost hear Ryu gritting his teeth "Attention all Archangel Pilots, you are too launch and defend the Archangel during its decent," Ryu ordered "La Flaga be sure to remain close, our Gundams may be able to survive reentry but you're suit wouldn't be able to."

"Understood." The pilots coursed as they launched.

"Kira-" Ryu started only to be interrupted.

"Don't even say it Ryu," Kira said fiercely "I meant it when I said I'd watch your back."

Ryu chuckled "Hey I wasn't going to tell you to head back," he protested "I was just going to say keep sharp."

"You better have been." Kira warned before the two pilots blasted away to the frontlines.

ZAFT Lines

Mark sat in his new G-weapon as his team flew forward ready to attack the Alliance fleet in front of them, his squad consisted of himself, Jacques and Naleen, their objective, the Dragon G-weapon and it's pilot the Dragon of Endymion. Izack led his own squad consisting of himself, Dearka and Nicol on an attack against the Strike while Lev and Yuuka attacked the Archangel. They had a supporting force of over 100 GINNs, 7 Nazca-class and 4 Laurasia-class and were up against 12 Drake-class, 7 Nelson-class, 4 Agamemnon-class and too many Moebius' to count along with the legged ship and it's G-weapons.

It was a slaughter.

The defending ships and armors fought valiantly but for every one suit they took down five armors and a ship was destroyed. Mark cruised through the enemy lines his swords cutting the enemy mobile armors to shreds alongside Jacques while Naleen fired at the ships crippling them, their first warning of the Dragon arrival was the shout of a nearby GINN pilot "W-what is this!" the pilot shouted as his suit was dismembered before it was destroyed.

Looking over the trio saw the destroyed GINN and emerging from the remains was the Dragon wielding a whole lot of weapons, each of them were close combat type weapons, but they knew, they knew to the Dragon nothing like that mattered as the suits eyes flashed he charged forward meeting Mark's shotels with his own Murasame arm units blades before delivering a devastating kick to the Slash's midsection and put some minor distance between them when a single beam shot from the Hawk separated them "I see ZAFT came out with some new toys pretty quickly." Mark heard Ryu comment.

"Yeah apparently they are that good." Mark agreed grimly, they were in trouble, they knew it, their enemy knew it, they were new to these rushed suits that weren't fully out fitted, while he was in a suit he knew like the back of his hand, with a lot of weapons in his specialization, this wasn't good.

Yzack

Yzack growled as more of these cannon fodder armors got in his way from his objective, the Strike, that damn suit scarred his face and it will pay "Out of my way!" Yzack shouted as his Assault Shroud Dual tore through another mobile armor finally spotting the Strike he grinned sickly "I have you now Strike!"

And as if the pilot heard him the Strike turned to see the Dual, Buster and Blitz charging towards it, raising its rifle and the Trikeros it snapped off a series of shots forcing the pilots to break formation, falling back Nicol activated his Mirage Colloid in an attempt to sneak up on the enemy while the Buster combined it's rifles into the cannon form and started returning fire while Yzack charged forward drawing his beam saber as he went and clashed against the Strike's katana in an attempt to overpower the suit.

Breaking away the Strike danced around the Dual and kicked at seemingly nothing only for the Blitz to appear as the Mirage Colloid was deactivated "I've told you that I know the weaknesses of the Mirage Colloid Nicol." A feminine voice reprimanded surprising both Dearka and Yzack as the two sides split apart.

"Yeah I was hoping to get you off guard Kira." Nicol said sheepishly.

"You know her Nicol?" Dearka asked shocked.

"We know only each other's names," Nicol corrected "We've never met in person."

"Kira Yamato, The Valkyrie of Heliopolis." Kira said as she activated her Trikeros' beam saber and held her katana out.

"Sigh, Dearka Elsman, Pilot of the Buster." Dearka said as he took aim.

"Yzack Joule, the one who is going to kill you!" Yzack roared as he charged forward and clashed his beam saber against the katana only to be forced away when Kira brought her beam saber up and nearly dissected the Dual.

"Why?" Kira asked "Because I fight for the opposite side from you?"

"Of course!" Yzack raged as he fired his shoulder mounted rail gun and missiles as Dearka fired his cannon and missiles and Nicol fired with is beam rifle. Kira fired her Igelstellungs at the missiles detonating them as she dodged the incoming fire.


"That doesn't make any sense," she commented calmly as she returned fire with both the beam rifle and her Trikeros forcing them to to evade, charging forward using her superior mobility and speed thanks to the Aile pack she started making a series of hit and run attacks on them briefly hitting them before moving away and hitting another target "So then how will the war end with an attitude like that? With all of the Naturals dead? The Entire Earth in flames?"


Yzack growled as he tried to hit the Strike only for it to dance out of the way.


Archangel


Liz grunted as the Lightning impacted her suit in a tackle before she flipped the suit off of her and transformed into jet mode and took off after the high speed mobile suit "Just sit still will you!?" Liz shouted in frustration as she made sure not to stray too far from the Archangel.


"Why so you could shoot me?" the Lightning's pilot asked teasingly as she banked hard to avoid a cluster of missiles.

"That is the point of a battle isn't it?" Liz countered sarcastically as she pulled up into a steep climb to avoid the Lightning's sudden turn around saber attack and transformed again and clashed sabers with the Lightning "Tell me, how much coffee do you give that suit to make it go that fast?"

The pilot laughed at Liz's joke "My name is Yuuka Mizuki, you?" Yuuka asked in curiosity as they broke apart.

"Elizabeth 'Liz' Dante, Rising Zephyr." Liz introduced as the pair circled "Nice to meet you!"

They charged again clashing swords as they tried to overpower each other.

Chris and Mu had teamed up against the mobile weapon platform know as Grizzly to prevent it from getting a clear shot at the Archangel as it began to descend into the atmosphere "Damn how thick is that armor?" Chris questioned as his rail blast did little more than scratch the paint of the heavily armored suit.

"Humph to thick for those weapons to pierce," the pilot commented as Mu's assault rifle did little damage "As a soldier I can't help but be impressed, as a human I can't help but be afraid."

"Huh?" Chris responded smartly "What are you talking about?"

"He's talking about the G-weapons, Right?" Mu asked as the three suits paused for a minute.

"You are correct Mu la Flaga, Hawk of Endymion," the pilot answered politely "My name is Lev Mikhail."

"Chris Dante, Black Raven." Chris said in introduction and with that out of the way the three pilots engaged in combat once more.

Ryu

Ryu ducked under Jacques Scythe and he swung with his blade forcing him to back off before he boosted to the side to avoid a beam shot from Naleen. Ryu pulled out his dual heat blades and clashed blades once more with Mark "You're taking us completely serious." Mark observed as they tried to overpower one another.

"Yeah I am," Ryu confirmed "Because I have found my redemption, I will protect my friends and that ship."

"I see." Jacques muttered as the trio of ZAFT aces faced off against the legendary EA coordinator ace who combined his two blades into a double bladed staff and extended one of his arm blades.

"Let's go." Ryu said and charged forward clashing his arm blade against Jacques' Scythe and his double bladed staff against Mark's shotels. Moving quickly Ryu disengaged from both of them and slipped between them and spun his suit lashing out with his feet kicking both suits away and charged at Naleen weaving through her fire, folding up his extended blades he returned fire with the beam pistol mounted into the unit forcing Naleen to begin to dodge while two exchanged fire, charging forward Ryu attempted to cut her down only for Jacques to intercept the sword with his Buster Shield Saber and swung Scythe around only for Ryu to flip over it and kicked Jacques into Naleen sending the pair flying.

Turing he starting exchanging fire with Mark who had his 'Reamer' beam pistol out before the pair charged in close and collided swords against each other breaking away Ryu dodged some sniper fire before blocking a strike from Jacques' heavy Scythe and kicked him away before bringing up his beam pistol and destroying the volley of missiles that Naleen fired only to get tackled by Mark when he was turning to engage Naleen.

Kicking the suit off of his own Ryu spun the Dragon in a barrel roll narrowly evading a sniper shot that would have put him out of commission he spun his staff and, to ZAFT's surprise, threw at Mark who was recovering piercing the head of the mobile suit destroying the cameras taking Mark out of the fight. Quickly retrieving the blades he blocked a strike from behind by Jacques and aimed his Beam pistol at close range and destroyed the Phantom's limbs rendering it useless, turning he focused on the Hawk and charged forward blocking a couple of shots and dodging the missiles and bullets before coming in close and severing the head and right arm of the mobile suit crippling it.

Ryu let out a breath as he saw them limping their way back to ZAFT lines covered by a squad of GINNs and grabbed his Anti-ship sword and charged towards the ZAFT frigates that were starting to break through.

Kira

Kira grunted as she recovered from a kick from Yzack "Just die already!" Yzack screamed as he swung at the Strike only for Kira to evade it and returned the favor by kicking the Dual in the head.

Boosting back Kira evaded a blast from the Buster "Is he always things angry?" she asked humorously.

"You don't know the half of it." Dearka muttered as he fired a volley of missiles that Kira destroyed before she blocked the Blitz's Lancer Darts.

Kira breathed deeply as she concentrated on the enemy in front of her, it was tempting to fall into battle lust but using it when outnumbered and waiting for the signal to fall back to the Archangel was ill advised "I won't give up." She said as she pulled out her katana and charged forward ducking under the Blitz's counter swing and swung up aiming for the joints of the arm removing it and kicked Nicol away into Dearka and clashed swords again with Yzack "Why do you fight with such anger?" Kira asked "What purpose does it serve?"

"SHUT UP!" Yzack roared as he pushed harder against the unyielding Strike "You damn Naturals think you're so much better than us, you sneer at us in contempt and say we're an affront against god, how is that possible?"

"Whoever said I was a Natural?" Kira asked making Dearka and Yzack freeze in surprise "You assume that because I am with the EA that I am a Natural, well I'm not, I am a coordinator."

"WHAT!?" Yzack exploded "How could you Betray-"

"My own kind?" Kira finished "Do you mean Coordinators? Or do you mean Humanity? I hold no loyalty to ZAFT or the PLANTs because they have done nothing to gain it, my loyalty is to my friends and comrades." Yzack tried to argue but when he opened his mouth he just couldn't find anything to argue with, ZAFT had done nothing to gain her loyalty, instead they destroyed her home "Your view on Naturals, while understandable, is horribly flawed, even on the very ship you are trying to shoot down there are few people who hate the Coordinators as a whole, I have met both the good and the bad, and it is the same with Coordinators as well, I am not trying to prove myself right or you wrong, I am not trying to sway your beliefs or loyalties, I am simply presenting the facts that I have gained through personal experience."

The trio of red coats sat there as they processed what she said "That is true," Dearka admitted "But that doesn't change our orders."

"I never was trying to change your mind," Kira countered as she activated the beam saber on the Trikeros and held her katana at the ready "Let's end this."

"Agreed." Yzack said calmly.

Kira closed her eyes for a seconded and when she opened them she shot forward in a massive burst of speed and evaded the missile barrage sent by Yzack and Dearka before she ducked under Yzack's sword and swung her beam saber cutting off the legs of his mobile suit, spinning she evaded the point blank cannon blast from Dearka and threw her shield at the Buster severing the head. "Whew," Kira sighed as she saw them pulling back Looking around she spotted the Dragon Cleave its way through a Nazca-class and boosted towards him.

Chris

Chris grinned as he saw the hours he and his sister put in on the simulators pay off as he and Mu worked together to push Lev away from the Archangel, it was difficult to say the least due to the fact that the Grizzly was meant to storm fortresses and come out unharmed. "Just how much punishment can he take?" Chris wondered as he saw the Grizzly come out unharmed from a missile Barrage and fired it's beam cannons at Mu only for Mu to dodge out of the way and launch his gunbarrels unleashing a salvo of beams and missiles that Lev met with is shield.

Chris felt a violent lurch as Earth's Gravity started to pull at him "Commander La Flaga!" he shouted.

"I know, I know!" Mu shouted back "Archangel I'm returning."

Lev turned his suit around "Dammit, The Grizzly can't fight in these conditions," he stated as he fought against the gravity of earth and finally broke away and headed to the battle field "Maybe next time."

Chris snorted and transformed into his mobile armor mode and blasted away to the Archangel hoping his sister was alright.

Liz

"I think the phrase 'Well Shit' sums this situation up pretty well." Liz stated as she and Yuuka fought against Earth's gravity. The pair had been fighting when they had gotten too close to an Agamemnon-class that had exploded sending them tumbling into the point of no return. Looking over to the right and behind Liz spotted the Archangel entering its decent mode, gritting her teeth Liz made a snap decision and grabbed the Lightning and began to drag it to the Archangel.

"W-what are you doing?" Yuuka asked in shock as the Zephyr dragged the Lightning.

"We're past the point of no return and have two choices," Liz informed "Board the Archangel which can descend through the Atmosphere safely or use mobile suits that while theoretically can enter the Atmosphere I am in no mood to test that theory right now, are you?"

Yuuka was silent as she thought her options over "What will happen to me?" She asked.

Liz sighed "I won't lie, chances are we will keep you as a prisoner of war," she admitted honestly "But the crew harbors no hatred towards Coordinators."

"And how do I know that's true?" Yuuka asked suspiciously.

"Because I am a Coordinator." Liz revealed "Now are you coming or not? I'll need help from your suits thrusters to get to the Archangel."

Yuuka dumbly nodded still surprised at the revelation and the two mobile suits worked together to get to the Archangel.

Archangel, Bridge

"Ma'am, Zephyr on approach with the Lightning!" Sai shouted to Murrue "She's requesting permission to bring the Lightning aboard."

"I'll allow it!" Murrue confirmed "Have a security team on standby in the hanger, Where is the Dragon and the Strike?"'

"They are both currently engaging the ZAFT fleet alongside the remaining allied forces," Mir reported "Admiral Halberton is currently gathering his forces for one last stand!"

"Get them on the radio!" Murrue ordered "Flight Captain Hisanaga and Flight Lieutenant Yamato Why haven't you returned yet?"

"Sorry Captain," Ryu apologized as he fought his way through waves of GINNs beside the Strike "We kinda caught up in something here, continue on without me, Kira fall back I'll cover you."

"Like HELL I will Hisanaga!" Kira shouted back angrily as she cut a GINN in half "I told you I will watch your back while you watch mine."

Ryu chuckled as he shook his head "Captain can you open this to the entire ship?" he asked and receiving a nod he started speaking "Attention Archangel."

Change room

Chris and Mu looked up to the Speaker when Ryu's voice broke through "This is Flight Captain Ryu Hisanaga speaking with you for what may be the last time,"

"Don't tell me." Mu muttered as he frowned.

"It has been my honor to serve on the Archangel as an EA soldier,"

Hanger

"While our time together may have been short I can't say I regret a second of it."

"Ryu? Kira?" Liz asked in fear as all movement stopped in the Hanger.

"W-what's going on?" Yuuka asked in confusion.

"It was an honor to see such people in the EA exist, people who don't discriminate against Coordinators for how we are born."

Flay's quarters

"Some of you I know had to work hard to overcome these problems."

"A-are they?" Flay murmured in surprise.

"Please do not lose that."

Bridge


Little did Ryu know that he was in actuality announcing his speech to the entire EA fleet as well as Murrue, who realized what he was going to do, switched the comm from ship wide to fleet wide.

"It is in these troubled times that we cannot lose sight of the fact that we are in reality all are the same, Naturals and Coordinators are no different from one another, only in how we are born, we all are a part of the race known as Humanity," Ryu paused for a second to collect his thoughts "I truly believe that unity between Coordinators and Naturals can be achieved so to the crew of the Archangel I ask you of one favor, please do this in mine and Kira's place."

Hanger

"No..." Liz said collapsing to her knees in shock surprising Yuuka who was starting to understand what was happening.

Change Room

"Goddammit!" Mu shouted punching the wall while Chris simply stared off into space numbed from the revelation.

Flay's Quarters

"N-no it can't be." She whispered in fear as tears fell down her face.

Bridge

The entire bridge was silent but for Mir's sobs as Sai tried to comfort her, the senior crew and NCO's all were saluting.

"But please do not become enwrapped in hatred because of this," Ryu pleaded unaware of the mood on the Archangel "We are fighting for what we believe in, this is our final stand for the future."

"I do feel the same as Ryu," Kira confirmed cutting into the broadcast "All I ask is that you tell my parents that I love them and that I'm sorry."

With that the two cut the link and turned their focus back to the battle "All hands prepare for descent!" Murrue ordered snapping people out of their revere "Heliopolis enlistees I understand if you need to leave the bridge."

Tolle grimly shook his head "I can't leave now," he said determinedly "He is counting on us to see this ship safely to Alaska, so how can I run when he is up their fighting for us."

"Tolle's right," Mir agreed "We will have time to mourn later."

Murrue smiled "Very well, begin Decent phase two!" she ordered.

"Warning we have a ionic storm in our path!" Tolle shouted as his hands flew across his consol "If we go through it our systems will be knocked out, but at this stage the slightest deviation will get us completely off course."

"We have no choice!" Murrue shouted "Neumann go around in the shortest route to evade it and try to get us back on course!"

"Yes ma'am!" Neumann confirmed as he fought with the controls of the ship flying it around the storm "I can't get her back on course ma'am, best I can do is Northern Africa!"

"It'll have to do!" Murrue stated grimly well aware that it was ZAFT controlled territory. "Keep her steady Neumann."

Battlefield

"Sorry to drag you into this Kira." Ryu apologized as he recharged their suits using an abandoned Nelson-class.

"Don't apologize Ryu," Kira reprimanded "I chose this of my own free will, I'm sure that my parents will understand eventually."

Ryu smiled at her "I love you Kira Yamato."

"I love you Ryu Hisanaga."

The pair blasted away to rejoin the battle, it was not going well, ZAFT lost about ten GINNs and Three Nazca-classes, while the EA lost three quarters of their mobile armors, only two Drake-classes remained along with the Montgomery, an Agamemnon-class captained by Halberton and finally the Menelaos.

"I hope you know that speech of yours was broadcasted to the entire fleet." Halberton informed in a regretful tone "It certainly has hardened the resolve of our soldiers."

"Really?" Ryu asked surprised.

Halberton chuckled "Can't you hear it?" he asked "Their war cry?"

Ryu frowned and switched over to an open channel immediately the first thin heard was "FOR A UNIFIED FUTURE!" As the Moebius pilots began to fight harder as their Resolve became fixed in concrete "FOR THE DREAM OF THE DRAGON AND THE VALKYRIE, FOR THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY!"

It started off as a chuckled but soon it became a full blown out laugh "This is so true," Ryu muttered "You ready Kira?"

"Yeah," Kira confirmed "Let's do it."

(Start Playing 'Don't be Afraid' Knight of the Round Version[Link in my profile])

"Ryu Hisanaga!"

"Kira Yamato!"

"Dragon of Endymion!"

"Valkyrie of Heliopolis!"

"Dragon Berserker Frame!"

"Aile Strike!"

Both: "Fighting for the Future!"

The pair pushed their thrusters to the limits and started tearing through the ZAFT forces with an unheard of fury as they two worked together like a well oiled machine. Pulling out his Buster Sword Ryu charged forward cutting off the Bridge of a Nazca­-class while Kira used her katana to cut through several GINNs in rapid progression, the pair saw the same vision when they closed their eyes and took a breath.

A pair of seeds, one green and the other amethyst circled each other before colliding in a burst of light and when the pair opened their eyes there was a major difference, Ryu's right eye was Golden with a slight pupil, while his left was Amethyst in color and a dilated pupil.

Kira's right eye was amethyst with a dilated pupil, while her left was golden with a slit pupil. Somehow, someway the two could see from each other's perspective and could feel and hear each other's thoughts and feelings W-what is this? Kira questioned in her mind.

Kira? Ryu wondered upon hearing her voice in his head H-how is this possible.

I don't know, Kira admitted But we have something to do, don't we love?

You got that right Beautiful, Ryu agreed with a grin as he opened a full spectrum channel and took a deep breath and let out one of his loudest most draconic roar since Endymion "Look out you ZAFT bastards!" Ryu shouted "'Cause the Dragon is coming for you!"

ZAFT froze in shock as the pair surged forward along with the remaining EA fleet hot on their heels smashing into the ZAFT fleet like a surge of water, and smashed through the primary defensive screening as they fought countless GINNs that seemed to just keep coming, Ryu kept the pair supplied for power as he stole power from the enemy suits and ships to enable them to keep fighting.

The pair never faltered as their seemingly melded consciousness brought them a whole other level of fighting, they didn't need to speak, they didn't need to actively look for each other or the enemy, they could see from the others eyes, they could sense the pilots of the enemy fleet, even after the Dragon lost an arm from a Cannon blast he continued to wield the Buster Blade to deadly effect smashing suits together cutting entire squads apart in single swing. Kira even after losing her right leg and a stabilizer wing and a near miss from a carriers laser blast tearing her cockpit open continued to fight, they felt like they had become one with their suits, like their suits were a complete extension of themselves.

Gamow, Bridge

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEIR BREAKING THROUGH!" Victor roared from his command chair "How did this happen!"

"It was the Dragon's roar," Mark stated calmly as he analyzed the situation "Lev and the Grizzly would be useless against the pair, they are just too fast and he is to slow."

Victor growled and stood up "If you want something done right than do it yourself." He muttered as he strode to the Hanger and enter his GuAIZ "I'm launching now."

(End 'Don't be Afraid')

Kira

Kira tried to regulate her breathing as not to waste her precious supply of oxygen, she had linked her suit directly to the suits supply but that would only last so long "Kira, Ryu," Halberton said getting their attention "You both have done enough, fall back."

"No can do Halberton," Ryu stated as the pair formed up in front of the last remaining ship, the Montgomery "We decided to stick this out to the end, and that is what we will do."

"I'm with Ryu," Kira said thankful her radio was still working by some miracle "No matter what we will stand and fight."

"I see," Halberton breathed out "Thank you, both of you."

An idea crossed Kira's mind and Ryu with their new connection agreed instantly "There is one thing you can do for use Captain." She said "Can you marry the two of us?"

Halberton Chuckled along with the rest of his crew and remaining pilots "It would be my honor." He agreed "Dearly beloved," he started to some chuckles "We are gathered here to witness the union of this young couple in holy matrimony, they have overcome many trials and adversities to stand here today in front of God, Do you Ryu Hisanaga take this women to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

"I do," Ryu confirmed as he cut a GINN in half and evaded a Laser blast

"Do you Kira Yamato take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?" he asked Kira.

"I do." She Confirmed as she destroyed a GINN equipped with a laser cannon trying to sneak up on the Montgomery.

"Than By the power vested in me I pronounce you Husband and Wife." Halberton declared to a massive round off cheers and whistles.

"So I am Ryu Yamato now huh?" Ryu asked lightly surprising Kira slightly "The Hisanaga has always prided themselves on being the best soldiers, it's time for them to fade into history."

"Alright than," Kira agreed as they went back to back "Sounds better than Kira Hisanaga at any rate."

Ryu chuckled in agreement until he saw a flash of red "It can't be," he whispered "The Butcher of Ontario."

Through their link Kira could see the flashes of his memories, his home destroyed a crimson GINN hovering over his home city laughing joyfully at the destruction, Ryu's subsequent warpath, his oath Let's go Ryu. Kira whispered into his mind Your family is my family, so he killed my parent-in-laws, so let's show him our strength.

Yeah. Ryu agreed tightening his grip on his controls "Victor Amsel!" he shouted "I will kill you today!"

The two boosted forward towards the strange new mobile suit firing their beam weapons as they approached, Victor raised his shield and block the shots and started firing with his shots focusing on Ryu "Oh really, you damn Natural lover, you will never beat me!" Victor yelled as he charged at Ryu extending his beam claws and swiped at Ryu narrowly missing him and rolled out of the way from Kira's slash as she attacked from behind "You may be in G-weapons, but you will never touch my Proto GuAIZ!"

"Don't bet too much on that!" Kira countered as she and Ryu weaved back and forth as they charged forward, Kira was the first to connect with the beam claws blocking them with her katana and brought up her beam rifle in her opposite hand and fired forcing Victor to move to the right, right into the path of Ryu's buster sword that managed to cleave off a portion of armor on his right arm shocking the pilot and Kira followed it up with a shoulder tackle sending him tumbling back from the impact.

Moving as a single entity the pair continued trading blows with the crimson suit slowly cutting it to pieces "Fucking Whore!" Victor shouted as Kira cut off one of his thrusters that Ryu followed up by cutting off a leg "Son of a Bitch!" Victor tried to escape but the pair showed no mercy as they relentlessly dogged him, even after the Montgomery was destroyed they continued to fight the final words of Lewis Halberton engraved into their souls.

"Live long and strong," he said calmly as his ship crashed into the remaining Laurasia-class leaving only the Gamow, 10 GINNs, and the Proto GuAIZ that was being torn apart "And Always fight for the future."

Gamow, Bridge

Mark sighed as he went over to the communications terminal "This is Mark Cadillac, all surviving suits return to the Gamow, we are leaving this field of battle." He ordered grimly as he surveyed the destruction that was the ZAFT and EA fleet "This battle is over."

"WHAT!?" Victor Yelled as his suit was dragged by a pair of GINNs "What about those traitors!?"

"They have very little power left, maybe even less oxygen with nowhere to go," Mark informed "I don't think they will survive."

Victor snarled but complied anyways as the two G-weapons left them be drifting closer together.

Ryu and Kira

Kira transferred herself over to the Dragon's cockpit and sat on Ryu's lap exhausted as they felt their connection fade, Ryu transferred the last of the Strike's power and oxygen to the Dragon. Once the cockpit was repressurized they removed their helmets and kissed each other hard and passionately "I'm happy," Kira stated once they broke apart "I'm married to you of all people, I really don't mind that I may die, my only regret is not being able to say goodbye to mom and dad."

Ryu wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his chest "My only regret is not being able to have a child with you," Ryu admitted as the Dragon and Strike floated amongst the debris "But that I can deal with that, I'm just happy that you are here beside me."


"I'm happy to be here Ryu." Kira said as they kissed once more before their exhaustion got the better of the slipping into a deep sleep, dreaming of a pair of seeds continually circling each other.

Chapter Ten: Desert Tears

Archangel, Northern Africa

The mood aboard the Archangel was not a good one, they had just lost two of their best pilots on the ship and their fate was uncertain, listed as MIA(Missing In Action). Chris after going through their room with Liz to pack their personal belongs when they found on Ryu's desk a piece of paper containing the password and user name to his laptop. Activating it Chris had found plans and designs for upgrading their suits for in atmosphere combat along with a short video of his will "To the one who is hearing this," it said showing Ryu sitting in his desk with Kira sleeping on their bed in the background "What I feared has come to pass and I may now be dead, this is my final testament to my friends, this is my will, I was the original designer of the G-weapons, or Gundams as we now call them, the Dragon was my concept, and I can see its influence in the rest of them, so using my original designs I planned out a series of upgrades that will allow your suits to become more powerful, along with each blueprint is a semi-intelligent AI based off of my personality and knowledge that will aid you in properly construct the upgrades," Ryu turned and smiled at Kira who was sound asleep "I do this to give my friends the weapons to fight and protect for what they believe is the truth. I also have included a frequency code for the Mercenary Mobile Suit Force known as Terminal, they have access to mobile suit construction facilities and if you can get a hold of them they will provide you with supplies and parts, for a price of course. If any of the Pilots are listening to this especially Kira, people my believe that the G stood for Genocide, but it wasn't, it stands for Genesis, these Gundams in the right hands can bring about a new beginning while you may not have inherited my will, I hope you fight to change this world and bring it one step closer to unity. Computer End recording."

Chris had since then thrown himself into the upgrades for the Gundams, getting the designs and collaborating with Johanna, Murdoch and the Semi-Intelligent AI Ryu left behind to get the upgrades going.

Liz was in a daze for a long while and simply sat in the Rec room staring at a random wall, before Chris finally snapped her out of it by asking her if this is what they would have wanted. Ever since then Liz had been making occasional visits to Yuuka down in the brig talking with her and trading stories about their past experiences and their lives growing up.

Mu was the most effected out of the pilots having been like a brother to Ryu and started to see Kira as a little sister as well he locked himself in his room for a day only to come out the next day with a rough design plan for upgrading the captured Lightning using the remaining weapons of the Strike and Dragon. Outside of working on his suit he was far more quiet than usual usually seen in the Tactical Planning Room trying to figure out a plan for getting to Alaska without incurring major losses.

The Heliopolis enlistees had thrown themselves into their jobs with Tolle putting himself through simulator after simulator training himself to be the pilot for the Skygraspers they received.

Murrue sighed as she looked over the reports "Morale is at an all time low," she murmured to herself "and our fighting strength is severely reduced right now with the loss of Kira and Ryu."

"That is true," Natarle agreed, the ensign had been impacted by the pair's sacrifice and was doing her best to think more openly instead of within the confines of military rules and regulation "However the entire crew is completely determined to see this through to the end."

Murrue nodded in agreement "Let's hope that's enough." She declared as she stared out over the desert.

ZAFT Camp

"So that's the Legged Ship eh?" Andrew Waltfield questioned as he looked through a pair of binoculars at the prototype Carrier "The ship that The Dragon of Endymion, the Valkyrie of Heliopolis and Admiral Halberton gave their lives to defend."

"Their morale must be extremely low right now." His aide Martin DaCosta commented "It would be best to attack them now."

"True," the commander agreed with a frown "But knowing the Dragon he left a few surprises behind, order the BuCUEs to launch."

"Yessir." DaCosta complied with a salute.

Andrew continued to frown as he stared at the ship in thought.

Archangel

"Heat source detected!" Mir shouted in panic right before a volley of missiles impacted around the Archangel "Unknown point of Origin!"

"All hands Level One Battle Stations!" Murrue ordered "All available suits are to launch ASAP!"

"This is Raven," Chris said over the radio "I can launch now."

"Raven you are cleared for launch," Mir informed once the Catapult was cleared "Fly safe."

"Will do," Chris reassured "Chris Dante, Raven Taking Off!"

"Liz Dante, I'm ready to launch!" Liz shouted over the radio as she activated the Zephyr.

"This is La Flaga, the Lightning is out for right now as we are installing it's new systems and weapons and the Patriot would be useless on ground." Mu informed from the Hanger "I'll launch from the Skygrasper once it's ready."

"Understood commander." Murrue agreed closing the link "Can we launch?"

"No ma'am," Natarle denied "We are still repairing the damaged sustained from the decent."

Murrue gritted her teeth as she looked over the battlefield and wished, not for the first time, that Ryu and Kira were still with them.

Chris

"What the hell is going on?" Chris questioned as his suit clumsily shifted through the sand unable to get proper footing "OH FUCK!" he shouted when several BuCUE mobile suits jumped out and started attacking the Raven, snarling Chris tired to take to the air when a series of missiles prevented him from doing so. Landing on the ground he tried to turn to engage one of the BuCUEs only for his suit to slip on the sand. Realization dawned on him as he pulled down his keyboard "Liz switch to the ground based OS Kira made for us!" he shout over the radio as he did the same.

"Understood." Liz replied as her suit catapulted into the air from the Archangel and immediately transformed into the mobile armor form and streaked across the sky firing missiles at the BuCUEs.

Chris quickly switched over to the Ground Based OS that Kira had prepared for them Note to self, he thought as he moved swiftly out of the way of a BuCUE that was trying to dissect him before returning fire with his rail guns Burn incense every day to thank Kira for her amazing OSs.

Waltfield

Waltfield frowned as he saw the Raven moving easier in the sand and the Zephyr streaking through the skies easily tearing through the attack helicopters "Well shit," he stated as another BuCUE was destroyed by the Raven "This isn't good."

1 mile east of the Battle Zone

A group of people sitting in jeeps looked over the battle between the G-weapons and the ZAFT BuCUEs "Those are the G-weapons and the Archangel alright," a girl with blond hair and golden brown eyes "But where are the other two that were reported to be with them?"

"Should we help them?" the driver of the girls jeep asked "They are enemies of ZAFT after all."

The girl nodded and sat down "Yeah, let's go." She ordered as the jeeps roared off.

Chris

Chris snarled as his suit was knocked back by the missiles being rained down upon them by the helicopters "Fucking hell!" he swore as he swerved between two BuCUEs and used his beam saber to slash the apart "I'm running low on power here," he warned "Liz how are you doing?"

"I'm fine for now," she informed as she destroyed a helicopter that was attempting an attack run on her brother "Where the hell is there mothership?"

"I don't know," He answered "And I can't get into the air with them continually launching missiles." As he spoke he evaded a BuCUE that was trying to dissect him with its beam saber only for a series of missiles to hit him with the last of his energy being drained by the Phase-Shift "Oh no." he whispered as he saw the BuCUE coming around for another pass.

"CHRIS!" Liz shouted in desperation sharply turning the Zephyr nearly knocking herself unconscious from the G-forces of the maneuver, but even with the high speed turn she would not be able to save him.

Chris saw the BuCUE coming, he could still move the suit, but without Phase-Shift, the armor was pretty much nonexistent, and he couldn't dodge the missiles forever. No, he thought to himself as he saw a grayish green seed fly through his mind I can't die like this, the seed revolved once I owe it to Ryu and Kira to SURVIVE! The seed exploded as his irises shrank and his eyes dulled. Shifting his suit he slid under the flying BuCUE grabbing the underside of its head and slammed it onto the ground quickly leveling his rail guns on the BuCUE and pulled the trigger destroying the suit, unfortunately due to the proximity his own suit was sent tumbling back from the blast.

A pair of BuCUEs capitalized on this and moved to pounce on him only for the Zephyr to collided in mobile suit mode with one of the suits and turned to attack the second quadruped mobile suit only for a series of missiles to impact at the cockpit killing the pilot.

Archangel

"Ma'am, we have incoming jeeps!" Sai informed from his station.

"What?" Murrue asked in shock "Are they enemies?"

"Unknown." Sai stated "Their only armed with RPGs."

"Archangel this is Raven," Chris called out "I have civilian jeeps armed with RPGs firing on the BuCUEs, orders?"

"Support them!" Murrue ordered instantly "Any enemy of theirs is our ally."

"Understood ma'am." Chris confirmed signing off.

"This is La Flaga I'm launching!" Mu Informed as the Skygrasper was moved to the catapult and launched in short order.

Waltfield

The Desert Tiger frowned as the local guerrilla fighters started attacking the BuCUEs, it wasn't that they were a problem alone, but the guerrilla fighters plus the Legged Ship, that was not a good combination. Frowning even more he stopped an unknown jet fighter take off from the Archangel and skillfully swerved through the missiles and flew towards the Lesseps, most likely to either sink it or to send coordinates, most likely both "Order the troops to fall back," he barked "We've completed our primary objective."

"Huh?" DaCosta replied blinking "Uhh yes sir."

Archangel


"Captain, the enemy has fired the retreat flares!" Mir informed "The enemy is now retreating."

"I suppose we have the locals to thank for that," Murrue mused standing up "Have a security team prepped, I'll be going to thank the people who saved us, but I don't want to get caught with my pants down."

"Yes ma'am." The communications officer replied signaling a security team.

Zephyr's Cockpit

"Local guerilla fighters huh?" Liz mused as she looked out using suit's cameras, a flash of blond hair caught her eye and Liz zoomed in to see the girl they shoved into the life pod from Heliopolis "Hey Chris, look at the person fifth from the left."

"Hey isn't that the girl we saved?" he asked when he spotted the blonde "What is she doing here?"

"I don't know," she replied "But there's the Captain and Commander La Flaga."

On the Ground

Mu sighed as he walked beside Murrue with a hand hovering over his sidearm Huh, never before have I treated strangers with open suspicion, he thought to himself as he took in each person standing there before quickly glancing to the two mobile suits standing in their silent vigil Maybe it's because protecting this ship and crew is my homage to Ryu and Kira. Turning back to their saviors he saw a stocky man with a full beard step forward.

"My name is Sahib Ashman," He greeted "And I am the leader of the Desert Dawn."

"Murrue Ramius, Captain of the Archangel." Ramius returned "We owe you the lives of our pilot due to your timely arrival."

Sahib nodded "Your pilots certainly are skilled," he commended and looked up at the two Mobile Suits "Would we be able to meet them?"

Murrue nodded hesitantly and turned to the two Gundams "Ensigns Dante dismount from your mobile suit!" she called out "Their siblings." She explained seeing Sahib's confused look.

Raven's Cockpit

Chris sighed as he strapped his sidearm on before opening the cockpit and descended at the same time as his sister, looking over to Liz he saw a short nod and they both reached for their helmets and took them off, once their helmets were clear from their faces the assembled guerrilla fighters gasped in surprise "Their so young." Sahib murmured as the blond girl growled and stomped towards the pair startling the ones closest to her.

"YOU!" She shouted "What are you doing in those suits!?"

Chris and Liz looked at her calmly as she approached them "I don't see what that has to do with you," Chris commented blandly "And shouldn't you be in ORB right now?"

The girl growled and moved to strike him when she suddenly had a pair of pistols pointing at her, both groups stiffened as Mu moved in front of Murrue and the hidden security team tensed while the guerrilla fighters tensed for action as well "I wouldn't suggest doing that again," Liz advised coldly, surprising those listening that the normally gentle girl could sound so cold "We've just recently lost some very good friends, and we'll be damned to let it happen again." The pilots passed by the dumbstruck blond and saluted to the captain "You called us captain?"

Murrue sighed but nodded and shot a look at Mu telling him to put his gun away while both groups slowly relaxed "I apologize on Cagalli's behavior," Sahib said grimly shooting the blond a slight glare "She joined us after the destruction of Heliopolis and informed us about the new G-weapons of the EA."

Chris and Liz confirmed this with a nod "She was there and saw them as well." Chris informed "We had put her into an escape pod before moving to the other on the opposite side of the factory, the rest you already know."

"Where are the other two that were with you?" Cagalli asked looking around "Were they the smart ones and actually returned home?"

"Shut it bitch." Mu growled surprising everyone "Sorry captain but I best go oversee the upgrades we were working on earlier."

Murrue nodded her assent as Mu stalked off closely followed by Chris and Liz "You'll have to forgive them," she said softly "The friends we just lost were the other Heliopolis civilians, they had remained behind to aid Halberton back in space covering us while we descended, their MIA, presumed dead." Cagalli froze when she heard that as her eyes widened "They were good friends to us all, and we felt their loss deeply."

"Sorry for your loss," Sahib murmured frowning "I would like to make you an offer." He commented after a minute of silence getting Murrue's attention.

Brig

Yuuka sighed as she looked up at the ceiling of her cell and shifted in irritation I'm probably already listed as MIA, she mused to herself I hope mom and dad are doing alright. She looked up as she heard loud footsteps approaching and saw Liz stomp into the brig with a rare scowl on her face "You look like someone just ran over your dog," Yuuka commented bluntly "What's wrong?"

Liz sighed as she leaned against the bars to Yuuka's cell "Some girl we met briefly back at Heliopolis during the attack," she explained "We had shoved her into an escape pod before heading to the one across from the Mobile Suit factory where the Gundams were stored, turns out she join the guerilla resistance here, she pretty much was being a bitch to us for piloting the Gundams."

Yuuka grimaced in sympathy "I understand how you feel," she said standing up and moving over to Liz and placed a hand over hers "My own sister was a bitch to me after joining ZAFT, she had a boyfriend that was a part of a protest group, only the group were extremists and her boyfriend wasn't aware of the fact and he ended up getting killed during a military sanctioned raid."

Liz winced "I heard about that one," she admitted before sighing "Normally what she said wouldn't hurt me, but..."

"The wound is still fresh." Yuuka finished with a sympathetic look to which Liz nodded with a sigh.

"Thanks for listening Yuuka." She whispered gratefully.

Yuuka shrugged lightly "Eh, not much else to do," she dismissed before grinning as Liz headed for the exit "Besides, you're too cute to be walking around angry!" She added just as Liz was closing the door making the dirty blond freeze for a moment processing her words before blushing like mad with a small smile on her face.

