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This article, Mobile Suit Gundam Blade/Episode One: Unsheathed Blade, is property of Actene.

December 15th, 2467

“We’ve entered the operation zone, sir. All systems are functioning at optimal capacity.”

Once upon a time, he’d been a regular, commonplace person with regular, commonplace hopes and dreams. Once upon a time, he’d just been a part of the crowd, never dwelling upon or questioning the path they all mindlessly walked together.

But now he was a different person. Very different.

Without opening his single eye, Raven Sammael nodded in acknowledgement of Captain Renault’s status report. The other eye--or the place the other eye had once been--was covered by several white bandages that wound their way under his hair all the way around his head.

“Coalition force strength?” he asked in a calm, quiet monotone.

“One Iaccus-class corvette on patrol on the far side of Titan accompanied by a squadron of mobile suits.” Raven pictured the captain in his mind’s eye, the man’s chiseled face a mask of concentration as he studied the command stations occupied by the rest of the bridge crew. He allowed an almost imperceptible smile to grace his lips as he pictured the man’s uniform--impeccably groomed even though it was really just a hodge-podge of scavenged officer’s suits. For an anti-government freedom fighter, Renault was a curious study in absolute military discipline. It was a trait Raven admired in him.

“How long until they’ll be a threat to our operation?” he asked in that same tranquil tone.

“More than an hour, sir.”

“Good.” Raven nodded in approval. “And the target? How well defended is Gateway Station?”

There was a pause and the sound of footsteps amidst the quiet humming of computer stations and Raven assumed that Renault was moving to check another screen.

“I read no more or less gun emplacements than any other station of this model type,” said Renault after several seconds. “It has a single squadron of mobile suits on active patrol around it, and one Ormenos-class military transport currently docked at its exterior hangar.”

“Of course,” Raven murmured, partly for Renault’s benefit and partly for his own. “Any extra defenses will be hidden inside the station. I’d guess a few extra mobile suit squadrons; we’ll have to be sure to hit the hangars the moment this attack begins.”

“Understood, sir.”

Taking a breath, Raven opened his eye and took in the scene before him. Seven bridge officers were huddled over the computer consoles that lined the walls of their ship’s command center. Renault, who looked just as Raven had pictured him, paced in the center of the room, frequently striding over to look over his subordinate’s shoulders.

Confident that the captain knew what he was doing, Raven turned to face the bridge window behind him. Before him stretched the vast emptiness of space; empty, that is, except for the massive ringed planet of Saturn and its moon Titan. And in Titan’s orbit was their target: the space station Gateway.

It was time to find out if that station was as important as Raven and his compatriots thought it was.

Raven turned back to Renault. “Have Yosef and his squadron board their mobile suits and prepare to launch, just as we planned. Order Morgan to board her own suit and await my orders. Then engage our stealth systems and bring all hands to battle stations.”

The captain saluted--a formality rarely observed amongst the ranks of Oni, the rebel group Raven had founded and was leading--and strode over to the communications officer to relay the orders.

Yes, once upon a time Raven had lived the tedious, doomed existence of a regular man. But he had abandoned that path long ago. Today he and those who followed him would show the rest of humanity just how that corrupt path was leading them astray. It was destruction that would jar them from that path, and delivering destruction was what Raven did best.

From where he leaned over the communications officer, Renault looked at Raven and allowed a rare, toothy grin to split his battle-scarred features. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he announced to both Raven and the bridge crew in general.

In answer, Raven gave him a small half-smile. “Haven’t we all.”

It was time to get started.

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