|2011-01-26, 02:00||Link #61|
Join Date: May 2009
Alpha & Omega
“Foldspace, it’s a place where anything can happen due to the thin veil of ‘normal’ physics which resides there. One false move and ‘POOF’ the laws of our universe break down into chaos. Nevertheless, the Earth needs ships that can travel at faster-than-light speeds if we are going to survive the calamity that is sure to come at the hands of Marduk and his Babylonian hordes.” —Excerpt from an interview with Lloyd Asplund from the July 2030 a.t.b. issue of KnightMare Mechanics Magazine.
February 25th 2035 a.t.b.
“All hands prepare for fold operations!” Cornelia barked over the main intercom of the Kaminejima. “We depart for planet Hadar in T-minus five minutes.”
The ship hung high above the ochre-colored atmosphere of the planetoid Ceres just above the asteroid belt that lay between the planetary orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The space frigate had undergone extensive upgrade over the past year and now sported a large semi-circular “half” ring on its ventral side, which connected to the old atmospheric stabilizer wings of the spacecraft. Large rectangular pods merged the fold-ring with the stabilizer wings and acted as the gravity-bubble generating warp nacelles of the vessel.
Cornelia stood within the bridge of the newly upgraded warship. She was dressed in her white and gold Captain uniform with her military cap cocked on the top of her curly mass of mauve hair as a flurry of activity coursed through the bowels of her vessel. “Commander Gilford, give me the countdown.”
Gilford nodded, “Three minutes and counting.”
Captain Britannia turned to her communications officer, “tell Chief Engineer Asplund that I want the ship speed set to Fold-Factor 7.”
The male officer nodded in response then relayed the message.
A moment later Lloyd’s smiling face appeared on the main bridge viewscreen, “Hello there Captain.”
“What is it Lloyd?” Cornelia asked with an edge of concern in her voice. This was the first test of a hyperspace fold system on the Kaminejima and although no mishaps had taken place on any Earth vessel of its class, Cornelia didn’t wish her ship to be the first.
“One minute thirty seconds,” Gilford informed them.
“I was just wondering why you don’t want to open this puppy up?” Lloyd inquired with a boyish grin. “Fold-Factor 7 is only seven light years per Earth hour. This ship is capable of a Fold-Factor of 10, why not go for broke and work the cobwebs out?”
Cornelia hoped he was joking, “the Kaminejima has just been refit with the new FTL fold-ring, I’ll not risk this ship and her crew by pushing the system to its limits on its first test.
“Ten seconds to space-fold,” Guilford informed them.
“Have it you way,” Lloyd waved his towards someone off the screen behind him. Lloyd sighed, “just seven Cecile.”
“I told you,” Cecile Croomy scolded him from outside the view of the monitor.
Gilford sat down in his chair at the left of the Captain’s station, “seven, six, five…”
“Are you finished?” Cornelia snapped at him.
Gilford continued, “four, three…”
Lloyd adjusted his glasses, “oh…yes Captain.”
“Good,” Cornelia said with a scowl as the stars outside the windows of the bridge began to draw into long lines of light as the ship accelerated to mind boggling speed.
“one…FOLD!” Guilford announced as the “ring” of the Kaminejima glowed a bright blue and the vessel broke through the space-time continuum into hyperspace.
* * *
“Uh…I don’t feel so good,” Shirley said as everything blurred around her in the officer’s lounge then snapped back to normal. The rapidly swirling colors of hyperspace outside the four elongated windows of the lounge were making her dizzy.
“You okay?” Kallen asked her from where she sat reading the latest news from her laptop computer screen.
“I think I will be,” Shirley said bleary eyed, “but being in hyperspace for over a day gives me a nauseating feeling.”
“It often does that to people,” Enoch told her as he brought over a few glasses of water for her, Kallen, and Rai.
“When have you done this before…,” Rai started to ask but then put up his hand, “you know what, don’t even answer. I’m sorry I asked.”
Enoch laughed, “suit yourself Rai.” Enoch looked over at Lelouch sitting next C.C. at the bar with an untouched glass of orange juice in front of him. He seemed unfazed by the ship entering fold space.
Even C.C. had to put down the slice of pizza she was nibbling on.
“Well Big-Z, you don’t look any worse for wear from our trip through hyperspace.” Apsu said with a smile.
“Huh?” Lelouch asked as he left whatever thoughts were occupying his mind at the moment. “Oh, have we arrived yet?”
Kallen rolled her eyes, “no we haven’t Lelouch. Where’s your head at?”
He answered her in a smug tone. “Actually I was considering the implications of our fleet gaining FTL technology from our Olympian allies. Using the information I garnered from the space war tactics books Enoch lent me I’ve formulated a plan of defense that my sister Nunnally will need to follow if we’re to survive this war.”
Kallen grimaced, “that’s all you think about isn’t it. How to win the next battle, war, or rebellion. It’d be nice if you’d stop acting like Zero and started living like Lelouch.”
“Hey Kallen that’s not fair,” Enoch frowned, “Lelouch’s ability to strategize is far beyond my abilities and I’ve lived well beyond the lifespan of all of you combined. He’s got a God given gift for tactics that few are blessed with.”
Rai stood up and faced Enoch, “that’s not her point Enoch. What Kallen is saying is that Lelouch doesn’t think about anything else.”
Apsu got Rai’s point immediately as he looked from Rai to Kallen, “oh…so that’s how it is.” Enoch grinned at Kallen, “I’m sorry. I should’ve taken your feelings into account.”
Shirley’s eyes grew wide as she instantly caught on to what Enoch was insinuating, “No way! Kallen and…”
“Shirley,” C.C. cautioned her.
C.C. turned to Lelouch, “you okay with this?”
Lelouch gave Enoch a slight nod as he replied to C.C., “how can I not be? I don’t own her.”
Kallen stood up and chugged her glass of water, “well I’m glad that’s settled.” She strode up to the bar next to Lelouch and put her glass down on the counter.
“I’m sorry,” Lelouch said to her softly.
“Don’t be,” Kallen replied in a cold tone. “It was nice while it lasted.”
“Kallen…I never meant,” Lelouch began just as a shudder passed through the hull of the ship.
“What’s that?” Shirley pointed out the window towards a whirlpool of color on the side of the hyperspace corridor their ship was traveling in.
Lelouch and Enoch spoke simultaneously, “a singularity.”
“You mean a black hole?” Rai exclaimed in a panic.
“It’s too stable to be a black hole that small,” C.C. said as she finished off her last slice of pizza, “it looks more like a manmade wormhole.”
Her observation surprised the others.
“What?” C.C. asked. “I’ve always liked astronomy, so I’ve been studying astrophysics.”
“Any ideas what this could be?” Enoch asked her.
“Probably another ship in hyperspace that’s too close, or it could be some kind of—“
“Trap,” Lelouch cut C.C. off as he headed for the exit.
“We’re are you going?” Shirley demanded of Lelouch.
“To the bridge,” he said as he ran out the door. “I’ve got to warn Cornelia.”
Kallen put her hands on her hips, “He could have just used the ship’s comm.”
* * *
“I have them milady,” a red headed male officer said from where he sat at a large computer console. His dark green Babylonian uniform was more spacesuit then military dress.
“Excellent,” An inhumanly beautiful platinum-blonde woman said from where she stood upon a large round dais at the center of an enormous command deck. The spacious tri-level chamber had three huge viewports: one at its front, and one flanking each side of the room. A large overhead monitor came to life above her illuminating her sinfully tight silver uniform.
Upon the screen a 3D digital representation of the Kaminejima could be seen traveling towards a green sphere.
“They are beyond the point of no return now Lady Ishtar,” the male officer informed her.
“Thank you Adad,” Ishtar stated in a cool tone as her ice-blue eyes scanned over the telemetry. The data came in waves on a holographic display to the left of the goddess.
“Shall I inform Gilgamesh to prepare for battle?” Adad asked her in a respectful tone.
The woman raised her left eyebrow, “Indeed. I do not wish our prey to fall victim to some overzealous fool within the ranks of the common soldiery. Tell him I want the crew alive.”
“Of course milady,” Adad bowed.
* * *
“We can’t seem to break free,” Gilbert told Cornelia holding down the fear that threatened to surface in his voice.
“Pull away at maximum speed—“ Cornelia started.
“NO! Raise the shields and power up all weapons,” Lelouch barked as he burst onto the bridge.
“You’d better have a good reason for this insubordination Lelouch!” Cornelia was not pleased with him.
Lelouch caught himself and showed the proper decorum, “I’m sorry Captain, but the situation is dire. This is a trap.”
Cornelia didn’t bother to ask how he knew, she was aware that Lelouch did not react in such a way without cause, “very well. Guilford, turn us towards the disturbance and order a red alert, all hands to battlestations!”
“Thank you Cornelia,” Lelouch said catching his breath.
She smiled at him, “you’d better be right or I’ll have you on latrine duty for a month. Now get down to your squadron Colonel.”
Lelouch snapped to attention and saluted her with a wink, “Yes Captain.”
“And Lelouch,” Cornelia gave him a sly smile, “thanks for taking the initiative.”
* * *
“The enemy vessel is coming out of hyperspace now milady,” Adad informed her.