Hanger


Mu sighed bitterly as he entered the hanger area and looked up at his new suit, the Lightning, although, with the upgrades he had planned it would be a new suit altogether, hence it was renamed the Lightning Eclipse, armed with the Berserker Frame's Heat Shotels and a Murasame arm unit along with a shield on the opposite arm, from the Strike it was now packing an Agni Hyper-Impulse Cannon to pack a punch, the schematics Ryu had left behind had a design plan on a new experimental battery for the Gundams and the Lightning was currently being outfitted with it, it theoretically had over two times the regular output of a normal battery, there was some kind of hidden feature on it that no one could make heads or tails out of, but due to the fact it was a critical piece of the battery they kept it in anyways, once the Lightning Eclipse was refitted with its new armaments and battery the Zephyr was next in line for upgrades followed by the Raven. Each pilot oversaw the upgrading procedure and took part in it. Moving over to the Patriot that sat in one of the restraints to prevent it from tumbling about he climbed in the cockpit closing it behind him and flicked the computer on and brought up an old photo that he had transferred from the Moebius Zero, it was a photo of the Falcon Squad shortly before Endymion happened, each member was sitting around a table smiles on their face as they played a game of poker with Yuna having the largest stack and a large smirk on her face.

Mu sighed "I hope you guys are watching over us," he whispered softly closing his eyes as he wiped his face "Because we will need all the help we can get."

What the hell are you talking about La Flaga! Kyle's voice echoed through his head That doesn't sound like a member of a Falcon squad!

Yeah, where is you never say die attitude? Mickey's voice asked 'To make the impossible possible', that's your, our, motto isn't it?

"What do I do though?" He whispered "I feel so lost."

Than start walking soldier! Yuna's voice ordered You'll never find your way out like this!

One step at a time La Flaga, Ryu's voice whispered You're on the right path so far, just keep at it.

Just make sure you pick yourself up when you fall though, okay? Kira's voice supported We're behind you one hundred percent of the way.

Mu smiled lightly as he felt their presences fade from his mind "They're right," he whispered with renewed determination "One step at a time, never surrender, never falter and always get back up, no matter what."

Training Room

Chris grunted as he furiously punched the punching bag letting out his pent up anger onto the innocent bag, thoughts running through his head I know it was impossible for me to save them, he told himself So why do I blame myself, why do I keep thinking If only I was faster, if only I was stronger. If only, if only, IF ONLY! he mentally screamed as he delivered a round house kick to the punching bag actually making some of the bolts holding it to the ground to loosen slightly.

"Chris?" A hesitant voice asked, turning he saw Flay standing there with a concerned look on her face "Is everything alright?"

Chris sighed as he placed his forehead against the punching bag "Not really," he admitted "Just lingering self blame about Kira and Ryu."

Flay frowned in concern "You couldn't do anything about it," she reassured placing a hand on his shoulder "You did everything you could, more than what anyone asked of you."

"But I should have been able to do more!" He shouted in protest "I don't know how but I should have been able to do more!"

Flay sighed and proceeded to shock the Coordinator and everyone else in the room by slapping his harshly across the cheek "Get over yourself," she ordered harshly "You are a Coordinator yes, but you are not Superhuman, you can't save everyone, besides, they did what they felt, they believed they needed to do, and this is how you honor their last wishes? By blaming yourself?"

Chris stared at her in surprise and looked down in shame "I, I never thought about that," he admitted softly "I was so wrapped up in trying to figure out what I could've done I forgot about what they wanted done."

Flay smiled and hugged the teen "Just relax a bit Chris," she advised "You are plenty skilled, but sometimes, you have to accept the fact that you can't save everyone, no more than can you travel through time."

"Thanks." Chris whispered gratefully as he gently returned the hug before separating with a sigh "I best get back to my duties, see ya around, and thanks again Flay."

Flay merely smiled and nodded at him and watched him leave the room with an odd expression on her face What is it I'm feeling around him? She asked herself Am I falling for him? Flay sighed in frustration and headed out to complete her own shift Maybe I'll talk to Liz about this.

Desert Dawn Planning Room

Murrue gratefully accepted the coffee one of the men handed her with a smile before turning back to Sahib "So our only option for getting through Africa is through this mountain range here?" She asked in confirmation pointing at an area on the map.

Sahib nodded "Yes, the is a complication however," he admitted "ZAFT has a strong presence in the area, due to the fact that the Desert Tiger's base is located nearby."

"That does make things difficult," Mu agreed as he walked in "I take it you are wanting to take advantage of this to get our help in destabilizing the ZAFT forces in the area?"

Sahib smiled weakly "True," he admitted "But it still benefits us both does it not?"

Murrue nodded in agreement, but before any further plans could be made a messenger boy burst into the room "Sir!" He shouted fear in his voice "Tatsil, Tatsil is burning!"

Space, Hours after the Battle


A single red-trimmed white mobile suit shifted though the mobile suit along with a pair of Kirmera Salvager Pods, each unit was emblazoned with the symbol of the Junk Guild "Amazing!" The male pilot of the mobile suit literally squealed in excitement "Look at all this stuff, this is an amazing haul!"

"Should we really be doing this Lowe?" asked a female piloting one of the Kimeras "I mean it only has been a couple of hours."

"Don't worry Kisato," the final pilot, a male, reassured "This is also a rescue operation for any survivors."

"Liam's right," a female voice broke through from their mothership, the ReHOME "Besides I'm picking a faint SOS signal right now, about a klick west from you current position."


"Got it Professor," Lowe confirmed as he moved his mobile suit the Red Frame west and picked his way carefully through the wreckage until he came across something that made his eyes widen "Prof, you are not going to believe what I just found." He whispered in a soft voice as a pair of Mobile suits, both unerringly similar to his Red Frame, floated in front of them, one held the symbol of a sword flanked by a pair of wings while the second held the symbol of a dragon about to take flight "Hell, even I'm having trouble believing it and I'm looking right at it!" ===Chapter Eleven: The Tiger's Fangs

=

Gamow, Bridge

"You're to be transferred to the ground and assist Commander Waltfield with his operation to destroy the Archangel." Victor ordered to a group consisting of Lev, Yzack, Dearka, Jacques, Naleen and Mark "Nicol you're returning back to the PLANTs on leave with Athrun and Rau, once my suit is repaired I'll be rejoining you all back on the ground."

The red coats saluted before leaving the bridge "I hate that guy," Naleen declared once they were out of earshot "Didn't even approve of a Search and Rescue for Yuuka."

Mark sighed "Still orders are orders," he said "But at least we'll be working with a reasonable commander this time."

"You mean Waltfield right?" Yzack asked "He and Commander Crueset were the ones to defeat the Dragon right?"

Mark nodded "Yeah, not only that he's one of the few honorable Commanders I've met." He explained "He tries to not cause civilian or noncombatant deaths."

"He's also obsessed with coffee." Jacques added quietly "He makes it pretty well too, he often sends me a bag of his coffee."

The younger red coats blinked and looked at the silent pilot who ignored them while Mark smirked and Naleen giggled.

Desert Dawn Headquarters

"Tatsil, is burning?" Sahib asked in shock before snapping out of it "Are they trying to draw us away from the base?"

"Go," Murrue advised "Commander La Flaga, the Lightning Eclipse is ready correct?"

Mu nodded "Just need to make some minor adjustment to the OS," he reported "I can do that on the fly though."

"Escort Sahib and his men to Tatsil and report on the situation." She ordered "The Lightning is the fastest unit we have, we'll protect this area with the Zephyr and the Raven."

"Thank you captain." Sahib said gratefully as he went to collect his men.

"I'll go get ready as well." Mu said as he ran off.

Murrue followed close behind shouting orders to the crew of the Archangel "All crew are to report to their stations, we are on level two battle stations!" she shouted over the noise.

Hanger

"Commander!" Chris shouted "What's going on?"

"The home of the locals is being torched!" He shouted back "You and Liz are to prepare for launch incase it's a feint."

"Yessir!" Chris responded with a quick salute before running off to get changed.

Jumping into the cockpit of his new suit Mu quickly started it up as it was moved to the catapult "Mu La Flaga, Lightning Eclipse, heading out!" He reported as his suit rocketed out of the catapult.

These boosters are powerful, Mu thought to himself as he punched the boosters to the max and roared past the jeeps Thank god for inertia dampeners.

Thanks to the Lightning's speed he quickly was flying over the burning town "My god," he whispered before turning the radio on "Captain, La Flaga here, the entire town is in flames, also I see a large congregation of civilians on the cliffs overlooking the village."

"And the enemy?" Murrue asked.

"Looks like they bugged out." He said looking around "I don't see them anywhere."

"Understood, I'll send Natarle and some others over with food, water and medical supplies."

"Okay." He confirmed before landing the Lighting as the jeeps arrived and disembarking.

"What are the casualties?" Sahib asked the village elder worried.

"None." The elder said "We were warned before they attacked, they said they'll burn down the village and that we should run, then everything burned, food, ammunition and supplies, we can't live like this anymore."

"That bastard."Sahib growled "Playing with people like that."

"It looks like the Tiger doesn't want to actually fight you people," Mu mused "This is probably for interfering with yesterdays battle, he's quite sympathetic if he ended with just this."

"What do you mean with 'Just this'!?" Cagalli protested "The whole village is swept away and you say it's 'just this'?"

"What would you rather, he go the full way and kill everyone without warning?" Mu shot back "Because it isn't normal military procedure to warn people of an attack. You're all lucky no one died, homes can be rebuilt, lives cannot."

Cagalli growled "He's just a coward!" She shouted back at him "We fight bravely, and we even took down their BuCUEs last time, but this is the only thing that scared bastard can do!"

"Sahib!" a man shouted over by the jeeps interrupting the argument "Come here!"

"What is it?" he asked the man as he approached.

"The Tiger hasn't gotten far," the man explained as a group of men loaded up ammo into the jeeps "We can catch up with them if we go now."

"What?" Sahib asked alarmed.

"They burned down the whole village so they should be out of ammo now," another man explained "We should pay him back for destroying our homes!"

"Don't say stuff like that!" Sahib protested "If you have time to do that then help the wounded! Take care of your wife and child!"

"So you want us to cry in the arms of our wives!?" another asked "Are you telling us to be the lapdog for the Tiger Sahib?"

Sahib widened his eyes in shock of his statement as the men loaded up in jeeps "Let's go!" one of them shouted as the jeeps roared off.

Sahib growled as he watched them drive off and turned to one of the remaining jeeps "Are you going to Sahib?" She asked as he jumped on and tried to follow him "I'm coming too!"

"Stay here!" he roared pushing her off before the jeep pulled away.

"Cagalli!" Ahmed shouted as he pulled alongside with Kisaka allowing her to jump on as they roared off in pursuit.

"Captain!" Mu shouted over the radio "Those guys are going after the Tiger! Permission to go with them."

"They'll get themselves killed like that!" Murrue shouted in shock "Granted, I'm sending Chris out as well!"

"Understood." Mu confirmed before restarting his suit "Hm? the power levels are higher than before, how?" he shook his head "Worry about it later, save peoples asses now." He punched the boosters and roared off in pursuit of the jeeps.

Archangel, Hanger

Chris sat in the hanger trying to keep himself relaxed when his radio crackled to life "Chris your heading out to provide support to Commander La Flaga and the locals!"

"Understood." He confirmed as his suit was loaded into the catapult "Chris Dante, Raven, Taking off!" Once his suit was cleared of the catapult he transformed into armor mode and flew off towards La Flaga's GPS coordinates.

With Mu

By the time Mu arrived the battle had already started and he could see that the rebel troops had disabled one of the BuCUEs, but were defiantly on the losing end, raising the Murasame combo arm unit he aimed at a BuCUE about to crush a jeep and fired destroying the head of the suit and changed the arm unit to blade mode cutting the suit in half as he landed.

Waltfield's Jeep


"Oh," Waltfield said with an open mouth "Isn't that the Lightning?"

"I believe so sir," DaCosta agreed nervously "It's been upgraded but that is the Lightning."

"So it has been captured, and upgraded by the looks of it, Hm?" his eyes caught something on the right shoulder of the unit "Oh my, it seems like the Hawk of Endymion is the new pilot."

"What!?" DaCosta asked in shock "But the reports said they didn't complete the Natural use OS yet!"

"It is troubling." Waltfield agreed "Kakudo! Disembark, I'll be engaging them personally!"

"Commander!" DaCosta protested.

"Sometimes to learn about the enemy you have to do it yourself." The Tiger responded as he boarded the suit and roared off towards the battle.

Mu

Mu grunted as his suit was hit from an unexpected missile "The disabled unit!" he realized in shock as he evaded another barraged blocking a couple with his shield "Have to say though, this unit is ten times better than the Patriot Zero."

Killing the thrust to his boosters he allowed the BuCUEs chasing him to pass by before charging again with his blade at the ready and cut through another BuCUE before pulling up away from an attempted tackle. Rising into the air he pulled out the Agni cannon and aimed at the lead suit only for it to dodge out of the way "Dammit, this guy's good." Mu muttered as he moved out of the way of a missile barrage.

Waltfield

"Not bad Hawk," Andrew murmured as he dodged another blow before his radar went off "Hm, another one?" Looking over he saw the Raven roaring in in mobile armor mode "Shit, all units fall back!" He ordered as he turned his suit away "the number are to uneven right now!"

"Understood." DaCosta agreed as his jeep fell in behind Waltfield's BuCUE.

"Damn, next time I'll get ya Hawk." He said looking over his shoulder as the Lightning watched them retreat.

Mu

Mu sighed as he disembarked his unit and moved over to the gathered survivors "Are you guys morons!" He asked plaintively "You speak that you would rather die than let something go unpunished, but if you die than who will take care of your families!"

The crowd lowered their heads in shame while Cagalli growled "You bastard!" she shouted grabbing his collar, Mu waved Chris off as he went for his handgun "We fought desperately, we fought to protect our loved ones and their existence!"

Mu frowned at the girl and slapped her across the face shocking everyone present "A friend once asked me after the Battle of Ontario," Mu explained calmly "What can we protect with our feelings alone? What can we protect with only might? And to this day I have no answer to that question, right now you may have the will, but you do not have the strength, I understand you wish to protect those things, but sometimes to protect you shouldn't fight, I'm not saying to give in, only there is a time and place, what if we weren't here today? What would of happened?" He looked around at them with a hard glare "You all would've died, and there would be no one left to protect you loved ones." With that he turned away and boarded his mobile suit closely followed by Chris and the Raven.

"Wasn't that a bit harsh Commander?" Chris asked as they headed back to the Archangel closely followed by the rebels.

"Unfortunately Chris," he sighed "You need to be harsh."

Next Day

Chris, Liz and Cagalli sat in the Jeep with Chris and Liz in their casual clothes, albeit without their sweaters, as it headed into the main town that also happened to be the Tigers main base of operations, there was an uncomfortable silence between them "Listen you two," Cagalli said suddenly "I wanted to apologize for what I said the other day, I didn't realize that they died."

Liz sighed as she drew her knees up to her chest "Ryu was our pillar of support," she explained "While Kira kept our moral up by smiling, Ryu tied so desperately to keep us alive that we didn't realize it till after he was gone."

"I always keep expecting to hear him shouting at the mechanics about something whenever I walk into the Hanger," he added "No one has actually gone into their room and boxed their stuff yet."

"He seem immortal," Liz continued "The way he dominated in every fight, even when he was in a losing fight he would always be unflinching."

"Heh, remember the time we decided to build a support suit?" Chris asked his sister with a small laugh.

"Yeah he was so pissed when he walked in," she giggled "He ranted for a half hour before the professor showed up, then there was another hour added to the rant."

Cagalli smiled as the sibling reminisced until they entered the town where they and Cagalli got off "Keep safe." Kisaka ordered.

"I will, you too," she said "Al-Jairi is someone to be careful with."

"Ensigns-, ah you two be careful now." Natarle said slightly embarrassed at her slip up while Jackie in the seat next to her face palmed himself.

The two siblings nodded as the jeep took off "So what's first?" Chris asked as they started shopping, little did he know how much he would loathe those words.

Later

Chris groaned as he was loaded down with bags from their shopping while the girls haggled over prices with the vendors "Let's take a break and get something to eat." Cagalli advised much to Chris' obvious relief as they took seats at an open air cafe next to a group of three.

"I'm glad to set those down." Chris sighed in relief "Never again am I going shopping with either of you."

Liz and Cagalli giggled at a scowling Chris as the waitress set three plates in front of them along with two bottles of yogurt and chili sauce "What are these?" Liz asked curiously.

"Kabobs!" Cagalli answered enthusiastically "There great with chili sauce try some."

"WHAT!" One of the men sitting next to them shouted, he was wearing a sunhat and sunglasses making it hard to see his facial features "Chili sauce on Kebobs are you nuts."

"There he goes again." The other male sighed, he looked to be around eighteen with short dirty blonde hair and brown eyes, he was wearing a loose uniform that was mostly Dark green with red shoulders, and on each shoulder was a white asterisk above a pair of crossed swords, the last one was a girl around their age with waist length crimson red hair a light blue eyes, she was wearing the same uniform as her companion "Dang it Andy, can't you leave peoples tastes in food be?"

"No I cannot Roku!" Andy retorted "Not when their committing such an insult to the food."

The female sighed and face palmed herself "You said he was eccentric but this is a whole other level Roku." She complained glaring at her sheepish companion.

"Sorry Saya." He apologized "I forgot he could be this bad."

Chris looked oddly at the two Their voices seem so familiar, he thought to himself before shaking his head Probably just my imagination.

Meanwhile Cagalli and Andy had been arguing over which of the two sauces where better and ended up pouring both over Liz's Kebob, she actually proceeded to eat it "Hey this is actually pretty good." She announced and cheerfully took another bite while the two stared at her.

Roku laughed "She got ya there Andy." He teased grinning widely, before turning to the group "Sorry about Andy there, he's a bit of a fanatic when it comes to food and coffee, I'm Roku Masamune, and this is my fiancé Saya Murasaki."

"Nice to meet you, I'm Liz, this is my brother Chris and our friend Cagalli." Liz said introducing everyone.

However before the conversation could go any further someone shouted "For a Blue and Pure World!" and fired a missile directly at the group.

"Get down!" Andy shouted as he kicked the table over as Chris tackled Cagalli and Liz out of the way with both of the girls getting drenched in yogurt and chili sauce "Roku! Saya!"

"We're fine!" Roku shouted back as the pair returned fire at the terrorists "Damn Blue Cosmos bastards!"

Chris cursed as he left his own gun behind, moving to grab one of the fallen guns he froze when he saw another terrorist sneaking up from behind "Watch out!" he shouted dashing forward tackling the terrorist into the wall before kneeing him in the solar plexus knocking him out cold.

As soon as the firefight started it ended with several soldiers rushing onto the scene executing the remaining survivors "Commander are you all right?" One of the soldiers asked running up to Andy who nodded.

"We're fine thanks to that kid there." He admitted nodding to Chris as he removed his hat and sunglasses revealing his face.

"Andrew Waltfield," Cagalli whispered in shock "The Desert Tiger."

ZAFT Command Headquarters

Chris, Liz and Cagalli sat in the back of Waltfield's jeep nervously as he drove them through the gates of the Central Command for Africa almost expecting for the guns to be turned on them, only for the soldiers to politely smile and nod at them as they drove by. Roku, Saya and Andrew sat in the front with Roku having his feet up on the dashboard "This is our stop," Roku exclaimed as they neared the Hanger "Nice meeting you kids!" He shouted with a wave that Saya mimicked as they jumped off the jeep and entered the only closed Hanger.

"Really you don't need to do this," Chris protested as they pulled up to an elegant manor "We're fine."

"Nonsense!" Andy protested "Not only did I interrupt your meal but I also put you in danger and got these two girls socked in kabob sauce, it would be against my principles to just let you go in that state."

Chris just sighed realizing that he would not be able to argue with the man as they followed him inside "Aisha!" Andy shouted as a beautiful black haired women with two orange highlights and a blue one piece "These are the two I told about over the phone, mind working your magic on them?"

"Kebob sauce?" Aisha asked as the appraised the pair while Chris stood nervously in the doorway "Go on in the office and talk with Andy, I'll bring these two back in no time."

Chris hesitated for another second before walking through the open door to where Waltfield was pouring some coffee "Take a seat." He said over his shoulder and Chris moved to do so when his eyes caught something on the Mantle of the fireplace "Evidence 01," Andy said as he walked up next to Chris handing him some coffee "Not the real thing of course, but the supposed evidence of life out in the galaxy, they called it a whale, doesn't look it with those wings there."

Chris smirked a little as he took a sip of the coffee and winced "Bitter." he complained How could Ryu drink this stuff so often?

Andy chuckled "Ah you're still too young to appreciate a good cup of coffee." He reassured smiling "But still bringing that back shows how far humanity has progressed, but that is the root of war." He revealed as he and Chris sat down.

"The root of war?" Chris repeated confused.

"Yeah." He confirmed before a knock on the door interrupted him as the door opened to Aisha waving in the two girls "Well well."

The two girls walked in, Cagalli reluctantly and embarrassed while Liz felt out of place in the elegant emerald green dress that emphasized her eyes(Cagalli's is the same.) "Wow." Chris said appreciatively "You two look like princesses."

Liz smiled at her brother while Cagalli blushed making the two adults laughed, the two girls were seated in short order with a coffee in their hands "You look like you grew up in dresses like that." Andy complemented Cagalli "Like that is your true appearance."

"Say what you want." Cagalli snapped back taking a sip of coffee to hide her frown while Andy chuckled.

"Almost perfect save for her mouth." He amended smiling.

"Are you really the Desert Tiger?" Cagalli accused "Or is this some kind of hobby of your to dress girls up and go into town incognito?"

Andy sighed as he set his coffee down "The one who gave you the dresses was Aisha," he explained "And what do you mean 'my hobby'? Because as you've seen I am a marked man by Blue Cosmos, as is every coordinator."

"Don't mess with me!" Cagalli shouted slamming her hands on the coffee table.

"Cagalli." Chris said in warning shooting her a look she ignored.

"How about evacuating towns and burning them!?" She accused sharply.

"Would you rather they died too?" He asked before looking at Chris and Liz "You two, what do you think? What must be done for this war to be over, as pilots to mobile suits?"

All three of them started "How did you?" Cagalli questioned in shock.

Waltfield laughed as he stood shortly followed by the others as Chris moved them away from the table and behind him "It's a problem to be uptight all the time," he advised as he moved over to a end table and started rummaging through a drawer "But isn't war like some kind of sport without a time limit or scoreboard?" He asked "Then how do you decide who the victor is?" He suddenly whipped around pointing a pistol at the three of them as Chris narrowed his eyes "When the enemy is dead?"

Chris gulped and started looking for an exit or a weapon "Don't bother," Waltfield advised "Even with those berserker powers of yours you would never be able to kill us all and escape, especially since we are all like you, Coordinators."

Cagalli looked surprised at the revelation "You two are?" she whispered while the other two tensed further.

"I've seen you in combat twice," The Tiger continued "Your reflexes, your ability to change to the situation, all scream Coordinator, not even the fabled Hawk of Endymion was able to react with your timing, you two have exceptional abilities, even for Coordinators, you there," he said pointing to Chris "I bet you can sense peoples presences can't you?" He asked making Chris start "Don't be too surprised, I've had many conversations with Ryu Hisanaga after he left the EA about phenomenon's like that," He sighed "And it is because of my friendship with him that I will let you go," he said putting the gun away as he hit the call button on the Intercom "I owe Ryu a lot for what he has done, he may have believed that he will never have found his redemption, but I don't think it was even necessary." Aisha opened the door and Andrew waved them out "May we meet again on the battlefield."

Chris paused at the doorway "You're wrong," he whispered "Ryu did find his redemption, it was protecting us, and our friend, especially her." He whispered before following the other two out to a Jeep being supplied to them that had their supplies and cleaned clothing as well.

Roku leaned against the doorway after they left "Thanks Andy." He said looking over to the Tiger "I owe you one."

"No you don't," He denied "I'm just repaying the favor, Dragon." Roku simply smirked and left without another word to the Hanger.

Next Day, ZAFT Headquarters, Hanger

"God this dust-ball is even worse than I thought!" Yzack complained bitterly as they entered the Hanger.

"It's not that bad Yzack," Naleen reprimanded "There are some places here that put anything the PLANTs created to shame."

"It's true," Mark confirmed "Before the war started North America was beautiful, amazing scenery."

Yzack only snorted "They say you have to live in the desert in order to truly appreciate it." Andy said walking up with Aisha, both of them wearing their pilot suits, Roku and Saya, who were wearing their uniforms "It isn't all that bad when you know where to look, there are some nice oasis' around."

"If you don't mind I think I'll stick with an air conditioned room thank you." Dearka inputted making the group chuckle.

Mark grinned "Good to see you again Commander Waltfield," he said saluting "This is the Crueset team, Yzack Joule, Dearka Elsman, Jacques Maddox and Naleen Lynn."

Waltfield nodded to all of them "I'm Andrew Waltfield," he said returning the salute "this is my fiancé Aisha, and these two are Terminal Agents Roku Masamune and Saya Murasaki."

The two nodded in greeting "We better head out Andy," Roku said turning to Waltfield "We just got orders for our next assignment so we're off."

Andrew nodded as the pair walked off to a familiar pair of mobile suits "What!" Yzack yelled seeing the suits "T-those are!"

Waltfield nodded "Yup those two bought them from the Junk Guild," he explained "Then they upgraded them themselves."

"Do they know what happened to the pilots?" Mark asked almost hopefully.

The Tiger shook his head in denial "Nope," he said "They didn't ask and the Guild never said."

Mark sighed but nodded anyways "So what is the plan?" He asked as they moved to the planning area.

Archangel

Chris breathed deeply as he sat in the cockpit of his mobile suit, all work on upgrading was put on hold until after this coming battle as they would need the suits in the air Waltfield called me a berserker, he thought to himself They were mythic warriors who went almost crazy in battle, reacting faster than before, stronger and more agile, is that what I am? A Berserker? His thought were cut off by the Level One alarm "Chris Dante, Raven, Ready to launch!" He informed as he sealed his helmet and in short order his and Liz's suits were moved to the Catapult "Chris Dante, Raven, Taking off!"

"Liz Dante, Zephyr, Launching!"

In short order Mu was in the Catapult behind them "Mu La Flaga, Lightning Eclipse, Let's go!"

Flying through the air the first thing Chris noticed were the multiple BuCUE and ZuOOTs on the field waiting for them "This is going to be a bitch." He predicted as he transformed into Mobile armor mode and together with Liz rained a series of missiles down upon the suits, the BuCUEs easily dodged and returned fire while the ZuOOTs mostly were unable to dodge removing them from the fight.

Mu

Mu brought out his Agni cannon and took aim at another group of ZuOOTs blasting them away before dodging a high powered beam blast announcing the arrival of Lev and the Grizzly in its Bear mode "Playing with the big guns are we?" Lev asked as his suit walked forward "Try mine on for size."

"Dammit." Mu swore as he put away the Agni cannon and drew a Heat Shotel with his shield arm as well as extending the Murasame blade "But I will not be as easy as last time."

"Maybe, Maybe not." Another voice cut in as the Phantom appeared in front of Mu with only his honed reflexes saving him from being dissected "But you are facing two of us now."

Liz

Liz snarled as she looped through the ground fire with an unreal agility before transforming to suit mode and opened up with her beam rifle destroying a couple of ZuOOTs and BuCUEs, only for her next shots to be interrupted by larger amount of missiles forcing her on the defensive as the Hawk kept up the fire adding in her sniper fire as well while the Buster combined his rifles and fired the massive blast narrowly missing the Zephyr "Dammit, of course we never get it easy do we?" She asked

"We try not to make it easy." Naleen admitted a smirked evident in her voice.

"Although we could say the same thing to you." Dearka chipped in aiming at the Zephyr once more.

Chris

Chris grunted as the Duel impacted with him forcing him to the ground where the Slash was waiting with the duel swords at the ready only for Chris to transform his suit at the last minute to escape and put some distance between them "You are always dogging our steps aren't you?" Chris asked in frustration as he transformed back and fired his rail cannons only for the pair to dodge as they attempted to close in on him while Chris kept out of range "No way am I taking both of you on close range."

"Heh," Yzack laughed "Learning aren't you?"

"Yeah, something you ought to do sometime Yzack." Marked teased as he fired off a couple of shots with his beam pistol.

Chris blinked as he realized they were bantering "Didn't you get mad at every little thing?" He asked in confusion as he tore past them firing his short ranged cannons.

"Not anymore," Yzack claimed "I learned being angry all the time will blind you to the things around you."

"Funny," Chris mused "Ryu said the same thing to me once."

Mountains

A pair of mobile suits sat hidden in the mountains as they watched the ensuing battle "They'll get slaughtered." Saya, the pilot of the blue-white suit claimed as she moved to launch.

"Just wait." Cautioned Roku in a green-black suit that had a large red X emblazoned on the chest "They can do better, I know they can, if not, we still have this." He reassured hefting a cannon like rifle. Saya bit her lip but relented nonetheless "They need to learn," Roku whispered "They need to learn their limits and abilities, just like you did, just like I did."

"Does it have to be this way?" Saya asked softly.

"Unfortunately," Roku confirmed with a grimace "Our greatest abilities only awaken in the stress of life or death, it is unfortunate, but that is the way it is right now."

Saya sighed as she turned back to the battle her hands gripping tightly on the controls.

Chris

Chris swore as he narrowly avoided another swipe from the Duel, he was approaching his limits, his mind felt overloaded as he tried to track the progress of his allies while battling with the two in front of him, unfortunately in a minute of distraction of shooting a BuCUE about to crush a jeep gave the Slash the moment he needed to cut off the gun arm of the Raven "Fuck!" Chris yelled as he drew a beam saber with his remaining arm unable to go into Armor Mode with the damage he sustained, he moved desperately as he tried to fend off the two close combat model Mobile suits only to be easily over powered "NO, I WILL NOT DIE!" He shouted as the grayish-green seed exploded in his mind. Suddenly calm he saw the Slash moving behind him as his senses reached out feeling the presences of the pilots around him as he reacted instantly flipping backwards over the Slash shocking Mark as the Raven's saber flashed twice disarming the suit before turning to the Duel as Yzack charged in the saber flashing forward only for Chris to duck under the saber and sever the legs from underneath him, just as the Raven ran out of energy using the last of it to distance himself from the pair.

Roku and Saya


"It begins." Roku whispered quietly "They are awakening."

Liz

Liz began to panic slightly as she desperately evaded the combined fire of the Buster and Hawk, unfortunately she could only dodge for so long as when she was going to transform the Buster nailed her suit's left leg sending her tumbling to the ground No, she thought to herself This can't be it, I can't die here, Images flashed through her mind, her friends, her remaining family, Kira and Ryu's final moments, Yuuka I will NOT allow it to end HERE! a light green seed floated through her mind before exploding causing her pupils to dilate, flipping her suit around she landed on the one leg before boosting forward dropping her rifle as she drew her saber instead weaving through the missiles and beams with a renewed skill that amazed the two pilots as she closed in on the pair destroying their weapons before cutting the heads off and distanced herself from them before her suit collapsed from energy loss and the damage it sustained.

Mu

Mu's eyes widened as he saw the two pilots collapse and the nearby BuCUEs close in like hyenas to a corpse and moved to defend them only for the Phantom to block him as Lev tackled him in his bear form in an attempt to tear his suit to shreds with the Grizzly's beam claws only for Mu to shoot the Murasame's beam pistol at one of the arms joints close range severing it quickly before dodging another swipe from Jacques. His eye widened as he saw the BuCUEs close in on the two suits No, not again. He thought to himself.

A pair of BuCUEs leapt at the Raven only for a massive pale yellow almost gold beam to hit both suits removing them from existence as all fighting froze in shock while a pair of new suits arrived, both of them hauntingly familiar to the crew of the Archangel "This is Kira Yamato calling to all Archangel units and all members of the Desert Dawn!" An extremely familiar voice called out as the Strike-like suit hovered over the Zephyr "Fall back to the Archangel! We will finish this battle!"

The entire battlefield was frozen before the fight restarted as the Strike-like suit grabbed the Zephyr handing it off to Mu as he passed by while the Dragon-like suit grabbed the Raven and quickly flew it back to the Archangel.

Saya/Kira

Kira sighed in relief as her friends made it safely to the Archangel before focusing on the remaining suits on the field as targeting recitals stared appearing on her 360 degree Pananormic cockpit as a pair of plasma cannons on her suits back unfolded and she raised her beam rifle and shield that had a gatling barrel attached up before rapidly firing with her weapons quickly destroying over half of the suits currently on the field before boosting forward drawing her ever present Katana and started slashing through the remaining suits in rapid succession and grabbed the Beam Boomerang attached to the shield and threw it cutting off the legs of a pair of BuCUEs while the remainder of the forces started to panic "Like shooting fish in a barrel." She mused before ducking under an orange BuCUE like suit.

"Not bad Saya," Andrew Waltfield's voice broke through the radio "Or should I say Kira Yamato, Valkyrie of Heliopolis?"

Kira only smirked "Whatever you feel comfortable with Andy." She retorted making the Desert Tiger laugh.

Roku

Roku grinned as he leveled his suits oversized rifle at one of the destroyers flanking the Lesseps and fired, while it wasn't as big as the last one it was still large enough to pierce through the destroyer obliterating it. Roku lost his smirk however when he dodged a materializing Phantom "That is a very dangerous weapon you have there." Jacques said "It's best a weapon like that be destroyed."

"I agree," Roku said simply "However there is a need for this weapon, and so long as there is a need I will use it."

"I see." Jacques responded as he readied himself while Roku placed the rifle on his back and drew out a bayoneted rifle.

The pair squared off for a minute before Jacques leapt forward clashing his scythe against the bayonet while his shield rushed to the suit only to be blocked by Roku's Murasame unit while the two suits struggled. Roku broke the struggle with a kick to the Phantom's midsection sending the suit staggering back while Roku backed up and unfolded a pair of cannons on his shoulders and fired nearly catching the Phantom's head in the blast before snapping his rifle up and fired a burst of three shots in rapid succession surprising the opposing pilot as his units arm was caught in the beams destroying it and crippling the Phantom. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor Jacques went over to the legless Duel and with the help of a ZuOOT he started dragging it back to the Lesseps as they fired the retreat signal.

Saya/Kira

Kira grunted as the LaGOWE that Waltfield was piloting slammed into her suit's shield sending her skidding back as she returned fire with her beam gatling guns forcing the LaGOWE on the move or be shredded "You can still leave Andy." Kira offered as they squared off against each other.

"Don't you know?" Waltfield replied "It never end till you enemy is dead!"

Kira sighed as he charged forward before meeting his charge with her own slashing out with her Katana destroying the cannons of the LaGOWE before dropping it and drawing out her beam rifle "Forgive me than." She whispered sadly as she pulled the trigger nailing a critical spot causing an internal reaction.

LaGOWE

"Sorry Aisha." Andy whispered as they passed the Strike-like suit.

"I chose this Andy." She whispered back as she leapt out of her seat and hugged him while their cockpit exploded.

Archangel

The bridge crew sat in shock as they witnessed the two battles, the Strike-like suit sat there for a minute staring at the wreckage before joining the Dragon-Like suit in boarding the Archangel "Allow them to board but have a security at the hanger." Murrue ordered as she headed to the door "Heliopolis students I can understand you wanting to make sure it is your friends, but let us make sure of it before you get your hopes up."

Hanger

"They look like the Strike and the Dragon," Murdoch mused to the three pilots "But they've both been heavily upgraded."

Mu nodded as he stared at the suits in a mix of anger and hope as the top of the chests open up and two pilots came out wearing helmets, they seemed to confer with each other for a second before the descended to the ground and approached the pilots and Murrue who had just arrived, reaching up they started pulling off their helmets revealing a Kira with crimson red streaks through her hair and a Ryu with blond streaks through his "Yo." Ryu said simply as he grinned "You all looked like you seen a ghost."

Chapter Twelve: Recovery

Orbit, 2 hours after Battle


A single red-trimmed white mobile suit shifted though the mobile suit along with a pair of Kimera Salvager Pods, each unit was emblazoned with the symbol of the Junk Guild "Amazing!" The male pilot of the mobile suit literally squealed in excitement "Look at all this stuff, this is an amazing haul!"

"Should we really be doing this Lowe?" asked a female piloting one of the Kimeras "I mean it only has been a couple of hours."

"Don't worry Kisato," the final pilot, a male, reassured "This is also a rescue operation for any survivors."

"Liam's right," a female voice broke through from their mothership, the HOME "Besides I'm picking a faint SOS signal right now, about a klick west from you current position."

"Got it Professor," Lowe confirmed as he moved his mobile suit the Red Frame west and picked his way carefully through the wreckage until he came across something that made his eyes widen "Prof, you are not going to believe what I just found." He whispered in a soft voice as a pair of Mobile suits, both unerringly similar to his Red Frame, floated in front of them, one held the symbol of a sword flanked by a pair of wings while the second held the symbol of a dragon about to take flight "Hell, even I'm having trouble believing it and I'm looking right at it!"

Junk Guild Ship 'HOME', Infirmary

The Professor frowned as she looked over the two pilots they picked up from the battlefield both still in their pilot suits, they were familiar with one, the fabled 'Dragon of Endymion' having done a job for him in the past, the second one was an unknown though, they had heard whispers of her though, the 'Valkyrie of Heliopolis'. It's a good thing we found them when we did, she mused Any longer and they would of died from lack of air, still what are the chances of finding Ryu like this again.

Hearing a faint groan she was brought out of her musing as she saw the female pilot stir as her amethyst eyes fluttered open "Relax," The Professor said in a calming manner "You're safe."

"Ryu?" The pilot whispered out in question.

"He is perfectly fine," The Professor reassured "It would take far more than what the two of you received to even dent that knucklehead's thick skull."

A ghost of a smile flashed across the pilots lips as she shifted her head slightly to Ryu's form with concern in her eyes. The Professor softly moved to the young pilot's side and gently helped ease the girl into a sitting position before holding a bottle of water aiding the girl as she drank deeply "Thank you," she whispered gratefully "Where am I?"

"You're aboard the Junk Guild vessel HOME," The Professor explained "We found the two of you in the debris from the battle, can you tell me your name?"

"Kira Yamato." The pilot answered quietly "And the Strike?"

"Which unit was that?" The Professor asked curiously.

"Blue and white with hard points for mounting different weapons and packs," Kira explained as she slowly regained her strength "It has the symbol of a sword between two wings on the right shoulder."

The Professor frowned, they had picked up a grey suit like that, but a blue and white mobile suit, unless "Tell me, does the Strike shift colors?" She asked with a frown.

Kira nodded "Phase Shift," she said her eyes drooping "Reliant on power source."

The Professor sighed as Kira began to try and fight off the sleep that was consuming her "Don't worry, you suit is here as well," she said gently patting the girls shoulder "It was pretty badly damaged, but our mechanic will be able to repair it once you up and about."

Kira smiled in relief "Thank goodness," she whispered as sleep began to win the struggle "It is my memento from Ryu."

The Professor blinked as the girl slipped off to sleep thoroughly confused.

Hanger

Lowe stared up at the two mobile suits itching to get started on repairing them, but unfortunately neither of the two pilots where awake, and it was against Lowe's personal rules to repair anything without the permission and overseeing of the owner "Hard to believe that Ryu is back in the cockpit." Lowe muttered as he floated up to the suit that had the dragon emblem on the shoulder, Ryu's mark, so it must be his unit, Lowe poked his head in the cockpit "Wonder what kind of damage you took?" Ryu asked the suit as he took a seat and pulled down the keyboard and started accessing the systems, when the request for a password came up Lowe frowned in thought What was the password that he had used for the X? Ah! Lowe typed a word only for the words 'ACCESS DENIED.' To flash across the screen "He changed the passwords huh?" Lowe muttered "Figures, still I have access to the battle record at least." Lowe grinned as he settled himself in to watch the battles that the mobile suit had been through.

Infirmary

Ryu groaned as she shifted slightly in his bed before dragging his eyes open "Good your awake." A familiar voice said calmly.

Ryu's eyes flickered over to the speaker "Professor?" He questioned with his voice cracking.

"Yes it's me," the Professor reassured "And you companion Kira is just fine, here drink." She ordered brining the straw to his mouth "The two of you suffered from Oxygen deprivation," The Professor explained "You're lucky we found you when we did, any longer and you would have died."