“Have Gilgamesh launch at once.” Ishtar commanded.
“Yes milady,” Adad smiled wickedly then turned to the com. officer and nodded. “Get me Gilgamesh.”
Within the cavernous hangar bay of the mighty Tiamat class warship eight Babylonian Sargon-V custom mecha moved into position for launch.
Each of the machines was armed with a combat shield and lance-like hand held gunpod. Blue flames of ion-engine thrust spewed from five engine nozzles mounted on the backs of the custom Sargon-Vs as the mecha sped down the length of the flight deck towards an open door on the far side of the back.
“Her ladyship wants them alive,” Adad said over the video monitor of the lead Sargon-V.
A dark-haired man smiled at Adad from behind the tinted glass of his space-helmet. “I understand, but it’s not going to be easy if what our spies have told us is true about these mortals.”
“Don’t tell me that the great Gilgamesh is worried about this assignment,” Adad said with venom.
“Don’t worry Adad, I’m not concerned about myself,” Gilgamesh snickered, “I’m just not sure I can bring all of them back alive.”
“Just be sure you acquire the officers,” Adad warned him, “especially the ones called Lelouch and C2. Her ladyship demands that these two be captured for Marduk. The others will be useful bargaining chips with the Gaeaen (Terran) populous in our acquisition of Nibiru.”
“I’ll get you your hostages Adad,” Gilgamesh spat at him. “Don’t you worry about it.”
Adad raised his chin, “I know you will, as champion of Ishtar, I expect you to be victorious.”
* * *
“How many of them are there?” Cornelia demanded as the Kaminejima broke out of hyperspace.
“Twenty-five hundred warships,” Guilford replied in a mechanical tone as the vast fleet of Babylonian spacecraft filled the viewports of the bridge.
“Composition,” Cornelia asked as her ship veered right to avoid coming into firing range of the closest escort enemy escort force. The Kaminejima was in the midst of the widely dispersed perimeter of Ishtar’s fleet.
“One Tiamat class battleship, six Nebuchadnezzar class cruisers, and many escort ships,” Guilford read over the litany of alien warships.
“Can we contact the Grecian base on Hadar?” Cornelia inquired.
“No Captain,” Guilford said. “The enemy is jamming all transmissions.”
Cornelia put her hand on her chin and addressed her Tactical officer, “Darlton, can you get a fix on where we are?”
“Looks like we’re in the outskirts of the Beta Centauri star system,” Darlton tapped a few holographic buttons on his monitor. “We’re about 50 AU from Hadar give or take a few million miles.”
“I thought as much,” She grimaced, “which means the Greek base there may be unaware of this fleet. The shipyards on Hadar are our best hope of getting out of this. Set course for Hadar, and put some distance between us and the Babylonians.”
“Captain we have incoming enemy Automatos,” the man stated in a calm tone.
“Thank you Darlton,” Cornelia said in a calm tone then asked. “Have any of the enemy ships moved in towards us as of yet?”
“No Captain,” Darlton replied with a befuddled look, “their warships do not appear to be powering up their weapons. They’re just sitting there.”
“Maybe they didn’t expect to pull us out of hyperspace,” Guilford suggested.
Cornelia frowned, “no, they knew they were dragging us out.”
Cornelia turned towards Dalton as she formulated a plan. “Have the enemy mecha entered into firing range yet?”
“Just barely Captain,” he replied.
“Good, fire aft batteries at them and accelerate to maximum sublight speed,” she huffed, “we need to get beyond whatever weapon their using to disrupt our hyperspace drive.”
* * *
Hadron and Kaon bolts zipped past the Sargon-V machines as the Kaminejima began to accelerate away from them.
“They’re getting away from us Gilgamesh,” a brutish voice bellowed over the com.
“I can see that Enkidu,” Gilgamesh said with a sigh. “It looks like we’ll have to take out their engines first.”
“That’s obvious my friend,” Enkidu laughed. “Shall we do so now?”
“Yes,” Gilgamesh stated as he aimed the lance of his machine towards the rear engine cone of the Kaminejima and pulled the trigger of his left flight-stick.
The engines of the eight Babylonian mecha ejected a brilliant spherical mass of ionized particles as they sped after the Earth warship.
“Hit them now,” Gilgamesh said in a monotone.
Each of the Sargon-Vs leveled their lance-shaped gunpods unloaded a burst of Hades cannon bolts towards the main engine of the Kaminejima.
The beams dissipated harmlessly off of the energy shields of the vessel.
“They’re tougher then we thought,” Enkidu laughed.
“Seems that way,” Gilgamesh stated dryly as he unloaded another salvo.
“We’ll never catch up to them at this rate.” Enkidu said.
“We don’t have to,” Gilgamesh stated as the twin sigils of Geass appeared in his eyes. “Based on the available data, I can see the weakness in their defenses.”
“Cheater,” Enkidu snickered.
“We don’t have time to play fair,” Gilgamesh retorted as he opened up the general radio frequency of his unit. “All warriors of Uruk squadron, aim your weapons at the tip of the cone. Their graviton engine weakens their energy shield there greatly.”
The Hades blasts of the Babylonian machines converged into one beam of concentrated energy as they struck the very tip of the engine nozzle. The energy shield over the tip of the cone flickered red-orange then shattered as the remnant of the Hades bolt slammed into the engine.
Blue electrical bolts shot over the hull of the Kaminejima as the ship slowed down.
“That’s better,” Gilgamesh said with a smile. “Now lets capture that ship.”
“Whatever you say old friend,” Enkidu replied with a tinge of apprehension.
* * *
“What the hell is happening?” Cornelia barked at Lloyd’s image on the main viewscreen as the Kaminejima slowed down to a drift.
“Well,” Lloyd began in a matter-of-fact manner, “it would appear there is a deficiency in Rakshata’s graviton engine design.”
Cecile Croomy snickered in the background, “I thought you designed the configuration of the engine, Lloyd.”
“What? Nonsense—“ Lloyd began to protest.
“I don’t care who designed it!” Cornelia shouted. “I need to know if you can fix it?”
“Well there’s no need to get excited Captain,” the Chief Engineer said with a wave of his hand, “all we need to do is recalibrate the main coils.”
“How long will that take?” Cornelia inquired.
“Oh…” Lloyd put his finger on his chin, “I’d say about fifteen to twenty minutes.”
“We don’t have that long,” Cornelia informed him, “the enemy is upon us now.”
“Well I can’t help that Cornelia,” Lloyd stated with a thin smile, “the engines need that much time to power back up…can’t be helped.”
“Fine, do what you have to, but get the engines back online,” Cornelia said in frustration as Lloyd signed off.
“What now Captain?” Guilford inquired.
“Damn it,” Cornelia cursed under her breath as she looked to Guilford, “order the Crimson Cavaliers to launch. We need to buy Lloyd some time.”
“Aye Captain,” Guilford nodded.
* * *
“Looks like they stopped firing,” Enkidu stated. “Maybe they mean to surrender.”
“Not likely,” Gilgamesh looked over the ship with his Geass. “They’re preparing to launch their Automatos.”
“You sure…” Enkidu began to ask as a slew of red-orange energy discs nearly cut his machine in two. “Guess you’re right!”
“Naturally,” Gilgamesh said as the six mecha of the Crimson Cavaliers flew out from beneath the Kaminejima, “My Chessman power is rarely wrong old friend.”
“Shall we take them as a whole or individually,” Enkidu asked.
“We’ll pair up two-by-two in the usual manner for now,” Gilgamesh didn’t like the flight pattern before him. “Whoever is commanding them is definitely a skilled tactician. We need to proceed with caution.”
* * *
“You sure about this Lelouch?” Kallen asked. “A single line formation seems dangerous considering they’re coming at us in pairs of two.”
Lelouch retorted in a cold tone, “Yes, I’m quite sure since it’s the only way out of this.”
“Too late to change course now,” Enoch added as he moved his Type-21Z, in fighter mode, into the position in front of Samael as per Lelouch’s plan. “Here they come.”
Lelouch flew Samael dangerously close behind Enoch’s Type-21Z as the four pairs of enemy mecha split up in order to come at them in different directions.
“They’re changing tactics Lelouch,” Rai said as he flew his Type-21Z in front of the Guren-Pheonix.
“Don’t worry Rai,” Enoch said with confidence, “he knows what he’s doing.”
“I sure hope so,” Shirley added, “because I don’t like idea of C2 flying up the tail of my Type-21 in her Hakodeshim.”
“Hey, that’s not fair Lieutenant Finette. I’m an exceptionally good pilot,” C.C. protested.
“Enough,” Lelouch scolded them as the Babylonian machines closed in.
“There not using their long range weapons,” Enoch told Lelouch.
“Yeah, I noticed,” Lelouch watched their movements closely as he twirled his black-king chess piece in his right hand.
The Sargon-Vs began to spin counterclockwise in unison.
“Break formation,” Lelouch commanded, “use dispersal pattern Zeta-7.”
“Roger that,” the others stated without hesitation.
The Type-21Zs transformed and boosted in a downward path away from their non-transformable partners.
“Now, let see how you deal with this,” Lelouch spoke to himself as he fired a pair of copper-gold beams from the forearms of the Samael at one of the pairs of Sargon-Vs.
His beams struck one of the Babylonian machines dead center: destroying it instantly and causing the second Sargon-V to break formation.
“Now, execute a scimitar attack!” Lelouch barked over the radio.
Kallen smiled wickedly, “now that sounds more like it.” She unloaded a hail of energy discs at one of the pair of Sargon-Vs approaching her and Rai until she drove it where she wanted it. “To bad for you,” she whispered as Kallen the baryon cannon of the Guren-Phoenix.
The baryon beam hit the Babylonian mecha as the doomed pilot of the machine tried to parry with the machine’s shield. The Guren’s blast melted through the large spade-shaped shield into the torso of the Sargon-V and its power plant. In the next second the mecha erupted in a white disc of molten metal as its reactor blew.
* * *
“My, my. Aren’t they a fierce lot,” Enkidu stated bluntly as he fingered the trigger to his lance mounted Hades cannon.
“Indeed they are. It’s a pity our attack on their main engine dispersed so many electromagnetic particles in this area, it’s jamming our main sensors,” Gilgamesh told him calmly. “It shouldn’t matter much longer though since they’ve broken their formation and are now revealing the tactics and abilities of their machines to me.”
“Well I hope they hurry up and reveal what you need because they’re tearing us apart.” Enkidu cautioned his comrade as Enoch’s Type-21Z cut down another of the Sargon-Vs.
“I’m almost done. I believe the red one is the Guren-Phoenix, and the transformable ones are standard Type-21s,” Gilgamesh told him as he watched the battle using his Geass, “but I’m not sure about those other two.”
The Guren charged the second Sargon-V it was fighting as Gilgamesh looked on. In one swift move Kallen dodged a thrust from the mecha’s Hades lance then grabbed onto the machine with the Guren-Phoenix Fukusha Hadou Kiko “Supernova” weapon arm. The giant claw grasped the Sargon-V by the head as it sent a superheated wave of radiant energy over the machine: melting the mecha instantly.
Gilgamesh made a sinister grin, “I’ve seen all I need to. That red machine is certainly the Guren, and it shall be our first target. Use a standard retreat pattern and prepare to execute the Dragon’s Breath attack formation.”
Enkidu was happy to oblige, “bout time.”
* * *
“Hah, teach you to mess with us,” Kallen snickered as she flew backed the Guren away from the molten slag that had been a Sargon-V moments before.
“Kallen look out!” Rai bellowed over the radio.
Colonel Kozuki looked up just in time to see a Hades blast heading her way.
Instinctively Kallen used the wing generated Ultimate Defense Barrier Shield to block the beam. The green sphere generated by the wings encircled her mecha and caused the Hades bolts to bounce off.
“Lelouch, they changed their attack pattern again,” C.C. said in her monotone, “looks like their retreating.”
“Not likely,” Lelouch replied as he tried to blast one of the four remaining Sargon-Vs. “They’re attempting to lead us away from the Kaminejima. We can’t let them do that. Regroup at point A23, and pair up.”
* * *
“They’re regrouping,” Enkidu informed Gilgamesh.
“Exactly as planned,” he responded as he watched the KMFs move towards the rear of the Kaminejima. “We’ll take down the red one first as it posses the greatest threat.”
“I don’t like the looks of those two unidentified types. There’s nothing in the data on the Gaeaen machines that indicate anything like that in their inventory.” Enkidu told Gilgamesh as their machines regrouped with the other two remaining Sargon-Vs.
“The dual beam blasts that were fired earlier are akin to their Kaon beam weapons. It may be a pair of new model KMFs we’ve not seen before.” Gilgamesh told him.
“I dunno,” Enkidu said, “the general shape of those two look familiar.”
“Many mecha look similar to others we’ve come across over the years,” Gilgamesh reassured him as they their four-man team swirled up high above the six members of the Crimson Cavaliers.
“I suppose you’re right,” Enkidu stated as the moved into position.
“Now,” Gilgamesh commanded, “DIVE!”
* * *
“Damn it!” Lelouch yelled, “they saw through my plan again.”
“They’re coming in fast!” Enoch yelled as he fired a hail of Kaon beams towards the lead Sargon-V.
The insane speed of the Babylonian machine made it almost impossible to hit as it and its three companions spiraled down in a twisting pattern with their lances and shields forward.
“They’re heading for the fold ring,” Shirley shouted as the machines screamed past them.
“We’ve got to stop them!” Rai said.
“I can’t hit them,” C.C. griped as she blasted away with both of the spherical forearm weapons of her Ariel. The green blobs of deadly energy impacted the hull of the Kaminejima.
“Stop firing!” Lelouch ordered, you’ll do more damage then the enemy and that is precisely what they want.”
“Then let’s get up close and personal,” Kallen boosted the Guren after them at full throttle.
“Kallen, no wait!” Enoch yelled as he chased after her in his Type-21.
* * *
“The Guren has taken the bait,” Gilgamesh stated with a wide smile, “execute the Dragon’s Breath now!”
The four Sargon-Vs reversed their engines and whipped around.
The Guren came up on them at full speed as the four Babylonian mecha unloaded a full barrage of Hades cannon bolts at point blank range.
The cannon blasts blew off the wings, left leg, and right arm of Kallen’s machine sending the mecha head first into the portside Fold-engine warp nacelle where the Guren-Phoenix exploded.
Next Stage: Escape or Die
Thanks for Reading
|2011-03-11, 00:13||Link #62|
Join Date: May 2009
Alpha & Omega
Escape or Die
“Geass can do wonderful things. It can also do horrible things. For me it was a curse, for Lelouch it was the key to his rebellion, and for Kallen it was the key to her survival.”—Excerpt from the personal diary of C.C. dated March 2nd 2035 a.t.b.
February 27th 2035 a.t.b.
“Kallen eject!” Enoch shouted over the com. of his helmet as his Type-21Z flew into the midst of the Sargon-Vs.
Colonel Kozuki tried to maneuver her KnightMare Frame to no avail, and then pulled the ejection lever.
“There’s no response from the controls!” Kallen yelled in a panic. She donned her spacesuit helmet as the Guren flew out of control towards the portside fold-engine nacelle.
“KALLEN!” Enoch bellowed over the radio as he cut down two of the Sargon-Vs with the beam sabers of his Zebulun, “Get out of there!”
Kallen stared at the rapidly approaching fold-engine nacelle as adrenaline coursed through her body. “I can’t die like this!” She yelled aloud as the power of Geass burned in her eye. The image of the bridge of the Kaminejima became crystal clear in her mind as she felt her body become weightless. The orange-red glow of Geass surrounded her form and instantly she was gone from the Guren as the machine smashed into the engine pod.
“BASTARDS!” Enoch cursed over the general radio frequency as his Type-21Z raced at the two remaining Sargon-Vs.
* * *
“That voice!” Enkidu gasped as Enoch’s transmission reverberated through his helmet radio.
“Could it be?” Gilgamesh blurt out as the Type-21Z came at them in a fury.
“Gilgamesh…look out!” Enkidu warned him as he activated his own Geass. His Sargon-V flew at blinding speed to intercept Enoch.
Enkidu parried Enoch’s beam saber attack with his machine’s combat shield. “You’ll have to get through me first if you wish to challenge master Gilgamesh.” Enkidu told Enoch over the com.
“Enkidu,” Enoch said with venom, “so it’s Ishtar’s pair of lackeys that are responsible for this eh?”
“It is you,” Gilgamesh said in awe. “Enkidu, retreat. We’re no match for this devil. Besides, we’ve done what we came to do. Their engine is badly damaged, they’re not going anywhere.”
“But we can’t just let this dog live,” Enkidu replied as he dodged another of Enoch’s beam saber attacks.
“We’ll get another chance my friend,” Gilgamesh told him as he fired a hail of Hades cannon blasts at Enoch to drive him back.
“Aw, leaving so soon?” Enoch fired a volley of Hadron blasts from the forearm cannons of his machine at Enkidu.
“This will keep you busy,” Enkidu said as he drove the lance of his machine into the side of the bridge of the Kaminejima. The weapon pod began to glow red as Enkidu’s Sargon-V sped off to join Gilgamesh’s machine.
Enoch started after them but Lelouch called to him over the com. “Enoch, that lance is overloading. If it goes off it will rupture the hull and destroy the bridge.”
Apsu gnashed his teeth, “Understood. I’m on it.” Enoch flew his Type-21Z at the lance and grabbed the pod as full throttle. The lance broke free easily, allowing Enoch to fly a safe distance from the ship where he let go of the gunpod just as it exploded.
* * *
“Status report,” Cornelia asked Guilford as the ship shuddered.
“The Guren has crashed into our portside fold-engine nacelle,” he replied while holding onto the side of his control station to keep his footing.
“How badly are we—“ Cornelia started to inquire as a figure in a red spacesuit dropped from an orange-red flash on the ceiling to the floor of the bridge.
“What the hell?” Claudio Darlton exclaimed as the intruder landed next to his station with a thud. He sprang from his console, went to the side of the new comer, and wiped the thin film of frost from the visor of her flight helmet.
Claudio looked up at Cornelia, “Captain, it’s Colonel Kozuki.”
“Is she?” Guilford hesitated to ask.
“I dunno,” Claudio said as he unfastened her helmet.