"Yet another one I owe you." Ryu responded slightly stronger "Eh Professor?"

The Professor chuckled "Considering we will have the chance to tinker with the EA's new mobile suits, I think we can call it even." The Professor said smiling.

Ryu chuckled softly "Can you get in contact with Terminal?" He asked "I think I may need them and something they are holding for me."

"As soon as the two of you are fully recovered." The Professor answered poking Ryu in the forehead "Best get some sleep."

"Thanks again Professor." Ryu said smiling as his eyes drooped.

The Professor sighed as she shook her head as he fell back asleep "Knowing you you will repay it by saving the world." She muttered making Ryu chuckle.

Later, Bridge

"They're recovering pretty well," The Professor commented as she and the crew of the HOME gathered on the bridge "They'll probably be up and about tomorrow."

"Cool," Lowe said almost salivating in anticipation of being able to tinker with the two machines in the hanger, he suddenly blinked and straightened himself "Also I think there is something you should see Professor, well two things," He said surprising everyone with his seriousness "First those two are now technically married, Captain Halberton had married them shortly before the end of the battle, also there is this," He nodded to his AI Quantum Computer Eight who showed the schematics for a mobile suit "I think I know why he wants to contact Terminal, He's Planning on rebuilding the Dragon from the ground up, but what worries me is this," Eight's screen switched to the schematics of a rifle "This rifle, if constructed, can equal that of the Positron Cannons."

The Crew stared at Eight's screen "You forget," The Professor admonished "This is Ryu we're talking about, he wouldn't go on a killing spree with this thing unless his friends where in mortal danger."

"I know that!" Lowe said "The problem is if the EA or ZAFT get a hold of this technology!"

"That is why I'm going to Terminal for aid with it." Ryu cut in as he entered the bridge with Kira, they both were supporting each other to prevent any more damage "And I intend to make sure it is kept a secret as it is constructed."

Lowe grinned at Ryu "I knew such a thing as lack of air couldn't keep you down!" He exclaimed happily.

"Bah breathing is highly overrated." Ryu claimed with a small chuckled as he shook hands with the Junk Tech "Kira these are the people that helped me leave the EA after Junius Seven, this insane guy is Lowe Gear, insane, but better than me at fixing, repairing and upgrading mobile suits, the quiet blond there is Kisato Yamabuki, she is the one who attempts to keep Lowe in line, next is Liam Garfield, he's their representative and finally we have the Professor, and no I don't know her real name, who does know your real name?"

"No one you would know." She retorted smirking before looking at them closely "I wasn't expecting to see the two of up and about until tomorrow."

Kira shrugged "I've always healed fast," she explained "And do you really think you can keep him in an infirmary?"

The Professor sighed "Fine," She relented "But the two of you will be resting in the spare quarters, understood?"

"Yes ma'am." They coursed before following Liam to the spare quarters.

"Have a nice sleep." He said as he departed leaving the pair alone in the room.

"How are you feeling?" Ryu asked as they curled up together on the bed.

"Relieved," Kira admitted "That we actually didn't die, did it really happen though?"

"What?" Ryu asked for confirmation.

"Did we really get married?" She asked looking at him with a mix of fear and hope.

Ryu blinked and realized that, yes, yes they did get married "We did," He confirmed slightly dazed "Are you alright with it?"

Kira bite her lip slightly looking at him "I am," She confirmed "Are you?"

Ryu's answer was to grin and pull her into a bruising kiss as he poured his emotions into her through it, something she happily returned as she fell back onto the bed, when they finally separated for air she looked up at his face longingly "Please, I want you," she pleaded "I want to stay with you, and to remain with you."

Ryu looked back at her in concern "Are you sure?" He asked "'Cause I don't want to-"

He was cut off as Kira pulled him down into a forceful kiss as she fumbled with the zipper for his suit "I'm sure Ryu," She said as she pulled the zipper down and began sliding off his suit "I want this, I want you, besides," she added smirking at him "We're married now aren't we?"

****LEMON ALERT!****(Skip to next warning if you are under legal age for your country or you do not like Lemons.)

Ryu nodded and helped Kira in pulling off his Pilot suit revealing the simple white undershirt and boxers, bringing Kira closer to his he began to trail his mouth along her jaw and neckline while he swiftly unzipped her suit and slid his hands in cupping her breasts "Oh god." Kira moaned as he gently kneaded them through her bra. He smirked as he kissed down her neck and slid her arms out of the pilot suit as they allowed it to fall to her waist, capturing her mouth with his once more as he slid his hands around her back to where he unclipped her bra. The broke apart briefly to allow Kira to completely remove it.

Once it was gone Ryu moved in again, but this time he aimed lower and gave a long lick to her breast, much to Kira's vocal approval that only increased as he began to lightly suck on her right breast while his other hand drifted to her left breast and began to tease the nipple there as she wrapped her arms around his head pinning it to her breast. After awhile she groaned in disappointment as his hand left her chest only for her breath to pick up its pace as his hand trailed downwards and slipped into her pilot suit that still covered her lower body and began to rub the wet spot that had been developing on her underwear. Kira moaned as he increased the pressure while slid down the rest of the pilot suit taking it off. "You are beautiful Kira." He murmured as he kissed her neck before sliding down to her lower regions taking off her last piece of clothing making her blush a bright red.

"God this is embarrassing." She whispered softly before letting out a sharp gasp when Ryu gave her outer lips a quick lick.

"You know you taste pretty good." Ryu commented grinning at the increase of her blush.

"S-shut u-uhh," She trailed off as he gave another longer lick. Grinning at her blissful face Ryu continued to lavish her vagina with attention from his tongue occasionally dipping it in every now and then. Kira moaned loudly as she clenched at the bed sheets tightly as she felt something beginning to coil within her "Oh god!" She shouted as she shifted her grip to his head keeping him pinned to her lower regions.

From his position Ryu grinned as he brought his hand up and slid a finger into her dripping entrance and began to pump lightly as Kira's eyes widened her jaw dropping as some drool involuntarily dripped from the corner of her mouth, after a minute of pumping his finger he added another finger while he liked at her clit finally snapping the coil that had been building up in her as she pressed him further into her entrance "I'm cumming!" Kira shouted as her inner walls clamped down on Ryu's fingers and his while she came all over them.

Pulling his fingers out with a light pop Ryu brought them up to his mouth and licked one of his fingers clean "You really do taste good Kira." He complimented grinning at her blush.

Kira grabbed his cum covered hand and began to lick it clean grinning at his red face "You're right," She agreed sultrily "I do taste good." Ryu gulped, even though she was blushing bright red it still looked incredibly sexy to him to see her clean her own cum off of his hand, her comment only served to make his erection throb painfully in his boxers. Kira grinned as she looked at him feeling more confident about what they were doing "You have a bit too much clothing on you Ryu." She whispered to her lover as she grabbed the hem of his undershirt and pulled it off before kissing him as she gently pushed him onto his back while running her hands along his hardened abs and chest "But I think you might taste better than I do Ryu." She whispered in his ear pressing her ample chest against him smirking as she felt his tool twitched against her thigh.

Kira kissed him again and began to trail downwards pausing only to give a quick kiss to his nipples and bellybutton, placing a hand on each side of his boxers she took a breath and pulled them off revealing his decent sized member to the world. Kira blushed as she looked at it before reaching up and curled her hand and lightly pumped earning a light groan of approval from Ryu encouraging her. Leaning in Kira gave an experimental lick and deemed the taste of it okay, if a bit salty and proceeded to run her tongue along the full length of his cock and swirled her tongue around the tip before repeating on both of the sides.

For his part Ryu was in heaven as he felt Kira's tongue dance around his cock and closed his eyes as he felt the pleasurable sensations continue. When he felt hot air being breathed on his cock at a rhythmic he opened his eyes to see Kira hovering over it with her hand wrapped around the base as she tried to decide if she should continue or not. Gulping she took a breath and kissed the tip and lightly sucked it for a second before she began to take more of it in her mouth. Ryu groaned as he felt his cock twitch in her warm, wet mouth while her tongue massaged the underside of his cock "Oh god that feels good." He breathed as he placed his hands atop of her head and began to massage her scalp lightly as she took more of him into her mouth.

Reaching the back of her throat Kira paused for a second as she continued to move her tongue along the bottom of his cock before retracting to the tip not feeling confident enough to continue into her throat. She continued to bob her head at a steady pace as her hand fondled his sack producing even more moans from her lover as his hands tightened a bit on his head and she felt the muscles tense in his member.

"Kira, I'm gonna cum!" He warned through gritted teeth as he felt his loins tighten. Kira brought her head back until only the tip was in her mouth and began to suck as her tongue danced around it trying to bring her lover into orgasm "I'm Cumming."

Kira pulled back in surprise as she felt his essence enter her mouth and closed her eyes as she felt it splash against her face and upper chest. Once he stopped she opened her eyes and rolled the spunk that was in her mouth a bit tasting it and gave a light moan in appreciation as she started cleaning the rest of it off of her. "You taste pretty good Ryu." Kira said blushing a bit at her actions, although Ryu looked like a ripened tomato as his cock acted as a flagpole from the sight.

He suddenly lunged in and deeply kissed her as he battled her tongue with his own, breaking for air he looked at her with lustful eyes that she returned moaning as she felt his member rub up against her entrance "Do you want to continue?" Ryu asked in a whisper trying to keep the lust out of his voice to avoid pressuring her into it.

Kira nodded in confirmation as her eyes closed moaning at the feeling of his cock rubbing against her. She opened her eyes as she felt him shift around a bit and saw him digging around his pilot suit a bit before bringing out a packaged condom(Remember to practice safe sex kiddies!), seeing her confused look he grinned sheepishly "Mu always made sure I had one in my suit," He explained a bit embarrassed "Eventually it became something of a habit."

Kira giggled lightly as she took the package from him and opened it "Good thing I remember Sex ed." She teased making him laugh and blush at the same time as she put the condom on him before pulling him back on top of her her hand guiding him to her entrance and moaned as she felt the tip press in.

"Are you sure Kira," Ryu asked once more in concern "It will hurt." Kira's answer was to only wrap her legs around his back and pull him in a bit more before she felt the cock press against her hymen looking up at her husband her nodded her head and gripped him tightly as he plunged himself into her making her give out a small whimper of pain as the proof of her virginity was broken. Ryu held her gently rubbing her back as he whispered soothingly in her ear. After a bit the pain dulled and Kira shifted her hips giving a small gasp of pleasure giving Ryu his signal to start moving.

Pulling back a bit Ryu paused with the tip still in before pushing forward as he started moving at a slow gentle pace as Kira moaned out his name "Please, faster!" She moaned out as she moved her own hips to meet his thrusts. Kissing her jaw line as he obeyed he began to pick up the pace as he added a bit more force to his thrusts "Ahh!" Kira moaned as she closed her eyes as the intense sensations of his cock pounding into her assaulted her body "Ryu I-I'm Cumming!" She shouted as she felt her coils tighten to impossible levels.

"Me too." He agreed with a grunt as his thrusts reached an almost frantic pace "Kira!"

Kira opened her mouth in a silent scream as her vaginal walls tightened around Ryu's cock while she came triggering his own. Ryu collapsed on top of her as they both came down from their orgasmic high "That... was... amazing." Kira said between pants as she tried to catch her breath.

Ryu chuckled lightly as he shifted himself and pulled out with an audible pop and he pulled off the used condom and threw it off the bed before collapsing again beside Kira pulling her into his chest "I'd have to agree to that." He said contently kissing the top of her head.

**** END LEMON!!!!!****(You may begin reading again!)

Kira giggle slightly nuzzling into his chest "I love you Ryu." She whispered as the adrenaline from the sex died down leaving her feeling tied and exhausted.

Ryu smiled tiredly feeling the same as Kira "I love you to Kira." He said hugging her close "Never forget that." He added as they drifted off to sleep.

Next Room over

Lowe groaned as he finally let the pillow drop from his ears "They are FINALLY done!" He nearly shouted in joy "I can finally sleep!"

Two days Later, Hanger

Ryu sighed as he looked over the Dragon and Strike, they had repaired as much of the damage as they could with the materials at hand, like the wiring and inner frame damage, however they required a special type of metal for the Phase Shift armor to work properly to repair the Strike's cockpit and to replace the Dragon's arm. Thankfully Ryu was able to get in contact with his contact in Terminal and ordered the parts and equipment he needed, they were currently en route to one of the Terminal bases and should be arriving soon I hope he got the special item I asked for. Ryu thought to himself as he turned to the schematics for the upgrades he had planned for both suits, he would have preferred to strip the suits down and build them back up, but they were on a time constraint as they had received word that the Archangel had landed in Northern Africa, the territory of the Desert Tiger Andrew Waltfield.

Looking up he smiled at the sight of Kira working on the Strike's Inner Frame as she made adjustments for the upgrade they will be undergoing today, they had grown even closer after their coupling two nights ago and Lowe had to bunk with Liam they were so loud apparently. He gave a small chuckle at the thought that had could have Kira screaming to the high heavens when they got going "How are you doing?" He asked as he moved beside her.

"I will never again complain about the work you do again." She grunted out as she tried to loosen a stubborn bolt.

Ryu chuckled as he placed his hands over top of hers and helped loosen the bolt, once that was done he pulled her away from the suit "I meant with everything that had happened." He corrected as they drifted across the hanger in each other's arms.

Kira sighed lightly "I'm worried about the others," She admitted "If this guy could give you a run for your money what chance do we rookies stand?"

Ryu smiled softly at his wife "I told you three before, you are long past being rookies," He corrected "You guys have earned your wings, you guys are strong in your own rights, besides, Mu' there, he'll keep an eye on them."

Kira relented with a sigh as she melted into his chest enjoying the moment until Lowe entered "We arriving now guys!" He shouted waving his arm at the pair.

Ryu sighed at the ruined moment and waved his arm in acknowledgement "C'mon, there is something I want to show you there." He said as he pulled her along to the Bridge.

"What is this place?" Kira asked as they looked upon a Large Asteroid the size of ZAFTs Jachin Due Asteroid base.

"Terminal's headquarters, New Platea," Ryu explained looking at it with a distant expression "I haven't been here since this war has started."

Kira looked at him oddly "Terminal as I explained is a self sufficient Mercenary Force," He lectured "Unlike groups like Serpents Tail who need the aid of Companies like Integrated Design Bureau to repair and construct new mobile suits Terminal can and has built their own mobile suits, Mu's Patriot is a part of the series actually. Terminal is more like a Mercenary Military, they have ranks and a command structure, most people start off as the typical grunt sectioned off into a squad under the command of a more experience pilot or engineer, next up are the Agents, they work in pairs mostly for small jobs but they have worked with others before for larger jobs, they are pretty much the 'aces' of Terminal, and finally we have the Commanders, they are the ones who lead the squads and receive the mission requests from the bigwigs and the benefactors."

"Who are they?" Kira asked "The benefactors I mean."

Ryu smirked slyly "I do know a couple," He admitted before grimacing "But I'm not allowed to say who, the fact is Terminal is the fourth major power in this war, not only do they have a sizable force, but they have some cutting edge tech not available to the Market yet, both the EA and ZAFT have tried a takeover at one point, but both fail miserably and had prices jacked up exuberantly because of it."

"Wow," Kira whispered in amazement "So they're pretty much a mercenary version of ORB then."

Ryu blinked "Yeah, essentially they are." He agreed amazed at the simplistic explanation of it.

"The Junk Guild has also maintained a good connection with Terminal as a collaborator," Lowe inputted from the controls "In addition to providing Security Contracts at reduced prices they also provide parts and equipment in return for help developing and constructing bases like Divergence here."

"Junk Guild ship this is New Platea Control," The speaker crackled "Please Identify yourselves."

"This is Lowe Gear of the Junk Guild," Lowe responded "We are providing transport to two customers that already have an appointment with Capitan Commander Falcon."

There was a silence for a couple of seconds before Control came back on "That has been confirmed," Control said "Capitan Commander Falcon will be waiting for you in Hanger Three."

"Thank you Control, safe flying." Lowe said before cutting the link.

"Falcon?" Kira asked "Isn't that?"

Ryu nodded "Yuna's brother," he whispered softly "Thankfully he never blamed me for what happened, even if I wanted him to."

Kira placed an arm around his shoulder as she hugged him making him smile and return the gesture as they entered the hanger.

Hanger of New Platea,


Capitan Commander Drake Falcon was a solidly built man around 30 with blond hair reaching his shoulders and steel grey eyes standing at an imposing 6'10", the imposing figure was put off by his cheery smile and loose uniform as he greeted Ryu with a calm familiarity that Ryu returned "Ryu it's good to see you again!" Drake shouted as he engulfed Ryu in a hug actually lifting the brunette off of his feet as he turned blue from lack of air.

"Drake! Air! Need!" Ryu rasped out as he futilely tried to push the large man away.

When Drake finally released Ryu he laughed merrily at the sight of Ryu trying to catch his breath leaning wide eyed against a concerned Kira "Sorry 'bout that." He apologized chuckling.

"No you are not," Ryu accused glaring at the elder man "You do that every time we meet."

Drake laughed heavily before looking Kira over "And who is this lovely ray sunshine?" He asked giving an exaggerated bow " I know for certain you are not a sibling, no way such a beauty could be related to such a beast."

Kira giggled "Kira Yamato," She said shaking his hand "I pilot the Strike."

Drake raised an eyebrow "Ah a pilot," He said with a sigh "Well if you're a wing mate of Ryu's I am afraid," Kira gulped as Ryu rolled his eyes "That a Handshake will never do!" With that he pulled the startled Kira into a massive, albeit gentler than Ryu's, hug. Kira was startled to say the least but hesitantly returned it "So how have you been Ryu?" Drake asked once he put Kira down and led them to a busy part of the hanger that had a pair of large containers.

Ryu smiled as he walked beside Kira and put an arm around her "Very well, Drake, very well." He answered honestly.

Drake blinked for a minute before suddenly laughing as he clapped Ryu's back hard enough to make him stumble "Good for you Ryu!" He shouted "Sis would never want you to keep being such an emo over her death!"

Ryu winced as he felt the mark on his back from the clap sting but nodded anyways. Looking up he saw that one of the containers had a Massive X painted onto it "Is that?" He asked looking at Drake who nodded "C'mon Kira meet one of my oldest allies and the sword that defended me in my darkest hour," he said as the container opened revealing the fully restored original X mobile suit.

"Whoa." Kira whispered as she gazed at the mobile suit "So this is the suit that made you a legend?"

Ryu nodded as he looked upon the suit fondly "Yeah, even though some parts of the suit are outdated, There are parts of it that will be transferred to the Dragon." He explained before turning to the second crate "Where you able to get everything I asked for?"

Drake nodded "Just arrived actually," He explained "Just need to off load you suits and we can get started."

"Thanks Drake," Ryu said gratefully "I have two other requests, one I need, if possible, some false Combat Agent Docs made up for myself and Kira."

Drake looked at Ryu seriously "You do realize that is a heavy request," He said "Even if you are already an Engineer Agent."

Ryu nodded grimly while Kira looked at him confused "You remember all of the Blueprints I worked on while I was Kato's assistant?" He asked and when she nodded he continued "That was my work as an Engineer Agent, they offered me a Combat Agent posting, but I was sick of fighting, and didn't have anything to fight for, so I asked them to hold onto the X until I found my reason to fight again."

Kira slowly nodded her understanding "I can do this for you Ryu," Drake said putting away a cell phone he had pulled out to call someone "Our Benefactors have agreed to it, under the condition you after this war has ended take up the Combat Agent rank, maybe even Commander."

Ryu sighed but nodded anyways "Could be worse I suppose," He said scratching the back of his head "The last thing I need is some marriage contracts drawn up," Drake blinked and looked between the two of them "Well we thought we were going to die, so, we asked Halberton to marry us with his Captaincy authority."

Drake blinked again before chuckling "No problem," he said "Is it going to be under Hisanaga?"

Ryu shook his head and drew Kira close to him "Yamato actually." He corrected grinning like a fool.

Drake merely sighed and nodded "I'll get those and the Combat Agent docs to you before you leave," He promised "Now let's get those Mobile Suits unloaded."

The pair chuckled before moving off to the HOME's hanger.

Next Day, New Platea, Hanger


Ryu sighed as he left the Cockpit of the newly christened Dragon-X having just finished making revisions to the OS of the suit for the new upgrades. Looking over to Kira he smiled at the sight of a simple gold band on her wedding finger, once again thanking Drake in his head for doing this for him "You ready?" He asked as he floated down to her.

Kira looked up as she nodded, they where both wearing the Terminal uniform having decided to actually join the Company now instead of later, Ryu had been surprised when Kira had stepped forward with her own application for Combat Agent. Ryu couldn't help but laugh at the time at their own determination to remain together "Yeah just finished up here now," Kira said "So where are we heading?"

"I already contacted Andy," Ryu explained as they moved to one of the side rooms to dye their hair "He gave us permission to land at his base."

Kira sighed but nodded "I hope their alright." She whispered softly "And I hope they can forgive us for not contacting them."

Ryu grimaced "I hope so too Kira," He agreed "I hope so too."


===Chapter Thirteen: The Crimson Sea


=

Archangel, Captain's office


Mu sighed gustily as he lent back in his chair after hearing Ryu and Kira's story on what had happened after the battle in orbit "So you're saying you don't trust the EA, have joined Terminal and have been given a mission to aid us pretty much?" Mu summarized while he, Chris, Liz, Natarle, Murrue, Ryu and Kira sat in the office. Ryu gave a nod of confirmation "Wow a lot has happened to you in such a short amount of time."

Ryu chuckled smiling at Kira who sat beside him, both of them had changed out of their pilot suits into the Terminal uniforms "That wasn't the biggest piece of news." He admitted looking a bit guilty.

"Oh god." Chris moaned "Don't tell me, the two of you also got married!" He looked at the pair, both of who raised their left hands showing a simple gold band on their ring finger "Fuck." Chris deadpanned staring at them in shock along with everyone else.

Kira giggled at their expressions "We had Halberton do it before the final charge," She explained "And had it made official at Terminal, we plan on having an actual ceremony once the war is over."

A suddenly squeal from Liz was Kira's only warning before she was tackled by the excited brunette slammed into her hugging her "That is amazing for you Kira!" She congratulated "Or should I say Mrs. Hisanaga now?"

Ryu chucked as he helped pry the excitable teen off of Kira "Actually I took up her last name instead." He explained "My family for the most part has always been known as soldiers and the such like, so I decided to let them fade into history."

They nodded their understanding "So what do we tell Command?" Natarle asked surprising everyone making her uncomfortable when they all stared at her "What?"

"Did she ask what the plan was to go against regulations?" Asked Ryu disbelievingly.

"Yes I did!" Natarle shouted back "I just realized that there was more to life than following the rules."

Everyone blinked at her before Ryu began chuckling, a chuckling that soon made its way into full blown laughter as he clutched at his sides trying to breath properly "That is too funny," Ryu said "Yet another person I corrupted."

Mu groaned "Oh god," He sighed "What's next, the entire ZAFT fleet?"

Ryu actually looked like he was complementing it when Kira lightly smack the back of his head "It's simple," Kira began "We have false Terminal Combat Identities supplied by Terminal itself, so instead of saying we are Ryu and Kira Yamato, we are Roku and Saya Masamune, a married pair of Combat Agents."

Mu blinked "That's simple." He stated expecting something a bit more elaborate.

Ryu shrugged "The beat plans are the simple ones." He quoted "So do you mind if we come back aboard captain?"

Murrue sighed "Do you even need to ask?" She retorted "Actually I don't think anyone has even gotten around to packing up your stuff."

Kira smiled "Thanks captain," she said before sighing "I guess we need to talk to the others, they'll probably kill us."

"I still haven't decided how to punish the two of you yet." Liz informed grinning at the pair as they left.

Mu chuckled as the door closed, he looked like every muscle in his body loosened "I cannot tell you how glad I am that they are alive and well," He admitted as the other two officer nodded in agreement "This will really boost moral as well."

Murrue smirked a bit "They really do have that effect on people," She agreed "They're natural leaders."

"I hope they never decide to join ZAFT," Natarle added making the other two laugh "We'd be destroyed then."

Outside the Archangel

The quartet of pilots found their friends off in a small alcove in the rebel base where they had gathered waiting nervously, the Heliopolis Volunteers looked up as they entered and all sound in the room froze at the sight of Ryu and Kira who shuffled a bit nervously "Yo." Ryu greeted raising his hand in greeting breaking the Trance everyone had fallen in as the group suddenly swarmed them with Mir tacking Kira to the ground while Tolle lightly slugged Ryu while everyone else had gathered around them "We thought you died!" Mir said with a sob as she hugged Kira who patted the girls back reassuringly.

"Sorry," Kira apologized "We weren't able to get a hold of you guys, so we couldn't tell you that we where alright."

"I'm just glad you guys are alive." Sai breathed smiling at the pair who returned it.

"Birdie!" Was heard as Birdie swooped into the room landing on Kira's shoulder and hopped there for a second before poking her lightly in the ear.

Kira giggled at the little mechanical bird's actions "I missed you too Birdie." She whispered petting the mechanical bird on the head.

Off to the side Cagalli watched the proceedings slightly interesting and suddenly recognized the pair from Heliopolis "I thought they had died?" Cagalli whispered to Kisaka who frowned.

"They weren't able to confirm it," He whispered back "It could be they survived but were unable to get into contact with them."

"It's possible," Cagalli conceded "But then how did they get the mobile suits repaired and upgraded?"

Kisaka shrugged as they continued to watch the group.

Later

"To us, The Desert Dawn!" Sahib shouted raising his cup to Murrue, Mu and Natarle as the crew of the Archangel celebrated alongside of the Desert Dawn.

"To the future we have regained." Murrue added raising hers.

"And to regained allies and friends." Mu said grinning as they clinked their cups together and took a swig causing Natarle to choke at the strength of the whisky "But, things are still going to be difficult for you guys," Mu pointed out "Even if the Tiger is gone ZAFT is still here."

Sahib nodded "I know," he sighed before looking at Mu with a determined look "But we will fight, and we will keep on fighting."

Outside

Ryu sighed in contentment as he stretched "Ah nothing like the desert night." He said as he placed an arm around Kira who smiled and curled up beside him as they Chris and Liz had gathered around a fire to enjoy a the festive air.

Kira giggled "You like nighttime anywhere." She teased making him chuckle.

"Ah I'm so jealous!" Liz moaned watching the two "Who would've thought Kira would be the first to get married out of all of us! And to Ryu no less!"

"It's surprising isn't it?" Chris agreed "I thought it would be Sai and Flay."

Ryu frowned as he caught the sad look that briefly crossed Chris' face "Hey Chris," He said as he untangled himself from Kira "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

Chris blinked and nodded as he followed Ryu to a small alcove "What is it Ryu?" He asked curiously.

"You need to tell her how you feel." Ryu said straight out making Chris flinch.

"I can't," He denied "She is already engaged to someone, it would be against my principals to do so."

Ryu sighed as he lent back against a rock "Believe me Chris, if you do not tell her how you feel you will regret it for the rest of your life." He stated sagely as he looked out over the desert "Trust me on that."

"I know it's just..." Chris trailed off looking over the campsite.

"You're afraid of being rejected," Ryu stated bluntly "You're afraid of rejection, you're afraid of trusting, you're afraid of being the 'bad' guy."

Chris gulped as Ryu laid it all out in front of him "It's painful not knowing isn't it?" Ryu asked looking at Chris "Would it be more painful to not know and never see her again, or to know and be rejected?"

Chris blinked as he thought it over and suddenly straightened while Ryu smirked "You're right, I can't live my life in fear of the unknown," He said "I have to just take the chance and follow through with it."

"Go get them." Ryu said smirking as Chris moved off to find Flay while Ryu moved back to the fire where Kira was sitting "Where's Liz?"

"She went to take some food to the former pilot of the Lightning." Kira said as she snuggled back up against Ryu "Giving Chris a pep talk?"

Ryu nodded "Yeah," He confirmed "I normally would feel guilty but neither Flay nor Sai are happy with the arrangements."

Kira giggled as she lightly closed her eyes "True," she agreed resting her head on his shoulder "Let's just hope they can handle it like adults."

Ryu nodded as he pulled Kira closer and looked over the desert as he heard the soft whispers of names as the locals did the funeral rights for the casualties.

Archangel Hanger

Flay walked up to Sai as he chatted with one of the crew members of the Archangel "Hey Sai?" Flay said catching the blonde's attention "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure Flay," Sai agreed as they moved to a more secluded area "What is it?"

"Well I wanted to talk to you about our engagement..." She started slightly hesitant "Umm, I wanted to break it off."

Sai blinked in surprise "Why?" He asked confused "Is it something I did? Or didn't do?"

Flay shook her head in denial "No," She reassured with smile "I'm sure you'll make a girl happy someday, it's just, I never wanted this engagement in the first place, then there is the fact that we both changed so much since all of this began."

"I understand Flay," Sai reassured with a smile "Will you accept my hand in friendship then?"

Flay smiled and rolled her eyes "Does that even need an answer?" She asked hugging her now former fiancé.

Sai laughed "So do you mind if I ask who it is you like?" He said grinning already having an idea as he spotted Chris approaching them and subtly motioned for him to be quiet.

Flay blushed lightly "Well, I'm not certain if he'll respond well because of how I treated him and his sister beforehand." She said hesitantly.

"Chris?" Sai asked for confirmation "So you like Chris than?"

Flay nodded "I guess it started ever since Artemis," she explained as she sat down on one of the crates filling the Hanger "Ever since he pulled me into the cockpit of the Raven, actually nearly getting shot because of it, then seeing how intense that mobile suit fighting could be."

Sai nodded having witnessed it from the bridge and personally wishing to never have to enter a mobile suit to fight if he could help it "Have you told him yet?" Sai asked curiously.

"Not yet no," Flay denied shaking her head "I wanted to talk to you first, that way we can avoid unpleasantness."

Sai smiled lightly "Thank you Flay," He said gratefully "You really have changed, for the better."

Flay smiled at the blond as he walked off to continue his duties for the night and remained where she was looking up at the Raven "Do you really feel that way about me?" A voice asked shocking Flay as she turned to see Chris standing there.

"H-how long have you been there?" Flay asked surprised.

"Since Sai asked you who you really liked." Chris admitted with a sheepish smile "Sorry, I didn't mean to eavesdrop."

Flay blushed lightly "So you heard what I said then?" She asked to which Chris nodded "Yes that is how I feel, I don't know if it's love or something else, but I want to see if it is."

"You know Flay, when I first met you my first thought was that you were a spoilt bitch who bitches and whines about how much life is unfair when you don't get things your way," Chris said making Flay lower her head in shame "But ever since we came aboard the Archangel I have been seeing another side to you, a side quite frankly makes you seem beautiful," Flay's head snapped up to see Chris blushing lightly "And, like you I don't know if this is love or admiration I feel, but I want to give it a try," Chris took a deep breath "So Flay, would you like to be my girlfriend?"

Flay smiled "Yes." She said simply as she wrapped her hands around his neck and brought him down into a tender kiss.

Brig

"Hey Yuuka." Liz greeted as she entered the brig with a tray of food "How's it going?"

Yuuka shrugged as she stood up from her bed "Not too bad I suppose." She mused "Especially now that you're here. How are things going for you?"

Liz smirked at the blunette "Very well," She admitted "You remember Ryu and Kira who I told you about?"

"The pilots of the Dragon and Strike?" Yuuka asked in confirmation "Didn't they stay behind with Halberton's fleet?"

Liz nodded "I just found out they survived," she said tearing slightly "I never felt so relieved when I saw their faces, I felt so happy to see they were alive and well."

Yuuka smiled lightly at her friend "I'm glad your friends survived," She said honestly "So do you know what happened with them?"

Liz smiled and began to tell Yuuka about what had happened while Yuuka ate her dinner.

PLANTs

Athrun sighed as he entered his dorm room glancing briefly at the pictures on the wall and the Haro unit he was constructing for Lacus, the task group had been forced to return after finding the Sliverwind, Lacus' personal transport, near the remains of Junius Seven only to find no trace of Lacus anywhere. Collapsing onto his bed he buried his head into his pillow feeling numb all over, while they were engaged he didn't love Lacus like a lover or fiancé but more of a sibling than anything, even still he was afraid of what would happen if the EA caught her, or even worse Blue Cosmos. A beeping at his consol notified him of a phone call, pulling himself off of his bed and answered the call "Athrun here." He answered.

"Athrun, this is Crueset," His commander said "Listen we have received word from the ORB government, they have Lacus Clyne."

Athrun's eyes widened "What!?" He asked "That have Lacus, what the hell happened?"

"Apparently we owe one to the Legged Ship," Rau responded slightly bitter "They had found Miss Clyne's life pod and had taken her aboard, Miss Clyne states that she owes her well being to the pilots of the mobile suit pilots and everyone else aboard that ship, needless to say we're keeping this quiet."

"Is she on her way back?" Athrun asked.

"No, she has decided to remain in ORB for awhile and do some sightseeing," Rau answered "Chairmen Clyne has already sent a small contingency to protect her Ragnos is a part of that contingency, also there is more from Carpentaria."

"What is it?" Athrun asked hearing his superiors hesitancy.

"Word is that the Dragon and Strike saved the Legged Ship." Rau stated "Although we are uncertain as to who the pilots are right now."

Athrun nearly dropped the phone in shock "But I thought they had been left for dead!" He said his eyes wide.

"So did I," Rau agreed "Then again the Dragon has always proved to be a tenacious one, you'll be heading groundside with Nicol Athrun, we need to sink that ship, although personally I would like to capture it, but at this point that would be impossible."

"Understood sir," Athrun responded looking at a picture of him and Kira when they were younger "When do we leave?"

Archangel

The majestic ship soared though the final set of mountains and landed gracefully in the waters of the Indian Ocean much to the crew pleasure as Murrue gave them permission to use the deck on their breaks. "This could be troubling if we run across a ZAFT patrol out here in the ocean." Mu commented as he, Murrue, Natarle, Ryu and Kisaka stood in the bridge reviewing the tactical map "The Archangel wasn't designed for Ocean warfare."

"The Indian Ocean would be the least protected however as ZAFT is planning an expansion campaign," Kisaka commented "We could go through the center of it, that would be the best."

"The rest is up to luck," Ryu mused "Besides, even if we are caught we are not totally defenseless under water, The Dragon-X's Heat Shotels work just as well under water as in Space."

"That's a relief to hear," Murrue breathed "How is Kira doing with the Sonar we picked up from the captured ZAFT base?"

"She's working on it now," Ryu explained "Should be finished soon though, she only needs to do some minor calibrations to allow our two systems to be compatible."

"Good, at least we'll have a warning in place." Murrue sighed.

"Anyway I'm off to check on their progress on the Raven, later." Ryu said yawning as he left the bridge and headed to the Hanger. Upon his arrival he say the Raven braced to the ground with various panels and such pulled back revealing the wiring underneath as various tech crews worked on it "How's the Raven coming along Johanna?" Ryu asked walking up beside her.

"Pretty well," Johanna said as Murdoch lowered in the improved battery pack "Although I am curious about the battery pack, there is something to it, it holds no importance, but cannot run without it, What is it for?"

Ryu sighed "It's a key," he explained "A key to a gift given to me by an old friend, I just hope we'll never need it."

Johanna blinked at his response "And that means what exactly?" She asked making Ryu chuckle.

"Let's just say it has the possibility of unlocking the suits full potential," Ryu clarified "You're the designer of the Raven right?"

Johanna nodded "Yeah," she confirmed "I always was fascinated by transforming robots in those old T.V. shows and wanted to build a mobile suit like that, when Halberton came around to Morgenrate for the G-project and the designs for Dragon crossed my desk I immediately jumped aboard, I saw my chance to build the Raven and Zephyr."

Ryu chuckled "I guess I can relate," He said smirking "Even after I left the EA I had kept myself designing Mobile Suits for Terminal and other companies, it's just something you have trouble ignoring."

Johanna nodded in agreement "So what are your plans for once this war is over?" She asked curiously.

Ryu scratched his nose as he looked up to the roof "Well me and Kira will be having a proper marriage ceremony," He explained "Then we'd be working for Terminal for awhile, that was the price for the upgrades and False Docs, After that we'll probably settle down in ORB."

Johanna chuckled "Good luck with that." She said "It's amazing that the two of you married so young though."

Ryu sighed and nodded "I know," He agreed "War has a tendency to creating situations like that, but I'd rather do it with no one else, I honestly love Kira deeply, and hell will have no fury if Kira gets hurt."

Johanna chuckled "Let's hope so," She murmured "I think we all lost enough from this dammed war."

Vosgulov-Class Submarine

"Captain Morassim, we have spotted the Legged Ship!" A crewman reported to a thirty-ish looking commander with dark blond hair and a full beard.

"Alright, get the mobile suits ready to launch." He ordered as he headed to the Hanger Just you wait Crueset, I'll do what even you couldn't do, I sink that ship.

Archangel Bridge


"Contacts on radar!" Dalida announced from his communications "Their too fast to be civilian."

"Go to Level Two battle stations!" Murrue ordered "Anything on Sonar?"

Romeo frowned as he concentrated on the sounds "We have two incoming objects their moving pretty fast, wait torpedo launch!"

"Ascend!" Murrue shouted "Move to Level One battle stations, all mobile suits launch!"

Hanger

Ryu type quickly as he brought the Dragon-X online as it was moved to the catapult "Kira, Mu and Liz, you provide aerial support for the Archangel!" Ryu ordered "I'll take the Dragon-X underwater and engage the enemy GOOhNs!"

"Will you be alright on your own?" Mu asked in concern.

"I'll be fine, with the Dragon-X's melee weapons being Heat Shotels it'll operate better in the water," Ryu explained "Keep the Archangel covered, Chris are you sure you want to take the Skygrasper out?"

"Yeah," Chris confirmed "I can't stand just standing around doing nothing, also I have to show off to my new girlfriend!"

The pilots laughed as they completed their preparation "Ryu Yamato, Dragon-X Gundam, Taking To the skies!"

"Kira Yamato, Strike Astray Gundam, Let's do it!"

"Mu la Flaga, Lightning Eclipse, Heading out!"

"Liz Dante, Zephyr, Launching!"

"Chris Dante, Sky Grasper One, Taking Off"

As soon as the Dragon-X cleared the Ramp Ryu cut the thrusters and fell into the ocean "Enemies confirmed as GOOhNs." Ryu informed as the Dragon-x drew out its heat shotels and moved to engage the nimble ZAFT mobile suits "Let's go!"

Kira

"Several DINNs, split and take your targets!" Mu ordered as his Lightning Eclipse darted forward extending its Murasame Heat blade and attempted to bisect the suit only for it to slide out of the way and fire point black with its assault rifle with the bullets doing no damage.

"Move Commander!" Kira shouted as her gatling gun warmed up and began firing just as Mu got out of the way the rapid firing beams shredding the DINN to shreds before boosting back out of the way of a DINN attempting to tackle her and fired a shot from her Beam Rifle piercing the cockpit of the DINN destroying it.

"Not bad Kid!" Mu commended as he fired his Agni cannon at a DINN attempting to shoot the Archangel "You definitely have gotten better!"

Kira smirked "Of course," She agreed "With an insane boyfriend like mine I have to be good."

"You do realize I can hear you right?" Ryu asked cutting into the conversation.

"Yup!" Kira chirped grabbing her beam boomerang and hurled it at an oncoming DINN dividing it in two before catching and returning it to her shield "Just making sure you know!"

She could hear Ryu sigh and saw an explosion erupt from the water as one of the GOOhNs were destroyed.

Morassim

Marco Morassim growled as he drove his DINN into a nosedive to evade the Zephyr as it zipped by unleashing hell with its gatling cannons, unfortunately his wing mate was not so luck "GOOhN Team What are you doing!?" He roared into the radio "Their slaughtering us up here!"

"AHHH!" Was heard before the radio cut out and Morassim witnessed the explosion of water indicating the destruction of another GOOhN underwater.

Morassim growled as he dodged a blast from one of the jet fighters that looked like it was carrying a cannon on it "This is useless!" He shouted as he attempted to take the fighter down only for it to dodge "How could they be beating us!?"

Underwater

The last GOOhN of the group that attacked the Archangel looked around desperately trying to find the Dragon-X in the water "How could this happen?" The pilot asked himself "The GOOhN was built for underwater combat and this guy is tossing us around like a bunch of pussies!"

His sonar catching something he turned his suit only to freeze as the 15 meter Anti-ship sword of the Dragon-X pierced his cockpit "Goddammit." The pilot groaned as he looked down at the flat end of the blade that had severed him completely in half.

Backing away quickly Ryu only frowned as he watched the GOOhN explode "Ryu here, all targets destroyed." Ryu said over the radio "How are things looking up there?"

"The last of them are retreating," Kira responded "Chris' Skygrasper received some damage but is otherwise fine."

"Right, head back to the Archangel." He ordered as he boosted the Dragon-X back to the surface and landed on the Archangel.

Carpentaria Base

"Wow, this is my first time on Earth," Nicol commented as he and Athrun disembarked from the shuttle "How about you Athrun?"

"Yeah me too," He replied "My body feels heavy."

"I guess that's Earth's Gravity for ya." Dearka said walking up with the rest of the squad "Did they find Miss. Clyne?"

Athrun nodded "Apparently she was aboard the Archangel for a short period until they had sent the ORB civilians back to ORB." Athrun said as everyone looked at him in surprise.

"Not to surprised by that." Mark said "Ryu would make sure she was kept safe."

"So where are we off to now?" Yzack asked as they strode across the Tarmac to the main building.

"We're going to attempt to get ahead of the Legged ship and link up with the Cousteau in the Indian ocean near ORB." Naleen explained "That'll be the base of our operations as we hunt the Legged Ship."

"All we need to do is load the Aegis and Blitz and we're good to go." Jacques commented "Also we received a report that Marco Morassim engaged the Legged Ship."

"It was a slaughter," Mark continued "Only Three DINNs returned and none of the GOOhNs did."

"What about the report on the Dragon and Strike?" Nicol asked.

"The pilots are not The Dragon or the Valkyrie." Yzack stated "Their owned by a pair of Terminal Combat Agents."

"Things are definitely getting hairy." Dearka commented "And not mention Operation Spit-break is coming up as well."

"The war will end for better or worse in a couple of months." Jacques predicted grimly as everyone nodded in agreement.

Archangel

Kira giggled as Ryu ran his hands along her body as they laid on the deck of one of the back areas of the Archangel "Should we really be doing this here?" She asked as Ryu assaulted her neck with his tongue.

"Everyone is busy with their duties and no one comes to this deck anyways so, we're pretty safe here," Ryu soothed "Besides isn't it a bit more exciting like this."

Kira groaned as he gently massaged her breasts "I'll give you that." Kira agreed breathlessly feel her body become excited from his menstruations as she reached up and began to unbutton his shirt "I blame you for this." She said accusingly as she lightly bit his earlobe.

"Blame me for what?" He asked as they briefly parted for him to get his shirt off?

"Making me so goddamn horny." She stated flipping them so that she was straddling him with a smirk on her face as she splayed her hands across his chest "Not that I mind too much."

Ryu smirked and brought her down to kiss her only to be interrupted "Level One Battle Stations, All Pilots to your Machines!" The announcement roared as Ryu and Kira cursed.

"Continue this later." Kira said as they hurriedly tidied themselves up and sprinted to the Hanger.

"I am starting to hate these goddamn cockblockers." Ryu said as he strapped himself into the Dragon-X.

"Wait they block the cock?" Mu asked in confirmation.

"Yes they blocked my cock and now I'm going to kick their asses so hard their grandparent will feel it!" Ryu confirmed as Kira sighed in the Strike Astray.

"Why do I get the crazy one?" She asked no in particular making Liz laugh.

" Ryu Yamato, Dragon-X Gundam, Taking to the skies!"

"Kira Yamato, Strike Astray Gundam, Let's do it!"

"Mu la Flaga, Lightning Eclipse, Heading out!"

"Liz Dante, Zephyr, Launching!"

"Chris Dante, Sky Grasper One, Taking Off"

Cagalli strapped herself into the Second Skygrasper that was stored in the hanger "Try not to crash it this time!" Murdoch ordered.

"Whatever, Cagalli, Skygrasper Two, Launching."

Mu


"Mu take Liz and little miss bitchy and cut off the DINNs approaching from the rear," Ryu ordered "Kira, you and Chris cover the front, I'll take care of underwater."

"The names Cagalli!" Said Blond shouted in anger as she turned to move behind the Archangel.

"Are you always this high strung?" Liz asked.

"I am NOT High Strung!"

"Yes you are, it's a repelling feature of yours." Liz commented cutting a DINN who got to close in half "I doubt there are that many people attracted to you because of that."

"S-shut up!" Cagalli shouted "You're going to try and hook me up with some guy you know aren't you."

"Nah, all the good ones I know are taken," Liz denied "Truth be told I've never been attracted to guys."

Cagalli sputtered over the radio "Are you hitting on me!?" She asked as he suit nose dived to avoid a volley of missile.

"Hell no!" Liz denied firing her beam rifle into the cockpit of a DINN attempting to take Mu from behind "You are WAY too much like a guy for my tastes."

"Enough!" Mu shouted finally losing patients "Banter is all well and good but ones sexuality is off limits during battle!"

"Like you followed that rule!" Ryu shouted over the radio "And it was just starting to get good, once they had disembarked I bet Cagalli would pulled Liz into a-"

"If you do not stop that line of thought Ryu I will banish you to the couch!" Kira warned menacingly as her katana ran a DINN straight through.

"Shutting up now." Ryu said as everyone else laughed.

Ryu

Ryu sighed as he focused back on the incoming GOOhNs and the single ZnO "Well I suppose I best take care of the rabble," He mused as he drew a heat shotel and bisected one of the GOOhN's arms sending it veering off course into its wing mate while Ryu fired his Igelstellungs destroying a volley of torpedoes and grabbed one of the GOOhNs attempting to pass him and shoved his Heat Shotel into its head and pulled away as it blew up. Gritting his teeth he noticed he was surrounded and grinned "Heh, I like these odds." He said as he ejected three dagger-like objects from each of the containers from his waist "Go Fangs!" He roared as the Fangs flew into a GOOhN shocking the pilot as they tore straight through his armor.

Turning his suit Ryu charged forward with his Fangs with both Heat Shotels at the ready as he clashed with the ZnO "Bad Idea buddy," Ryu said as his blades began to melt the ZnO's armor. The ZnO moved away from the Dragon, straight into his waiting Fangs as they impaled his suit "Now where is there sub?"

Above, Cagalli

Cagalli cursed as he Skygrasper was hit by some bullets from a DINN right before Mu blew it to pieces "You're Trailing smoke Cagalli, head back." Mu ordered.

Gritting Cagalli reluctantly did as she told as she turned to head back to the Archangel. Unfortunately she was heading the wrong way and didn't realize it for 15 minutes "What my radar is scrambled?" She wondered to herself "Was it caused by the damage I took?" She caught something out of the corner of her eyes and spotted a ZAFT transport plane "Are they heading to the Archangel?"

Transport Plane

Athrun sighed as he rested his head against the back of his seat, his day was not going very well as his plane was having technical difficulties and had to wait while the others went on ahead while his plane was repaired "Sir?" One of the pilots said getting his attention "Please board your mobile suit, we have an incoming EA mobile suit and we have to drop you on one of the islands as we have no Guuls for you to use."

"Are you sure?" Athrun asked as he stood up.

"Yessir, please, we have already sent a message, please get aboard you suit." The pilot requested.

Athrun nodded and did as asked and boarded his suit, as soon as the cockpit closed the plane shook from the impact of the fire from the mobile armor and Athrun could hear the stiletto of the machine guns return fire, suddenly the cargo bays opened and the Aegis slid out and fell to one of the islands, never noticing a Skygrasper falling to the same island.

Timeskip(The same thing happens on the island as in the anime, and I have no desire to write it out, sorry.)


Ryu sighed as the Dragon-X flew scant inches above the water as he searched for any signs of the missing Skygrasper, a beeping of his consol brought his attention to a fallen Skygrasper submerged in the water "Bingo." Ryu said as he brought the Dragon-X for a landing while Cagalli came running "You alright?"

"I'm fine!" Cagalli said as she grabbed onto the zip line that Ryu lowered and joined him in the cockpit "Whoa, this is a lot different from the others."

Ryu chuckled "There are foot rests behind the seat you can use," He said as Cagalli followed his instructions "Archangel, This is Ryu, I've found her, I repeat I have found Cagalli and am now returning."

"Great news," Murrue responded "See you soon."

Ryu looked back to Cagalli who seemed lost in thought and smirked as he caught sight of a small blush dusting her cheeks "Hand on." He warned as the Dragon-X took off with the Skygrasper in its hands and Ryu punched the thrusters back to the Archangel.

I hope we can meet again, Cagalli thought to herself Athrun.

Chapter Fourteen: The Land of Peace

Outside ORB Territorial Waters

"You have got to be kidding me." Chris groaned as he pulled Skygrasper he was piloting while the Raven was still undergoing refit into a steep ascent to evade a series of blasts from the Buster "Why have they been following us this long!"

"It really has been getting annoying." Mu agreed as he fired his Agni Cannon at the Grizzly only for it to dodge.

Chris could hear Ryu's growl over the radio as the Dragon-X came up alongside him "Get Clear!" He ordered as he leveled the Buster Rifle "Charge 100%, Firing!" As Ryu pulled the trigger the massive rifle in the hands of his mobile suit blasted out a beam that could rival that of a positron cannon enveloping a pair of DINNs and forcing the pursuing Gundams to scatter.

"That is one powerful rifle." Liz muttered in awe as she shifted into mobile armor mode and charged the recovering Duel.

Athrun

Athrun grunted as his Aegis shook from the impact of the Strike Astray against his suit before attempting to retaliate with one of his beam sabers only for his opponent to separate from him and back off firing it's gatling gun "Dammit we aren't as maneuverable as they are on these Guuls." He cursed as he barely evaded the shots and returned fire with his beam rifle.

"You're telling me," Mark agreed as he tried to get close to the Dragon-X only for it to easily dance out of range "Naleen, Lev, focus fire on the Legged Ship!"

"Yessir." The pair coursed as the redirected their fired to the Archangel.

"Yzack, focus on the Zephyr," Mark continued to order "Nicol deal with the Lightning, Dearka you deal with the jet fighter, Athrun you continue to deal with the Strike, Jacques, me and you are on the Dragon."

After a quick course of affirmatives the pilots did as told and began to engage the enemy.

Archangel, Bridge

"Grizzly and Hawk are on approach!" Sai warned as the ships Igelstellungs opened fire at the volley of missiles sent by the Hawk while the Grizzly fired bursts from his shoulder cannons slamming into the Laminated armor of the Archangel's hull.

"Fire the Godfrieds, push them away!" Natarle ordered sharply as the ship shook again as the Hawk took out some Igelstellungs.

"Attention ZAFT and EA forces, this is the ORB 2 guard division," the radio crackled to life just as Cagalli and Kisaka entered the bridge "You are entering ORB's territorial waters, please pull your forces back or we will exercise our right to defend our borders."

"Shit we moved to far in Fifteen to Port!" Murrue ordered.

"I'm trying ma'am!" Neumann said "But with the Grizzly and Hawk I'm being shepherded."

"Keeping going!" Cagalli shouted "I'll talk to ORB!"

Kira

Kira gritted her teeth as she tried to maneuver around the Aegis to get to the Archangel "Out of my way!" She shouted as she unfolded he shoulder cannons and fired at the Aegis' Guul attempting to remove its flight capabilities only for said suit to dodge "You know Athrun, sometimes I hate the fact you're a good pilot." She muttered to herself as she drew her katana and clashed with the Aegis again, only this time she brought her gatling cannons around and fired on the Guul tearing it to shreds forcing the Aegis into the waters.

"Attention ORB forces!" Cagalli shouted over the radio "This is the daughter of representative Uzumi Nara Altha, Cagalli Yula Altha! I herby order you to allow the Archangel Access into ORB waters!"

"Tch, dammit, not a smart move." Kira groaned as she turned the Strike Astray to help the Archangel.

"We cannot acknowledge that order as we have no proof as to your claims," The ORB officer responded "Now back off or be fired upon!"

Ryu

"You have got to be kidding me!" Ryu shouted as he dropped under the scythe of the Phantom before quickly drawing a Heat Shotel to block the Slash before leveling his Buster Rifle with the tip glowing at it charged "10% Firing!" Pulling the trigger he fired just as the Slash moved out of the way. Backing off Ryu holstered the Buster Rifle as he pulled out the Beam Assault Rifle and opened fire pushing both of the back "Archangel, what is your status?" Ryu asked.

"Our engines have been hit and we are losing propulsion!" Murrue reported "At this rate we'll enter ORB waters!"

Ryu growled as he kicked the Phantom while slashing at the Slash "Don't worry," Kisaka said surprising everyone "We can't help it if we crash into ORB, trust me the Second Guard Division has unparalleled accuracy."

"Listen to him Captain," Ryu advised "Besides at this rate the suits will run out of energy soon, Liz fall back your batteries are running dry!"

"But!" Liz protested.

"You'll be of no use if you run out of energy, fall back!" Ryu ordered cutting her off "Everyone fall back to the deck of the Archangel!" Ryu unfolded his Heavy Assault Cannons as he pulled out the Buster Rifle once more "Keep them back! Chris return to the Hanger!"

Kira

Kira smirked a bit as she unfolded her Plasma Cannons and took aim while Mu did the same with his Agni Cannon "Open Fire!" Ryu ordered as the three suits opened up with their heavy weapons. The Duel managed to escape somewhat unharmed, although it was at the cost of his Guul, the Slash had lost an arm while the Phantom lost the majority of his lower body. The Buster, Hawk and Grizzly escaped unscathed but soon found themselves under heavy fire from the Mobile suits.

"You have not headed out our warning and now we will exercise our right to defend our Borders." The ORB officers informed as the ships surrounded the Archangel and began to fire, each shot landed near the Archangel causing geysers of water to erupt around it as Jets launched and began to force the ZAFT suits away.

Kira sighed as she saw the suits flee from the borders as the artillery shells continued to land around the Archangel "Thank god." She groaned as she opened her cockpit and stepped out taking off her helmet and removed the towel she used to bind her hair "When will they stop the Artillery fire?" Kira asked shouting to be heard of the sound of the cannons.

"Once the ZAFT suits are out of range!" Ryu replied just as loud "They have to make it look good!"

Archangel

Murrue sighed in relief once the Archangel was safely tucked away in one of Morgenrate's hidden repair bays along with everyone else "So who are you exactly?" She asked turning to Kisaka.

Kisaka saluted "Ledonir Kisaka, Officer of the 21 Airborne Division." He replied "I was assigned to be Cagalli's bodyguard while she was in Africa."

"So how should we deal with this situation?" Murrue asked.

"It's best you ask the person who is about to appear," Kisaka answered with a slight smirk "ORB's heir Uzumi Nara Altha."

Vosgulov-class submarine, Cousteau

"Are we really expected to believe this!" Yzack shouted smacking the paper holding ORB's reply onto the table "The Legged ship is gone!"

"There is nothing we can do about it if that is their official stance Yzack." Mark reprimanded "ORB is a neutral nation, and not only that but the level of their technology isn't well known, but we do know that they are producing their own mobile suits."

"And if we attack them then they may very well join up with the EA tipping the scales of balance into their favor." Athrun mused "So the best we can do right now is wait while we put political pressure on them."

"So all we do is wait?" Dearka asked incredulously.

"No," Mark replied firmly "If we cannot do anything politically, then in a few days we will sneak in and see if we can confirm their presence or not."

Archangel, Mess Hall

"I can't believe we returned to ORB under these circumstances," Tolle sighed "I wonder what will happen to us now?"

"I wonder if it would be possible to get off the ship for awhile." Kuzzy wondered "Ya know, to visit our families and such."

"That'll depend on the ORB government," Chris stated as he sat with an arm around Flay "After all we are Earth Alliance soldiers right now."

"Where did Kira and Ryu go?" Mir asked noticing the couple missing.

"Lord Uzumi asked for their presence in the meeting," Sai answered "Not too surprising since they are members of Terminal."

Meeting Room, ORB's National Defense Department

Murrue, Natarle, Mu, Ryu and Kira had been led to an empty meeting room, where they waited. The door opened. Uzumi Nara Altha and an older man entered the room. The older man was wearing an Orb Military uniform, a General based on the markings and appeared to in his sixties but was in excellent shape. He was taller than Altha and quite muscular. His body was that of a lifelong soldier's. He had short, gray hair and matching thick, bushy mustache. His eyes were a familiar grayish-green "Hello, I am Uzumi Nara Altha," Uzumi greeted "And this is my close friend and advisor..."


"General Samuel Dante," The other man finished getting jolts of recognition for the name "Yes, you have my grandson and granddaughter on your ship along with my daughter-in-law. Thank you for taking care of them, with the death of my son they are the only family I have left."


"You're welcome," Murrue replied "Although the majority of your thanks should go to Ryu here as he was the one who took responsibility for the Heliopolis volunteers."

Dante nodded to Ryu who nodded back "Now," Uzumi said calling attention to him as he leaned forward linking his hands together in front of him "We have made our official statement that you and your ship are not here in ORB."

"You don't expect ZAFT to believe that do you?" Mu asked raising an eyebrow.

"They will not be able to do anything about it since they have no concrete proof of you being here," Samuel stated "and without proof they would not force their way in with their limited manpower."

"That's true," Ryu agreed "ZAFT is spread all over the Earth and they would have to pull resources from other theaters of war in order to start and new one here, not a smart tactical decision."

"But you didn't take that risk and rescue us because of the children did you?" Mu asked bluntly.

"Do you think we would weigh the lives of our family against the safety of our nation?" Uzumi replied harshly.

Mu shook his head "No, please forgive me if I have offended you." Mu apologized.

"Everything would be so much easier if it was only that simple," Uzumi sighed "Heliopolis, the children of this country volunteered and ended up on an Earth Alliance Ship, the success of the G-weapons, I still wonder if it would have been wiser to let that ship sink."

"Lord Uzumi, I know this may not be much, but you have my sincerest apologize on this matter," Murrue said guiltily "I deeply sorry for the Heliopolis incident and for the children."

"No forget it," Uzumi dismissed "There is plenty of blame to be shared for this, the ideals of ORB are inherently flawed, we cannot remain neutral without power, yet power makes us a target, and we want neither Naturals or Coordinators as our enemies. I'm sure as soldiers you do not want to have that type of discussion however."

"Let us move on to the reason we are here then," Samuel advised "We are willing to help you, however we would like the combat data from your mobile suits, excluding the Terminal units of course, as well as the loan of their pilots, my grandchildren, yourself commander La Flaga and if possible I would like to request the aid of yourselves Ryu, Kira."

Ryu and Kira exchanged a nod "Speaking for ourselves we are willing to aid you," Ryu stated "However I would like you to keep our names silent, as we would like to keep the fact that we are not MIA quiet, there are some exceptions to that however."

"Yes I can understand that Kira would like to meet with her parents, and them to meet their new son-in-law." Uzumi replied smiling at Ryu and Kira's jolt of surprise "I can explained later how I know, but first, Mrs. Ramius?"

"I would like some time to think it over if possible." Murrue stated.

"Very well, you can return to your ship," Uzumi said "We will come by for an answer tonight, Ryu, Kira can you please remain?"

The pair exchanged nods with the command officers and remained seated as they filed out of the room "I am curious to know Lord Uzumi how you knew of mine and Kira's union when even Kira's parents have yet to find out." Ryu said narrowing his eyes "Especially since it was kept within Terminal."

"That is a simple one to answer," Uzumi said "I am one of Terminal's benefactors."

Ryu and Kira's eyes widened "You one of the benefactors of the largest mercenary companies in the world?" Kira asked incredulously.

Uzumi nodded while Samuel chuckled "Yes, ORB has secretly made an alliance with Terminal," Samuel explained "It is a simple one, a mutual aid agreement and exchange of some technologies between our R&D departments."

Ryu sighed as he rubbed his temples "I knew that the benefactors where high up but this is..." He trailed "Have you told Kira's parents?"

Uzumi shook his head "All we have done is reassured them of her survival," He said and smirked "It looks like you two are the ones who are going to inform them of your union, our congratulations by the way."

Ryu's head made an audible thump as it connected with the table "Kira?" He asked "You did take out that life insurance policy liked I asked didn't you?"

Kira giggled and patted him on the back "It won't be that bad," she reassured "You'll only be maimed, not killed."

The ORB leaders chuckled as Ryu groaned "Would it be possible for us to meet with my parents?" Kira asked hesitantly "I know we are serving aboard the Archangel, but..."

"It's fine," Uzumi reassured "since the two of you are Terminal Agents you will not stick out as much as an EA soldier."

"We will also be allowing visitations for the families tomorrow," Samuel continued "They may not be able to leave the ship, but they can visit their families in the docks."

Kira sighed as Ryu nodded "Thank you Lord Uzumi, General Dante," He said gratefully "That will definitely boost their moral, also sir? We have a coordinator prisoner aboard, do you request anything to be done with her?"

Uzumi hummed in thought "Well we do have a small delegation of ZAFT soldiers here currently guarding Miss. Clyne as she vacations here." He said "So it might not be best to release her, Ryu do you think would be Terminal material?"

Ryu frowned "I have yet to talk to her myself," he said "But she is a fairly skilled pilot."

Uzumi nodded "I would like you to put the offer out to her when you get a chance to interview her," he said "The EA would only torture then execute her, not something I want to happen to a child."

Ryu nodded curtly as he and Kira stood "Very well sir," He saluted "Oh also General Dante, Chris has recently acquired a girlfriend and he may bring her along, so I would recommend bringing any embarrassing photos you have."

Samuel laughed with glee as Kira and Uzumi smiled, giving one last salute the pair left and headed outside "Ryu? Do you mind if we visit my parents first before going back to the ship?" She asked "I really miss them, and..."

Ryu smiled and placed an arm around her shoulders "It's no problem Kira," He reassured "Let's just notified the Captain first."

Archangel, Mess Hall

"Hey guys!" Neumann shouted as he ran into the mess hall where the volunteers had gathered "We just received word that you'll be able to visit with your families starting tomorrow!"

"Really?" Liz asked shooting up her eyes wide.

"Yeah," Neumann confirmed " you won't be able to leave the docks, but your parents will be coming here."

Everyone smiled as they began chattering "What about Kira and Ryu?" Mir asked "Have they returned yet?"

Neumann shook his head "They just called in," he explained "Since they are Terminal Agents they have a bit more freedom then we do, they are actually on their way to meet with Kira's parents."

"Well that's good I suppose." Kuzzy muttered.

"Don't feel too bad Kuzzy," Chris reassured clapping him on the back "I mean after all Ryu has to deal with the fact that he married Kira without their permission!"

Everyone began laughing as they imagined his demise at the hand to two angry parents.

ORB Shore

"It's up to the left," Kira directed Ryu who was driving the car provided by the military "God I'm getting anxious."

"Why?" Ryu asked as he followed her directions.

"I'm worried that all they would see is a soldier." She admitted staring at her hands and they gripped each other in her lap "I'm worried about why they made me a coordinator."

Ryu smiled reassuringly as he placed a hand over hers, keeping his eyes on the road "They will see you Kira," He reassured "I speak from experience when I say this, your parents will see only their daughter, nothing more nothing less, and as for why you are a Coordinator, well, they probably wanted to give you the best opportunity to succeed in the world."

Kira smiled at her husband "Thanks," She whispered "Turn left here, the fifth house on the right."

Ryu followed her directions and turned into a simple two story house with a modest front lawn "Now it's my turn to feel anxious." Ryu muttered making Kira smile as they exited the car and walked up to the door.

Kira took a deep breath and knocked on the door and waited patiently as they head the bustle of someone bustling to get the door, the door opened to reveal an attractive middle aged women with long purple hair and grey eyes "Hey mom." Kira greeted smiling as her mother's eyes widened in shock.

"Kira!" She shouted as she pulled her daughter into a tight hug while Kira's father, a middle aged man with black hair and brown eyes.

"My god." He whispered as he rushed to huh both his wife and daughter as the family was reunited.

Ryu watched on with a smiled as he felt a pang in his heart remembering how his family greeted him the same way when he had returned from his first combat deployment. When they finally parted he could see the tears on Kira and her mother's faces "I'm so glad to see you again." Kira said her voice cracking slightly from the emotion.

"And we are glad to see you too Kira," Caridad Yamato said as she embraced her daughter again.

"We had received word you where alive," Haruma continued "But it makes us so glad to see it with our eyes."

Kira smiled at them and glanced at Ryu "Can we go inside?" She asked "There is some news I need to share with you."

They nodded and ushered the pair inside "What is it you want to tell us dear?" Caridad asked as they sat down in the living room, Kira and Ryu where sitting on a love seat while Kira's parents sat on the couch.

Kira took a deep breath "First this is Ryu," She said gesturing to Ryu who nodded Kira paused "He's my husband."

The silence could have been cut with a knife as Caridad and Haruma stared in shock at the pair as they shifted "Your... Husband?" Caridad asked in confirmation to which Kira nodded looking guilty "I think it's best you explain everything from the beginning."

Kira sighed and nodded as she held Ryu's hand and began to explain what had happened starting from Heliopolis.

30 minutes later

Haruma sighed as he looked at the couple sitting across from him and his wife "It certainly sounds like you have been through a lot." He said "And it sort of makes sense as to why and how you got married."

Caridad sighed "I have to ask though, why did you take up Yamato?" She asked Ryu looking at him.

Ryu sighed "My family, the Hisanaga's, have always been known for always having at least one child in military service per generation that has reached the 'ace' status," He explained "I just feel it's time for them to fade into history, especially since they already are dead except for me."

"Your family died?" Haruma asked curiously.

Ryu nodded "They were caught in the Battle of Ontario." He said as Kira gripped his hand supportively "I was stationed in Alaska at the time and when I had arrived it was too late."

Caridad sighed "I am still a bit upset that you had gotten married all of a sudden like that," She said before smiling "But you are a grown adult and you have the right to chose you husband," She smiled at Ryu and Kira "Have you two eaten yet?" She asked as she got up "We were just about to start on dinner."

Kira smiled at her mom "Sounds great," She chirped "I'll help."

Ryu smiled softly as he watched the mother and daughter pair move into the kitchen "So you two are a part of Terminal now?" Haruma asked as Ryu turned his attention back to him.

Ryu nodded "Yeah," He answered "Terminal isn't a big bad place like a lot of medias and governments say it is, Essentially, as Kira put it, we are a Mercenary version of ORB."

Haruma nodded in understanding "How did you get involved with them originally?" He wondered.

Ryu smiled "My ex-fiancé's brother is a Commander stationed on their home base New Platea," Ryu explained "After I had left the EA I had them hold onto my mobile suit, and in returned I helped design mobile suits and support crafts for them in my spare time, they had also helped me get set up as Professor Kato's assistant."

Haruma smiled "He's been by a couple of times asking after the two of you," he said "He's told us a couple of stories about the two of you."

Ryu groaned as Haruma laughed.

Kitchen

Kira smiled as she heard her father laugh in the living room as she helped her mother cut up vegetables "So Kira," Her mother started with a smirk "Have two of you had sex yet?"

Kira choked on nothing at her mother question "W-What?" He managed to get out staring at her laughing mother in shock.

"You heard what I asked," Caridad reprimanded still smirking "I hope he was a gentleman about it."

Kira blushed "Yeah he was," She said finally "It was shortly after we were recovered by the Junk Guild, I was the one who started it actually."

Caridad smiled at her embarrassed daughter "It's nothing to be embarrassed about Kira," Her mother soothed "After all you are a married adult."

Kira's mouth twitched in a smile slightly "Are you sure you're alright with it?" Kira asked "With me a part of Terminal and everything."

Her mother sighed "Not completely," She admitted "I do know you can take care of yourself, and that Ryu will be right beside you, but in terms of your marriage I will be expecting a proper ceremony once you get back however. "

Kira giggled at her mother's expression "We were already planning that once things calm down a bit," Kira reassured before frowning slightly "Ryu expects the war to be over within the next year, both sides are getting desperate, especially since the Heliopolis incident."

"So long as you come home to me and your father alive," Caridad "The both of you, like it or not he is my son now, besides he seems like such a nice man too."

Kira giggled again as she continued to cut up the vegetables with her mom switching the conversation to the latest gossip.

Next Morning, Archangel, Bridge

"The Morgenrate engineers have arrived and have began their repair and refit operations," Natarle reported to Murrue "Also the Lightning Eclipse, and Zephyr are on their way to the Morgenrate while the Raven is being transported along behind them, Morgenrate has agreed to help finished the upgrades to both the Raven and the Zephyr."

"That's good news," Murrue said in relief "Anything else?"

Natarle shook her head "No ma'am, only that the parents of the Heliopolis volunteers will be coming today for visitations." She added.

"I'm glad that the children will be able to meet with their families, even only for a bit." Murrue sighed as Natarle nodded in agreement "I just hope they can make it out of this war with their lives."

"Don't we all?" Natarle asked rhetorically.

Mountain pass

The birds flew out of the trees as the rumbling steps of the Lightning Eclipse and the Zephyr walked down the road with a transport truck with the Raven behind them and a jeep holding Ryu, Kira, Chris and Yuuka in front.

"Why couldn't they just load up all of the suits into transport trucks and go in through the front door?" Chris asked grumbling.

"Because it would be to noticeable," Mu answered from his cockpit "And we don't know if the ZAFT pilots are watching for us."

Ryu sighed as he tapped the steering wheel "Mu's right, besides, Morgenrate will know soon enough." He added as the Morgenrate back entrance came into view opening to allow access to the convoy.

"How did meeting the In-laws go last night?" Chris asked curiously as they loaded onto the elevator.

Kira and Ryu exchanged smiles "Quite well, embarrassing stories all around." Ryu said smirking at Kira's blush.

"How could you tell them about the support frame incident?" She asked with a fake sob.

"Hey it wasn't me it was Kato!" Ryu protested "Blame him!"

Kira rolled her eyes "Sure, blame the person who cannot defend themselves." She teased.

Yuuka meanwhile just stared around her wondering why she was brought along "Umm, not that I'm complaining or anything, but why am I here as well?" She finally asked.

Ryu looked back at her and grinned "Someone high up in Terminal wants to meet you," He explained "So don't worry, it's nothing serious."

Yuuka nodded not thoroughly convinced as the elevator finally stopped allowing everyone to disembark "Welcome to Morgenrate," Said a female with light brown hair and blue eyes wearing a Morgenrate uniform "I'm the Chief engineer Erica Simmons."

"Ryu Yamato," Ryu greeted extending his hand "My wife Kira, and our wing mate Chris Dante, pilot of the Raven, Yuuka Mizuki here is our ZAFT prisoner and the former pilot of the Lightning now being Piloted by Mu La Flaga and the Zephyr is being piloted by Liz Dante."

Erica nodded to each in greeting and motioned for them to follow once Mu and Liz had disembarked "Here we can completely repair and finish the upgrades for your mobile suits," Erica explained "You could say that this place is their mother's home town."

Leading them through the doorway everyone sans Ryu and Kira's jaw dropped at the sight of Gundam-like mobile suits lined up along a wall "This is..." Liz said in shock.

"The MBF-M1 Astray," A new male voice announced "The newest addition to the ORB military."

Everyone turned to see Samuel Dante approaching them with his hands behind his back "Grandpa!" The sibling shouted in joy and ran up to him hugging him as he chuckled.

"I am glad to see the two of you as well." Samuel stated as he returned the hug.

"I didn't think you would make it." Erica stated with an amused smirk when the family separated.

"Politics, nothing but people lying and trying to shift the blame to someone else." Samuel stated in distaste.

"Still the Astrays are impressive." Ryu stated "Thanks again for sending the parts to repair the Strike."

Erica smiled and nodded "Now you see the true face of ORB." Cagalli stated as she approached the group with a red mark on her cheek.

"Looks like the Lion Cub of ORB got into a fight with the Lion of ORB." Samuel stated with a chuckle making Cagalli scowl.

"These machines are to be ORBs protectors," Cagalli continued "As you know our nations motto is to never attack another nation nor to allow our nation to be attack. With these machines we have the power to do that, until my father betrayed us that is."

Samuel Frowned "He didn't know Cagalli, that is why he stepped down as Chief representative." He said.

Cagalli scowled even more "That's no excuse!" Cagalli shouted "He was the Chief representative, he should have known!"

"No one can know everything Cagalli," Ryu stated "Besides Morgenrate is officially an independent organization, they do not have to tell ORB about every deal they have."

"That's true," Erica agreed "While we have strong ties to ORBs military we are still our own privately owned company."

Cagalli's 'Tch' told them what exactly she thought about it "Let me guess you're having problems with the OS aren't you?" Ryu asked turning back to the matter at hand.

Erica and Samuel nodded and Kira smirked pulling out a data disk "This here is a Natural use OS," She stated handing it over to the wide eyed recipients "Use it well."

"Well that will certainly cut back on the time needed for constructing a new one, no wonder Commander La Flaga could pilot the Lightning." Samuel said amazed before shaking his head "Anyways I was hoping to invite the Heliopolis volunteers and their family to dinner," He continued "I think a restaurant is a better place for a reunion than a repair dock."

"I'll let the others know." Liz said happily smiling.

"Right, Yuuka can you follow me?" Ryu said "I want to have a chat with you."

Yuuka gulped and nodded before following Ryu off to one of the offices "Is everything going to be alright?" Liz asked in concern for her new friend.

Kira nodded "Don't worry." She reassured "Ryu just wants to make her an offer, that's all."

Office

Ryu sat down across from Yuuka and placed a file he was carrying down and opened it pulling out a form "Yuuka, this is a Terminal registration form," Ryu explained shocking the blue haired teen "My superiors have gone through your combat records, don't look so surprised, there are Terminal agents everywhere, and they have decided to offer you a Combat Agent posting."

"What does that mean?" Yuuka asked unsure.

"Essentially Combat Agents are sectioned off into groups for a variety of missions," Ryu said "Myself and Kira are Combat Agents, if you accept this offer we will provide you with a mobile suit, to be determined if you accept, and you will be placed under my command, so essentially you will continue to serve aboard the Archangel with us until our mission is completed."

Yuuka looked at the form "And if I don't accept?" She asked hesitantly.

"You will be placed under ORBs authority and freed once the Archangel has left ORB waters." Ryu replied "So essentially, nothing bad."

Yuuka gulped as she stared at the form "And my family in the PLANTs?" She asked again.

"We can relocate them if you wish and ZAFT will be notified of you change of allegiance," Ryu explained "Due to the treaties we have with the major nations they can no longer pursue a soldier nor court martial them if they decide to join us, we however to not accept criminals of any sort and applicants go through a thorough background check."

Yuuka breathed as she looked once more at the form before looking straight into Ryu's eyes "I accept." She answered finally making Ryu grin.

"Welcome to Terminal Agent Yuuka." He said as he moved to release her from her bonds "You will be provided a Terminal uniform, you can chose male or female, and will be provided quarters aboard the Archangel for the duration of our stay."

"Thank you." She said as she rubbed her wrists feeling like a weight has been lifted off of her shoulders.

ORB Shores

Five figures emerged from the waters and approached a pair of fishermen as they removed their rebreathers "Athrun Zala of the Cadillac Team." Athrun said as he saluted.

"Welcome to the Land of Peace gentleman." Said the ZAFT spy as he rested his fishing rod on his shoulder grinning.

Chapter Fifteen: Tides of War

ORB, Outside Morgenrate Facility

"Any luck Nicol?" Yzack asked his green haired friend as Nicol tapped away at his laptop trying to hack into Morgenrate's main server.

Nicol grimaced and shook his head "No," He replied regretfully "Their channels are tight and I can't get it without letting them know not only that I'm hacking them, but where I am as well."

Dearka sighed as he stood up from the bench he was sitting on "C'mon, lets meet up with the others than to see if they have had any luck themselves." He said as the Trio moved away.

Morgenrate, underground Facilities

Unknown to either of them their target was actually about 50 meters below them as several Morgenrate engineers worked on a suit apiece under the supervision of Murdoch and Johanna, off to the side the recent addition to Terminal was looking over the specs to the suit that Terminal had given her, a MBF-M1A M1A Astray, it was a space use version of the regular Astrays with additional thrusters for added speed and maneuverability along with a beam sniper rifle. Yuuka had requested it to be repainted with a white on red color scheme. Ryu had also given the engineers specs to an advanced version of the Lightning's Prototype Lightwave Pulse Flight pack that consumed less energy, albeit at the cost of slightly reduced speed.

Liz was sitting next to her friend as they watched the Morgenrate engineers work on both of their suits, both of them, and everyone else from the Archangel Where wearing Morgenrate engineer uniforms to blend in with the workers should they happen to run across a ZAFT spy "Are you nervous?" Liz asked Yuuka as she took a sip of water.

Yuuka remained silent for a second "Yeah," She admitted finally "I don't want to have to fight against my friends, but I've been hearing some things about ZAFT and Commander Creuset."

"Like what?" Liz asked in concern.

Yuuka sighed heavily "I think that the commander has his own agenda," She revealed "I've already talked to Ryu about this, but I had happened to overhear him talking over the phone once, he was talking about some kind of plan, and the unwitting pawns in his game." Liz grimaced as she placed a hand over Yuuka's "But there is another reason I wanted to remain aboard the Archangel."

Liz blink in confusion and looked over at Yuuka "What is it?" She asked curiously.

Yuuka blushed lightly as she faced the teen "You." She said before leaning in and gently kissed Liz's lips shocking the brunette who quickly recovered and began to returned the kiss.

Second Repair Bay

Chris sighed as he sat down in the new Pananormic cockpit of the Raven and began running a systems check to ensure it had been integrated properly "Chris?" He heard Flay call "You here?"

"In the cockpit!" He shouted back and in short order he saw her head pop into view "What's up Flay?"

Flay smiled as she joined him in the cockpit sitting on his lap "Nothing, I just felt a bit lonely I guess," She admitted as she leant back against his chest while Chris wrapped his arms around her "I mean everyone will be meeting their families tonight, but with my dad back in the EA and my mom dead and no other relatives..."

Chris squeezed her reassuringly "You can come with me and Liz to have dinner with Aunt Johanna and Grandpa you know." He said.

"But I don't want to be the fifth wheel," She protested "I mean this is your family."

"It's alright," Chris reassured "I mean my grandpa will want to meet you anyways, besides, everyone else from Heliopolis is going to be there, Grandpa rented out the entire restaurant for this occasion."

Flay smiled a little at her boyfriend "Are you sure?" She asked "I don't want to intrude on someone's family time."

"I'm sure," He confirmed as he buried his head in the crook of her neck kissing her softly "After all you do want to become a part of the family right?"

Flay blushed at the implication but smiled anyways as she let off a soft moan as Chris continued to kiss along her neck "Thank you Chris." She whispered as she turned and sat on his lap facing him as he pressed a button to close the cockpit.

Athrun and Lev

Athrun sighed as he sat down on a bench "Not a single hole in their parameter sweeps," He said annoyed "This is impossible."

Lev nodded in agreement as his eyes scanned the fence line "True," He said "I hope the others are having better luck then us."

Athrun nodded in agreement, a sudden beeping interrupted their musings as Athrun's cell phone rang "Athrun here" He answered.

"Athrun, it's Mark," Came the reply "I just received some news from the commander, Yuuka has been found."

"What! Really?" Athrun asked in shock surprising Lev "Is she alright?"

"She's fine, apparently she was rescued by Terminal after he decent to Earth," Mark explained "The Commander reported that she has joined up with them."

"She joined Terminal?" Athrun asked in confusion "Why did she do that?"

"Who knows?" Marked replied sighing "Anyways I thought I would just give you a call and let you know."

"Thank you sir." Athrun said before cutting the call "Yuuka has been found," He told Lev whose eyes widened "And she apparently joined Terminal as well."

Lev blinked a couple of times as he processed this "Did the Commander say why?" He asked.