Her long red hair flowed out as Darlton took it off. “Colonel Kozuki, can you hear me?” Claudio queried her softly. Kallen’s eyes were shut and her body was limp.
Guilford looked towards Cornelia and shook his head slightly.
“Get a medical team up here now,” Cornelia ordered her communications officer. “The Colonial is clearly injured.”
* * *
“We’ve lost all contact with them Ambassador,” Kannon Maldini stood behind Nunnally vi Britannia as she gazed out at the city of Tartarus floating motionlessly above Earth’s moon Luna.
“I see,” Nunnally replied softly as she turned towards the dark haired woman sitting in a large comfy chair to her right. “Are they…can you sense anything Lysandra?”
The girl shifted slightly in the chair, “yes…I sensed Kallen’s power. She’s used it recently, which means that they are still alive.”
Kannon looked towards the young woman, “that is fine news milady, but we need to know where they are.”
“I am unable to tell you in actual distance,” Lysandra said. “What I see is a large fleet chasing them and a ringed gas giant with many moons ahead of them. Cornelia sees refuge near that planet…” Lysandra closed her eyes in concentration. “She seeks to hide among the debris and moons that surround the ringed world. They are in a desperate situation.”
“That’s enough Lysandra,” Nunnally said to her. “We know the flight path of the Kaminejima and so I’ve requested the rescue teams scour the star systems within their path. We know based on their routine communiqués that they were almost to Beta Centauri.”
“Madame Ambassador,” Kannon addressed Nunnally with a slight bow, “with all due respect, can we afford to spread our forces so thinly? If what Lysandra sees is accurate then the Kaminejima is in fact facing the main Babylonian fleet. Our meager forces are no match for them without the aid of the Olympians.”
“I understand your concern Kannon,” Nunnally faced him. “However, it is imperative that they not fall into the hands of the Babylonians. The consequences could be dire.”
Kannon glanced at Lysandra, “it’s that thing Nemo isn’t it?”
Lysandra nodded at him, “more accurately it’s my inability to make contact with it anymore. He’s sealed his mind off from me.”
“First he lied to you, then he tried to intimidate you, now he’s shut you out,” Nunnally contemplated the course of events since their first contact with the entity known as Nemo. “Even Hel has been scarce since the Irregulars shot her down over Nibiru. I can’t see them just giving up and being content to live on the mobile planet.”
“What else can they possibly do?” Kannon asked as if the subject were a closed matter. “They’re stranded on the artificial planet. The thought elevators are sealed and any craft which would attempt to leave the surface will be shot down by our fleet that guards the planet.”
“If that is the case, then why did Nemo give up on Lysandra and me?” Nunnally inquired. “Why expend so much effort just to surrender to fate? That thing Nemo isn’t that kind of being. No, it’s biding its time, waiting.”
“For what,” her line of thinking confused Kannon.
Nunnally frowned, “I don’t know Kannon, but whatever it is up to I doubt we’ll have to wait long to find out. I can feel it. Events are moving towards a singular point. A direction that I fear will take us to a dark place.”
Lysandra nodded in agreement, “I concur. We must proceed with great care if we are to avoid whatever abyss this thing is trying to lead us into.”
Kannon regarded both women, “are you going to bring this before the Galactic Council?”
Nunnally raised her chin, “I have too. They need to know the danger we all face from the thing that lies within Nibiru.”
“So you’re going no matter what?” Kannon didn’t hide his uneasiness.
“Of course I am Kannon,” Nunnally said firmly. “I am the ambassador of the Commonwealth of Earth. It is my duty to represent our people to the other races and plead our case to them.”
“I know milady, but it’s so far away,” Kannon said.
“Twelve thousand light years is a long way,” Nunnally giggled, “but I’m told by Rakshata that our ships can make the round trip in about 100 days.”
“Almost four months,” Kannon sighed. “I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Don’t worry Kannon,” Nunnally assured him, “Jason’s squadron will be accompanying our task force of ships. We’ll be well guarded and protected during our journey.”
“Do you think Kaguya and Lihua will be okay without you?” Kannon inquired in a lighter tone.
Nunnally snickered, “Of course they will be. Zero and the Red Dragon are here to protect them should the need arise. Besides, by the time I get back, the strength of our spacefleet will be nearly that of the Babylonian main armada. Should the worst happen, they’ll be able to hold them back until a diplomatic solution can be reached.”
“You hope to parley the Galactic Council in order to stop the Babylonian invasion?” Kannon was amazed at her boldness.
Nunnally smiled, “of course.”
* * *
“I don’t like this Jason,” Akira said over his helmet radio as their fleet patrolled the outskirts of the Jupiter sphere. The large red planet spun slowly in the distance, but its surface swarmed with turbulence and activity of an odd nature.
“Your scientists have predicted for decades that the red spot would dissipate eventually,” Jason replied. “It’s not that unusual.”
“These things happen lad,” Heracles piped in.
“I realize this may be nothing more than a natural event,” Akira said as he flew his Susano-O next to the Talos, “but it happened so suddenly.”
“Stop being so skittish Akira,” Mika scolded him from the Kali. “We haven’t a clue why Jupiter’s surface is so tumultuous right now.”
“Still, the entire surface of such a large planet being disturbed can’t be good,” Lena added.
“I’ve been monitoring the data coming in from Count Amontillado’s fleet since the disturbance began twenty-six hours ago,” Anya said in her monotone. “If this data is correct, then the size of Jupiter has shrunk by 1.3% during that time.”
“Shrunk?” Tetsuo blurt out.
“Actually it may be more accurate to say it’s collapsed by 1.3%,” Anya corrected herself.
“Are you sure it’s collapsing?” Gregor asked in a skeptical tone. “That would require a significant stellar event for that wouldn’t it.”
“I suppose it would,” Anya admitted, “but it’s the only logical explanation. Otherwise, something would have to be siphoning off the surface at an incredible rate. It would take a machine of enormous size.”
“Like the size of a planet?” Akira asked.
“Yeah…” Anya realized the implications of her own words.
“We’d better hurry up and meet the Count as quickly as possible,” Jason said with concern. “I think this whole situation just got a lot more complicated.”
* * *
“You failed!” Adad addressed Gilgamesh with scorn as the Babylonian warrior stood upon the command deck of the Tiamat class warship Hammurabi before his mistress, Ishtar.
“Don’t be too hard on him Adad,” Ishtar cooed. “He did disable their fold drive without destroying the vessel. That’s a feat worthy of him.”
“But he was charged with capturing the Gaeaen warship,” Adad protested, “and he failed miserably. He should be put to death.”
Gilgamesh stood stoic before his mistress as Ishtar inquired, “Is this true? Have you failed me to such a degree that you deserve death?”
Gilgamesh was emotionless as he responded, “if it pleases you my mistress then I will submit to such a penalty, but first allow me to inform you of the dangers of this ship’s crew.”
“Dangers?” Adad tittered. “What danger could mere mortals pose to us? The only danger here is your pathetic incompetence—”
“Enough!” Ishtar scowled at Adad before turned back to Gilgamesh, “tell me my champion. What dangers lie within that ship.”
Gilgamesh looked directly into Ishtar’s eyes as he spoke, “Enoch.”
Her expression flashed with fury, “what? Impossible.”
“You dare to lie!” Adad yelled at him.
“It is no lie,” Gilgamesh stated sternly. “I fought him myself.”
“Then how is it you still live?” Adad interrogated him.
“Enkidu forced Enoch to choose between us and his vessel,” Gilgamesh replied never taking his eyes off Ishtar.
“A wise move,” Ishtar stated in a low tone as her ice-blue eyes probed Gilgamesh. “I believe you my champion.”
“If what he says is true then we must destroy that ship now,” Adad demanded. “Enoch Apsu is too dangerous an adversary to allow free movement. We may not be able to kill him, but we can strand him here in space.”
“Under normal circumstances I would concur with you Adad, but our orders are from Marduk himself,” Ishtar eyed him. “You will not harm that vessel unless Marduk gives his blessing to do so. For now, you will tail that ship and send out interception squadrons all around her, but make sure our craft keep their distance.”
“Even with the full force of our armada they still might slip through our net,” Adad grumbled.
“Then be sure they don’t,” Ishtar glared at him, “herd them towards the twelfth planet in this system. It contains numerous moons and a large debris ring that they will find irresistible hiding places.”
Adad was confounded, “hiding places? Why would you wish to give them a place to hide?”
Ishtar regarded him like she would a child, “because my dear Adad, their ship is damaged and they’ll need someplace to hide to repair her.”
“I see,” Adad feigned to understand, “what shall I do when they set down to repair their warship?”
“Leave that to Gilgamesh,” Ishtar said as she offered her champion her hand. “Come Gilgamesh, let us retire to my bedchamber to discuss what it is you shall do when these mortals find a suitable nook for us to corner them in.”
Gilgamesh took her hand, “of course my mistress.”
The pair left Adad standing on the bridge brooding over the fact that Gilgamesh had bested him yet again.
* * *
“Are they still following us?” Cornelia asked Darlton form where she stood at the center of the bridge.
“Yes Captain, but at a considerable distance from us,” Claudio stated as he watched the mass of blips on his tactical screen. “It would seem we’re surrounded on all sides by their forces, yet they don’t attack.”
“We need to shake them,” Guilford said as he brought up a map of the Beta Centauri star system on the overhead monitor. “The twelfth planet is the closest to us. It’s a gas giant with thirty-five moons, and six dense debris rings in differing orbits around the main planet.”
“Sounds like a good place to shake them,” Cornelia put her hand to her chin, “still, it would also make for a good place to ambush us if they chose to.”
“Something on your mind Captain?” Guilford asked.
Cornelia smiled, “yes. They have the upper hand in this yet they don’t attack us with anything except eight Sargon-Vs. Then they back off and keep their distance.”
“You think they mean to capture us rather then destroy us?” Guilford inquired.
“That would be my guess,” Cornelia looked up at the map of the star system. “Darlton, give me a close up of the twelfth planet’s sphere.”
“Yes Captain,” Claudio tapped away at a few digital icons on the screen of his station. A moment later, the overhead monitor displayed a map of the gas giant and its orbiting bodies.
“Are any of these moons habitable?” Cornelia asked Darlton.
“Yes ma’am,” he brought up the images of three of the moons. “The twenty-third through twenty-fifth have atmospheres that are capable of supporting life. However, only the twenty-fourth is Earth like the other two are closer to a Mars-Earth hybrid.”
“Well then, looks like we know where we have to land for repairs,” Cornelia scowled. “Which means our enemy knows as well.”
“We could attempt to break through their blockade,” Guilford suggested.
“No,” Cornelia studied the map, “we’re like rats in a cage and they know it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bite when they reach in to grab us. Get me Lloyd.”
The communications officer called down to engineering and Chief Engineer Asplund’s image replaced the Map of the twelfth planet.
“Yes Cornelia?” He asked in a bored tone. “Let me guess, you want to know how long the fold drive needs for repair?”
Cornelia’s brow raised, “yes Lloyd.”
“In space…about a week,” he said nonchalantly, “if I had a decent planet to work on…with raw materials, about three days.”
“I’ve found a suitable planet, but I’ll need to know what materials you require so we can set down near them.” Cornelia was impressed with his timetable. It was better than she had hoped.
“Oh, one step ahead of me eh?” Lloyd adjusted his glasses. “I’ll send you up my wish list pronto. In the meantime I’ll see what I can do while we make our way to this planet of yours.”
“Actually it’s a moon,” She grinned, “but it should suffice.”
* * *
“Will she be alright?” Rai asked a nurse as Kallen slept peacefully in a medical bed with sensor pads on her arms and head.
“Yes,” the woman reassured him. “She just over exerted herself and needs to rest. Other than that she’s in tip-top condition.”
Rai was relieved, “thank you.” He took Kallen’s hand in his as he watched her sleeping. “Don’t worry Colonel, we’re headed for a habitable moon where we can fix the ship. If all goes well we should arrive at Hadar in a few days.”
Kallen’s eyes fluttered open, “hey.”
“Colonel,” Rai blurt out ecstatically as he let go of her hand. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“That’s okay,” She replied as her eyes widened, “where is everybody?”
Rai hung his head, “they’re helping with the repairs of the fold ring.”
“And you’re not with them?” Kallen smiled.
“No,” he said sheepishly, “I couldn’t concentrate not knowing how you were doing.”
“So Enoch sent you here?”
Rai wore a confused expression, “actually it was Lelouch that relieved me so I could see how you were doing.”
“Lelouch?” She asked with a weak smile. “I see.”
Rai put on a grin and changed the subject, “hey, Major Croomy says that she and Lloyd were able to recover some of Guren. She says they should be able to fashion a custom Type-21Z for you in the next few days.”
“Tell them I don’t need a new model,” Kallen said somberly, “the standard Type-21Z is good enough. Besides, it isn’t the machine that makes the pilot; it’s the pilot that makes the machine.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself Colonel,” Rai gave her a sympathetic look, “we had to stop the Babylonians from destroying the ship. You just reacted faster than we did, that’s all.”
Kallen scowled, “no Rai…I acted on impulse. I should’ve waited when Enoch asked me to. I was reckless because we were cutting the Sargon-Vs down so easily. It hadn’t occurred to me that these Babylonians would through their soldiers’ lives away without a care.”
“I guess the old Imperial Britannian sentiment is alive and well in these Babylonians,” Rai lamented.
“Or something like it,” She replied with a dark expression. “They obviously want us alive for some reason, and I doubt it can be for anything good.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Rai agreed, “but what could they be after?”
“That’s a good question,” Kallen replied as she started to get up.
Rai tried to gently push her back down, “Oh no Colonel. You need to stay in bed. Doctor’s orders.”
“Don’t give me that crap Rai,” Kallen brushed his arms aside.
Rai fell forward onto Kallen’s face and their lips met.
Kallen blushed and smiled at him.
Rai jumped back, “Uh sorry Colonel…I didn’t mean—”
Kozuki grabbed him by the shoulders, “Rai,” she cooed, “shut up.” Kallen kissed him passionately.
* * *
“I’m not sure I completely understand what it is you’re saying Count Amontillado,” Jason said as he and the Yamato no Orochi walked along side the masked man on the bridge of the Arcadia where the vessel and its large fleet of Earth warships hung above the metallic surface of Nibiru.
“What I’m saying is that Nibiru is now active,” the Count gestured towards the overhead monitor of the Kaminejima class warship.
On the screen above was a digital 3D image of the planet Nibiru.
“From what we can gather only certain sections of the mobile planet have become active,” the Count informed them as various small sections of the digital image were colored yellow.
“The massive hole at the base of the planet is active?” Akira inquired. “Why?”
“We don’t know exactly,” a pale haired woman said as she came up to join them.
“Ah, allow me to introduce to you Lucretia, our primary terrain analyst,” the Count informed them while the other members of the Irregulars walked up.
“Sancia, kindly give our friends what little data we have,” the Count said to the dark haired woman at the front of the troop.
Sancia nodded, “The systems became active only a few days ago.” The digital display above them changed to a bottom view of the Dyson Sphere. “The exact purpose of this large orifice is unknown, but what we do know is that it is stripping Jupiter of its atmospheric hydrogen at an alarming rate. It is sucking in hundreds of billions of tons of gas every hour and if it continues at this rate it will have consumed Jupiter’s atmosphere in a little over four months.”
“That still doesn’t explain how or why Nibiru has started doing this all of a sudden,” Mika griped.
“She has a point,” Heracles said with his hand on his hip. “Planets, even artificial ones, don’t just start sucking down the atmospheres of other planets for no reason.”
“I agree,” Count Amontillado confessed, “but unless we break quarantine and go down to the surface to investigate, there is no way for us to know who or what is causing this phenomenon.”
“I think the who of this situation is pretty obvious,” Anya said in her monotone, “the real question is why.”
The others slowly nodded in agreement.
“It would seem Hel is up to her old tricks again,” Alice said as she folded her arms. “I can’t say I’m surprised. It was only a matter of time before she tried something.”
Jason put his hand on his chin, “how much of the planet is active?”
“Only basic functions as far as my Geass can tell,” Sancia told him.
“I haven’t detected any significant movement on Nibiru except for the large orifice at the bottom of the sphere,” Lucretia added.
“Well then,” Gregor blurt out, “we know where to find out what’s going on, so let’s get our butts down there since just standing around here speculating isn’t going to answer our questions.”
“We can’t just fly down there without authorization there Gregor,” Mika scolded him. “We need permission.”
“Actually,” Count Amontillado paused, “I have the power to authorize an expedition to the surface should the situation require it.”
“You do?” Akira asked. “On who’s authority.”
Jason snickered, “the Three-Sisters I would imagine.”
Count Amontillado laughed, “yes…they insisted on my having emergency powers for just this kind of event.”
“The who?” Lena asked in a confused tone.
“Nunnally, Kaguya, and the Tianzi,” Heracles chortled, “we call them the Three-Sisters after Atropos, Lachesis, and Clotho.”
“More commonly known as the Morae or Fates,” Jason informed them.
“Ah…I see,” Lena giggled, “those three do seem to mold the world into their way, so I suppose it is appropriate.”
“Still, the simple draining of a gas-giant doesn’t merit the risk of being exposed to Hel’s power.” Jason said. “There must be another way of dealing with this.”
“No,” Count Amontillado said pleasantly, “there isn’t.”
“How can you be so sure?” Akira pressed him.
“Perhaps you should see for yourself,” the Count nodded towards Colonel Madd who in turn instructed the helmsman to move the ship towards the bottom of Nibiru.
The Arcadia made her way swiftly towards the underside of the mobile planet. As the craft came towards the southern pole a large spiraling mass of gas swirling into the massive maw of the orifice at the bottom of the Dyson Sphere. The visage of the cosmic tornado filled the main viewports of the ship as it slowed to a stop hundreds of miles from the circular hole in Nibiru.
“It’s horribly awesome,” Tetsuo said in awe of the spectacle.
“There’s more to this then just the funnel of gas,” Amontillado informed them, “but this information must remain between us for now. Understood?”
Jason and his companions nodded in silence as the magnitude of Nibiru’s power suck into their psyches.