Athrun shook his head in denial "No he didn't," Athrun replied "Although considering its Yuuka it's not all that surprising that she would join them if they helped her, she had also admired them after the Helios incident."

Lev nodded in agreement as they moved off to find their friends and pass of the message.

That Night

At a small restaurant near the Morgenrate facility a gathering of families was taking place, inside the restaurant was packed as several families where reunited. Passing by the restaurant the Le Crueset team paused for a second when Yzack halted and stared at the restaurant as some laughter floated out. "Something wrong Yzack?" Nicol asked concerned.

Yzack was silent for a second before shaking his head "No its nothing," He denied "Just trying to remember the last time I had some time with my family, time without talk of the war or anything like that."

Athrun nodded in agreement "I know how you feel Yzack," He said as he lent on the building opposite from the restaurant "My dad's become obsessed with the war himself."

Dearka sighed "Man," He groaned "Wonder where Terminal has posted Yuuka?"

"Who knows," Nicol sighed "Wonder if we'll have to fight her someday?"

"It is a possibility," Lev commented "After all she is now a part of a Mercenary company."

Inside the restaurant

Kira giggled as she listened to one of Samuel's stories of Chris and Liz as they were growing up as the said pair blushed bright red. Leaning her head on Ryu's shoulder she sighed contently as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders squeezing lightly. Looking around her gaze passes by a window only for it to snap right back "Ryu," She whispered softly "Outside."

Discreetly following her gaze he spotted the rookie ZAFT pilots standing in a group across from the restaurant, he tensed slightly "Should we do anything about them?" He asked her softly.

Kira thought for a minute "Do you think we would be able to get away with saying hello?" She asked hesitantly looking up at him "After all, I never really had a chance to catch up with Athrun."

Ryu sighed as he looked around at the ongoing conversations and smiling faces, having already seen that their daughter was alive and well, Kira's parents decided not to attend the dinner "Sure." He agreed as they stood up earning questioning looks "We just wanted some alone time."

Outside

Athrun sighed as they reminisced about some of the times they had before the war started, he had kept quiet about Kira and knowing her, for some reason he just couldn't voice his concern over her surviving or not after that battle, a sudden increase in the volume of noise from the restaurant caught their attention as they spotted a pair of brunettes exit the building. Athrun's breath caught in his throat as his eyes widened at the sight of the brunette with amethyst colored eyes catching his friends by surprise "Kira?" He blurted out in shock.

The other pilots jerked to attention at the name and turned to see a smiling Kira as she tried to restrain her giggles "You should see you face Athrun," She laughed "You look like you've just seen a ghost."

"Wait, you know her Athrun?" Dearka asked in confusion making Kira giggled some more.

"I'm surprised you don't recognize my voice Dearka." She commented with mock a mock pout.

"Well you can't exactly blame them when the last time you met was when you where piloting a mobile suit." The man accompanying her chuckled.

The other pilot's eyes widened in realization "Kira... Yamato?" Yzack asked his jaw dropping in shock.

Kira laugher erupted finally as she bent over holding her sides "You need to see the looks on your faces." She said between her gulps of air once she finally calmed down and gathered her wits.

"But we thought you died." Nicol stated "I mean, when the ZAFT forces went through the wreckage no one could find your suits."

The man shrugged "Junk Guild is a truly amazing group on how quickly they can arrive." He commented off handedly.

"Thank god you're alive!" Athrun nearly shouted as he suddenly hugged Kira surprising her for a second before she returned the hug.

"C'mon," She said pulling away "Let's go sit down."

The ZAFT pilots followed the two other teens not missing them linking hands as they walked, finding a small open air cafe the ordered some coffee and got comfortable "Do you two know each other Athrun?" Lev asked finally as everyone looked expectantly at the pair.

"Yeah, we went to prep school together at the Luna academy." Athrun explained still in a slight state of shock, shaking his head he finally smiled at his childhood friend "It good to be able to finally talk to you without having to worry about having to fight you."

Kira chuckled "Same here," She said smiling "I suppose I should introduce you to my friend here."

"I'm Ryu, nice to meet ya." He announced with a grin to the groups shock.

"Jesus, the Dragon of Endymion." Dearka said nearly choking "What's next you two are married?"

The pair looked at each other before bursting out into peals of laughter making the pilots plink at the pair Calming down slightly Kira answered them "Actually we are," She revealed, I'm sure you can guess the state of the ZAFT pilots "We had Admiral Halberton marry us before the final charge in that battle," She explained smiling at Ryu as he lightly squeezed her hand "We plan on having a more official ceremony once the war is over."

"That could take awhile." Yzack pointed out "Both sides are pretty stubborn."

Ryu and Kira shrugged "Some things are worth waiting for," Ryu said with a smile as he looked at Kira "Besides, it was a sort of rushed decision."

The pilots nodded their understanding "Were you aware of your suits being purchased by Terminal?" Lev asked curiously.

Kira sighed slightly as he asked the question "Well, yeah we were aware." She said "Can't tell you much more than that though."

Athrun sighed and sent a small glare to Lev "So what are you guys doing now?" He asked curiously.

"Working in Terminal actually," Ryu revealed as the pilots tensed "We work as Engineer Agents for them, our current job is working with Morgenrate on a project of theirs."

"Can you tell us anything?" Dearka asked hopefully.

Ryu and Kira chuckled "Can you tell us about ZAFT's top secret projects?" Kira retorted making the other pilots chuckle as well "How have you guys been since then?"

"Pretty well," Yzack commented shrugging "As you can guess we still are after the Legged Ship."

Ryu sighed "Crueset was always obsessive." He said with a slight sneer before sighing and shaking his head "And just to let you know the Archangel isn't here right now, well not to our knowledge anyways."

Athrun shrugged "That doesn't really matter much anyways as we're likely to find them again anyways," He commented "A big white ship tends to stick out a little."

Everyone at the table chuckled a bit before turning the talk to their past battles and their experiences during them.

Archangel, Chris' room

Chris sighed in contentment as he fell back onto his bed, since the civilians left the ship there was enough room for the pilots to have their own rooms if they so wished on the ship, and Chris decided to get his own room. A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts as he sat up "Who is it?" He called out.

"It's Flay," Came the answer, opening the door he saw the red head standing there "Can I come in?"

"Sure," He agreed moving aside to allow her access "Is there something wrong?"

Flay shook her head "No," She denied "I wanted to thank you for bringing me along tonight, it was fun."

Chris smiled as he sat down with her next to him as she snuggled up to him "I'm glad you came too Flay," He agreed with a smile "It was good to see you getting along with my family."

Flay smiled slightly "It was funny seeing all of those pictures of when you were a kid," She giggled "I can believe you started crying in your first karate lesson before you grandpa even touched you."

"I was four!" Chris protested loudly and was quickly silenced by Flay pressing her lips against his in a soft kiss.

"It doesn't matter to me," She whispered with a smile once they separated "All that matters is that I want to spend this time with you."

Chris smiled back at his girlfriend as they kissed again his hands wrapped around her as she slowly pushed him back onto the bed straddling his waist. As their kiss intensified her hand drifted up to the collar of his uniform and began to unbutton in, separating briefly she pulled the uniform and under shirt off before continuing the kiss. Chris broke off suddenly as her hand drifted to his waistline "Wait, Flay." He ordered "Are you sure you want to do this?"

Flay smiled gently at him as she nodded softly "Yeah I am sure," she reassured quietly "I've realized that with the way our life is right now, the is no guarantee that we will get another chance like this, so..." She grinned at him as she pressed herself seductively against him and mover her hand to his waistline. Pressing her lips to his once more her tongue licked at his lips asking for entrance, a request Chris granted as he parted his lips and sent out his own tongue to intercept hers.

****LEMON WARNING!****

As they were doing this Chris' hands where not idle as they fumbled with the buttons to Flay's uniform finally undoing it and pushing off the pink top as they broke briefly to allow her to pull off the top she was wearing underneath revealing her bra clad breasts. Smirking Flay slid down Chris' legs pulling his pant down as well before standing and, with a blush dusting her cheeks, slid off her skirt allowing him to see her white panties "God you're beautiful." He murmured as she rejoined him on the bed straddling his waist once more as she leaned over him and kissed him fiercely as his hands ran along her back before unsnapping her bra and she let it slid off revealing her low C-cup sized breasts to him as the red that dusted her cheeks increased slightly.

Fly moaned softly as he reached up and gently kneaded her breasts while his fingers teased her nipples. Biting her lip Flay sent her hand into Chris' boxers and gently stroked his semi-erect penis making Chris himself bite back a moan as she smirked as him, shifting her grip Flay pulled the boxers off of Chris with her own panties soon following as the pair kissed each other passionately with Flay's bare breast pressing up against Chris' chest and his manhood rubbing up against her lower entrance making the both of them moan into each other's mouths. Wrapping her hand around the base of his cock Flay gently guided it to her vagina and started to push herself onto it gasping in a mixture of pleasure and pain as her entrance stretched to accommodate it.

Chris placed his hands on her waist holding her there as he looked up at her "Are you alright Flay?" He asked in concern as a couple of tear fell from her eyes.

Flay smiled reassuringly at him "I'm fine," She said splaying a hand across his chest "It's just my hymen." Taking a deep breath she lifted herself a bit before slamming herself down breaking through her hymen gasping at the pain of it breaking. Chris hugged her soothingly as he could trying to ignore, for now, the feeling of her vagina wrapped around his cock. Flay's breathing calmed as the pain lessened making her quite aware of a fullness that had nothing to do with food, shifting slightly she moaned throatily at the feeling of Chris' cock pulsing within her as Chris himself was moaning at the rippling of her vagina around his cock.

Flay began to circle her hips moaning at the feeling of friction as she kept grinding herself against him. For his part Chris was not only feeling like he was in Nirvana but he was also entranced by the sight of Flay's breasts as they swayed in synch with her hips, reaching up he grabbed them lightly and began to knead them again earning a small shout of surprise from his lover as she pushed her chest forward allowing him lick the globes of sensitive flesh before he settled on suckling on her right breast.

Meanwhile Flay's movements changed from grinding in circles to lifting and falling as he pushed his hips up to meet hers. Their moans filled the room as Flay's pace quickened "Ahh Chris!" Flay shouted as she felt an explosion of pleasure emanate from a specific spot he hit "I-I think I'm cumming!"

"I think I a-am too Flay." Chris agreed as he abandoned sucking her nipple to sit up and focus on coordinating his movements to Flay's. After another minute of their pace the two lovers felt something snap within themselves as they clung to each other as they orgasmed together. Panting they laid together on the bed feeling the afterglow of their orgasm "That was fucking fantastic." Chris said breathing heavily.

Flay giggled as she kissed his sweaty chest "It was," She agreed before sitting up "Wanna try and do better?" She asked making Chris grin and flip them so that he was on top.

"I thought you'd never ask." He said nipping at her jaw as he teased her entrance making her moan deeply.

****END LEMON****

Next Day, Bridge

Murrue sighed as she looked over the supply reports from Morgenrate "Why is it when we go to an allied base they try and steal our stuff, but when we go to a non allied nation we not only get our mobile suits upgraded and repaired along with our ship, but we also get our foodstuffs resupplied?" She asked rhetorically.

The crew chuckled at her question as they ran a last minute systems check before their launch the next day "Maybe it's because our 'allies' are more concerned with their own well being than anything else." Neumann suggested.

The chuckled increased a bit before settling into a comfortable silence as Mu entered the bridge "Well the upgrades to the mobile suits are completed and they are loading them up now." He reported "All in all things are going on schedule."

Murrue nodded in acknowledgement "It's nice for things to go according to plan for once." She said honestly "How are the other pilots doing?"

"Kira and Ryu are visiting her parents so that she could say goodbye," He informed "Chris is currently doing the final check on the Raven and Liz and Yuuka are still in their room, I thought it might be best to leave them be for now."

Murrue smirked at his flustered expression "Might be for the best." She agreed letting out a small chuckle.

Kira's House

Kira smiled as she hugged her mom for the last time as she and Ryu got ready to leave "You stay safe and keep in touch when you can." Caridad ordered her daughter sternly as they separated.

"Yes mom." Kira answered submissively before going to hug her dad.

"And you keep safe as well Ryu," She said to Ryu hugging him as well "I want to be able to see the two of you married properly alright?"

"I will Caridad." Ryu confirmed as they separated turning to his wife Ryu smiled at Kira "Are you ready?"

Kira sighed and nodded "I am," She confirmed before turning to her parents "We will be escorting the Archangel to the Alaskan airspace, once we're done that we'll be on leave for a while."

Her parents nodded "We'll have a room ready for the two of you." Haruma reassured "We will see you then."

Kira smiled tearfully at her parents as they hugged once more before heading to the car, her parents watched the car until it disappeared around the corner and remained staring at the spot for a while after "Our daughter is all grown up now," Caridad stated mournfully "We will have to tell her soon."

Haruma nodded "I just hope she will forgive us for not telling her sooner." He added as the couple leaned into each other watching the setting sun.

ZAFT Submarine Carrier Cousteau

Athrun sighed as he watched the supply ship link up with the Cousteau from the deck of the submarine using the chance to get out of the tight corridors of the sub You haven't stopped piloting the Strike have you Kira? Athrun asked in his head That was you all of this time wasn't it?

"Athrun?" Mark asked catching the teens attention "Everything alright, you look like you just swallowed a lemon."

Athrun sighed as he looked over the ocean "You remember us telling you about meeting Ryu and Kira last night right?" He asked and continued after Mark nodded "Well, I'm not certain how I know, but I know Kira is still piloting the Strike."

Mark sighed as he faced the wind "I understand how you feel," He said "Ryu isn't the type just to say 'Oh well I did my best time to go home', he'd just grab a new suit and go on the offense once more."

"So you think that it's them flying the Dragon and Strike?" Athrun asked looking up at the brunette who sighed and nodded in confirmation.

"It is them," He stated with conviction "Anyways, I'm off to check with the sonar team, see ya later Athrun."

"Yeah, see ya." Athrun returned distantly as he returned to his contemplations.

Next Morning

Kira sighed as she zipped up her flight suit and grabbed her helmet before sitting next to Ryu and lent against him "Do you really think that we will be attacked?" Chris asked as he was doing up his own flight suit.

"Positive," Both Ryu and Mu coursed, they both glanced at each other and chuckled before Ryu continued "They saw us go into ORB, and chances are they waited around to see if we left or not, so they will be waiting."

Liz sighed as she sat down next to Yuuka and placed a hand on her chin "So we'll be engaging the enemy as soon as we leave then?" She asked.

Ryu nodded "Most likely." He confirmed.

Bridge

Murrue sighed as she watched the safety of the ORB homeland fade from view before turning her gaze forward to the open sea where ZAFT was most likely waiting "Anything on sonar?" She asked.

"Nothing yet ma'am," Dalida reported "Wait, three object approaching quickly, torpedoes!"

"Ascend!" Murrue barked sharply "All hands Level one battle stations!"

Hanger

The pilots sprinted across the hanger heading to their machines as the tech crews finalized the last pieces of maintenance "Are you sure you'll be alright piloting Tolle?" Ryu asked the prankster natural as he boarded the Skygrasper.

"I'll be fine!" Tolle reassured "After all I'd did the best in the simulator!"

Ryu sighed "Alright, stick close to the Archangel than and remember real battles are nothing like simulations!" He shouted as he dashed for the Dragon-X.

"Kira Yamato, Strike Astray, Heading out!"

"Chris Dante, Midnight Raven, Launching!"

"Liz Dante, Burst Zephyr Let's do it!"

"Yuuka Mizuki, Astray, Launching!"

"Mu la Flaga, Lightning Eclipse, Burning through the Skies!"

"Ryu Yamato, Dragon-X, Engaging!"

"Tolle Koenig, Skygrasper, Launching!"

The six suits and single fighter streaked out of the Archangel as the seven suits of ZAFT appeared charging at them, Taking the lead Ryu started charging the Buster rifle as the High Powered Camera was revealed "Charge 85%, firing!" He shouted as the Buster Rifle Erupted basting to the ZAFT formation forcing the group to break apart "Tolle support Yuuka!" Ryu ordered as he charged at the Slash and Phantom clashing his Heat shotels against the Slash's as the Phantom attempted to bisect him only for Ryu To flip his suit over the Slash and kicking him into the Phantom sending them both tumbling before the Guuls stabilized the suits only for Ryu to press his advantage of speed and maneuverability striking them from different angles and moving away before they could retaliate Shooting fish in a barrel. Ryu thought to himself smirking as the Slash switched to its beam pistol in an attempt to hit the Dragon-X.

Kira

Kira gritted her teeth as she clashed with the Aegis her katana straining against the Aegis' Beam Sabers, suddenly Athrun's face popped up on her vid screen "I know you piloting the Strike Kira." He said as the suits broke off from each other and started circling.

Kira sighed as she shifted the polarization of her helmet to show her face "Yeah it's me," She confirmed "Going to start telling me I shouldn't be fighting?"

Athrun sighed sadly and shook his head "No, I just wish that I wouldn't have to fight my friend anymore." He said bitterly "Aren't you?"

"Who isn't Athrun," Kira retorted "I bet your friends are kinda sick of fighting with us themselves."

Athrun was silent for a minute "Yeah they are." He confirmed his mouth a grim line.

Kira smiled sadly "Unfortunately that is the reality of war right now," She explained as the suits made a couple of passes "The younger are forced to fight because the older tell them that the others killed their parents, or a relative," The Strike and Aegis clashed blades again as several missiles from the Hawk aimed at the Zephyr passed by "It's sad really, that I was forced to get into the cockpit originally, but to be honest, it would have happened eventually."

"What?" Athrun replied shocked.

"Sooner or later ORB would have been involved," Kira stated "And I would have fought to protect my home, like I am fighting to protect my friends now."

Athrun sighed heavily as they broke apart "I would do the same in your position," He admitted "So I will not hold back Kira, I will fight to defeat you."

Kira smiled at Athrun "I know." She said simply "And I will do the same." She closed the link as she charged forward unfolding the plasma cannons and fired at the Aegis forcing it to dodge straight into the fire from her Beam Gatling gun as she closed the distance and began attacking with the katana forcing Athrun on the defensive.

Liz

Liz snarled as the Hawk unleashed it's full ordnance against the Zephyr hoping to overwhelm the suit only for Liz to switch it to the jet form and rocket away with the Pulse Thrusters pushing her suit even faster roaring past the Hawk shocking the pilot as it barely kept up with the nimble jet, raising its shield the Hawk managed to black the beam fire from the Zephyr as it made its second pass before transforming and closing in with its beam saber blazing at the ready "Fall!" Liz shouted as she charged the suit only for Liz to be shocked as a beam saber appeared in its hand blocking Liz's own saber.

"Not anytime soon!" The Hawk's pilot retorted pushing Liz's suit back before returning the beam saber to its holster in its wrist and began firing with its missiles and gatling cannon forcing Liz back to dodging.

Chris

Chris grunted as his suit collided with the Duel both suits straining to get the upper hand, breaking away suddenly Chris managed to avoid the rail gun mounted on the shoulder of the Duel as it fired, his danger senses flaring Chris moved his suit once more, it reacting impossibly fast allowing his to dodge the Duel's follow up kick "How in the world?" Yzack questioned in shock.

"Heh, I love my new upgrades!" Chris shouted in exhilaration, the Magnetic Coated Joints applied to the suit was far surpassing the theoretical expectations reacting at the slightest touch, going perfectly with his superior awareness allowing his suit to react just as quickly as he does "This is freaking awesome!"

"Oh Shit!" Yzack cursed as the Raven attacked him again this time colliding his knee into the Duel's gut doubling it over from the force of impact before bringing his elbow down to the base of its 'skull' "Double shit!" Yzack cursed again as he recovered.

Chris laughed as he transformed his suit quickly and fired his short ranged cannons before transforming again and attacked with his hyper-velocity cannons forcing hyper-velocity cannons forcing Yzack on the defensive once again.

Mu

Mu sighed as he passed by the slow Grizzly suit, it had been going on for a while, Lev would fire destructive blasts, he'd dodge, He'd fire some shots off, and they'd do nothing to Lev's armor, and unfortunately he had no chance to pull out his Agni cannon or Lev would blast him with his heavy weapons Sighing again Mu unfolded the Murasame heat blade and charged forward "You only live once." He quoted to himself as he dodged the blast from the Grizzly's Schlag cannon and swung his sword only for Lev to block it on his shield "You're really annoying, you know that right?"

Lev chuckled over the radio as he pushed Mu away and attempted to blast him with his shield cannons only for Mu to dodge out of the way "The same could be said for you," He retorted "All that dancing about."

"Well I'd rather not become a roadside kill from a rampaging bear now will I?" Mu asked rhetorically making Lev laugh again as he leapt off the Guul and transformed in air landing on one of the Islands "And it may happen literally now."

Lev only chuckled as he fired his Schlag cannons again the beam slamming into the Lightning's shield.

Yuuka

Yuuka groaned as she dodged the Buster's powerful cannon by flipping her suit up as Tolle's Skygrasper swooped in firing it's Agni Cannon forcing the Buster to back off slightly as it fired a series of missiles at the Skygrasper only for the fighter to roll out of the way "Damn, Ryu was right, this is nothing like the simulator!" Tolle observed as he continued to weave through the Buster's fire while Yuuka fended off the Blitz.

"Just keep moving!" Yuuka advised "The Buster has a slow firing rate so it won't be able to hit you easily."

"Right!" Tolle confirmed as he fired another blast at the Buster.

Boosting forward Yuuka drew her beam saber and clashed with the Blitz surprising Nicol with the Astray's speed as it pushed the stealth suit back slightly before breaking away suddenly as the Skygrasper came roaring in firing its Agni cannon hitting the Blitz's Guul as the Blitz tried to dodge sending the suit into the ocean "Great Job Tolle!" Yuuka congratulated as Tolle laughed shakily "Keep flying like that and the EA will praise you as an ace!"

"Thanks, I can't believe that worked!" He replied as they both dodged the Buster's offense.

Ryu


Ryu slide under the Phantom's Scythe as it swung at him before spinning his suit in a kick that knocked the scythe out of his hands before severing the Phantom's head and faced against the Slash as it charged forward the two of them beginning another struggle of dominance that had the two suits straining their thrusters. The Dragon-X however, thanks to the tinkering and upgrades it received, was slowly winning the struggle before one of the Guul's thrusters gave out sending the Slash tumbling to the ground with the Dragon-X right behind its massive anti-ship sword ready to strike.

Gritting his teeth Mark flipped his suit back narrowly dodging the massive blade as it easily cleaved though the ground before the Slash charged forward its own twin blades flash as the Dragon-X abandoned the anti-ship sword in favor of its own twin blades putting the two suits into another dead lock as their feet slid against the ground, breaking away the two traded blows before entering another deadlock "Looks like we're matched, eh Ryu?" Mark asked smirking.

Ryu chuckled slightly "I suppose so Mark," He agreed "I suppose so."

Kira

Kira ducked under one of the Aegis' beam saber as he katana swung out dragging along the Phase-Shift protected armor with sparks of the high velocity contact flying as she sped past, turning her suit around she dodged Athrun's return fire from his beam rifle before unfolding her suits plasma cannons and opened fire only for Athrun to separate from his Guul allowing it to take the hit and collided with Kira forcing her to the ground where she quickly threw the Aegis off and rose to her feet blocking the Aegis beam sword.

Separating again Kira detached her shield and drew out one of the Armor Schneiders and threw it at the Aegis forcing it out of the way as she charged forward clashing with her friend again starting another struggle of dominance. "You know Athrun, sometimes I really curse your level of skill." Kira informed as beads of sweat formed on her brow.


Athrun chuckled a bit as they separated before clashing a couple of more times "The feeling mutual." He replied as the Strike ducked down sweeping the Aegis' legs out from underneath him.


Kira moved to disable the Aegis only to suddenly feel a flash of danger and jump away from the Blitz as it suddenly materialized beside her swinging it's Trikeros beam saber "Athrun, you alright?" Nicol asked in concern.


"I'm fine Nicol," Athrun reassured "Don't let your guard down, we're facing the original Valkyrie."


Kira heard told sigh from the other end "It never can be easy can it?" He asked plaintively.


Kira smirked "Nope." She said as she charged forward again.


Chris


The Duel and Raven exchanged several rapid blows with each other never getting anything more than a glancing blow as they struggled to gain the upper hand, putting some distance between them Chris transformed into mobile armor form and swooped under the Duel before transforming again and lashing his bam saber out cutting the Duel's Guul in half sending the close combat suit to the ground where it landed only to be struck by several missiles "You're not going to come anywhere near me are you?" Yzack asked.


"Nope." Chris replied as he fired with his shield cannons forcing the Duel into a run and gun battle.


Liz


Liz smirked as she swooped past the Hawk finally landing a blow on one of its missile launchers casing a chain reaction as it blew the legs of the suit off "Take THAT!" She shouted as she looked around the battlefield, seeing that Kira had her two opponents in hand she boosted off to where the Buster was holding his own against Yuuka and Tolle "Need a hand?"


"Very much yes." Dearka said "Or where you talking to your allies?"


Liz laughed as she flew past evading the Buster's missiles before stopping allowing the missiles to pass her and explode in front of her suit before charging at the Buster with both of her beam sabers blazing swiping at the Assault suit only for him to suddenly cut his thrust falling underneath the swords and fired his missiles point black landing the hits and making Liz curse.


"That's what ya get for being cocky!" Dearka shouted right before a missile from Tolle destroyed his Guul.


"You where saying?" Tolle asked in amusement as he flipped around "I'm low on energy, I'm going to head back to the Archangel now."


"Alright!" Liz confirmed as she and Yuuka landed on top of the said ship keeping an eye on the remaining fights.


Ryu


Ryu smirked as he slid one his swords under one of the Slash's and jerked tearing the sword away from his grasp before spinning low and cutting the suits legs off "My win." Ryu announced as the Slash fell before he lifted off and headed to where Kira was.


"Goddammit." He heard Mark curse behind him.


Kira


Kira had to admit to herself that the Athrun and Nicol made a good team as they attacked her with Athrun tacking the lead while Nicol utilized his Mirage Colloid to flack Kira from odd directions, suddenly the Dragon-X roared in with its massive anti-ship sword slashing down between Kira and Nicol who was about to tackle Kira and settled itself beside the Strike "How you holding Kira?" Ryu asked his smirk evident in his voice.


"I'm good," She informed "Especially now that you're here."


Ryu chuckled as they prepared to face off against the Aegis and Blitz. Before either side could do anything a trio of white Flares lit up the sky signaling ZAFT's retreat.


In his suit Athrun sighed "I guess this is your win today Kira." He said softly eyeing his old friends suit.


"Today yes." Kira confirmed "But there is bound to be more."


Athrun only saluted with his suit along with the Blitz as they both jumped into the ocean collecting their allies as they went.


Heading back to the Archangel the pair was joined by Chris and Mu, with Mu's suit looking slightly singed "Losing your touch Hawk?" Ryu asked mockingly as Mu growled.


"Shut up!" Mu retorted his pride bruised as the others laughed as the landed on the Archangel.


ZAFT Submarine Cousteau


"Well that could of went better." Mark said sighing as he plopped down on one of the couches in the pilot ready room.


"That went as well as a mouse catching a cat." Naleen said sighing "It's getting harder and harder to take that ship down."


"That is why I had you retreat for now." Victor stated as he walked in followed by his personal squad, the Butchers, all of them where handpicked for their hatred for naturals "You are being pulled off the chase for the legged ship, my squad will be taking over now, you will support us."

Chapter Sixteen: Flashing Blades

ZAFT Submarine Cousteau

"I'll be taking command from here on out," Victor announced "You will be supporting my squad."

"Yessir." The pilots coursed as they saluted each of them feeling a cold ball of dread settling in their gut.

"We will be transferring to the Hrimfaxi." Victor continued "The Scinfaxi-class submarine."

Mark, Naleen and Jacques all inhaled sharply "They built another one?" Mark asked in shock his entire body feeling numb.

"Built another what?" Athrun asked in confusion looking at the elder pilots.

"Scinfaxi-class submarines are the biggest ones ever created," Naleen explained "There was one before, the Scinfaxi, it caused a lot of damaged before it was sunk by the Falcon team."

"And that's not the worst part," Jacques continued his face grim "They carry a payload with four Ballistic 'Burst' Missiles, the strongest missile outside of the nuclear classifications, it can destroy almost anything below 5000 ft."

"And it will sink the legged ship." Victor stated smiling cruelly "I suggest you have your repair crews pick up the pace, we will be attacking within 8 hrs."

Archangel, Bridge

"Well, that fight went reasonably well." Murrue surmised

"Definitely could have went a lot worse," Natarle agreed "But, we still have a ways until we reach Alaskan airspace, chances are they'll make another attempt to sink us."

"That's pretty much a guarantee," Ryu agreed as he entered the bridge with Mu and Kira "The question is, what will they bring at us this time."

Murrue nodded in agreement "They'll be getting desperate to stop us," She said frowning "I hate to ask this of you but can you have at least two pilots on standby at all times?"

The three pilots saluted "Yes ma'am." They coursed before leaving the bridge.

Hanger

Yuuka sighed as she leant against her Astray sipping on a bottle of water as she tried to relax herself "Hey Yuuka!" Liz shouted as she ran up to the red head "Ryu just informed us that we will be taking a standby shift in four hours, we're to rest till then."

Yuuka smiled at Liz "Alright," She agreed "Only if I can share your bed though."

Liz blushed lightly as the pair headed off.

Super-Submarine Scinfaxi

Athrun gulped lightly as the massive sarcophagus shaped submarine came into view "That thing's massive!" Dearka shouted in his own shock, a sentiment shared by the rest of his team as the feeling of dread filled their gut even more.

"Follow me." Said the representative of the Butcher Squad Gordon Lakes, a blond haired green eyed 20 year old with broad shoulders matching Lev in height "The commander wishes to go over the strategy with you once more."

The team followed the burly blond through the cramped halls of the Super-Submarine and entered the briefing room. Victor nodded at them as he gestured for them to take a seat "Right, this plan has two parts to it, both of our teams will be divided into two groups, half of us will remain with the Scinfaxi as the rest will directly attack the Legged Ship gets into position to fire the Burst missile." He explained and Mark raised his hand.

"Would that be close to suicidal to anyone who attacks the Legged Ship then?" He asked "If we're going to be firing Burst Missiles then wouldn't the attacking suits get caught in the attack."

Victor nodded "There is the possibility of that yes," He admitted "That is why I will be asking for volunteers for this mission, I need at least three of you team to go with mine."

Immediately Lev, Dearka and Nicol all stood up "We will undertake the mission." Lev stated his eyes determined as Victor nodded.

"I wish you luck then," Victor said honestly "You will be working with Gordon, Hatake and Valken." Hatake was a 24 year old with orange colored hair and piercing blue eye and short and scrawny, while Vermeer was completely average with black hair and eyes.

Archangel. Hanger

Chris sighed as he leant back as far as his cockpit seat would allow him wearing his pilot suit and his helmet next to him "God this is boring!" He complained.

Mu chuckled over the radio "I understand how you feel kid," He agreed "But I've been getting a really bad feeling lately, I feel as if something evil is coming."

"Really?" Chris asked in concern trusting the Hawk's instinct "Well hopefully we can get to Alaskan air space."

"Alert!" Mir voice sounded throughout the ship suddenly "Six mobile suits on approach! All hands to your Battle Stations!"

Chris growled as he powered his suit up along with Mu's as they were moved to the catapult "Chris Dante, Midnight Raven, Taking Off!"

"Mu la Flaga, Lightning Eclipse, Let it Roll!"'

ZAFT Strike Team

"What can you tell us about these G-weapons?" Gordon asked the Crueset team pilots as they cruised to the Legged Ship's position. The Butcher squad were piloting the newest ZAFT suit to be rolled out, the Dobermans, designed for long ranged missions they each could fly without the aid of a Guul and had enough battery power for 6 hours of continuous flight, the suits looked similar to a Ginn with a shield attached to their left shoulder and a spiked shoulder plate for ramming on their right, the head of the suit was sleeker and longer than the Ginn's(Marasai from Zeta), each suit was colored in a black on gold pattern with a butcher's knife on the chest of the suit.

"The pilots are highly skilled," Nicol informed "Even for coordinators they are extremely capable."

"The one's we really need to watch out for are the Dragon and the Strike," Lev continued "Their piloted by Terminal Combat Agents."

A sudden warning in the cockpits cut the conversation short as a series of missiles launched from the ship streaked at the six suits "Scatter!" Hatake warned as the suits split up with the Buster ascending and the Grizzly dropping heading to the islands in the area.

Chris

"That's odd." Chris murmured as he spotted the enemy.

"What is?" Ryu asked as he waited for his suit to be loaded into the catapult.

"Only the Buster, Blitz and Grizzly are here," Chris responded "The others are some kind of new suit I've never seen." As he spoke Chris shot forward to engage the new enemies only to be forced to dodge as one of them fired it's beam rifle snapping off three shots at a high rate of speed "Dammit their armed with beam weapons!"

"Understood, Ryu Yamato, Dragon-X Engaging!" Ryu shouted as his unit launched into the air quickly followed by the rest of the Archangel's units "These guys are... the Butcher squadron."

"You don't mean?" Kira asked slightly alarmed while the others blinked in confusion.

"Yeah, Victor Amsel's personal squad." Ryu growled out gripping his controls tightly "They are just as bad as he is when it comes to naturals."

The conversation ended as the six suits began their attack on the G-weapons each person taking on another, Kira fighting the Blitz, Mu the Grizzly, Liz the Buster and everyone else one of the new suits.

Kira vs. Nicol

Kira could hear Nicol sigh as the two clashed over the waters of the ocean "Hey Kira." He greeted half heartily.

"Hey Nicol," Kira returned suspicious of the green haired teen's tone "I guess this may be our last fight."

More than you know. Nicol thought before responding "I guess so," He said "To be honest though I'll miss matching off against you."

"Oh?" Kira asked genuinely surprised as they entered a deadlock, her katana against the Trikeros beam saber.

"Because of the simple fact neither of us wants to kill the other," Nicol stated "That is what makes me enjoy fighting with you, it is only a test of skill, not a fight of survival."

Kira chuckled as she broke away firing her Gatling Gun at the Blitz as it dodged "The sentiment is returned Nicol." She admitted as the clashed again.

Mu vs. Lev

"We seem to like to punish each other don't we?" Mu asked as he squared off against the Grizzly as it landed on a large island.

Lev chuckled as he shifted to mobile armor mode "That we do, that we do." He agreed firing his Schlag cannons at the Lightning as it swooped past firing it's beam rifle. Unlike its suit mode the Grizzly when in its bear form was more agile and definitely a lot faster than before allowing Lev to dodge the High speed attacks from the Lightning as the pair exchanged fire.

Putting away his rifle Mu extended his Murasame sword and charged in close quarters with the Grizzly as it leapt to meet him the beam claws extended to strike as they pass each other the two melee weapons clashing with each other. Landing the Lightning quickly turned raising its shield blocking the Cannon blast from the Grizzly sending it skidding a bit as the Grizzly charged forward again leaping only for the Lighting to Duck under the heavy suit the Murasame dragging along the underside of the suit doing surface damage only unfortunately "First hit is mine." Mu taunted as he turned to face the Grizzly as it transformed back into its suit mode.

"I guess so." Lev agreed cautiously eyeing the Lightning as it prepped to attack again.

Liz vs. Dearka

"Sit still would ya!" Dearka shouted as the Zephyr in jet form roared past him evading the missiles and the fire from the Buster's 350mm gun launcher and 94mm beam rifle.

"Why would I?" Liz asked laughing as she switched to suit mode and started pelting the Buster with her gatling cannons "That would only make it easy for you!"

"Is that so much to ask?" Dearka replied as he formed the Buster's cannon and fired it at the nimble mobile suit only for it to dodge out of the way "I mean how long have we been doing this?"

Liz laughed "Won't be for much longer!" She predicted as she swooped down on the Buster her beam saber in hand and swiped at the heavy weapon suit only for him to boost back out of the way opening up with his gun launcher spraying her suit with bullets even as her saber pierced through the Guul the Buster was riding sending it falling to an island.

Ryu vs. Gordon

Ryu smirked as he ducked under the rapid firing beams and pulled up his Assault Rifle opening up with his own rapid firing beams as he charged forward his Murasame extended swinging only for the suit to boost out of the way drawing a beam saber taking a swing of his own that Ryu blocked entering a deadlock "What kind of suit suit is that?" He asked curiously "Not bad for a mass produced suit."

"Doberman." The pilot responded through gritted teeth as activated his second beam saber only for that one to be blocked by the bayoneted assault rifle.

"Don't think that I'm that easy!" Ryu shouted as h suddenly pulled back before slamming into the Doberman forcing it underwater "I hope you know how to swim," Ryu taunted as he activated his suits Mirage Colloid vanishing as the Doberman looked around wildly "Because you will never make it to the surface!" Suddenly several fangs came out of nowhere repeatedly slamming into the Doberman tearing it apart before the final one pierced the cockpit of the Doberman killing the pilot as the suit blew up.

Yuuka vs. Hatake


"Gordon!" Yuuka heard her opponent shout in fear as he saw the water explode upwards "You bastards!"

Yuuka sighed as she booted out of the way of the Doberman's attack before getting in close with her beam saber clashing against his before pulling way out of range of his retaliatory swipe "You'll never touch me." She growled as her powerful thrusters kicked in again boosting her forward as she dodged a series of shots from the angered pilot before swooping in and severing his gun hand pulling out of the way of a backhand swipe from his beam saber.

"Just die you Natural loving bitch!" The pilot raged as he boosted forward colliding his ramming spikes against her shield "I'll die taking you with me!" Yuuka's eyes widened a split second right before his suit self destructed enveloping her suit in the explosion.

Dearka

"NO!" Dearka heard Liz shouted in fear as she and Dearka saw the fireball consume Yuuka's Astray "YUUKA!"

"Yuuka?" Dearka asked in shock at the revelation of who the pilot was "You mean she was assigned to the Legged Ship?"

The Zephyr suddenly boosted forward as Yuuka's suit fell from the smoke cloud badly damaged catching it and quickly dragging it to the Archangel as the white ship trained its guns on the Buster, Sighing Dearka opened his cockpit and raised his hands as he stepped out signaling his surrender "Like I could dodge those at this range." He muttered gazing up at the regal ship "Plus I have a better chance of surviving in there." A sudden beep caught his attention as he glanced at his computer waiting for the security team to arrive, his eyes widened as he saw the content of the message "Oh shit," he swore, making a snap decision he opened his communicator to the Radio link the G-weapon pilots used when fighting "Attention Legged ship and all G-weapons! Several Burst Missiles have Just been fired at this position!"

"What!" He heard Ryu roar as his suit leapt out of the water "Everyone get into the water or Above 5000ft, you too Dearka, Chris drag that pilot into the water with you if you have to! Tolle get back to the ship!"

Everyone responded immediately as Dearka secured his cockpit, but before he looked into the water he spotted Chris having trouble with his opponent, sending a text message to him Dearka raised his combined rifle and fired on the Doberman shocking Valken "Dearka you dammed traitor." He cursed right before his suit exploded.

Frowning he leaped into the water right after the Raven "Thanks Dearka," He heard Chris say gratefully "But, why?"

Dearka sighed as he leant back "I don't know to be honest," He replied "But I do know I have a better chance of survival with you than with them."

"He's right," Nicol added as the Blitz drifted up missing pieces of his armor looking positively ghoulish actually startling Dearka "I feel the same way as he does."

"Damn Nicol you look like you just walked out of the grave!" Lev shouted earning a couple of chuckles as he and Mu joined them.

"Emergency!" They heard Tolle shout "Something's happened to my controls!"

Looking up the group spotted the Skygrasper as it fell onto an island "No Tolle!" Ryu shouted as Dearka's counter went to Zero and a massive explosion took place overtop of them.

Archangel, Bridge

The ship shook violently even as Mir screamed out Tolle's name in fear, when the explosion died down all that could be heard in the bridge was Mir's desperate calls for her boyfriend over the radio. Finally Natarle stood up and shut off Mir's radio "Crewman Argyle can you please escort Crewman Haw to her room, to grieve." She asked her own eyes hidden by her visor as Sai did as requested.

"Ryu what's you status?"Murrue asked desperately.

"We're all fine, ZAFT pilots as well, they've surrendered to us," Ryu said tonelessly shocking the crew at the sound of his voice "Crewman Koenig is confirmed KIA." The Dragon-X and Strike landed on top of the Archangel The Dragon-X's energy transfer cables repowered their suits from the Archangel's reactor "Dearka, where did that missile come from?"

Dearka sigh was heard over the radio "A Scinfaxi-Class Super Sub." He answered "About 25 miles east of here."

Murrue and Natarle's gasps while the tightening of Ryu's grip on the controls was heard "What's a Scinfaxi-Class?" Chris asked.

"Scinfaxi-classes are the largest submarines ever built," Mu answered in shock " They each carry up to four Ballistic Bust Missiles, the most destructive missiles outside of Nukes."

Gulps where audible from the pilots as they boarded the Archangel.

Ryu

Ryu opened a private link with Kira "Kira we..." He said trailing off.

Kira nodded to her husband "I understand." She assured "It has to be done."

Ryu sighed as he opened the link to the bridge "Captain, can you please pick up your phone and make this private," He said as she quickly responded "Kira and I are going after it, continue onto Alaska, we will sink that ship."

"But, alone!?" Murrue protested.

"It has to be us," Kira stated "Our suits are the only ones that will reach it and still be able to fight back."

Murrue's gulp was audible "Very well, I will inform the others." She said as the link closed along with the Hanger doors.

Hanger

"What the hell?" Mu shouted as the doors to the Hanger closed "Kira and Ryu still are not in yet!"

"Attention crew!" Murrue said as the announcement rang through the ship "We will be leaving to Alaskan airspace now, Ryu and Kira have both decided to launch an attack on the Scinfaxi-Class Submarine as it resupplies its missiles before it can launch another attack on us like that again."

"NO!" Chris shouted as he ran full tilt to his suit along with Mu and surprisingly the ZAFT Pilots as well "NOT AGAIN!"

"Are they suicidal taking that thing on alone!?" Dearka asked "At the very least take some of us with you!"

"You would never be able to make it back to the ship." Ryu informed "Or to any Terminal base nearby either, the Dragon-X and Strike Astray however."

"DAMMIT RYU!" Mu shouted "NOW IS REALLY NOT THE TIME TO BE A HERO!"

"We're not trying to be hero's Mu," Kira replied as their suits took off from the Archangel "And we will see you guys again, I promise."

Kira

Kira cut the link as the two suits rocketed away from the Archangel to the Scinfaxi-class's last known position feeling numb inside her whole body knowing she just made a false promise "I'm sorry Kira." Ryu said apologetically as the cruised just over the water "I got you messed up in this again."

Kira shook her head some tear dripping from her eyes "Don't worry Ryu," She said "I would rather be doing this than nothing at all."

"Understood." Ryu confirmed as he fell silent again.

Ryu, hour later

"Coming up on target," Ryu informed as he snapped out of the trance he was in "Activating Mirage Colloid."

The two suits disappeared from view just as they entered the range of the massive Submarine.

Hrimfaxi, Hanger

Mark sighed as he stared up at the Slash feeling regretful, the Burst Missiles where a confirmed hit, and they were planning on firing another salvo as soon as they could "Hey Mark." Athrun greeted dully.

"You look like someone ran over your cat." Mark stated just as dully "But who am I kidding, I feel the same way."

Athrun smiled briefly "I take it that the Hrimfaxi will be used in Operation Spitbreak?" He asked and received a confirming nod in return, looking around Athrun spotted that they were alone in the general vicinity as the tech crews were kept busy with a red suit vaguely resembling the Dobermans surrounding it. "My friend Kira is the pilot of the Strike." He revealed quietly.

Mark grimaced "I can understand how you feel," He said "While we only met face to face once I do count Ryu as a friend."

"When did you meet him?" Athrun asked curious.

Mark chuckled "I was the pilot for the X before he highjacked it." Mark answered with another chuckle "That was an interesting day, met this crew tech who seem harmless enough, only for when the demonstration began the 'harmless' crew tech suddenly appeared in a Moebius, forced my cockpit open and threw me out before leaving, laughing all the while."

Athrun gave a small chuckle as Mark reminisced, suddenly an explosion rocked the sub "Going to Condition Red!" The announcement said "All pilots to your suits!"

Kira

Kira appeared suddenly as he Plasma Cannons fired alongside Ryu's Buster Rifle slamming into the massive Submarine as the beam from the Buster Rifle punched Through the sub and nailed the supply ship. Kira weaved though the anti-air and SAM missiles as her Beam rifle snapped off some shots nailing several turret emplacements before the Hanger of the sub opened and over a dozen Dobermans, easily 25 DINNs, the remaining ZAFT G-weapons and a Crimson red Suit with the Butcher Symbol on it Launched Kira found herself beset on all sides by not only the Duel and the Aegis, but half a dozen Dobermans while the rest headed to the Dragon-X as it unfolded the Heavy Beam Assault cannons and fired nailing one of the Dobermans as the rest scattered and the DINNs spread out.

Kira's gatling cannon roared to life as she kept the enemy suits at even as she shot several more turret emplacements on the enduring sub. Her danger senses flashing Kira suddenly ducked under the Aegis as it kicked out with one of its Feet sabers followed up by one of the Dobermans Charging in to ram her only to get skewered by her Katana and thrown onto a passing DINN destroying them both as the Doberman exploded. Raising her shield Kira was pushed back slightly as the Duel rammed his own shield into hers as they both clashed their swords together "Are you guys suicidal?" Yzack asked as they separated while Kira fought off Several DINNs as they attacked her.

"No," Kira responded dully "We are just making sure that ship cannot firing again!" Kira heard Athrun gulp as he transformed into his mobile armor form and fired at Kira only for her to grab a DINN and throw it in the way "I'm not that easy to defeat!" Kira roared as he Plasma cannons fired Taking out another Doberman as it tried to close in on her.

Ryu

Ryu's face was one of perfect calm as he weaved through the AA fired and the attacking mobile suits "You will die Victor." Ryu stated as he clashed his assault rifle with Victor's GeL's double beam saber "That is a promise." Breaking away Ryu suddenly aimed his Buster Rifle at the Hrimfaxi and "100% Charge, firing!" The Buster Rifle spewed out a massive Beam that consumed a trio of DINNs before hitting the submarine again unfortunately not sinking the ship.

"Nice rifle there Hisanaga," Victor said greedily "I think it'll make a nice addition to my GeL!"

"Not happening!" Ryu shouted as he dodged a series of Missiles from the Hawk and Dived underwater closely followed the Slash "You are a fool to follow me underwater Mark." Ryu sated as the Slash looked around for him only to feel a series of blows to hit him from all direction as the Dragon-X materialized in front of him with the anti-ship sword already in motion, only Mark's honed instincts saved him from being bisected at the cockpit.

He's aiming to kill me! Mark realized as he blasted himself out of the Water with the Dragon-X at his heels only to be blocked as a trio of Doberman attacked him with their Heavy Beam Cannons.

Weaving through the fire Ryu threw his anti-ship sword at the trio Bisecting two before impaling the last on one of his heat shotels throwing it towards the Reaper as it tried to sneak up on him "You will all fall today." Ryu whispered threateningly "Be certain of that." Checking his power readouts Ryu frowned at the sight of only a third of the battery was left Have to use it. He thought to himself as he typed in Three words into the keyboard, Turn the Key.

Mark

Mark gritted his teeth as the Slash shot forward at the stationary Dragon-X and swung his heat shotel at the unit as it never reacted.

Kira

Kira grunted as a Doberman slammed into her before self destructing the force of the blow actually tearing a hole in her cockpit as she looked up and suddenly spotted the Aegis.

Athrun

Athrun transformed his suit once more and fired the Scylla cannon, only this time the Strike would not be able to block. Closing his eyes Athrun tried to block out the tears that threatened to fall I`m sorry Kira. He apologized a sudden gasp over the radio forced his eyes open as the Strike suddenly vanished before the Blast hit the suit "What the Fuck?" He asked in shock as the Strike suddenly appeared before the Duel, only the suit was glowing an orangish-red color, the Strike's Katana flashed four times as the Duel was dismembered before Yzack could react.

Mark

Mark closed his eyes briefly as he swung the Heat shotel only for them to fly open at Naleen's gasp of shock to see the Dragon-X gone, turning his suit he spotted the Dragon-X behind him glowing a bright golden color as the heat shotels flashed destroying Mark's suit and sending him falling into the ocean.

Archangel, Hanger

"What the hell is going on!?" Murdoch shouted as the Zephyr, Raven and Lightning glowed, the Zephyr was glowing bright white while the Raven glowed black and the Lightning glowed blue.

Chris stared at the computer screen he was working on in shock as he sat in the cockpit of the Raven, all it showed were the words 'Delta Drive', the screen suddenly cut away as Ryu's face appeared "To the pilots of the upgraded G-weapons," He said "I have just unlock the most powerful feature in you suit, the Delta Drive, this function was created by a dear friend of mine who agrees with my thoughts on the potential of the G-wea- no, on the potential of the Gundams, while the Delta Drive is active your suit's capabilities will be tripled," Chris' eyes widened at the revelation "There is a drawback however, it only has a five minute time limit and at the end your mobile suits will be drained of power and even if you did have power left it would severely reduce the performance of your suit... I do not know if you follow my ideals of a unified world or not, but if you seek it, then use this power to achieve it!"

Ryu

"Delta Drive online," Ryu intoned as he blurred out of sight and a second later the remaining Dobermans and the Hawk fell to the ocean in pieces, each Doberman pilot was killed as Naleen simply stared, flipping his suit around Ryu aimed once more at the Hrimfaxi "Charge 200%, Firing!" As soon as he pulled the trigger the Buster Rifle spat out the largest beam ever seen yet, easily 40 meters in width, the beam impacted with the super sub as it tried to submerge, roaring Ryu dragged the rifle up as it was still firing causing the beam to Carve the sub in half.

"My god." Jacques whispered fear filling his entire being as the Dragon-X Turned to him and before he could react it was in front of him with the Energy transfer cable attached and his energy drained, right before the golden light faded as the Dragon-X returned to normal.

Kira

"Fall!" Kira shouted as she aimed her Plasma Cannons and fired a beam triple the size of normal destroying several suits in the single shot before blurring out of sight while several DINNs fell in rapid succession.

"What the hell is this!" the remaining Doberman pilot shouted in fear right before Kira threw her boomerang into the cockpit of the suit.

Flipping her suit upside down Kira dodged the DINN that tried to grab onto her as three cables flew out of the shield and attached to three different DIINs draining their power as the orangish-red glow faded from the Strike.

Victor

Victor could only watch in shock as his entire attack force was wiped out by the two suit in only five minutes, he quickly snapped out of his shock however as the Dragon-X turned to him and threw the Buster Rifle before firing his Beam assault rifle destroying powerful weapon "You will never have that weapon Victor." Ryu informed in the same monotonous voice before anger crept into his voice "Now you die!"

The Dragon-X burst forward the twin heat shotels attached at the hilts as a staff as Victor drew out his double beam saber and clashed against the Dragon-X "Your suit's suddenly al lot slower Hisanaga, that glow must of had quite the drawback."

Ryu didn't respond as he broke away and landed on one of two islands in the area detaching the heavy beam cannons along with the flight pack and tossed aside the beam assault rifle, the challenge was clear.

Smirking Victor landed as he tossed aside his beam rifle and two extra beam sabers and the two readied themselves "Soon Hisanaga we will find out who the true Ultimate Soldier truly is!" Victor shouted as he dashed forward clashing blades with Ryu.

Kira

Kira was panting inside her cockpit feeling the aftereffects of the G-forces from the incredible speed of the Delta Drive, her power gauge read at 30% as she faced off against Athrun having discarded her other weapons leaving her with only her Katana and four assault knives as she landed on the island opposite of the one that the Dragon-X and the GeL where fighting on "Don't start holding back Athrun," Kira warned "This is where the fight will end."

"I know." Athrun admitted reluctantly before the Strike shot forward forcing him to block the Katana with his shield only for his eyes to widen as the Strike drew one of its assault knives and stabbed at the Aegis forcing it to back off as Athrun activated the wrist saber on his non shield arm and shot forward the two suits clashing with Kira dropping the Knife to grab the wrist of the Aegis to prevent the saber form bisecting her.

Letting go Kira suddenly dropped as she swept the legs of the Aegis out from underneath Athrun who quickly recovered sending a kick at the Strike activating one of the foot sabers forcing Kira to duck as she brought her Katana around Swinging at one of the Aegis' legs.

Activating the Aegis' thrusters Athrun leapt into the air to dodge before discarding his shield in favor of using both wrist sabers, swing both of them at Kira the Terminal pilot surprised Athrun by using the Sheath of the Katana to block the right beam saber as her katana blocked the other. Kira brought the knee of her suit up and kneed the Aegis in the gut forcing him back as the two friends squared off again.

Ryu

Ryu's face was a stony mask as he clashed repeatedly with Victor his heat shotels separated into the twin blades as he swung viciously at the GeL's cockpit forcing the ZAFT ace onto the defensive before Catching one of the blades and spinning his double beam saber at a tearing the sword out of the Dragon-X's grip before spinning his suit low and swiping at the Dragon-X's cockpit only for Ryu to leap the suit over the GeL swinging his remaining sword cutting one of the thrusters. A quick glace to his power readouts made Ryu grimace at the sight of 10% percent power remaining as he ducked under a swing from the GeL and kneed it in the gut only for Victor to surprise him by discarding his Beam saber and wrapping his suits arms around the Dragon-X leaping into the ocean "You die Here Hisanaga!" Victor shouted as he activated the self destruct and emergency ejection shooting him out of the back of the suit.

Ryu's eyes where wide as he saw this happen "Kira..." He whispered right before the GeL blew up sending water flying into the air.

Kira

Kira's heart stopped as she saw the pillar of water rise into the air before the blood rushed to her head, letting out an anguished scream Kira saw the two SEEDs in her mind as they changed to the single amethyst with dilated pupil and single golden with slitted pupil charging at the Aegis Kira surprised Athrun with the ferocity the normally kind teen attacked with as he tried to defend himself from her vicious assault, he was lucky as he suddenly leapt back losing a leg that would have bisected him, gritting his teeth he ducked under the swing of the Katana his saber flashed as he severed her sword arm only for her to pick up the katana with her remaining arm.

Athrun


Athrun continued to dodge the attacks and leaped into the air transforming his suit and attached it to the Strike Sorry Kira. He thought as the Aegis and Strike ran out of power while he armed the self destruct "I hope you can forgive me." He whispered as he leapt out of his suit right before it exploded, he wasn't sure if it was his imagination or not be he would of sworn that he heard Kira whisper "I already have Athrun." As he landed in the ground knocked unconscious from the blow unaware as Yzack came up in the rescue boat to pull him on.

Underwater

Ryu floated through the water staring up at the surface I am so sorry Kira. He thought unaware of the red trimmed white suit behind him as he lost consciousness.

Archangel, Bridge

"We have just entered Alaskan airspace." Romeo Pal announced quietly as the crew bowed their heads their eyes closed in remembrance.

"Let's hope that we can actually achieve something." Murrue whispered as tears slipped out of her eyes, the signals showing the status of the Strike Astray and the Dragon-X were dead.

Strike

A blind priest surrounded by several children walked to the wreckage of the battle that had occurred nearby the orphanage the priest ran "What do you see children?" The priest asked.

"Father Malchio, there's a lady over here!" one of the children shouted standing next to an attractive young women with waist length wavy brown hair wearing a white on blue pilot suit.

"We need to bring her out of the rain." Malchio instructed as he directed the children to carry her, just then a red trimmed white mobile suit flew over head landing near the orphanage, moving quickly the group arrived and entered the room to see a worried Lowe Gear as he tended to an unconscious pilot.

Looking over to them his face was grim as he saw the girl "Kira," He whispered before moving to aid the children move her to one of the beds "This was the closest place," Lowe explained as Malchio ran his hands over the girl "He's in bad condition too."

Malchio nodded "It is alright," He reassured "I am always willing to aid the Junk Guild." His hands ran across a dog tag as he read the name by feeling the grooves Kira Yamato, could it be?

Chapter Seventeen: Descending Sword

Archangel, Bridge

Murrue sighed with obvious relief as the Archangel finally docked in the JOSH-A base and stood saluting as the commanding officer appeared on the view screen "Captain Ramius you and your command crew are to report tomorrow for an inquisition on the Archangel." He reported.

Ramius nodded "We have some ZAFT prisoners onboard," She said "What should we do with them."

The commanding officer sighed "Unfortunately things are a little hectic with ZAFT's rumored upcoming attack on Panama," He explained "So for the time being please keep them aboard your ship."

The link closed as Murrue sighed sitting back down "I felt more relaxed during combat than talking with him." She groaned making some of the crew chuckle.

"This inquisition worries me," Mu said frowning "Especially since all of the pilots save for me have been coordinators."

"Then when they see the battle data for the Dragon-X and the Buster Rifle..." Natarle added trailing off with her mouth in a grim line "They'll be demanding why we never obtained it."

"Actually we're safe in that respect," Neumann said surprising the others "With Terminal essentially the Fourth major power in this war neither side wants to piss them off, and since the Buster Rifle was the property of a Combat Agent."

"Command wouldn't risk trying to get their hands on it," Murrue finished "But still, get some rest for now, I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a long day."

Infirmary

"Don't worry," The doctor reassured a worried Liz who hovered over Yuuka "Thankfully not only was her pilot suit armored but with the reinforcements around the cockpit she will recover perfectly fine, although she may scar."

The scar the doctor was referring too was the cut Yuuka had received when her Helmet glass shattered barely missing her eyes leaving a nasty cut going from her nose going under her left eye.

Liz nodded her thanks to the doctor as she remained by Yuuka's side holding her hand, she looked up when the door opened and smiled at Flay who entered carrying a tray "I thought you might be hungry." Flay explained setting the tray down "How is she?"

"The doctors said she should be fine," Liz said "She may scar a bit but she should recover fine."

"Glad to hear that," Flay said smiling at the younger teen as Liz softly ran a hand through Yuuka's hair "You should get some rest Liz, I can watch over Yuuka if you want."

Liz shook her head "No," She refused "I want to stay with her, the doctor already gave me permission to sleep here if I wish to."

Flay sighed as she relented "Then get some sleep and wash up at least," She ordered sternly dragging Liz to a bed and pushing her onto it "You honestly look like shit." Flay glared at Liz as she tied to sit up cowing the girl "I'll be in in six hours to wake you up and watch over Yuuka while you shower, no arguments."

Liz gulped as she nodded her head before pulling her covers overtop of herself and drifted off to sleep Damn, She thought before darkness claimed her Who knew Flay could be so scary.

Flay heard a chuckle from the doorway and turned to see Chris standing there with a slight smile on his face "I think you need some rest as well," He said as he took her hand "With me if you want to."

Flay smiled at Chris "Only if you promise me to actually sleep Chris," She said sternly making him chuckle "C'mon, let's get you... Checked out."

PLANTs, Clyne Mansion

"Ah Pink-chan, you shouldn't go over there." Lacus reprimanded as she moved to a large bed with two still bodies laying in it, one male one female, the only indication of them being alive was the slight rise and fall of their chest as she picked up the errant Haro unit a groan caught her attention as the female's amethyst eyes slowly were dragged open "Good morning, Kira." She greeted smiling.

JOSH-A, Tribunal Room

The gathered officers of the Archangel Saluted as William Sutherland entered the room with two of his aide officers, returning the salute Sutherland sat down followed by everyone else in the room "The navigational data aboard the Archangel already been gathered and is being deciphered," Sutherland said as he leaned forward linking his hands together as he smirked slightly "Quite an impressive record, Captain Murrue Ramius." Sutherland lean back as he spoke again "Now from all of you we will receive and review your reports and testimonies on what has happened thus far," He explained "Then this Inquisition will report to the Military Judicial Committee, anything you say will be reported once the inquisition starts, I hope you answer everything truthfully, understood?"

"Yes sir." Murrue confirmed frowning slightly.

"Well then, file number one," Sutherland started as a screen opened behind him "This is regarding the incident at Heliopolis With ZAFT and EA forces engaging each other, I will now hear the report of Murrue Ramius who was a Lieutenant at the time."

Murrue stood and took a breath calming herself for the shit storm to come.

Clyne Mansion

"L-Lacus?" Kira questioned softly focusing her eyes on the pink haired songstress "W-where... am I?"

Lacus smiled reassuringly "You are in my home in the PLANTs," Lacus explained calmly patting Kira's shoulder "You were brought here by a good friend of mine Reverend Malchio who found you injured on a beach."

"Ryu?" The word seemed to pain the brunette as she whispered it her amethyst eyes glittering with unshed tears fearing the answer.

"He is right beside you." She answered smiling at the sight of her friends eyes widening as it turned to see said teen slumbering peacefully "He woke up about an hour ago and would rest until he was by your side," Lacus explained "He kept repeating that he was sorry to you."

Kira shakily lifted her hand and ran it along his face smiling as he responded by nuzzling into her hand slightly. Tears of relief and happiness flooded her eyes as she moved herself so that she could properly embrace him sobbing slightly, unaware as Lacus smiled a slipped from the protected sunroom leaving the couple be. Kira continued to sob for a minute as she clutched at Ryu burying her face into his chest reassuring herself that he was alive and fine "Kira?" A voice whispered questioningly.

Looking up she saw Ryu groan as his eyes opened and locked on with her own, instantly with her body moving of its own accord she pressed her lips against him killing him furiously with a passion he returned as he entwined his fingers with her hair pulling her closer, when they finally separated Kira wrapped her arms around him and nuzzled herself into the crook under his chin "I thought, I thought you had died," She whispered with a slight sob gripping him tighter "I thought I had lost you."

"I had thought I was going to die as well," Ryu admitted kissing the top of her head inhaling her scent as a few tears dripped from his eyes "I'm so sorry Kira," He sobbed out "My actions nearly got you killed and-"

"Enough Ryu," Kira said firmly holding him tighter "I told you I would protect you back as you protect mine, and that's what we did, I'm just so happy you're alive."

Ryu sobbed lightly as He buried his head into her neck as he clung to her tightly finally allowing himself to break down.

JOSH-A, Tribunal Room

"And what of Ryu Hisanaga?" Sutherland questioned "Even after the revelation to his identity why did you not arrest him?"

"Simple, we were in need of his skills and experience as a pilot," Murrue answered clearly "Also I had received no direct orders from any of my superiors to place Mr. Hisanaga under arrest."

Sutherland nodded reluctantly "I suppose things worked out in the end when he and that other Coordinator Kira died with the eighth fleet," He mused "The there is the matter of the fact that their suits later reappeared only this time under the control of a pair of Terminal Combat Agents, why did you not try to reclaim those suits? Especially since the... Dragon-X was it? Had a weapon like the Buster Rifle?"

"Sir the Agents had legally bought the suits, or what remained of them, from a Junk Guild ship that had been through the remains of the battle and repaired and upgraded it themselves," She reported "And not only that, but they were offering their aid in assisting us to here in Alaska, also if we had tried to take either the mobile suits or the Buster Rifle they would have detonated their suits and that in itself would have destroyed the Archangel."

"Also had they tried it the rates that we have with Terminal would skyrocket, and as much as I hate to say it, we need those mercenaries right now." One of the overseeing officers added "So Captain Ramius made the right call with that."

Sutherland nodded again with a frown "And what was this anomaly that your technicians reported with your mobile suits a short while ago?" He asked curiously.

"We are not completely certain ourselves," Murrue said lying with a straight face "Our technicians believe that it was some kind of Failsafe that Ryu had added into the diagrams he had provided us for upgrading the G-weapons."

"I see." Sutherland said his frown deepening.

Archangel

Dearka sighed as he laid back on the bed in the medical ward he, Lev and Nicol where currently occupying "Wonder what's going to happen to us?" He wondered aloud "I mean we have docked with JOSH-A."

"Who knows," Lev rumbled before sighing "I just hope the others are alright, he seemed pissed when they left."

"True," Nicol agreed quietly as he shifted on his bed, mindful of his arm bindings "I wonder how Yuuka is right now?"

"Yuuka's fine," A voice said as the door opened, a blond haired blue eyed male wearing tinted glasses walked in with a sad looking brunette female with brown eyes "She's recovering well, although she may have some scarring."

The three pilots sighed in relief at the good news "Have you heard anything from them?" Lev asked curiously only to receive a headshake.

"Nothing," Sai said "Their signals cut out just as we entered Alaskan Airspace."

"Do you know what's going to happen to us?" Dearka questioned.

Sai shrugged "For now you're being transferred to the brig," He explained "Command is apparently too busy to collect some prisoners."

Dearka snorted before looking at Mirralia "What's wrong with you?" He asked tilting his head slightly.

Mir bit back a sob as tears welled up "Her boyfriend was the pilot of the Skygrasper." Sai explained as he placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"Our sympathies." Nicol said with a sympathetic smile.

Dearka continued to stare at Mir seemingly entrapped by her as Lev smiled secretly at seeing it.

Clyne Manor

Lacus hummed lightly as she pushed a cart of some food to the small sunroom where Kira and Ryu where resting, only to find the bed empty "Not Good, Not Good!" Her Haro stated as she started to look around for them.

"I was so angry," Kira whispered as she and Ryu looked out over the artificial lake in the PLANT "I just wanted to kill anything around me, including Athrun, and I tried to, I tried to kill him, my best friend."

Ryu held onto he lightly as tears slipped from her eye "I understand how you feel Kira," He whispered "Don't let the regret consume you though, don't follow the path I did of self blame and hatred."

Kira gave him a watery smiled kissing him again as Lacus finally found them "There you are," She said as the pair separated "I have some food ready for you if you feel up to eating."

"Thanks Lacus," Kira said smiling at the teen "For everything."

JOSH-A, Tribunal Room


"I think that about covers everything," Sutherland said as he closed the folder "Is there anything else you or your crew would like to add?"

"No sir." Murrue denied a bitter taste in her mouth as she clamped it shut.

"Very well," He said standing "This tribunal is now closed, remain on standby aboard the Archangel and await your orders."

Murrue sighed once they were alone "That fucking chauvinistic pig." She ground out surprising her subordinates at her outburst "How dare he blame those children, they are the reason we prevented even worse things from happening."

Mu placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder as the crew followed the hallways back to the Archangel "At least we protected them as best we could," He said with a sigh "All we can do now is keep an ear to the ground and hope to get even a slight warning if they try and kill those kids."

The rest of the gathered crew nodded their faces grim as their resolve hardened.

Archangel, Infirmary

Yuuka groaned lightly as she consciousness returned to her her eyes opening slowly to the roof of the Archangel's infirmary "I'm... Alive?" She questioned slightly surprised.

"That you are," The doctor confirmed appearing at the girls bedside "And quite well with your major injuries healing nicely, so long as you don't do anything to strenuous for the next week you should be fine in no time, although there is one thing though."

"What?" Yuuka asked fearfully.

"Nothing life changing I assure you dear," The doctor reassured as he held up a mirror "Just a scar on you face is all."

Looking at the mirror Yuuka was slightly surprised at the thin white scar that went from the middle of her nose and running along the underside of her left eye ending right before her ear "Whoa." She whispered lightly tracing it.

"That's what I said," Liz said appearing in Yuuka's view briefly before she started hugging the red head tightly, being mindful to the teens wounds of course "Thank god you're alright." Liz mumbled into Yuuka's shoulder as Yuuka began to hug Liz back "When I saw your suit being consumed by the explosion..." Liz trailed off with a sob as Yuuka rubbed her back soothingly sending a thankful smile to the doctor who discreetly left.

"I'm alright now Liz," She reassured kissing Liz's temple "And I have a cool scar to boot." Liz couldn't help it as a chuckle escaped her throat tears still spilling out of her eyes as she felt Yuuka pull her away to get a good look at her "You haven't been eating properly have you?" Yuuka asked sternly looking straight into the younger's eyes "I want you to go and get us both a tray of food, and you are eating everything."

Liz chuckled again as the tears started to stem a bit "Okay," She agreed "Then how about afterwards I help give you a bath?"

Yuuka smirked as she kissed Liz "If it's you giving me the bath I would love it." She replied kissing Liz again, this time more passion enveloped them both as Yuuka fell back onto the bed with Liz on top of her.

Chris' Room

"Are you alright Flay?" Chris asked in concern as Flay finished throwing up into the toilet.

"I'm fine," Flay assured "I think our dinner didn't agree with me last night, that's all."

Chris smiled as he rubbed her back and pressed a cool handkerchief to her forehead "Well if it keeps up you should make sure to see the doctor alright?" He ordered gently.

"I will." Flay confirmed leaning into her boyfriend.

Archangel, two days after Ryu and Kira waking up

"Here are you transfer orders Commander, Crewman." Said the officer passing Flay and Mu transfer orders "Have a good day."

"Transfer orders?" Flay asked looking at them her eyes wide in shock.

"They're sending me out to California with the Lightning Eclipse to train new recruits." Mu said looking at his own orders.

"At least there will be fewer rookie casualties with you training them." Murrue said with a slight smile.

"C-Captain," Flay said getting their attention "I, I can't transfer out."

"Unfortunately we can't change an official order," Natarle said sympathizing with the girl "You can make an appeal, but I doubt they will listen."

"B-but the thing is," She trailed off glancing at Chris nervously placing a hand on her abdomen "I'm sorry I didn't tell you this sooner Chris, I meant to tonight, but the thing is... I'm pregnant."

All was heard was a single thump as Chris fainted dead while the others stared at the red head "Well, that changes things." Mu stated still in shock.

Carpentaria

Athrun walked along the hallways of the ZAFT base heading to the shuttle he was to take home, his arm was currently in a sling and his Coat open to allow him some freedom of movement, under his shirt an Amber colored jewel hung from his neck, it had came in a package for him with a small note from Cagalli telling him that she had heard what had happened and that he should keep safe, for Kira's sake. On his coat was a medal for bringing down the Strike. Athrun snorted, receiving an Order of Nebula for shooting down a childhood friend how damming. He stopped as he saw Yzack waiting for him "Yzack." He greeted slightly surprised.

"I'm going to continue to fight," Yzack said quietly his face oddly calm and serene "Not for honor, not for some skewed version of revenge, I'm going to fight because I am fighting for what I believe is right, they gave their lives for peace," Yzack looked out the window and over the ocean "I could see it when we met in ORB, I could see the future they wanted, and I will achieve it for them, because, because that peace is what I believe in."

Athrun smiled as he walked up next to Yzack and clapped his shoulder "You do that Yzack," He encouraged "But I still will expect you to be the one giving me the orders someday."

Yzack smirked "Have no doubt about that Zala," He said with a trace of his old arrogance "I will be the one commanding you someday."

"I look forward to it Yzack." Athrun said shaking Yzack's hand before continuing his walk to the shuttle Fighting for what you believe in huh? He thought to himself as he joined Mark, Naleen and Jacques on the Shuttle What is it I believe in these days?

Archangel

Chris sighed as he twiddled his thumbs sitting in the pilot ready room, Flay had just been sent off for her reassignment Why, why now of all times, He asked Why take her away from me?

His musing where cut short as the Claxons blared throughout the ship "Level One Battle Stations!" Mir's voice rang out "ZAFT Fleet on approach to JOSH-A, I repeat..." Chris was already in motion as he grabbed his flight suit and quickly putting it on as Liz came tearing into the change room.

"Yuuka is still to injured to fly so it's the two of us." She said quickly as she started to change as well.

"Then we can't fail." Chris stated his eyes hard as he sprinted to his mobile suit.

Submarine Bay

"What's going on Commander?" Flay asked fearfully as the Claxons blared.

"An enemy attack? Here?" Mu asked "And no one knew?" Growling Mu looked around, they had yet to unload his suit from the Archangel so it wasn't there, besides, he had a gut feeling "C'mon Flay, I want to check on something."

Flay nodded as she followed the Commander a slight smile on her face, after all, she was following a superiors orders.

PLANTs

Ryu sighed as he stretched his newly recovered body in the bed he and Kira where provided by the Clyne's, beside him Kira shifted slightly her naked body pressing up against him, neither slept clothed often anymore, his thought drifted to the peace they had been experiencing for the last few days as they recovered, here in the PLANTs the war seemed so far away, like it couldn't touch them and it would never effect it, like they could forget it. Looking down at the sleeping Kira he smiled at the content look on her face as he brushed away a stray strand of hair from her face, the feeling of his finger caused her to nuzzle against his hand like a cat as he chuckled softly at the action "Morning sleepyhead." He whispered as her eyes fluttered open.

"Mm, Morning Ryu." She responded pushing herself underneath his arm so that her head was lying on his shoulder and his arm was wrapped around her.

Ryu chuckled as he pulled her slightly closer "How are you feeling this morning?" He asked curiously.

"Relaxed," She said after a minute of thought "But this doesn't feel right though, I sometimes feel like we should still be out there, trying to make a difference."

Ryu sighed as he ran a hand through her hair "I know," He agreed "Do you want to get in contact with Terminal?"

Before Kira could answer a knock on the door interrupted the conversation "My father has returned home," Lacus said from the other side "He says he has a message for you Ryu and wanted to talk to you about something."

"Alright!" Ryu answered "We'll be right out!" They had meet the councilman last night, it certainly was an interesting meeting as they found out Siegel Clyne was actually quite the family man with a good sense of humor, however he was not smiling as they joined him in the sunroom where he was waiting.

"How could we not know this?" Siegel demanded to another councilman over the video link "How could we miss Zala's real objective?"

"He had us all fooled Siegel," The councilman said "What should we do, if it's found out what we are doing..."

"Don't worry," Siegel assured "The proper preparations are in place."

"What's going on sir?" Ryu asked curiously as he and Kira made their presence known.

"Zala's true objective with Operation Spitbreak, it wasn't Panama like he led us to believe," Siegel explained "It was JOSH-A."

JOSH-A, Command Room

Mu glanced into the command room Flay behind him shaking slightly as she held the gun he gave her awkwardly and narrowed them at the sight of a certain white coated ZAFT commander, Mu quickly pulled back just in time for a bullet to ping off the corner of where his head was "So you're still here are you La Flaga?" Rau questioned "I guess your usefulness to the EA has run out!" Mu shot around the corner only for the elusive blond to duck around another corner "I would love to stay and play with you, but unfortunately we are on a timer."

Mu growled as he felt Crueset get away and debated going after him "Commander look at this!" Flay shouted as she looked at a status signal.

Mu then noticed the state of the Command Center, no one was here, no bodies, as if they just up and left, looking at the computer Flay was at and paled "A Cyclops system?" He whispered in fear "No wonder no one is here, C'mon we have to warn the Archangel!"

Clyne Mansion


Kira's face was pale as she leaned against a chair "JOSH-A, the Archangel." She whispered fear clutching at her heart, gulping she straightened herself and looked at Ryu who nodded.

"We need to get into contact with Terminal now sir." Ryu said his voice hard.

"That's the other reason I called you," Siegel said as he gestured for them to follow him "I don't have long to explain but I am one of the benefactors and the original founder of Terminal, Ryu your friend has contacted me and told me he has just finished something for you and wants you to pick it up, a new mobile suit, Kira, I will help you obtain one of ZAFT's new prototypes, these new suits should help you protect your friends, I have a fast shuttle waiting for you Ryu, good luck."

With that Siegel left as the young couple faced each other "Be safe Kira," Ryu whispered as he hugged her fiercely, something she returned just as fiercely "I'll meet you in ORB alright?"

Kira nodded in understanding biting her lip slightly before pulling him down in a heated kiss "Come back alive Ryu." She whispered before following Siegel into the car the that was waiting. While Ryu dashed for the sport vehicle Siegel provided for him.

JOSH-A

Chris swore as he flipped into MA mode and fired his short ranged cannons at an oncoming DINN "This is ridiculous, how could they not know they were coming!?" He questioned angrily "This is just plain FUBAR!"

"Less chatty more Shooty!" Liz ordered as her gatling cannons opened up destroying a cluster of missiles before they hit the Archangel "But you are absolutely right!"

Bringing his suit around Chris clashed his beam saber with an orange colored GeL both suits pushing hard when his danger senses flashed causing Chris to cut his thrust and fall evading the missile that was fired at him as it impacted the GeL's head as he powered his boosters again Chris saw the grayish-green SEED fly through his mind and explode as an eerie calm washed over him and his awareness expanded.

Liz

Liz growled as she ducked under a Doberman's charge before plant a Firm kick to its midsection and fired her beam rifle piercing the cockpit destroying the suit, bringing her suit around she saw another wave of missiles "You won't sink the Archangel!" She shouted as she fired her gatling cannons again destroying the wave of missiles as a light green SEED flew through her mind and exploded washing a calm over her as she launched another attack on the attacking suits.

ZAFT Base, PLANTs

Kira shifted slightly unused to the ZAFT uniform she was wearing as Lacus smiled serenely beside her "It's alright Kira, everything is in place." She reassured patting her friends hand.

"This will be my first time fighting without him nearby," Kira admitted "I'm nervous about how well I'll do."

"Ryu speaks highly of your skills does he not?" Lacus asked "All you need to do is believe yourself Kira, and you will be fine."

Kira sighed as she nodded "You're right." She agreed slightly hesitant as they got out of the car. Kira followed the pink songstress as she moved through the base taking the quiet and less populated hallways until they reached a set of thick security doors that the guards opened allowing them to float through with Kira making sure to salute. They came out into a hanger with a single suit in it with various cables attached to it "A, Gundam." Kira whispered in shock as she recognized the mobile suit's style.

"Yes, the ZGMF-X10A Freedom," Lacus said looking at Kira "Is this what you need to protect your friends?"

Kira continued to stare up at the majestic looking suit "Yes it is," She confirmed "This is just what I need."

Archangel, Bridge

Murrue grunted as another explosion rocked the ship "Godfrieds 50 to port, FIRE!" She ordered as the crew obeyed.

"Load missile tube 3-5 with sledgehammers and fire!" Natarle ordered to the CIC "Take out those subs!"

"This is insane!" Neumann growled out between gritted teeth as he fought with the ships controls to keep the ship airborne "Any word from command?"

"The message just repeats itself!" Kuzzey reported fearfully "Hold you position and await further orders!"

"This is nothing but Suicide!" Romeo said from his console "Where the hell is the Panama Fleet!?"

"They won't be able to make it in time," Dalida explained "They're just too far out."

We need a miracle right about now. Murrue thought to herself as she watched a GINN explode.

JOSH-A Hanger

Murrue led Flay through the base to the hanger bay where he hope to get them a ride out of there looking in he looked around and suddenly grinned at a familiar sight "A it's good to see old friends!" Mu announced as he and Flay boarded the Lightning Eclipse "Hang on little lady, this ride will be a little rough!"

Mu Blasted the Lightning's Engines just as a Squad of DINNs appeared only to be greeted by the Lightning's Agni as it launched out into the sky and started searching for the Archangel.

Archangel, Bridge

"Ma'am!" Dalida shouted in surprise "Commander La Flaga contacted us he is in the Lightning with Crewman Allster and is on his way to our location!"

Murrue sighed in relief "We could use the extra gun." She said as the ship shook again, this time a missile tore the hanger open "Fire Helldarts!"

She saw the Lightning Streak by and fire its beam rifle rapidly destroying several suits before it landed in the hanger.

Hanger

"Inform the Captain about the Cyclops system," Mu ordered as Flay climbed out of the cockpit "We need to get at least 10 miles from here."

Flay nodded and as soon as she hit the ground she was off running.

PLANTs, ZAFT Hanger

Kira couldn't help but be impressed by the Freedom as she powered it up "Even without the nuclear generator and N-Jammer Canceller it easily has triple the power output of the Strike Astray." She murmured.

"Are you ready Kira?" Lacus asked.