The Count nodded to Madd who tapped a holographic key on his control station. Instantly a digital window appeared on the glass of the central window of the bridge: magnifying a portion of the spout of the stellar vortex.
“Oh my GOD!” Anya shouted as the magnified image became clearer.
“What are they?” Akira asked as he saw the faintly humanoid forms within the gas as they plummeted towards the gapping mouth of Nibiru.
The Count addressed them in a cold tone, “souls.”
Next Stage: Stage Four: Cave of Wonder
Thanks for Reading
My sincere apologies for the horribly long times between Chapters right now.
Real Life has been the proverbial "Rat Race" over the last few months.
|2011-04-17, 17:00||Link #63|
Join Date: May 2009
Alpha & Omega
Cave of Wonder
“The moon of the twelfth planet in the Beta Centauri system that we took refuge on seemed like an ordinary Earth-class moon when we first landed on it. We had no idea at the time what it was we were setting foot on when the Kaminejima set down on that accursed rock where a cave of wonder waited for us.” —Excerpt from the personal diary of Cecile Croomy, dated March 15th, 2035 a.t.b.
February 29th 2035 a.t.b.
“How soon can we attack?” Enkidu asked from within the cockpit of his Sargon-V.
“Patience, my friend. Lady Ishtar will give us the order when it is time,” Gilgamesh informed him. “For now, we’re to sit here and observe them from a distance.”
The pair of Sargon-Vs sat at the bottom of a clear-blue lagoon looking up at the hovering form of the Kaminejima some twenty miles distant from them.
“I’m surprised Marduk ordered their deaths,” Enkidu remarked to help pass the boredom of waiting.
“All but the ones called C2 and Lelouch,” Gilgamesh told him. “We’re to capture them at all costs.”
“All costs, eh?” Enkidu didn’t like the sound of their orders.
“That’s what she said,” Gilgamesh snickered, “so we’d better succeed in our mission this time. Otherwise, Adad will demand my head and yours.”
“Understood,” Enkidu said with a titter. “I wouldn’t want that worm to get the satisfaction. Which reminds me, is there any chance of the enemy detecting us?”
“There’s always a chance,” Gilgamesh checked his control panels, “but the waters here are rich in iron, zinc, and copper, and the underwater volcanic plumes that surround this atoll produce considerable heat. As long as we keep our units on low power, we should just look like a series of hot springs dotting the bottom of the sea.”
“I hope you’re right.” Enkidu scanned the top of the plateau that the Earth ship was over. “Because if that devil Enoch finds us down here before we strike, then we’ll be finished.”
“Lady Ishtar was curious about him,” Gilgamesh said.
“Oh…in what way?” Enkidu was aware of the goddess’ past relationship with the amber-eyed man. “She’s not holding onto old feelings for him, I hope.”
Gilgamesh chuckled, “No, it’s not that. She was curious as to why he would let one of these mortals pilot his machine.”
“You mean the Samael?” Enkidu asked with a tinge of disdain.
“Yes,” Gilgamesh answered as he watched a patrol of Type-21Z KMFs fly out from the Kaminejima. “That Hakodeshim is a custom model with enormous firepower. Thus our mistress was perplexed as to why he would not pilot the machine himself.”
“Perhaps he gave it as a gift,” Enkidu suggested. “Maybe he has a new lover?”
“Or pupil.” Gilgamesh monitored the patrol via his instruments. “Which is what has Ishtar concerned. If Enoch does indeed have a new pupil, it could mean he intends on making this person his champion.”
“You mean recruit him into the Enforcers?” Enkidu didn’t like where Gilgamesh’s line of thinking led.
“It is possible,” Gilgamesh told him. “And if that is indeed his intention, then we will face an even greater difficulty in securing Nibiru.”
“Is her ladyship intent on finding this favorite of Enoch?” Enkidu asked.
“Yes,” Gilgamesh replied in a stern tone, “but we are to keep this between us. When the time comes, we’re to capture the Samael and the other Hakodeshim.”
“I take it you have a plan?” Enkidu inquired.
Gilgamesh grinned, “Indeed I do.”
* * *
“We’re nearly there, Captain,” Lloyd informed Cornelia as they walked along the outside of the Kaminejima. A cool breeze came off the ocean coastline at the base of the large, rocky plateau that their ship floated a few feet above.
Cornelia looked out at the gas giant and various moons that were just barely visible through the cobalt blue atmosphere of the moon. “This sure is a nice place. I wonder how many people it could support.”
“Hmmm? Well, it is nearly the size of Mars.” Lloyd cupped his chin. “I imagine it could support a few billion people. Thinking of setting up a summer home?”
“No…not exactly.” Cornelia looked back up into the deep-blue sky. “I don’t think they’re going to let us get out of here, and even with the debris field as cover, our chances of breaking through the Babylonian blockade are slim.”
“I see,” Professor Asplund said while his repair teams continued to work on the damaged fold engine nacelle, “so you’re thinking of staying here?”
“Not entirely,” Cornelia replied in a low tone. “I want to make sure that my crew lives through this, but we need to try and break through to Hadar and warn the Olympian forces there.”
“Oh, I see,” Lloyd stated flatly. “So I take it you intend on breaking the blockade alone?”
“Not entirely,” she told him with a smirk. “Enoch and my brother have volunteered to protect the ship during our escape.” Cornelia looked directly at Lloyd. “I need you to take charge in my absence, Lloyd.”
“ME?” Lloyd was mortified. “I’m flattered by your confidence in me, Cornelia, but I don’t have the ability to lead.”
Cornelia put her hand on his shoulder. “I know I’m asking a great deal of you, Lloyd, but I need your brilliance to help my crew to survive on this planet. It’s going to take someone of your intellect and engineering expertise to build a colony here, should the need arise.”
“Well, that sounds grim,” Lloyd replied. “I’m not sure I’m cut out to be a John Smith.”
“I’m sorry, Lloyd,” Cornelia looked out at the blue waters of the lagoon, “but I’m ordering you to take command. You’ve no choice in this matter. Once the Kaminejima is ready, you and nearly the entire crew will flee to the caves we detected to the north of here.”
Lloyd was aware that when Cornelia’s mind was made up, there was no arguing with her. “I’ll have to automate most of the systems on the ship for you to be able to pull off this little scheme of yours.”
“How soon can you have that done?” Cornelia asked as a feeling of dread welled up inside her. She thought she could see the glint of steel under the waters of the atoll.
“It’ll take about a day to fully automate the ship,” he said with a wave of his hand, “but I can’t make any promises as to how well it’ll work under combat conditions.”
“It’ll have to do,” she said with a frown.
* * *
“See anything, Major Croomy?” Kallen asked as she led the three-Type-21Z fighter escort that surrounded the Type-21E electronic warfare KMF. The large dish on the back of the EWAC (electronic warfare and countermeasures) model turned slowly as the four fighters flew around the perimeter of the large island that laid just to the north of the atoll over which the Kaminejima was moored.
“No, nothing on my scope,” Cecile responded as she kept her fighter in formation with the others.
Kallen looked out over the waters of the ocean and the numerous islands within it. “There’re too many places for the enemy to hide here.”
“I agree,” Rai piped up. “What do you think Cornelia is thinking with all the movement of supplies off the Kaminejima?”
“She’s going to try to run the blockade,” Kallen said flatly.
“Are we going with them?” Shirley asked.
“No,” Kallen grumbled. Colonel Kozuki had argued briefly with Lelouch when he told her that Rai, Shirley, and she would be staying behind to protect Lloyd and most of the crew.
“Lulu’s going, isn’t he?” Shirley picked up on Kallen’s irritation immediately.
“Yep,” Kallen replied in a cold tone. “He said that since we’re still mortal we had to stay behind.”
Rai knew she was being overly harsh. “He’s just concerned for our safety, Kallen. Besides, Captain Britannia and a selected group of crew have to be going, right?”
“Yeah, Cornelia handpicked forty-five crewmen to go with her. Lelouch didn’t even try to change her mind. I was standing in the room when he told her that we needed to stay behind. I don’t care if he’s concerned about us. He doesn’t have to be such an asshole about it,” Kallen complained.
Shirley sighed, “He’s not very good at expressing his feelings, Kallen. You know that.”
“That doesn’t give him the right to act like an elitist pig just because he, Enoch, and pizza girl are all immortal.” Kallen hated the fact Lelouch had a Code, and she wasn’t going to hide it.
“I know how you feel about him, Kallen, but—” Shirley started to say.
“No, you don’t know how I feel,” Kallen snapped at her as they flew over a small range of ancient mountains on the large island. “I’ve moved on, Shirley, and maybe you should do the same before you get hurt. Pizza girl once told me that the price of Geass is solitude, and maybe that’s her way of telling me to shove off, but it doesn’t change the fact that while they’ve stayed young, we’ve been getting older.”
“I hate to interrupt,” Cecile said apologetically, “but I thought you might like to know I’m picking up numerous large caverns beneath that grass-covered peak on the northwest side of this island.”
“Sorry, Major Croomy,” Kallen blurted out, “I guess I’m just a little stressed right now.”
“There’s no need to apologize, Colonel, I understand,” Cecile replied softly. “Should we fly down and check out the cavern? It appears large enough to act as shelter for the crew, and the rock it’s in is quite dense.”
“Yes, we should go down and see if it’s suitable to act as a temporary base of operations,” Kallen told her while she turned her fighter towards the large, grass-covered peak.
* * *
Enoch stood upon the top deck of the Kaminejima, looking out over the deep-blue waters of the lagoon as C.C. walked up from behind him.
“What’s got you so entranced?” C.C. asked him in a stale tone.
“Can you feel them?” Enoch asked her as his amber eyes focused on one point of the water.
“Yes,” she answered as she came to stand next to him. “But I’m not sure what they are.”
“It’s Gilgamesh and a legion of Sargons,” Enoch told her while his eyes scanned the deep-blue sea.
“How can you be sure?” she inquired, a bit surprised by his confidence.
He gave her a grin. “Did you forget I’m a cyborg? I’m picking up their radio transmissions. They’re scrambled so I can’t understand what they’re saying, but my cybernetic brain knows the encryption they’re using is Babylonian, and the wavelength of their voices clearly indicates Gilgamesh is with them.”
“Oh.” She looked out towards the spot that captured his attention. “Do you think they intend on attacking soon?”
“It’s hard to tell,” Enoch told her. “However, if I had to guess, I’d say they’ll attack as soon as we’ve finished repairs.”
C.C. put her hands on her hips. “Shouldn’t you inform Cornelia?”
“I don’t think that’d help her right now,” he said in a smug tone. “It’s better if you and Lelouch know where our enemy is so that your honeybuns can determine a proper strategy to deal with these interlopers before we go to the captain.”
“Honeybuns!” C.C. scowled. “Ooh, you could at least try to hide your jealously.”
Enoch laughed, “Jealously? Oh, my, am I jealous? I’m not so sure.”
“Don’t play dumb with me, Enoch,” C.C. sneered at him. “I know how you feel about me.”
Enoch guffawed, “What? You mean felt about you. Don’t mistake my feelings of friendship towards you as some kind of erotic desire.” He snickered, “You had your chance, love, and you blew it.”
She snapped at him, “Uh, you arrogant…egotistical…what makes you think I have any desire to have you ogling over me?”
“Ogling?” Enoch gave her a puzzled look. “If you mean me complimenting you on your beauty, then I’ll stop.” He smiled at her mischievously, “I could just call you pizza girl like Kallen.”
“No thanks.” C.C. folded her arms and humphed. “You can be a real jerk, you know that?”
“Is that why you fell in love with Lelouch?” Enoch teased.
C.C. flipped her head and put her hand on her hip. “No. I fell in love with him because he actually loved me for real.”
Enoch scratched his head in a befuddled manner. “How’d you figure that out? The guy didn’t seem interested in girls back at Ashford.”
“I asked him the question,” C.C. giggled.
“You mean the whole Do you know why snow is white? thing?” Enoch inquired in disbelief.
“Yeah,” C.C. eyed him. “He was the only person to ever answer it correctly.”
“Maybe he just got lucky,” Enoch taunted her.
“No, Enoch.” C.C. blushed as the memory of her time with Lelouch in the cave near Narita came back to her. “He answered that he knew snow was white because it was beautiful, and he didn’t hate it.”
“Okay, so maybe he was telling you he loved you without saying it directly.” Enoch put up his hands defensively. “Pardon me if I’m not a master of metaphor.”
C.C. shook her head and tittered, “No, you’re a punk with the romantic tact of a caveman.”
“Well, none of us are perfect,” he winked at her. “Besides, some women like being taken caveman style.”
C.C. chuckled as she put her arms around his waist, “You’re a good friend, Enoch, but you’re not the kind of man I need.”
He caressed her face gently. “Well, I’m glad I could still be of service.”
She smiled at him, “Thank you for helping with Lelouch. He’s become the kind of man I’ve always wished for.”
“Don’t thank me, love.” Enoch looked deep into her eyes. “The man that Lelouch is now was always under the skin of the scorned boy that you blessed with Geass all those years ago.”
“Blessed?” C.C. asked in surprise. “What makes you call it a blessing?”
“Because without it, Charles would have destroyed the Earth and all of mankind with it…” Enoch’s expression changed to a look of recognition.
“What is it?” C.C. inquired.
“That’s it, beautiful!” He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “You’re a genius!”
C.C. was dumbfounded. “What?”
“That’s why the Babylonians are trying to capture Nibiru.” Enoch let go of her softly. “We’ve got to let Lelouch know and formulate a plan of action.”
“What are we letting Lelouch know?” C.C. demanded.
“That Ishtar and Maruk are after the Sword of Akasha,” Enoch stated gravely.
“But why?” C.C. asked in confusion. “Lelouch damaged it beyond repair. Besides, what good would it be to the Babylonians?”
“What’s the surest way to destroy the Earth?” Enoch asked.
C.C.’s expression became stone. “Ragnarok.”
* * *
“This is real strange,” Alice told Count Amontillado as their KMFs flew over the surface of Nibiru.
“There’s no activity on the surface at all,” Sancia informed them.
“I concur, other than the massive vortex funneling into the mouth of the mobile planet, there is no activity present,” Lucretia stated as the Irregulars flew along the equator of the massive astral body in their Vincent-Advanced Knightmare Frames.
“There’s got to be something,” the count said over their radios. He flew his custom KMF, the Uther, at the head of the Irregulars.
“I’m still not comfortable with you being here, Count,” Alice informed him for the third time since they had left the Arcadia.
“Let’s not get into that tiff again, Major.” Amontillado maneuvered his mecha towards a series of darkened skyscrapers that lined the huge, metallic canyon. The crevice ran the circumference of Nibiru with tributaries covering the whole of the world in a vast complex of trenches. “We’ve more important matters to attend to right now, and my expertise in the Thought Elevators may prove useful here.”
“You think that all this activity is related to the ruins on Earth?” Alice inquired.
“I do,” the count replied as they zigzagged through the metal towers looking for any signs of movement. “Clearly the internal mechanisms of Nibiru have become active, yet the surface of the Dyson Sphere is completely devoid of activity. This can only mean that whatever energy was used to start the internal machinery may be coming from Earth via the Thought Elevators. During my time with the Code R project, I was privy to some of the more intricate data recovered from the Geass Ruins. The Thought Elevators may be more than just gateways to Nibiru, they might also act as ley line conductors.”
“Ley lines?” Dalque asked. She was unfamiliar with the term.
“They’re a concept of invisible lines of power first proposed by a man named Alfred Watkins,” the count informed them. “He believed that these unseen lines of energy covered the surface of the Earth, and his successors speculated that these energy lines extended out into space, onto other planets, and even stars. The properties of these lines are unknown, but many of Watkins’ adherents believed they were spiritual lines of power.”
“And the Code R group believed the Thought Elevators were linked to these lines?” Sancia inquired.
“That was part of the theory they were formulating,” Count Amontillado added. “The project ended abruptly with the death of Prince Clovis before they could test the theory.”
“What does it matter whether these lines of power are connected to the Thought Elevators or not?” Dalque scoffed.
The count continued in his monotone while their flight of KMFs changed course towards the southern pole of the mobile planet, “It matters because these lines of power may be the glue that holds this entire universe together. If someone could gain control of these lines of power, they could in effect control the laws of physics and in turn the power of creation itself.”
“I can see why it’s so imperative that we find the source of this vortex,” Alice said as they headed for a large, open area between the city clusters.
* * *
“I don’t like leaving Count Amontillado behind like this, Lady Nunnally,” Jason said softly to her on the bridge of the Glorious. The orange-red light from Jupiter reflected off the deep-blue hull of the Commonwealth of Earth’s third heavy cruiser of the newly commissioned Lord Nelson class.
“We’ve no choice, Jason,” Nunnally said to him with a weak smile. “We must depart for the Galactic Council now, or else we will not arrive in time.”
“Madame Ambassador, I must concur with Jason,” Kaguya’s image said over the main viewscreen above them. “I’m not comfortable with you leaving. Perhaps you should send someone else in your stead to represent…”
“My dear, Kaguya,” Nunnally interrupted her gently, “you of all people should know why I must be the one to go.”
“I understand that your latent psychic ability gives you an edge,” Kaguya admitted, “but that’s not my point. We still haven’t been able to contact your brother or locate the Kaminejima. If the Babylonians were able to take down Cornelia, then it’s possible you may suffer the same fate.”
“Madame President,” Jason lifted his chin, “the Kaminejima was but one vessel. The ambassador will be protected by a flotilla of warships, including my own Grecian battlegroup. Lady Nunnally will have adequate protection.”
“I suppose,” Kaguya conceded. “Nunnally, promise me you’ll come back safe.”
Nunnally smiled at her friend, “I promise, Kaguya, I will return to you.”
* * *
“Are you sure they’re out there, Enoch?” Cornelia asked him as she used a pair of long-range binoculars to scan over the area of ocean he indicated to her.
“They’re out there,” he replied as he, Lelouch, Guilford, and C.C. stood at the lip of the plateau over which the Kaminejima hovered.
“And they’re not going to strike until we’re ready to depart,” Lelouch added as he used a pair of binoculars to monitor the sea water. “That’s why they haven’t attacked yet.”
Cornelia didn’t argue. “Well, if you’re right, then we better accelerate our plans.”