"All set." Kira confirmed "ZGMF-X10A Freedom, Launching!" For when will alone, nor strength alone. Kira thought to herself as she ignored the control officers protest and launched the Freedom activating the Phase-Shift armor as it flew out of the Hanger, several GINNs Doberman's and a GeL moved to intercept her only for Kira to activate the HiMAT wings and easily danced around the attacking suits her beam saber cutting through them like butter as they fell to pieces with the cockpits untouched.

Kira boosted the suit as hard as it could go and was impressed as the G-Forces pushed her back into her seat unaware of four familiar people on the shuttle she passed as she entered the Earth's Atmosphere.

Terminal Research and Development Base Victory

Ryu stepped out of the shuttle and was immediately greeted by a serious Drake, something that set the veteran on edge "What is it Drake?" Ryu asked.

"ZAFT is making a move on us as well as JOSH-A." Drake stated as he led Ryu through the base "They'll be here soon, but we don't have the forces to repel them."

"That is until you arrived Hisana-, sorry Yamato." A voice cut in, turning Ryu saw an older man with the top of head bald and a monocle in his eye.

"Aeolia Schenberg," Ryu said slightly smiling "So it was you who sent the message?"

Aeolia nodded "It was, follow me." He ordered "I worked day and night on this project, you better not waste it."

They entered a hanger and Ryu spotted a single mobile suit standing in it "What's this?" He asked turning to Aeolia.

"TNMF-X01R Redemption," Aeolia stated "Your new Mobile Suit, the frame is based off of the Freedom mobile suit that I believe your wife is hijacking right now, but it also has a couple other features, including a Twin Buster Rifle."

"Twin Buster Rifle?" Ryu asked in shock as he stared at Aeolia who ignored him and continued on.

"It also includes a moveable frame allowing for a faster and more complicated transformation," He said "It is equipped with an experimental DRAGOON unit that should allow you to create shields and be used in atmosphere, it also has a Delta Drive and unfortunately the only melee weapon is the Heat Blade hidden in the shield use this suit well Ryu."

Ryu was in a state of slight shock until an alarm pierced through the din of the Hanger "ZAFT Fleet on approach initiate Data purge!" The control officer said.

"I need to get to my ship, good luck Ryu." Drake said as he moved off followed by Aeolia.

"Redemption huh?" Ryu asked looking up at the Mobile suit "Let's give you a test drive then huh?"

ZAFT Fleet Flagship Burlington

"Terminal base 500 out." One of the crewman said "Switching to Condition Red, Launching all mobile suits."

The Admiral smirked as he looked upon the Terminal base "Who needs to hire the mercenaries when you can just kill them and take what you need." He said to the bridge arrogantly.

"Mobile suit on radar, it's on approach," One of the Crewman stated "It's fast! At least 3x faster than the High Mobility Type GeL's sir!"

"What?" The Admiral questioned ins surprise.

Attention ZAFT Fleet!" The announcement rang through all the channels "You are in direct violation of Treaty laws, either pull back or be destroyed and your rates increased."

"HA!" The Admiral laughed "Like a single mobile suit can do anything to us!"

"... Very well then," The pilot said "I did warn you."

Ryu

Ryu activated the Phase Shift turning the Freedom like suit from the light grey to Black with a dark green trim and crimson joints he grinned as he saw all the ships fire missiles at him and activated the DRAGOONs hidden in his unit's wings and quickly formed a shield "Nothing like field testing a unit." He said as the Pananormic monitor Cockpit went white from the explosions.

Burlington, Bridge

The Admiral smirked as he saw the explosions surround the mobile suit only for it change to one of abject fear as a pale gold beam erupted from the smoke hitting two High Mobility GeL's that where standing side by side destroying it before bisecting a Nazca-Class "What?"

Ryu

Smirking Ryu transformed this suit into MA mode with the Buster Rifle split in two under his 'wings' and the pair of Balaena Plasma cannons extended as he opened fired on the mobile suits tearing straight into them "You my friend are a dream come true." Ryu said to his mobile suit as it responded to his lightest touch "Let's see what you can really do though." He transformed his suit back into MS mode and pressed a button "Delta Drive!" He shouted his suit glowing gold just as a beam seemingly pierced his suit only for the after image to fade "Charge 200% Firing!" the beam that erupted from the TBR was large enough to rival that of the Gondwana-Class Super Carrier.

Burlington, Bridge

"Thank you Admiral," The pilots voice came back on as the crew of the Burlington stared in shock "You really helped me test out my suit, now bugger off."

"V-very well." The Admiral complied weakly as they saw the suit that decimated their fleet in a single shot transform and fly away "How could this day get any worse?"

"Sir command is on the line," One of the crewman reported "They want to know why we launched an unauthorized attack on Terminal."

Archangel, bridge

Murrue breathed quickly as she processed what Flay just told her, the command center abandoned and the Cyclops system being activated as they speak "Attention crew," She said straightening in her seat "I have determined we have fulfilled the parameters of our mission and am now calling for a retreat, I am making this decision alone."

Natarle chuckled from her seat "The Left flank is the weakest, we can break through there." She informed "Notify the surrounding ships, we are retreating!"

Chris

Chris frowned as he blasted his way through easily his 20th mobile suit and glanced at his power reading "Archangel, I have to fall back onto the ship, I'm just about out of power."

"I'll be waiting then." Flay responded making Chris suddenly choke in surprise as Flay giggle "Don't make me wait to long."

"I have to fall back as well, I'm running on empty here for ammo and power." Liz informed.

"Same here unfortunately," Mu said "Used the thrusters and Agni too much."

Bridge


Murrue frowned, all the mobile suits where aboard so now they were relying on the speed and power of the Archangel "Godfrieds, Valiant's! fire straight ahead!" Murrue ordered as the ship opened fire "Don't let up on the Anti-air either!"

Yzack

Yzack frowned as he spotted a DINN move into attack the Archangel Sorry, Legged Ship, Yzack thought But you have to sink. He closed his eyes as he thought of the possibility of his friends being aboard.

Bridge

Everyone froze as the DINN stopped right in front of them and Murrue could see the ignition of the bullet light up as her life flashed before her eyes, only a green beam suddenly lanced down from the heavens destroying the DINNs rifle and a white blur was seen before the DINN was kicked way headless "Attention Archangel, this is Kira Yamato, fall back I will cover your retreat!" The entire bridge was silent as they heard the familiar voice.

"Kira!" Mir shouted happily "You're alive!"

"We can't retreat kid!" Mu reported breaking into the conversation "There is a Cyclops system ready to blow under the base, we were just the bait."

"Understood." They heard Kira confirm before her angelic mobile suit spread its wings as its weapons extended "Attention all ZAFT and EA forces! There is a Cyclops system under this base and it will go off, please break off all fighting and fall back!" As she was doing this Kira's Multi-Targeting System had locked onto multiple suits and was now firing upon them, never killing only disarming.

Yzack

Yzack's eyes widened as he heard the voice and what she was saying "Joule Squad Fall back!" He ordered as he grabbed a fall GINN and dragged it with him as he fell back as well "All units, listen to her!"

Kira

Kira frowned as the amethyst SEED exploded in her mind dilating her pupils as she kept up her assault shocking many with the sheer fire power of the suit "Pleas I repeat, Fall Back!" She shouted only for an explosion to rip the sky behind her as the Cyclops activated. She gunned the boosters keeping ahead of the destruction and grabbed a GINN as it malfunctioned "I got you."

Island

Kira laid the man down she had rescued from the GINN "Are you the pilot of the white suit?" The man asked.

"I am." Kira confirmed.

"Why did you save me?" He asked as the crew of the Archangel waited nearby.

"Do you need a reason to save a life?" Kira replied.

"Just leaving me would have been a quicker death," The man said as his eyes drooped "I guess you must have been my Valkyrie."

Kira sighed as she stood up, the man had died "I hope you find your heaven," She whispered before turning to the others and smiling "Hey guys, I'm back."

Shouts greeted her proclamation as her friends dog piled her hugging her till she turned blue. "Where is Ryu, Did he?" Mu asked nervously.

"He's fine," Kira reassured "He'll be meeting us in ORB."

Mu seemed to melt in relief as there were more cheers of joy "Where did you get that mobile suit?" Murdoch asked "It's extremely powerful."

Kira shrugged and grinned "Oh you know, ZAFT had this just lying around so I decided to make use of it." She replied laughing with the rest "I am going to have ask you not to go poking around it however, as it is powered by Nuclear energy and has an N-Jammer Canceller, and I cannot allow anyone to get their hands on it."

"Understood," Murdoch replied "We'll be sure only to do maintenance on it under your supervision."

"Let's get it loaded up," Murrue said "I want to leave here before ZAFT or the EA show up."

Kira nodded and move to her new mobile suit smiling at it "Why can't I shake the feeling it's missing something though?" She asked herself as she loaded it up in the Hanger "Oh well, I'll just ask Ryu for his opinion."

Chapter Eighteen: Shifting Tides

Archangel, Ryu and Kira's Quarters

Kira sighed as she laid in hers and Ryu's quarters in the Archangel staring up at the ceiling blankly having trouble falling asleep without Ryu at her side, a beep at her console indicated her of an incoming call. Grumbling she stood up and walked over and answered it "Kira here." She answered and immediately brightened seeing Ryu on the other end of the Video phone.

"Hey beautiful," Ryu greeted smiling softly "Sorry if I woke you."

Kira shook her head as she sat down "I was awake," She said "Is everything alright with Terminal?"

Ryu sighed "The R&D station was abandoned as I fought off the ZAFT fleet attacking the station," He explained "However while I was on my way to link up with you guys I got an emergency call from Command, I need to head to New Platea, something has come up apparently."

Kira sighed "I understand," She said smiling softly "I love you."

Ryu smiled back at her "I love you two, and stay safe." The link cut out.

"You too Ryu," She whispered staring at the screen "You too."

PLANTs. ZAFT Command Center

Athrun followed Mark through the hallways of the command center in a daze Lacus, aiding in the theft of a mobile suit? He asked himself This has to be a mistake!

Mark sighed as he walked through the hallways ever since the Dragon-X fell in combat, he has been feeling empty, like something was missing, he wasn't uncertain that Ryu was dead, after all the Dragon-X fell to the depths of the Ocean, nothing could survive that far without special gear and equipment, even Phase Shift wouldn't be able to stand the pressure of the deep waters. Both pilots paused and entered the Office of the Supreme Chairman, Patrick Zala, Athrun's father "Excuse us." The both coursed as they saluted.

"What Kind of weapon was used?" One of the officers asked.

"It looks like a Cyclops System." Another reported "There was a massive array under the base."

"What of Crueset?" Patrick questioned "And the situation with Terminal?"

"We do not know where Commander Crueset is but we have received a report that he is fine," a officer reported "As for Terminal one of the fleet Admirals decided it would be easier to take command to one of their R&D stations," A muffled snort was heard from Mark "The fleet was crippled heavily by a single mobile suit, seems to be some kind of model with similarities to one of our projects."

Patrick growled "Just what when we need their mercenaries they jack their rates up," He said frowning as another officer entered.

"Sir the councilors are demanding an explanation," He said "I believe they will call a high council meeting soon."

Patrick sighed and turned to the waiting pilot "Please wait." He said before turning to the gathered officers "In any case send the survivors to Gibraltar, what we need are cold objective reports, what is the situation with Clyne and the others?"

Athrun gulped and tensed "Still nothing yet," The officer reported "It seems they already had an escape route in place so it may take a while."

Patrick growled "Contact the Ministry of Justice," He ordered "Anyone who has had a close relationship with her is to be arrested."

There was a collective intake of breath from everyone gathered "B-but..." The officer protested weakly.

"Lacus Clyne betrayed us by aiding a spy!" Patrick shouted "Her father's whereabouts are unknown because he fled with her! Spit break's actual target was leaked! Who else Can I be suspicious of!? And yet they are still trying to investigate me!? Those people... No they are the ones hiding them! There is no choice but to think that way!"

Patrick sighed and collapsed into the chair as the officers filed out "Father..." Athrun said in concern.

"What is with that posture?" Patrick bit out glaring at Athrun.

Mark hid back a scowl as Athrun saluted "Sir forgive me if I seem rude, but we have only heard rumors on what Happened with Lacus Clyne," Mark said knowing Athrun would be reluctant to ask himself "But what happened?"

Patrick nodded and gestured to the screen that was revealed "Look, this was taken from the munitions factory just before the ZGMF-X10A Freedom was stolen," They looked to see what appeared to be a female Brunette standing beside a girl with pink hair who turned her face showing it was unmistakably Lacus "As you can see Lacus Clyne was aiding a spy in capturing the unit, but that is not the worst part, the unit is nuclear powered."

The pilots gasped "But how?" Mark asked "The N-Jammers..."

"We have developed a counter to the technology," Patrick informed "Athrun, you will be given the ZGMF-X09 Justice, another Nuclear powered suit, you are to hunt down the Freedom and if you cannot obtain it, destroy it and anyone else who has seen it."

Athrun gulped and nodded "In that case sir can I request Mark Cadillac to be transferred to me to assist in this endeavor?" Athrun requested saluting surprising the both of them.

Patrick hummed as he thought it over "Yes that is understandable, Mark I will be assigning you a new GuAIZ," He informed "This one is a prototype weapons test bed utilizing weapons from the Freedom and Justice, I will have it outfitted properly for you."

Mark saluted "Yessir." He said and followed Athrun from the room "Mind telling me what that was about?" He asked once they left the room.

"Father would have only demoted you again," Athrun said "After all you have 'failed' him quite often, and not to mention I would like to have someone watching my back."

Mark chuckled and patted his shoulder "Alright then, I'll help you out then." He agreed.

Archangel, Bridge

"So what should we do now?" Mu asked as the Archangel Docked in the hidden Morgenroete repair bay "We can't go back to the EA."

"Why not join Terminal or ORB then?" Kira asked leaning the upper deck view screen "Both would welcome you with open arms."

Murrue sighed "That is true," She agreed "But I think right now we need time to recover and take a breather."

"Ma'am, we've got a call from Lord Uzumi," Sai said "He wishes to speak with you the command crew as well as the pilots."

"Let him know we will be there." Murrue replied standing up "Something tells me this is going to be a long day."

ORB Government Office Building


Uzumi nodded to the group from the Archangel as he entered the room along with Samuel Dante "Thank you all for coming," Uzumi said bowing his head.

"Thank you for welcoming us into your country," Murrue responded gratefully as she Mu and Natarle bowed their heads as well "I am sorry to have to impose on your good will again."

Samuel nodded as he looked over his grandchildren "It seems something has happened to you Chris," He stated seeing the new maturity his grandson carried "You will have to tell me about it later."

Chris flushed a bit before nodding "I will not lie to you I do have a motive for allowing you back into ORB," Uzumi admitted "Yesterday ZAFT attacked Panama Port, and took it in the same day."

He gestured to the video screen that showed the images they were able to obtain "It was a literal slaughter." Samuel continued disgust evident in his voice "The EA deployed a new mass produced mobile suit," An image popped up of a mobile suit very similar to the Strike in design but much more simply armed "They fought back fairly well I have to admit, however it seems they rushed the production cutting out several key pieces of equipment, such as EMP shielding," The picture changed showing a short clip of a Gungnir detonating releasing the massive EMP blast "The EA soldiers tried to surrender after that, but ZAFT soldier started butchering them like animal, thankfully one of the squad leaders, the pilot of the Duel rallied a couple of squads together including a couple Terminal suits and protected as many of the EA soldier as they could."

Kira smirked slightly Good to see you're maturing Yzack. She thought to herself "And without the Mass Driver in Panama the EA moon base will run out of supplies fairly quick." She stated out loud "So they have one of two choices, retake Victoria, ZAFT's main staging area, or target ORB who has remained Neutral throughout the conflict."

Uzumi nodded at Kira's summarization "If we join one group we would be the target of the other while our resources would be turned to continuing the war," He continued "And that is something that I cannot allow to happen to this country."

"Then I'll offer my services in the defense of ORB," Kira said determinedly surprising many "With the Freedom I should be able to make a strong difference, even if it is just buying time."

"I cannot speak for the crew or the pilots," Murrue said "But I will offer my services and the Archangel's aid in the defense of ORB, if you will accept it."

"Well, I think it's only natural what we're going to do," Chris said earning nods from Liz and Yuuka "Besides someone needs to be around to save your ass Kira."

Kira smiled at her friends as Mu laughed "You'd never be complete without me right?" He asked offering his own services.

Natarle sighed "If someone were to tell me eight months ago that I would betray the EA and join a renegade ship in defending another country from the EA I would've slapped them and then had them sent for a psych exam," She said reflectively "But now I'm saying I'm all in."

Uzumi looked at them all with grateful eyes "Thank you all," He said bowing his head "We truly appreciate your aid, thankfully the EA will need time to gather their resources to attack ORB giving us time to repair the Archangel and finish some projects."

Atlantic Federation High Command, The Pentagon


In a secret room, underneath the Pentagon, a group of men were arguing. But these were not ordinary men. They were the ones who ran the Atlantic Federation. And now because of JOSH-A, the Earth Alliance as well.


"This is humiliating! Our success at JOSH-A is virtually worthless now that we've lost Panama!" an enraged Secretary Raynes shouted.


JOSH-A had been a major success for them. Greatly weakening ZAFT, as well as the Eurasian Federation, enabling them to take control of the Alliance as a whole. But with the lost of Panama, things were in jeopardy of turning against them.


"Our Lunar bases will exhaust their stores very quickly with the supply route from Panama cut off!" Foreign Minster Wade said, his tone just as angry. "How are suppose to launch a counteroffensive with this situation?"


"We're accelerating our plan to recapture Victoria." Defense Minister Keegan answered, trying calm the worried and angry Heads of the Atlantic Federation. "But it's not going to be easy to take their Mass Driver undamaged."


The wary President of the Atlantic Federation let out a sigh. Just when they had completely turned the war around in their favor, ZAFT had struck back. Reversing things and returning the disadvantage to the Alliance. "And what about Orb? What's the latest news on them?" President Griffin asked.


"We've repeatedly asked for their assistance. But that stubborn fool Uzumi Nara Altha refuses to see things our way." Wade replied, disgust in his tone for the neutral nation and it's esteemed leader.


Worse news for them. Orb's Mass Driver was the only one not under the control of ZAFT. They had hoped that they could reason with Orb and bring them into the fold. But their damn belief of neutrality was stopping that from happening.


Virtually unnoticed and ignored by the men in the room, was the sound of fingers tapping on the table. "Oh really? Is it because they're...neutral?" Azrael drawled as his fingers repeatedly tapped the table. "That's just not right, now is it? Not when all the others risking their lives, fighting against...Mankind's enemy."


"Azrael, I wish you won't phrase it in such an extreme manner. We are not Blue Cosmos." Griffin said.


Griffin didn't particularly care for Azrael. He was a bit too extreme for his liking. But the man was the Director of the Atlantic National Defense Conglomerate, the main arms manufacture for the Atlantic Federation. As a result, he wielded a great deal of power with the Federation.


Azrael stopped tapping his fingers, making an apologetic shrug. "Sorry. No offense was intended. But I simply cannot understand why you people continue to tolerate a nation like that. One that hides behind such flimsy excuses. I think we've reached a point in this conflict where being neutral is a luxury."


"But the Orb Union is a completely independent sovereign nation. We have to acknowledge that." the President replied.


"Yes. But Orb is a nation of Earth, isn't it? That means it should be obligated to cooperate with the Alliance. That only seems fair, now doesn't it?" Azrael commented. "If you'd like, I'll be more than happy to lead the negotiations. I'll deal with Orb."


Many of the officials stared at Azrael, unsure of what he was planning. "What do you mean?" the uncertain Foreign Minster asked.


Azrael stood up. "Our priority is to get our hands onto someone's Mass Driver. And right away. Why settle for one when you could have two?"


Many seemed convinced. But not President Griffin. "Well...yes but-"


Azrael cut him off. "You'll be quite busy planning the Victoria Operation. It would be more efficient to divide these responsibilities. And while we're at it, we might even have a chance to test the new toys."


"You're planning on using the new machines?" Minster Keegan asked.


"It all depends on our esteemed counterpart reacts. If the noble Mr. Altha is even half as stubborn as he's rumored to be, then I think we could find ourselves in for a little excitement." Azrael said, a predatory grin appearing on his face.


Terminal Base New Platea

"This is Ryu Yamato approaching in the TNMF-X01R Redemption to New Platea Command to you copy?" Ryu asked as he slowed his approach.

"This is New Platea Agent Yamato," The control officer informed "Command is waiting for you in Hanger Four."

"Understood." Ryu said and banked to the said hanger landing easily as the Hanger repressurized.

Exiting the Redemption he looked around and spotted Siegel approaching with an unknown male with red hair and green eyes "Ryu thank you for coming." Siegel said "This is Commander Derrick, he is the base commander."

"Sirs," Ryu responded saluting "What can I help you with?"

"We have something we need you to escort Hisanaga," Derrick informed "A new warship heading to ORB for the upcoming EA attack."

Ryu turned to him in surprise "The EA is going to attack ORB?" He asked shocked.

Derrick nodded "Yes they have just lost Panama," He informed "ORB is the last place with a Mass Driver."

Ryu gritted his teeth and nodded "How soon do we leave?" He asked.

"As soon as the ship rolls out in an hour." Siegel informed "Kira will be fine, She is a skilled pilot after all, besides the EA is still recovering from the losses at both JOSH-A and Panama"

Ryu nodded reluctantly and looked up at the Redemption anxiously "So what is it that needs me to protect it?" He asked his curiosity getting the better of him.

"The next three units of the TNMF-X series," Derrick admitted "We believe that at least two of your comrades on the Archangel would be able to handle them."

ORB Hanger Repair Bay, Archangel

'Kira sighed as she entered the hanger of the Archangel but immediately brightened at the sight of a familiar brown haired Junk Tech "Lowe, what are you doing here?" She asked in surprise.

Lowe grinned "Well me and Eight here were in the area and had something we thought you could use with the new suit you picked up," He explained looking up at the Freedom "Just by looking at it I can tell that is one Powerful Gundam."

Kira grinned "Thanks," She said "And I have been feeling something has been missing from it though."

Lowe grinned at her "Could it be a Katana?" He asked gesturing to near the Hanger doors to were a Mobile Suit sized Katana sat.

Kira blinked before beaming at the Tech "Lowe you are a genius," She announced kissing him on the cheek "Thank you."

Lowe blushed a bit chuckling "No problem," He assured "Also this Katana is different from the type your used to, it has an anti-beam coating of course, but it also much more sharper than the ones used by Terminal, so you're not relying on the power of the swing."

Kira smiled at Lowe "I owe you yet another one Lowe." She said smiling "And because of that I'll let you help me work on the Freedom."

Lowe's eyes widened to comical proportions "YES!" He shouted in excitement and sprinted off towards the Freedom with Kira following behind at a much more sedated pace shaking her head in amusement.

Terminal Base, New Platea

Ryu couldn't help but be impressed as he looked upon the newest addition to the Terminal Fleet followed by two Terminal controlled Nazca-classes, the ship was massive with multiple weapon emplacements along with four Godfrieds, two Lohengrins and a single massive Cannon literally integrated into the front of the ship "Quite impressive is it not?" Siegel asked stepping up beside Ryu "The prototype to the Pandora-class line Pandora, there already have been several requests for Variants to be produced."

Ryu raised his eyebrow "Really, I'll have to take a look at the specs later if you'll let me." He said "It certainly seems impressive."

Siegel Chuckled slightly "I'm going to be heading back to the PLANTs Ryu," He declared causing Ryu to whirl around to face him "If I don't survive, please be sure to watch over my daughter for me will you?"

Ryu sighed "Of course sir." He agreed reluctantly "But please don't do anything reckless."

Siegel smirked and nodded as he left. Sighing Ryu turned himself and headed to the Hanger to greet the Captain.

Hanger

"Ryu!" Shouted one Drake Falcon as he squeezed the life out of said teen "Good to see you!"

Ryu coughed as he was released from the massive captain "So I take it you're commanding the Pandora?" He asked smirking.

Drake nodded "And a fine ship she is," He announced "And a good crew to boot as well, I especially like the mobile suit pilots."

Ryu looked at him "Which team is it?" He asked curiously.

"Hades Squadron." Drake said smirking as Ryu looked at him like he was insane.

"You don't mean those Drunk Insane test pilots do you?" He asked nervously.

"One in the same!" A voice announced turning he spotted four people wearing a red and black version of the Terminal uniform announcing them as Test Pilots approaching him, two of them were obviously siblings with one being slightly taller and wearing glasses and the other being more muscular and broad, the next person was taller than all of them and had black hair with blue eyes and the final pilot was slightly taller than average and had brown hair and eyes.

"Ryu let me introduce the Hades Squadron," Drake said gesturing to the four-man squad "Tom and Geoff Johnston," The brother's nodded "Tom is the one with the glasses, while surprisingly they are not twins, next is Ian Atkins," the tall back haired nodded "And finally D.J." The last guy nodded, each one of the pilots were grinning in a way that had Ryu nervous.

"I'm going to say this now," Ryu said "Any of you touch my Gundam, I will eviscerate you and feel you to the Gulls."

"Uhh one problem with that sir," Ian said smirking "There are no Gulls in space."

Ryu looked at Ian blankly as the pilots sniggered before sighing "Anyways their loading the Redemption onto the Descartes now," He explained "We leave when you're ready sir."

Drake nodded "Then let's hustle up," He said "We just need to load the new TMSF-X082 series onto the Pandora and we're good to go."

ORB, Kira's home

Kira smiled softly as she walked up to the door of her home and entered "Mom, Dad?" She called out "You home?"

"Kira?" Caridad asked looking around the corner and smiled in relief as she saw her daughter in the entryway "How are you sweetie?"

"I'm fine mom," She assured hugging her mother "I'm fine."

"Where is Ryu?" She asked as they moved into the kitchen.

Kira sighed "Still up in space," She answered slightly depressed "Apparently Terminal has him playing babysitter."

Caridad smiled sympathetically with her daughter "It's hard being separated isn't it?" She asked "I feel the same way when your father is away on his trips, but that what makes your reunion that much sweeter."

Kira smiled at Caridad as they began talking about when Kira had been shot down.

Ladonia Lab, Extended Testing Program

Azrael smirked as he walked into the office of the head of Extended development Dr. Andras "Tell me doctor, do we have any of the Biological CPU's ready for combat." Azrael asked.

Andras smirked and nodded "Of course sir," He reassured "I actually have a file ready for you."

Azrael accepted the file and started looking it over "You put your own son into the program?" Azrael asked actually feeling disgusted.

"Shani was a useless boy anyways," Andras dismissed "And he has surprisingly proven useful, and is a bit more stable than the others."

Azrael nodded and looked through the files "Clotho Buer, originally arrested for an attempted theft of Alliance property, then attempted to escape killing five officers and destroyed a tank, impressive record," He murmured to himself and turned the page "Orga Sabnak, wanted for weapons smuggling and the destruction of Alliance property, destroyed five tanks with a single RPG before he was captured."

"He is certainly capable of destruction," Andras added "He's piloting a heavy Weapons Suit of course."

Azrael nodded and turned the page "Dale Forman," He murmured "Wasn't he the one who raped a admirals daughter?"

Andras nodded "The admiral suggested him for this program," He explained "So long as he experienced pain."

Azrael's eyes widened at the sight of the next one "I thought she had died?" He asked gesturing to the next one.

"Close but not quite there," Andras explained "She was the most resistant to the conditioning, but now she is fanatically loyal."

"And this one, am I reading this right?" Azrael said in surprise.

Andras smirked "He will be piloting the test bed the system we managed to imitate from the Dragon-X, ironic isn't it? That he is piloting that machine" He said leaning back in his chair "And he is 100% natural."

Azrael nodded and smirked "They will do just fine," He assured "Have them prepped to leave immediately."

Space, Descartes, Hanger


"ORB Command this is Agent Ryu Yamato from Terminal, we are prepared to drop into ORB space." Ryu said as he buckled himself into the cockpit of the Redemption.

"Agent Yamato you are cleared to proceed." The officer cleared.

"Ryu Hisanaga, Redemption, Engaging!" He shouted as his mobile suit launched down the Catapult and he quickly took up a flanking position with the Pandora as he brought his shield in front of him and spread the HiMAT wings out in preparation for Decent.

"Pandora Beginning Decent Operations all crew to your stations!" Drake announced as the Pandora began to descend into the atmosphere alongside the Redemption.

ORB Docks

Kira smiled as she saw the Massive ship land in the water as the Redemption landed on the dock near her, walking forward she spotted Ryu exiting the cockpit and began to run a little as he descended down the zip line, as soon as he got down Kira was on him wrapping him in a hug "I missed you." Kira said burying her face in his shoulder.

"I missed you two Kira," He whispered hugging her back "I hope everything has been well for you."

Kira smiled "They have," She assured kissing him "Although it seems that Flay and Chris beat us to the punch with having kids."

Ryu froze for a second before chuckling "Why am I not surprised." He chuckled "C'mon, tell me what's been going on since we left the PLANTs."

Kira giggled as she gripped his hand and they walked off to the car.

PLANTs, ZGMF-X09A Justice Hanger


Athrun sat in the cockpit of the Justice double checking the systems, in the braces next to him Mark was doing the same thing with the YFX-600R GuAIZ Experimental Firearms Type "Everything seems to be in check sir." One of the techs reported "ZGMF-X09A Justice, YFX-600R GuAIZ, you are clear for launch, may Freedom and Justice guide your way."

Athrun thought back to the confrontation he had with Lacus just hours ago resulting in the guards tailing him

Flashback


Athrun wandered through the backyard of Clyne mansion, Mark had remained back at his own apartment to spend some time in thought. The place looked like a tornado had torn through the area. The soldiers and investigators not caring about the house and it's yard in their search for Lacus and her father. He had come here, hoping for answers. But it didn't look like he was going to find any.


Athrun remembered all the times he had visited Lacus here. During happier times. Now those memories seemed old and faded, while memories of the Bloody Valentine, the loss of the Blitz, Buster and the Grizzly and his near-suicidal attack that destroyed the Strike Astray and Kira, stayed as crystal clear as the day they happened.


Suddenly, Athrun heard the sounds of movement behind him. He spun around, reaching for the sidearm in his coat. But he stopped the second he saw what it was. The pink Haro. The very first Haro he gave to Lacus. She loved her Haro, especially the first one. And she wouldn't have forgotten about it. She would have taken it with her. "Haro!" it shouted as it bounced around.


Athrun reached out for it, but Haro bounced away from him, forcing to him chase after it. "Haro! Come back!" Athrun called out as he ran.


"I don't wanna!" Haro chirped as it bounced away, heading for the flower arch.


It was here that Athrun finally caught the pink machine. As it continued to chirp and buzz, Athrun looked around at the arch. The flowers that had once covered the arch, had been torn down. Leaving a white skeletal frame in its place. He remembered the white roses that grew in the arch. Lacus had told once that they were planted so she'd always remember where she first sang in public.


Then something clicked in the back of mind. What if Lacus hadn't forgotten the Haro? What if she had left it behind for him to find? That means that she would have left it behind with a message for him or her location. At that moment, the final piece snapped into place. Haro had led him to the flower arch. The only place where the white roses had been planted.


Athrun knew where she was. He took off, still holding Haro. He was going to get answers from her one way or the other.


White Sympathy Theater


Athrun parked his car and stepped out into the rain. He glanced at the Theater's sign. 'White Symphony' was written on the sign with a pair of white roses. The theater had been closed months ago and was slated for demolition. But Lacus had been leading a campaign for the theater to be restored, halting the plans for demolishing it for the time being. In the meantime, it was abandoned. There were no shows there. Nor any reason for anyone to be there. The perfect place to hide.


Athrun entered the theater. The whole building was in a terrible state of disrepair. Old posters from the theater's last performance, a concert by Lacus, were still on the walls. Debris littered the floor. A layer of dust rested on the floor and walls. He wondered if it was sit structurally safe. Regardless of whether it was safe or not, he continued further into the theater, pulling out his gun as walked. He wasn't sure what he was walking into, but he was going to be prepared for whatever he encountered.


Then he heard something. A voice singing. He couldn't make out the song or the singer's voice that well. But it was female and it was coming from the auditorium. Athrun entered the auditorium and there, sitting on the stage and singing, surrounded by debris, was Lacus.


He started walking towards the stage as Lacus continued to sing, seemingly unaware of his arrival. Athrun found himself looking back at everything that had happened since Heliopolis. Discovering Kira in cockpit of the Strike. Miguel's death at Kira's hands. The destruction of Heliopolis. The battle in the Debris Belt. The Raven's pilot returning Lacus to him. The battles with Kira and the rest of the legged ship's pilots. The loss of his friends. His grueling battle with Kira and Kira's death. But most of all, Cagalli's words to him in the letter after that battle.


"Someone's killed for killing another! Then that guy is killed for killing him! How is that twisted thinking ever going to bring peace?"


Athrun wished that none of this would have happened. His mother gone in the Bloody Valentine. Kira, and possibly Nicol, Dearka and Lev, dead as well. Lacus, a traitor and a criminal. Everything just seemed to be falling apart.


"No problem! No problem! Lacus!" Haro shouted, bring Athrun out of his thoughts and ending Lacus's singing.


Haro then jumped out of Athrun's hand, bouncing off the ground towards Lacus. Lacus caught it in her hands and smiled. "Why hello there Mr. Pink." Lacus said, turning to Athrun. "I was certain that you'd be the one to find him and bring him here.


Athrun climbed onto the stage. He needed answers. "Explain yourself Lacus. What have you done?"


"I'm sure you you've heard all about. That's why you've come here, isn't it?" Lacus replied, her smile still on her face.


Athrun felt himself getting angry. He wanted answers! "Is what they're saying about you true, Lacus? Did you really give provide assistance to an enemy spy? Answer me!"


"I did not help a spy." She calmly answered. "I simply provided Kira with a newer, better sword. Because I felt that she had need of it now."


Athrun's eyes widened in shock. That was impossible! Kira was dead. He killed Kira himself. She was using Kira to trick him! "You're lying!" he shouted, pointing the gun at her. "Kira's dead! I...I..."


"Killed him? I assure that she's still very much alive along with Ryu."


"That's impossible! I saw it with my own eyes! There's no way she could have survived! Neither could have Ryu! What kind of trick is this, Lacus?"


Lacus shook her head. "No. It's no trick. Reverend Malchio found Kira unconscious and a Junk Tech found Ryu and Malchio brought them to me. Then Kira told me about what between the two of you. Don't you believe me? Do you even believe what you see with your own eyes? Haven't you seen how things have changed? On the battlefield, or even here now that you've returned?"


Athrun couldn't deny that things had changed. The N-Jammer Cancelers and the PLANTs using nuclear power were just the latest changes he had seen going through ZAFT. Changes that Athrun had to admit, he didn't feel right with.


"What is that you're fighting for? Is it because of that medal you received? Or your father's orders?" Lacus asked, her tone and demeanor completely changing, becoming serious. "Because if that is so, then you'll likely find yourself fighting Kira as an enemy again. And I as well."


"Lacus…"


Lacus stood up and walked towards him. "And if you see me as an enemy, then you might as well shoot me now, Athrun Zala of ZAFT!"


Athrun knew he couldn't just shoot her. This was the girl that he had been arranged to marry. He lowered his weapon completely and hung his shoulders. How had this whole mess come to pass?


Suddenly, a group of armed men in black suits entered the auditorium. They're guns trained on Lacus. Athrun pulled Lacus behind him and pointed his own gun at them, unsure of what they here for. "You have our thanks, Athrun Zala." the leader of the group said as he approached them.


"What's going on here?" Athrun demanded.


"Naturally, her fiancée would know her best and where best to find her. You've saved us a great deal of time." the man replied. "Now please step away from her. She's a fugitive accused of treason. We've been authorized to use lethal force if necessary. Are sure you want to protect her?"


Athrun was stunned. Lethal force? That couldn't be right. His father wouldn't order such an extreme measure. Would he? "Those orders can't be right." Athrun said, his gun still pointed at the men.


At that very moment, a shot rang out. Instinctively, Athrun pulled Lacus behind a large piece of debris. One of the suits fell to the ground. More shots rang out. A number of the men in suits were gunned by their unseen attackers. They fired back, but their attackers were hidden in the shadows of the auditorium. Those on the stage however, turned their attention to Athrun and Lacus, pinning them behind the ruins. Gunfire opened up on the stage, killing the men on the stage and finishing the last of them off. Armed ZAFT soldiers entered the auditorium, checking to make sure the first group of armed men were dead. An armed young man in a green ZAFT uniform with maroon hair stepped onto the stage.


"It's all clear." he said. "You can come out now."


Lacus walked out from the debris. "Thank you Mr. DaCosta." she said with a smile. "Did Reverend Malchio's shuttle manage to take off?"


"Yes." DaCosta answered. "He's on his way to Earth now."


"More will come." Another soldier added. "It'd be wise for us to leave as quickly as possible."


Lacus nodded. "I understand." She turned to Athrun. "Goodbye Athrun. And thank you again for bringing Mr. Pink back to me. You'll find Kira on Earth. I suggest you go there and have a talk with her. She is after all, your friend."


And with that, Lacus, DaCosta and the soldiers left. Where they were going, Athrun didn't know. But he did know where he was going. The technicians had told him that the Justice would be ready for him in a few days. And once it was ready, he'd head to Earth. To see Kira with his own eyes.


Flashback End


Athrun was brought out of his thoughts as the signal of the final check being completed "Athrun Zala, Justice, Launching!"


"Mark Cadillac, GuAIZ Experimental Firearms Type Custom, Launching!" Mark shouted as they flew out of the Hanger and made their way to the Earth.


Athrun switched the comm to a private link "Mark, there is something you should know," He said "Kira and Ryu, they didn't die on the Marshall Islands."


"What?" Mark asked in shock.


"I think Kira was the one who took the Freedom, and Ryu is most likely piloting that new Terminal Suit." Athrun said "I'm going to Earth to talk to Kira, after that I'm not certain what is going to happen."


He heard Mark sigh over the link "Alright, I got your back kid." Mark assured "Let's go find them."

Chapter Nineteen: Freedom, Redemption and Justice

Marshal Islands, Near Malchio's Orphanage

Athrun looked around forlorn at the sight of the wreckage around the battlefield from the cockpit of the Justice Kira. He thought to himself as he saw the Katana of the Strike Astray stuck in the ground hilt first, looking like a memorial to the supposedly fallen warrior.

"You two really did trash your suits huh," Mark commented looking around "Only time I saw this much debris from a single battle was when Ryu went on the River of Blood Rampage."

Athrun chuckled as he landed his suit in front of the katana and disembarked, once he hit the ground he looked up again at the katana seeing the dents, slight melting of the metal and yet it still managed to look impressive "Hard to believe that the Kira I knew had become such a strong pilot," He murmured as Mark joined him "She was so kind and caring."

"People change Athrun," Mark replied "And from what you told me she hadn't lost that compassion."

Athrun nodded slightly in agreement before the shuffling of sand and quiet voices caught his attention, looking over both he and Mark were shocked to see a trio of children hiding behind a piece of the Strike Astray's arm.

ORB, Dante Residence

Samuel Dante looked on in shock as his grandson and soon to be step-granddaughter shifted uncomfortably on the couch they were sitting on as he stared at them "So you're telling me here that Miss Allster here is pregnant with your child," He asked again in disbelief wondering if it was his imagination or if his arm was actually going numb, he turned to a giggling Liz as she sat beside Yuuka "Please tell me you two didn't work that fast, I don't think my poor heart could take it." The pair immediately stopped giggling and blushed and interesting shade of magenta.

Beside him Johanna wasn't faring any better "Children, at your age," She whispered "I think there must be some pills or something I had forgotten to take."

Chris and Flay chucked nervously "We kinda umm, well, we kinda forgot to use a condom so...(Safe sex is a must kiddies, or this could happen to YOU, yeah I see you sitting there buddy, don't ignore this warning)"

Johanna sighed rubbing her temples "Well at least you're willing to take responsibility for it Chris," She amended before turning to Flay "What did your father say?"

Flay sighed sadly "He said that if I don't abort the child he'd disown me," She growled as Chris held her hand reassuringly "And I told him to shove his head where the sun don't shine, it was all downhill from there." The others winced in sympathy as she scowled "I knew he wasn't fond of Coordinators, but this is just ridiculous." She growled before sighing and leaning against Chris "Oh well, I guess I'll have to find someone else to walk me down the aisle."

Chris smiled supportively placing an arm around his now fiancé "Everything will be just fine Flay," he soothed "You got us for a family now."

Flay smiled as she blinked back tears of happiness as everyone even Rusty nodded in agreement "Thank you." She whispered burying her head in Chris' shoulder.

Yamato Home, Kira's room


Kira yawned contently as she snuggled up against Ryu's bare chest "Mom was right," She said smiling "The best part about marriage is the reunion."

Ryu chuckled softly holding her close "That it is," he agreed softly "Kira, when the war is over, would you mind starting a family?"

Kira blinked in surprise and looked at Ryu curiously as he looked at her thoughtfully "A family?" She asked curiously.

"I-if you don't want to," Ryu said nervously "This is kinda sudden..."

Kira smiled softly at her husband "When this dammed war is over Ryu," She whispered pressing herself up against him "I would love to have some kids with you."

Ryu grinned widely and kissed her deeply "I love you Kira," He whispered "Never forget that."

EA Base


Azrael frowned as he looked over the sheet of paper on his desk So it seems Griffon has a backbone after all. He thought to himself Still, sending those four will help take ORB itself.

The page he was holding were transfer orders for four of the EA's aces to be joining the attack on ORB and were provided with some of the new Experimental Gundam units Azrael's company produced, one Edward Harrison, piloting the GAT-X133 Sword Calamity, a close combat variant of the long-ranged GAT-X131 Calamity. Then there was Jane Houston who was piloting the GAT-X255 Forbidden Blue, a variant of the GAT-X252 with more underwater oriented weapons. Morgan Chevalier who was piloting the GAT-333 Raider Full Spec, the predecessor of the GAT-X305 Raven and was the weapon test bed for the GAT-X370 Raider. Finally there was Rena Imelia who was piloting the GAT-X113 Gallant, a close combat model based off of the Strike, while Azrael hated the fact that the original G-weapons were piloted by a group of Coordinators even he could admit that without the Coordinators help he would not have been able to get the necessary data for the Natural-use O.S.

Base Rec Room


Edward 'Ed the Ripper or just Ed' grinned as he lined up a shot on the pool table and managed to sink a pair of solid colored balls "Score and game!" He shouted enthusiastically and his opponent Morgan sighed shaking his head at the man's enthusiasm.

Rena was leaning against the wall watching the game with Jane "What are your thoughts on those 'ace' pilots of Azrael's?" Jane asked turning the page of a magazine "They really creepy aren't they."

"I know right," Ed replied "I asked if they want to play a game a pool and they just ignored me!"

"Two of them though..." Morgan said frowning "The women and the guy piloting the Dragon remake, why do they seem so familiar."

"They seemed like they were insane to me," Rena said "The only one closest to sanity was the women, but she's like a freaking iceberg."

"I have a bad feeling about the upcoming battle," Morgan admitted "ORB alone is bad enough, but apparently Terminal has sided with them."

"That's not good," Jane murmured as Ed sat down next to her placing an arm around her shoulders "I also hear the Archangel will be there as well."

"Things will be fucked," Ed stated unusually morose "That is for certain."

Morgenrate Mobile Suit Hanger Bay, next day

Chris and Liz curiously followed Kira and Ryu as they lead them through the hallways of Morgenrate, the night before the pair had asked the two to meet them where they first witnessed the Astray Units "As you know ORB is going to be embroiled in war soon," Ryu stated as they walked along "As per their mutual aid agreement Terminal has sent myself, Kira, the Pandora and the Hades squadron, but there is something else that just arrived this morning," They paused outside of the Hanger entrance "Now behind this door are your new mobile suits, the TNMF-X02D Divergence and the TNMF-X04L Liberation. I am going to need one thing from you though," He continued "I would like for the two of you to join Terminal as Combat Agents under my command, the four of us, possibly more, will be forming an elite tactical response unit, that once this war is finished, we will do everything in our power to make sure it doesn't happen, as the Red Squadron."

Chris and Liz both exchanged a long look before nodding "Sounds good," Liz said in agreement "I want to make a difference in this world even after the war is over."

"This suit will give us the power to protect everyone right?" Chris asked "And with a child on the way I want to end this dammed war."

Ryu nodded and led them into the Hanger where three Gundam type suit were stored, in the center stood a mobile suit with a massive spiked backpack holding a cannon-like rifle, on its right was one with a double barreled rifle and was missing the face guard instead having a barrel like mouth. The third unit on the spiked backpacked ones left was obviously a close combat oriented mobile suit with several blades and weapons design for close in work.

"May I introduce the TNMF-02D Divergence, TNMF-04L Liberation, and TNMF-03C Constitution." Ryu announced grinning at them "The Divergence, the one with the backpack, is a weapon that would take great advantage of your high spatial awareness Chris, it is also comes equipped with a Prototype Heavy Assault Beam rifle, think of an enhanced Agni blast," He explained as Chris' jaw dropped "Liz while the Liberation is more simply armed with a beam rifle, buster shield and a mega beam cannon in the 'mouth' of the mobile suit it's true strength lies in its speed, in MS form it can out strip the Redemption's MA mode, so go easy on the thruster till you get used to it."

The grin on Liz`s face had the pilots uncomfortable as she looked up at the Liberation "What about the other Gundam?" Chris asked pointing at the Constitution "Who is piloting that one?"

Ryu shrugged "No one yet, doesn't fit Mu's style and there are currently no available pilots for it." He explained shrugging "I do have someone in mind, but..."

Reverend Malchio's Orphanage

Mark sneezed violently accidently dropping the candy bar he was giving to one of the kids in the Orphanage Someone is talking about me. He thought mentally as Athrun continued to talk with Malchio.

ORB Command Center


Ryu entered the command squad decked out in a new pilot suit, instead the Dark green on black, he now wore a Green suit with black shoulders and a red chest with the commander insignia on it, behind him Kira, Chris and Liz entered also in their pilot suits, the insignia for Lieutenants on their chest "Red Squadron reporting sirs." Ryu announced snapping a salute followed by the rest of the squad.

Uzumi and Samuel smirked seeing the renewed confidence in Ryu's eyes, something that was gone for too long "At ease," Samuel said returning the Salute "As you know the EA is pretty much on our borders, you four are our ace in the hole, they only know about the Redemption and the Freedom, so Ryu, Kira, you will be on the front lines from the start, Chris, Liz you two will be held in reserve, since they do not know about the Divergence or the Liberation you two will be a good shocker when you are deployed, here is the battle plan..."

Earth Alliance Tarawa-Class Carrier, the Powell


Outside Orb Territorial Waters


June 13th, C.E. 71


"The neutral nation of Orb. What a detestable nation," commented Captain Oswald, staring out at the Orb mainland. "Bring the fleet to a full stop."


"Sir," said the comm. officer before relaying his orders to the entire fleet.


Azrael smiled as the fleet came to stop. Orb hadn't mobilized their forces yet. They knew what was coming and were merely gathering their strength. But it would be pointless in the end.


"It's time to give them our ultimatum," said the smug director.


"Do you really think Orb will submit?" asked Oswald.


"Not likely with Uzumi Nara Athha in charge. No. They'll fight. To the bitter, bloody end," replied Azrael, the grin never leaving his face for a second.


Oswald turned to Azrael. "What's the status on those new machines of yours?"


"The mobile suits will be ready for the battle," said Azrael. "And the doctors have assured me that the pilots will as well."


The Captain grunted. "I don't like the idea of giving our seven new mobile suits to a group of science experiments. They should be given to our aces, not those freaks."


"Need I remind you that because of ZAFT's technological superiority, most of our aces are dead?" said Azrael. "Besides, most of our aces couldn't hope to match their abilities."


Azrael was so very pleased with himself. His plans were going off without a hitch. Everything was falling into place. Soon Athha and Numazaki would be removed and Orb's Mass Driver, along with Morgenroete and its technology, would be theirs. Then all that would be left would be to deal with the PLANTs and the Coordinator threat once and for all.


Archangel, Brig


"Hey guys!" Yuuka greeted walking into the brig with Mir, both of them carrying the ZAFT pilot suits "Good news you're being released!"

"Huh?" Was the smart reply "Why?" Lev asked curiously as he accepted the pilot suit.

"We just confirmed the EA fleet on SATCOM," Mir said in explanation "And we really have no reason to hold you prisoner anymore."

"What about our mobile suits?" Asked Nicol.

Yuuka shrugged as she and Mir led them through the Archangel "Morgenrate has them for now," She explained "I'm being provided a new suit and the G-Weapons were originally theirs so..."

Dearka glimpsed at Mir "Are you fighting as well?" He asked hesitantly, over the last couple of months they had been growing closer with each other and Dearka was worried about her being on the front lines again.

"Of course!" Mir stated in conviction "After all I'm in charge of the CIC."

Dearka gulped as Mir turned and walked back into the Archangel with Yuuka who waved goodbye to her friends "You want to protect her don't you?" Someone asked, turning the group saw Johanna Dante standing there, a knowing smirk on her face "You all wish to protect that ship for your own reasons, don't you? If so, follow me."

ORB Hangers

Johanna lead the ZAFT pilots through the Morgenrate Hangers "We figured you three would want to defend the Archangel," She revealed surprising the three "So we took the Liberty and made some minor upgrades you mobile suits," the containment doors opened revealing three very familiar mobile suits.

"Our Gundams." Dearka breathed in awe a grin slipping onto his face.

"With this..." Nicol said in awe "We definitely can protect ORB."

Lev nodded his eyes serious "What upgrades did you make?" He asked turning to Johanna.

The mechanic grinned slyly "We put in the Enhanced Battery Packs that Ryu had provided for us as well as some other upgrades to improve performance." She explained before turning away "If you'll excuse me Lord Uzumi has ordered all of the spare equipment and research loaded up into the Izanagi."

Orb Military Headquarters


General Samuel Dante walked through the corridors of Orb's Military Headquarters, his mind focused on the battle to come. Lord Uzumi had left him in charge of Orb's defense, a task that he couldn't and wouldn't fail. Over the last several days, they had planned and prepared for the upcoming invasion. Though in the end, he knew they could never hope to beat the Earth Forces numbers, even with the aid of the skilled pilots and soldiers of the Eurasian battle group. Truthfully, deep down, everyone knew they couldn't win. But beating the Alliance wasn't what he sought in this battle. What he sought was to give the Earth Forces a mauling that they would never forget. They may conquer Orb, but every foot they claimed would cost them greatly. As he entered the command center, everyone inside stopped what they were doing and saluted him. Save for the only non-soldiers, Cagalli and, to his surprise, Johanna.


"At ease," he said, returning the salute and concealing his surprise and curiosity. "What's the status of our forces?"


"All defense forces are in position and awaiting orders sir," an officer answered.


"The civilian evacuation?" he asked.


"Approximately forty-four percent of civilian population has been evacuated sir. Another flotilla of ships will be leaving within the hour, with an additional twenty percent of the population. The rest of the population should be evacuated by dusk sir. Should we move a unit to provide cover for them sir?"


Samuel let out a quiet sigh as he leaned on the edge of the massive display table. Dusk was hours away. A third of Onogoro's population stuck on the island while a battle raged on… That did not sit well with him. "No. They'll be safer if we keep our units away from the civilian docks. Pass the order to our forces to stay away from the evacuation sites unless they come under attack," replied Ishmal grimly, moving from the table. "Patch me through to all of Orb's defense forces."


"Yes sir," said one of the comm. officers.


Link to music: http : / www . youtube . com /watch?v=aRf6Rd5gYJ0 (Just remove the spaces)


He picked up a headset. "This is General Samuel Dante to all Orb Defense Forces. As you know, an Earth Alliance fleet is approaching Orb. Their goal is to force us to submit to them, one way or another. The Orb government has refused to submit to them and they are coming to conquer Orb," said Samuel to the defenders. "I know many of you are wondering why we shouldn't just submit to the Earth Alliance and save ourselves from the approaching storm. But if we sided with the Earth Forces, than it would only be a matter of time before ZAFT attacked us. And if we joined ZAFT, the Earth Forces would attack us. Regardless of what we do, we will be attacked. The only difference is by whom we will be attacked by."


"I will not lie to you. We are outnumbered a hundred-to-one. Each of you will have to be an army in your own right if Orb is to survive. But never forget that you are all fighting for the safety and future of your families, and the future of Orb itself! May the blessing of Haumea be upon us all as we prepare to wage this terrible battle. For the future of Orb, it's ideals and its people!"


Cheers and shouts echoing his own words filled the comm. channel. Ishmal closed his eyes as he closed the comm. line. A lot of people were going to die today. Hopefully, only the soldiers of Orb and the Alliance. But there were still many, many civilians fleeing Orb. And as long as they were still on Onogoro, they were in danger. Ishmal opened his eyes, his face locked in grim determination.


"Send word to the Archangel." He said. "And deploy all units according to plan S-7."

Archangel


(Play Freedom Fighters, by Two Steps From Hell)


"Enemy Contact on Radar!" Mir shouted as the sirens blared throughout the ship "The EA fleet has arrived! They are launching their mobile suits!"

"Archangel we are launching!" Murrue ordered as the now full crew of the Archangel leapt to obey their commands, despite Kuzzey leaving the Archangel was running on a full crew with volunteers from Terminal taking up the spare stations.

"This is Pandora we are launching!" Drake informed as the two ships rolled out of their respective hangers.

"Red Squadron is Launching!" Ryu said as he and Kira took off leading a squad of flight-pack equipped Astrays.

"Ma'am incoming missile barrage!" Informed one of the new recruits, a twenty something man about 5'7" with blond hair and green eyes.

"Fire all Igelstellungs!" Natarle ordered "Shoot down as many as possible do not let them hit the coast!"

Shores of Onogoro


Missiles descended towards Onogoro en masse. Orb linear tanks, AA guns and M1 Astrays fired on the missiles, intercepting many of them. But many more still hit, destroying tanks and gun emplacements as the mobile suits dodged backwards.


The hangars containing the Archangel, Pandora and other Terminal Ships opened, and the six ships launched to aid the battle. Sitting on the decks of the Terminal vessels were crouching M1 Astrays and Patriots with various weapon pack, all of which which quickly came to life as the ships opened their holds to release more M1s from within the carriers. More missiles rained down, and the new arrivals opened fire on the missiles as well. Even still, a large number of missiles impacted on civilian residences near the shore, though they'd thankfully already been evacuated.


Several Alliance carriers approached the shores, opening their holds to release Strike Daggers.


"Juri, the Earth Forces are sending in their mobile suits," reported Mayura. Juri gasped, and Asagi gulped slightly in fear.


As orders were given to reinforce the Izanagi shoreline, carriers appeared overhead, dropping mobile suits as the Archangel began to launch its machines.


With Ryu and Kira


Ryu activated his DRAGOON shields around one of the Defending ships, causing the missiles fire at it to ping harmlessly off the shield of light. "You will not touch these ships!" Ryu shouted as he fired his beam pistols at a group of Strike Dagger's. the twin beam weapons shots flew true and blasted the heads off of three of the mobile suits. The Ryu finished them off with her Plasma cannons disarming them.


Three Strike Daggers attempted to flank Ryu, but he saw it coming. 'Amateurs.' He thought as he brought out his Heat Shotel and took them out in quite perfection, letting the suits now fall into the water, headless and armless. He then called his DRAGOON's back to protect him from stray beam fire from more Daggers. The said daggers were destroyed shortly after as Kira swooped in with her Katana drawn and sliced their heads off. She then aimed all of her weapons at another formation and fired away, destroying their weapons, removing them as threats.


"You'll have to do better than that, boys!" Kira said as she drew her beam sabers.


ORB Coastline


Shinn Asuka panted as he ran after his family looking up into the sky in awe as he saw a black and green mobile suit with a green trim blow through a trio of Strike Daggers utterly destroying them, his foot caught on a rock causing him to stumble slightly "Pay attention Shinn!" His father shouted " We can't have you getting lost!"


"R-right!" Shinn replied continuing to follow after them, it looked like the black mobile suit had noticed the refugees running along the path beneath them as he remained in a hovering position utterly destroying any mobile suit daring to get close as it somehow generated the Lightwave shields he heard about along a part of the path.


"My mobile!" Shinn's sister Mayu shouted as her phone slipped from her grip.


"I got it!" Shinn shouted sliding down the hill to where the pink phone lay waiting.


It was at that moment tragedy struck, just as Shinn was picking the cell phone up a Strike Dagger attacked from behind as the Black mobile suit was trying to fend off three full squads of other Daggers and a staggered missile attack, one of the missiles slipped through and impacted near the Asuka family, Shinn gasped as he saw the explosion throw his sister down the path as their parents were consumed by flames and chunks of debris were thrown everywhere "NO!" Shinn shouted running over to where his sister was thrown, shifting the rubble around frantically he saw a slight hope when he saw his sisters hand peeking out behind a chunk on for him to freeze as he saw only the hand from the elbow to below.


Falling to his knees he screamed out in anguish as an ORB officer grabbed him "C'mon we need to get you out of here!" He shouted "The Redemption can't hold much longer!"


Shinn struggled feebly against the older stronger man only to stop as he look up at the black mobile suit again seeing it firing its pistol like beam weapons rapidly abandoning its own defense in favor of protecting the civilians and making sure the Daggers couldn't fire in the first place. Taking one last look back he sobbed and allowed the man to guide him to the refugee boats I swear, he thought I swear I will become a pilot and protect everyone, not matter what!


The Powell


The Biological CPUs entered the hanger where their mobile suits and the doctors with their drugs were waiting. Each took their vial and downed the contents. Each then put on their helmets and climbed into the cockpit of their machines.


At that moment, Azrael's face appeared on their main screens. "Say boys…"


Orga Sabnak looked up at his display screen. "What?"


"It's extremely important that you don't damage Morgenroete or the Mass Driver," Azrael ordered. "Do you understand?"


"But we can destroy anything else, right?" asked Shani Andras.


Azrael simply nodded.


"Oh yeah!" said a pleased Clotho Buer.


"This is something I've wanted to do for a long, long time," said Dale Foreman, grinning.


"Why don't you guys shut up," said Jin Hisanaga as the Powell's mobile suit hold doors opened. The Forbidden and the Dragon Hunter launched first, heading for Onogoro. The Raider followed, transforming into its mobile armor mode. Then the Calamity launched, quickly landing on the Raider, using it as a flight platform. The four were soon followed by the Backdraft and the ever silent pilot.

Kira


Kira grinned as the MTS(Multi-Targeting System) turned on and all the weapons of the Freedom snapped to bare and opened fire while the Redemption unleashed a blast from its TBR both of the mobile suits carving away a large chunk of the missiles "Incoming mobile suits, there Gundams!" Ryu warned as Ten new Gundams Charged towards them, leading the pack were a pair of mobile suits, one looking identical to the Dragon while the second looked like a mixture of the Strike and the Dragon "This sensation," Kira heard Ryu whisper "It couldn't be."

Dragon Hunter

A brown haired green eyed pilot grinned madly as he began to laugh "So you really are alive aren't you?" Jin Hisanaga asked mockingly "Dear brother Ryu!"

Backdraft


The pilot of the Backdraft, an attractive women with blond hair and blue eyes seemed to wince slightly as Jin shouted Ryu's name but showed no other response "Orders confirmed, eliminating all targets." Yuna Falcon whispered tonelessly.

Redemption

Ryu's breath stopped as he heard the voices "It-It can't be..." He whispered "Y-you both died... I saw you both Die!"

(End Song)


With Athrun

Athrun frowned in thought as he leant back in the cockpit of the Justice thinking about his next move "Word just came in Athrun," Mark stated jolting the blunette out of his thoughts "the EA has Declared war on ORB."

"ORB?" Athrun questioned, before beginning a start up sequence "Mark we're heading out, if my gut's correct."

"Then we will need to be at ORB." Mark finished grinning "Let's go kid."

In short order the Justice and the Ex-GuAIZ launched and headed off towards ORB

Ryu

Ryu breathed quickly as he continued to dodge the attacks from the Backlash and Dragon Hunter "Why, why are you two fighting?" He asked desperately "Jin you hated it, and Yuna, you never been like this."

Jin laughed crazily over the radio "You made me like this dear brother!" He declared "Mom and Dad were so certain that you would come and save us, only you never showed! And with your girlfriend, Blue Cosmos found her near death and healed and brainwashed her, now she is a good little doll doing, anything we tell her to do."

Ryu eyes widened "What?" He asked disbelieving as he dodged the continuous beam fire from the two suits.

Jin laughed again "Here's another secret," He shouted "I've always hated you, you were the perfect one, the one who made mom and dad proud, all because you're a damned patchworker! Now I'll destroy everything you love, starting with this pathetic country!" Ryu growled as he boosted the Redemption back out of the way of the Dragon Hunter's swords "And thanks to Blue Cosmos I have the strength where I can finally defeat you!"

Ryu growled and snapped up his TBR firing off a shot forcing the Dragon Hunter(DH) back "You would go as far as to join a terrorist organization to defeat me?" Ryu asked "Why?"

"I've already told you mom and dad always focused on you and not me!" Jin shouted "I am there natural born son, not you!"

Ryu flinched back at the accusation allowing the Backdraft to close in a katana in hand, reacting on instinct Ryu quickly brought up his shield and blocked the sword "Yuna, Jin," He whispered "Forced to fight the two remainders of my past life..."

Kira

Kira grunted as the Freedom was pushed back by the Gallant, a Strike like mobile suit armed with a lance, as its Lance Strained against the Freedom's Shield, sensing something off Kira suddenly pulled back just as the Lance began to glow red hot Heat Blade tech, Kira thought to herself In that case... Kira grinned as she reached for the underside of the shield and pulled out the Katana that she and Lowe had attached there "Let's go!" She shouted darting forward ducking under the Gallant's stab and swung her bade at the Gallant's Lance.

Rena


S-so fast! Rena unable to react in time as he Lance was cut in half, "Hey Raider give me some support!" She barked at the Raider's pilot who was attacking the Astray Squad.

"Why should I bitch?" Clotho Buer responded sneering.

"I'm ordering you as a superior officer that's why boy!" Rena snapped pulling out the Beam Reamer pistols and started firing only for the Freedom to bat the beams away using it's Katana.

"Tch Fine." Clotho responded and flew in attacking the Freedom with his dual hypervelocity shield rifle.

Kira

"That Gundam, it's a lot like the Raven..." She murmured as the Raider transformed and threw it's Mjolnir Hammer at the Freedom only for Kira to block it with her shield, he alarm sounded as she looked behind her to see the Forbidden with its scythe at bear "Oh hell no!" Kira shouted lashing the Freedom's foot out knocking the Forbidden back "Like hell you're going to scratch this paint job!"

Bringing the Freedom into a dive Kira moved rapidly through the incoming fire from the Raider and Forbidden as the Gallant tried to close in on her sheathing the katana Kira once more grabbed her beam rifle and went into the HiMAT mode and fired all of her weapons at her opponents only for them to dodge or block them They're good. Kira thought gritting her teeth as she continued to fight back, glancing over at Ryu she was shocked to find that he was barely fighting back, only dodging and blocking attacks, Kira's senses flashed as she once more moved out of the way of her enemies attacks What's wrong Ryu?

Mu

Mu smirked as the Lightning Eclipse tore through its opponents with little difficulty "Only thing you have on your side is numbers!" Mu shouted blasting the Agni cannon destroying another mobile suit, a warning blared along with a flash of danger as Mu boosted the Eclipse back "So it you isn't it," Mu said as a missile landed where Mu once was "Morgan 'Mad Dog' Cavalier!"

"Mu la Flaga, the Hawk of Endymion," Morgan Replied narrowing his eyes "This will be difficult, the first natural of the EA to pilot a Gundam Mobile suit on par with Coordinators."

Mu grinned as he boosted the Eclipse into the air "I won't lose Old Man!" He shouted firing his beam rifle as Morgan dodged.

Battlefield


"ORB will fall today!" One of the Dagger Pilots shouted as he landed on the ground "You damn patchwork sympathizers!"

"We won't let you take out Homeland!" An Astray pilot responded as he fired his beam rifle "We'll push you out!"

(Start It's the End of the World as we know it by R.E.M)

"HAHAHA!" Laughter echoed through the channels as a series of explosions impacted against the EA line "You ain't getting past the Hades Squadron!" Shouted Tom as his Hellfire Assault Patriot Fired a blast from its Prototype Heavy Beam cannon and a massive amount of missiles impacting the line even harder "We'll wipe you out!"

A beam impacted an unsuspecting mobile suit as it erupted into flames "W-What was that!" His partner shouted before being hit by another beam.

Up on a cliff the Shadow Assault Patriot Lowered its sniper rifle while D.J grinned "Target eliminated, searching for next target." He said obviously enjoying himself "Time to rain death!" The four Hydra missile pods on the suit fired simultaneously impacting the Daggers with deadly precision.

In another part of the battlefield a Dagger suddenly explode for seemingly no reason making the fellow pilots nervous "WAHAHAHAHA!" Ian Atkins laughed as his Black Hawk Patriot revealed itself deactivating his Mirage Colloid unsheathing his Anti-Armor Ninjato cutting up another mobile suit "You brats are too easy to crush!"

"W-What the hell!" Another Pilot cried as the Black Hawks Beam Submachine gun tore his suit to shreds.

Underwater

"Let's go!" Shouted Jane Houston as she lead a squad of GAT-706S Deep Forbiddens only for a series of Torpedoes to impact the squad "What the!?"

"Thinking of sneaking up on ORB are you?" Geoff asked as his Marine Shadow revealed itself "Not Happening!"

(End Song)

Ryu


Ryu grunted as the Backlash slammed into the Redemption trying to impale him with a Beam Saber as the Dragon Hunter Took aim from the side with its Agni cannon "Fall brother!" Jin shouted in glee as he fired.

No, Ryu thought as he saw the beam approach him rapidly.

Kira


Kira growled as she was swarmed from all sides by the Gallant, Raider and Forbidden, even if she was in the Freedom all three were superb pilots in their own rights making it difficult for he to push them back "I, I cannot die here!" Kira shouted pushing the Gallant back only to have to dodge the Raider's 'Zorn' 100mm Energy Cannon putting her right in the sights of the Forbidden as he prepared to fire his plasma induction cannon No, it can't be. She thought in shock unable to react in time.

"DIE!" The pilot shouted as he fired.

The two beams approached their targets rapidly as everyone stared in shock at the impending doom of the two pilots.

"Denied!" A voice shouted as a green, brown and red trimmed mobile suit blocked the blast attacking Ryu while another red mobile suit blocked the attack heading for Kira.

"Eh, more of those funny looking mobile suits." Shani observed from the Forbidden staring at the pair.

"This is Special Forces Agent Athrun Zala, can you read me X10A Freedom, or should I say Kira Yamato!" Athrun shouted.

"You're getting sloppy Ryu," Mark informed as he floated beside the Redemption "Time was where you would have been finished wiping up the entire fleet by now."

"Mark." Ryu whispered.

"Athrun?" Kira asked in shock.

Neither had time to reply however as the three EA machines went back on the offensive forcing the two apart, the Raider fired at the Justice as Athrun drew his beam sabers combining them into a double saber and clashing against the shield of the Raven.

"Why are you here?" Kira asked her katana colliding with the Gallant's as they made repeated clashes "Is ZAFT participating in this fight too?"

"No," Athrun denied as he and the Raider broke apart as the Forbidden tried to attack the Justice from behind "This intervention, is of our decision alone!"

"Damn Straight Kid!" Mark shouted charging towards the Backdraft "We want to help ORB, orders be dammed!"

Kira and Ryu both smirked in their mobile suits as they heard this "Heh, I suppose your right." Ryu agreed "Sorry Jin, Yuna, but I am no longer holding back!"

(Play Theme of Multiflora from Fairy Tail OST)


Ryu


Twin Seeds circled each other in Kira and Ryu's minds before colliding as their eyes changed to the mismatched forms of their awakenings, Ryu drew in a breath and let out a roar echoing across the battlefield startling many and also scaring a lot of EA pilots.

"T-The Dragon of Endymion is fighting against us!" A pilot shouted in fear "W-We can't beat him!"

Jin's eyes narrowed as he blocked the saber of the Ex-GuAIZ He's fighting us seriously? He asked himself in shock Then I'll...

The Redemption streaked across the battlefield towards the Ex-GuAIZ and the Dragon Hunter the Heat Sword extending from the shield "Jin, I know you must have hated me," Ryu admitted "But, I will not allow you to harm my HOME!"

"Big Words brother, but, you ain't so special!" Jin replied knocking the Ex-GuAIZ away with a kick as the Backdraft attacked Mark "Now that you are without that light thingy of the Dragon-X you'll never beat my Alpha Drive!"

"What?" Ryu responded in surprise stopping in shock as Jin took advantage of this and his mobile suit turned to a grey color and shot forward in a massive burst of speed "WHAT!" Ryu shouted again as he barely blocked the Dragon Hunter's blade.

"Despite you suits power, it sucks close range doesn't it? Big Brother." Jin said mockingly as he repeatedly attack Ryu who desperately defended himself.

Even in this state where I can predict his movements, I can't react fast enough! Ryu realized "VERY WELL! DELTA DRIVE!" Ryu shouted the Redemption turning gold just as the DH attempted to cut the Redemption in half only for it to vanish in front of him "It's true the Redemption isn't the best a close range, but I make that up for the overwhelming fire power." Ryu stated as the DRAGOONs deployed and he split the TBR "Here I come, JIN!"

(END Theme of Multiflora)


Kira

Kira smirked as she heard Ryu's thoughts resonate with her own, she could feel his former hesitation at fighting his past slide away as renewed determination filled its place "All right than Athrun, let's go!" Kira shouted diving the Freedom forward katana at the ready clashing with the Gallant's anti ship sword as the Justice came from below attempting to sever the suit's arm in half only for Rena to pull back in the nick of time saving herself from the powerful close combat model.

From the side the Raider swooped in firing wildly forcing the pair to split up as he flew past, Kira snapped her 'Balaena' cannons into place and opened fire only for the Forbidden to get between them as the beams curved around the mobile suit "WHAT!?" Kira shouted in shock dodging the return fire of the plasma inductor cannon, narrowing her currently heterochromatic eyes she ducked under the Forbidden's scythe quickly slashing out with her katana dragging it along the underbelly of the mobile suit.

ORB Command

"Two unknown units have joined the battle!" A radar man shouted from his post "They seem to be aiding the Freedom and Redemption!"

"Then mark them as friendlies for now!" General Dante ordered looking over the screens beside him Cagalli scowled "Before you say anything your post is here Cagalli," He informed roughly "To not be eager to run off to a fight."

Cagalli growled but relented and continued acting as the experienced General's second "Have the remaining Terminal units launch!" Cagalli ordered glancing at the clock "Also give the volunteers the orders to deploy!"

"Ma'am!" the officers replied as Samuel nodded in approval smiling at the girl secretly/

Ground


Orga Sabnak grinned as he laughed wildly firing the Calamities weapons with impunity not caring when he hit his own allies, glancing up he grinned "That looks like fun, How about I join in!" He shouted laughing only for a blast to impact off of him.

"How about you worry about who is in front of you." A voice growled, turning Orga saw the Grizzly fully repaired with more heavy plating "You will never take ORB!"

"We'll see!" Orga shouted firing his 'Sabot' Cannon only for the Grizzly to take it without even raising its shield "WHAT!?"

Lev chuckled as his mobile suit stepped forward "Newest upgrade to the Grizzly, Laminated Armor with Anti-beam coating," He boasted grinning as he fired his shoulder cannons before transforming "You'll never breakthrough me!"

Elsewhere

Dale laughed insanely as his GAT-X117 Spartan blasted through the Astray line with ease his Hyper Velocity Cannons the Foam Metal Armor of the Astrays unable to hold up under his heavy fire, grinning he lowered his beam rifle at an incapacitated Astray as the pilot panicked relishing in the fearful screams of the pilot, just as he was about to pull the trigger something slammed into him pushing him away from the downed mobile suit, looking around he frowned as he saw nothing "Who's there!" He roared firing randomly "Show yourself!"

"Why Should I?" Nicol asked as the upgraded Blitz circled around his opponent "I have the advantage like this."

"BULLSHIT!" Dale roared "I AM THE BEST!" he activated his Flamethrowers covering the entire area with flames.

Nicol activated the Phase Shift revealing the Blitz, only it looked like something that walked straight out of hell with various panels missing such as the face plate which was showing dagger-like teeth designs and glowing red eyes. Snapping up his Trikeros unit he fired the 50mm beam rifle forcing the insane pilot to dodge as they exchanged fire "You will never take ORB!" Nicol shouted charging forward activating his beam saber cutting one of the Spartan's Hyper Velocity Cannons.

"Bastard!" Dale shouted in frustration as the Blitz disappeared once more.

Archangel

"We have several missiles incoming!" Sai shouted as the Igelstellungs activated shooting them down only for a pair to get through, everyone widened their eyes in fear just as a beam tore through the missiles as everyone blinked in shock.

Off on the shoreline a Buster-like Mobile suit stood "Man they really overhauled you didn't they," Dearka muttered as the new Buster stood up, it now featured a sub lifter pack much like the one used by the Ex-GuAIZ but much more heavily armed with two Hyper Density Beam Cannons and multiple missile pods "I'm renaming you the Nut Buster." Taking flight the cockpit of the Nut Buster activated as a MTS activated locking onto multiple airplanes and let loose with the missiles "I have you covered Archangel!"

Pandora

Drake growled as explosions detonated around the ship The Pandora is really not cut out for atmospheric fighting, He mused silently We can't even use the main cannon because we might end up endangering allies. "Godfrieds, 50 to starboard, FIRE! He ordered as two of the said cannons fired sinking another Arkansas-Class cruiser "Aim for the missile ships, stop their bombardment!"

Ryu

Ryu was a picture of calm as he and his brother's suits clashed repeatedly at high speeds appearing as colored blurs even to high speed cameras "Fall! Die! Disappear!" His brother continually shouted only for Ryu to ignore him, deploying his DRAGGONs he fired rapidly keeping his brother off guard as he aimed his dual Beam Pistols, out of the corner of his eye he saw the Divergence attacking the Fleet in person sinking multiple ships with its DRAGOONs and P-HABR as the Liberation flew interception wiping out scores of missiles with little difficulty even as Liz was fighting against the Daggers.

"You won't win Jin," Ryu declared as he easily moved out of the way of his brother's attacks "You Alpha Drive is just a knock off of the Delta Drive."

"SHUT UP!" Jin shouted "I-IF you Die than they will notice me!"

Ryu blinked in surprise before sighing "Foolish little brother." He muttered "Even if I die by your hands, our parents will never return, do you not realize that?" He maneuvered the Redemption skillfully around the Dragon Hunter far more used to the massive boost in speed and power of the mobile suit than his brother, added to that was that the Delta Drive was far more efficient than the Alpha Drive allowing for a longer operational time.

"SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!" Jin shouted continually as the words rung through his head echoing mockingly.

"Do you truly think they will be happy from this," Ryu snarled "YOU ARE DISGRACING EVERYTHING THEY STOOD FOR!"

"SHUT UP!" Jin shouted charging forward again grappling close as an alarm blared in his suit Low on energy? He thought in shock you stupid piece of shit! glancing out of the corner of his eye he saw the white mobile suit that his brother was flying beside in the beginning "How's this brother?" Jin shouted using the last of his energy to collide with the Freedom taking Kira off guard as he gripped hard "Watch helplessly as I destroy your friend!"

"NO! Ryu shouted shooting forward his eyes wide in fear as the Freedom struggled the two Gundams tumbling to the sea extending the Heat Shotel from the shield he threw it at the Dragon Hunter severing one of the arms allowing Kira to throw it off and kicked it away. As it continued to fall Ryu opened the link one last time with his brother who looked at him enraged.

"This is your fault, YOUR FAULT YOU HEAR ME!" Jin shouted angrily as the clock for the self destruct ticked away "YOU MADE ME THIS WAY!"

With that final declaration the Dragon Hunter exploded in a brilliant flash of light while tears slid down Ryu's face "SHIT!" was heard over the radio as Mark lost one of the Ex-GuAIZ's arms to the Backlash "Need support!"

"On it!" Ryu shouted boosting forward as Kira returned to helping Athrun I will not lose anyone again. Ryu swore gripping the controls tightly as the Delta Drive shut down automatically "NEVER AGAIN!"

With that as his battle cry Ryu dove forward slashing at the Backlash forcing it away from the Ex-GuAIZ as it fell back to the Archangel useless without the arm. Ducking under the katana of the Backlash Ryu pushed forward shoulder tackling the suit as he stole a beam saber from the Backlash, the suit quickly linked to the saber activating it and clashing repeatedly, the only thing saving the weakened Redemption was Ryu's skills as a pilot aided by his own Newtype senses, back flipping he delivered a resounding kick to the 'chin' of the enemy mobile suit before driving forward cutting of the legs with his captured beam saber before cutting of the arms and head of the suit rendering it completely helpless as he grabbed it "Never again, will I lose someone I care for."

Kira

Kira panted still slightly shook up from her near possible death, while Phase Shift in combination with a Nuclear engine was a potent defensive combo, but even THAT had its limits and she personally did NOT want to test them with a close ranged explosion, raising her shield she blocked the beam shot from the Gallant as she charged back into the fight with a renewed determination dropping her shield onto the ground Kira drew both of her beam sabers as she darted forward ducking under the Gallants anti-ship sword cutting the legs off forcing it to fall before her danger senses flashed allowing her to twirl out of the way of the Calamity's ranged fire before the Grizzly tackled it shooting forward she concentrated on the Raider as the Justice dealt with the Forbidden being better suited as a Close-Combat type suit.

Grabbing her shield Kira blocked the Mjolnir shooting forward The one earlier was good, but these guys are on a completely different level! She thought struggling against the Raider even with the powers of her and Ryu's unified minds and her Newtype abilities the Alliance pilot was driving her heard.

Hearing a snarl she chanced a glance to the Grizzly which was being forced to retreat "Sorry," Lev Grumbled "Managed to get my weapons."

"Don't worry." Kira assured as she continued to dodge the weapons of both the Raider and the Calamity as she and Athrun took a back-to-back position.

Suddenly they could hear screaming from the three new EA Gundams as the pilots clutched their heads in pain before they suddenly turned and ran from the battle, soon after a retreat signal was fired as the EA withdrew for the time being.

Breathing a sigh in relief Kira felt Ryu mentally kiss her before the link between them faded leaving her feeling weary and drained, facing the Justice she grinned over the link "Thanks Athrun, I owe you one." She said gratefully.

"Not going to ask me why I'm here and my purpose?" Athrun replied confused as Kira chuckled.

"Your orders were to recapture the Freedom or failing that destroy it," Kira recited remembering the intel report she read "You are here because you can't stand seeing a friend in danger, can you?"

Athrun chuckled ruefully "Yeah, that and I wanted to talk to you." He said as they landed near the Redemption as a squad of Archangel's Security force dragged a female pilot with blond hair and blue eyes out of the cockpit and onto a gurney, the girl seemed to be thrashing in pain throughout the entire thing.

Looking over to the Redemption Kira saw Ryu standing atop of the chest near the cockpit entrance looking at the woman in concern "Can it wait a while?" She asked tiredly "Ryu needs me."

"I understand," Athrun said nodding "Offer him my condolences."

Kira nodded disembarking her suit catching Ryu's attention who quickly descended tot eh ground as they ran for each other. Kira smiled as she blinked away tears feeling safe in Ryu's arms "Ryu," She whispered a slight crack in her voice "Thank you."

Ryu said nothing but Kira could feel the sob being withheld as he desperately kept up a brave front for the soldiers as the Liberation and Divergence both landed near the other three Nuke Suits as they were called by the Soldiers Ryu waved to them as he and Kira moved through the crowd hand in hand moving to the docked Archangel and their room.

Once they were safely tucked away into their room Ryu and Kira embraced again holding each other tightly as Ryu's body shook with sobs "It's alright Ryu," She soothed "Let it out, I'm here for you."

Tears spilt from Ryu's eyes as he did just that and cried for his lost brother.

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