“Actually,” Lelouch grinned, “we can buy ourselves some time by creating a diversion.”
“How so?” Cornelia queried him.
“By taking off in desperation,” Lelouch told her flatly.
“But that’s what the enemy wants,” Guilford blurted out. “If we take off in a charge, then they’ll attack before we’ve secured a base here.”
“Not necessarily,” Enoch reassured him.
“Indeed,” Lelouch agreed, “we need only have the crew and supplies moved to a safe location before we take off.”
“We already know that, Lelouch,” Cornelia said gruffly. “What I need to know is how we break through their defenses and escape without jeopardizing my crew.”
“Have no fear, my sister,” Lelouch stated with a wicked smile, “here’s my plan.”
* * *
“Wow, this mountain is rather geometric for a natural rock formation,” Rai stated as they disembarked from their KnightMare Frames.
“I’m not so sure it is natural,” Cecile Croomy told him as they came together in a clearing near the entrance to a large cave.
“What do you mean, Major?” Kallen asked her with a puzzled look.
“I mean this mountain has an almost pyramidal shape to it.” Cecile used a small, box-shaped device the size of a tablet-computer to scan the mountain.
“If it’s a pyramid, then it’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen.” Rai looked at the mountain in awe. “It must be at least ten kilometers wide.”
“Ten point three actually,” Cecile tittered while they made their way to the mouth of the cave.
“This cave entrance is big.” Kallen looked over the large, natural-looking archway while she adjusted the length of rope over her shoulder. “Our KMFs could fit through it easily.”
“I expected as much,” Major Croomy said.
“Expected?” Shirley asked. “Have you seen this kind of thing before, Major?”
Cecile grinned, “Well not exactly, but it does have similar properties to a few places on Earth I visited years ago.”
“We don’t have time to dillydally here,” Kallen told them. “Let’s get this survey over with.”
“Yeah.” Shirley took out a flashlight from her utility belt. “Let’s, since this place is already creepy from the outside. I hate to think what’s inside.”
“You mean like bats?” Rai teased Shirley.
“Ewww,” Shirley cringed. “Don’t say that, Rai.”
Kallen rolled her eyes. “We don’t know if this moon even has bats, Shirley.”
Shirley perked up. “Oh, yeah.”
Cecile laughed, “Okay, let’s start the survey.”
The four of them walked into the darkness of the cave with their flashlights illuminating the path before them. The team traveled at a slow pace into the cave for nearly an hour until Cecile stopped in her tracks.
“What is it?” Kallen asked.
“I’m not sure.” Major Croomy seemed puzzled. “There’s a cavern ahead of us, but my instruments indicate that it’s huge with numerous large structures within it. I can only surmise that they’re stalagmites or some other rock formation. However, their layout is very uniform.”
“Why is that unusual?” Shirley asked.
“Because they appear to be laid out in a grid pattern,” Cecile told her.
“We’re not going to find out what they are just standing here.” Rai moved forward.
“Wait, Rai!” Cecile warned him, but it was too late.
“Ahhhh!” Rai cried out as his flashlight went out.
“RAI!” Kallen yelled as she rushed forward only to have her front foot land on open air.
Cecile and Shirley grabbed Kallen as her feet hung out over a cliff.
Kallen looked down to see Rai’s flashlight on a flat, rectangular structure a few meters below her.
“Rai!” Kallen called down towards the light.
“I’m alive,” he yelled back.
“Is there anything you can secure a rope to down there?” Cecile asked him as she and Shirley hauled Kallen back up onto the ledge.
“No, not really,” he told them as he panned his flashlight around the top of the flat structure he stood upon. “Though this structure doesn’t look like a stalagmite to me. I think it’s some kind of rooftop.”
“Rooftop?” Shirley blurted aloud.
“Yeah, there’s a rectangular opening in the middle of this thing,” Rai informed them as he walked to the center of the square landing. “It’s got a staircase running downward. Should I check it out?”
“NO!” Kallen yelled at him as she hammered an anchor into the rock floor and tied her rope around it. “We’re getting you up out of there.”
“Don’t you want to check this out first?” Cecile asked.
“We don’t know what could be down in that building,” Kallen told her, “and I don’t want to go down there with just a pistol.”
“Maybe we should go back for our KnightMares,” Shirley added as she panned her flashlight into the darkness. A faint glow in the distance caught her attention.
“Now that we know they’ll fit all the way through here…we’re going back for them,” Colonel Kozuki stated as she held the rope for Rai. “Okay, Rai, you start climbing up here.”
It took only a few minutes for Rai to scale the rope back up to the edge of the cliff. As soon as they were ready, the group briskly made their way back out of the cave and acquired their KnightMares.
“I think this is overkill,” Cecile told them as their machines flew down the cave mouth. “What could possibly be in here that requires this kind of firepower?” she asked as their machines came to rest on the edge of the cliff in KnightMare mode.
“If this place is what I think it is,” Kallen remarked with a tinge of anxiety, “then we may need all the firepower we can muster.”
“What do you mean?” Rai asked her.
“I think she means this place is a city,” Cecile said as she used the sensors of her Type-21E to scan over the vast chamber.
“Not just any kind of city.” Kallen hit the floodlights of her machine. The light from her Type-21Z illuminated the structures beyond.
“Wow,” Shirley said, “this place is huge.”
“Yes, it is,” Kallen stated with a scowl, “and it’s nearly identical to the city of the Geass Cult in China that the Black Knights destroyed in 2018. The only thing missing is…”
Colonel Kozuki boosted her machine into the air and headed for the faint glow in the distance.
“Wait, Kallen!” Shirley started after her.
“Shouldn’t we take this slowly?” Cecile demanded as Rai took off after Kallen and Shirley.
“There’s no time, Major,” Rai answered her. “Kallen’s onto something.”
“This is crazy,” Cecile blurted aloud as she chased after them in her KMF.
The four KnightMares flew for a few minutes over the vast city complex below them until they came to the far wall beyond.
A curtain of vine covered the wall the four Type-21s stood before. An orange-red glow emanated from it. Kallen opened her cockpit hatch and disembarked.
“Colonel!” Rai yelled as he opened his own hatch.
“Stay where you are, Rai!” Kallen ordered him as she approached the vines. She walked up to the wall and pushed back the long, creeper-like strands.
Kallen stepped backwards. “Oh, my God.”
“Are you alright, Kallen?” Shirley asked, seeing Colonel Kozuki stagger backwards.
Cecile noticed a small, stone, pyramid “stalagmite” jutting up from the smooth, flat, stone floor. She magnified the pyramid on her KMF’s video monitors and saw hieroglyphs that covered its surface all over. “Oh, no!” Major Croomy blurted out as she had her KMF pull back the vines.
The orange-red glow filled the chamber with copper-colored light as the face of the stone wall became clear.
“Whoa!” Rai said in awe. “Who would have guessed this would be here?”
“What is it?” Shirley demanded impatiently.
Cecile answered her as recognition of the gate-like structure made her nauseous, “It’s a Thought Elevator.”
Next Stage: Stage Five: Blockade Runner
Thanks for Reading
Comments are welcome here BTW.
Last edited by GundamFan0083; 2011-06-14 at 17:35.
|2011-06-14, 17:35||Link #64|
Join Date: May 2009
Alpha & Omega
“I hated putting my oldest sister in danger almost as much as I despised myself for having to leave Kallen and Shirley behind. Nevertheless, I had no choice in the matter since Cornelia was adamant about rushing the Babylonian blockade, and I knew that Kallen would certainly get herself killed during such an operation. You and C2 were right, if truly you love someone you have to set them free.” —Excerpt of an incomplete letter written to Enoch Apsu taken from the diary of Lelouch vi Britannia, dated March 17th, 2035 a.t.b.
March 4th, 2035 a.t.b.
“I lose again,” Clovis laughed as V2 moved his king into check.
“Shall we play another?” V.V. asked his nephew. The pair of them sat upon the back porch of the Aries Villa. A cold breeze whisked off the lake nearby, disturbing the normally warm, sunny morning.
“That’s odd,” Marianne said as she brought a tray of lemonade and sandwiches to Clovis and V.V.
“Huh? What’s odd, Lady Marianne?” Clovis asked.
She set the tray down in front of them. “The change in weather. I’ve never felt it like this before. It’s so…cold.”
V.V. looked out towards a dark line on the horizon beyond the lake. “Now that you mention it, I must admit that I’ve not seen that line of darkness since first coming here.”
Clovis followed V.V.’s gaze to the growing wall of black that was still some distance away but clearly getting closer. “It’s like a storm front of some kind.”
“I don’t recall there ever being a storm in the world of C,” Marianne remarked with a quiver in her voice. “Any idea what it could be?”
“None,” V.V. replied as the approaching gloom grew nearer.
“I wish Schneizel were here,” Clovis added, “he’s got a head for these things.”
“Perhaps we should go find Charles?” V.V. suggested. “He may know what this is.”
“I believe he’s with Nonette hobnobbing over KnightMare developments and speculating on what the future of them in the world of the living might be,” Marianne informed them.
“So then, let us depart for Brunswick Castle at once,” V.V. told them as the waters of the lake became turbulent with the rising speed of the wind.
“Agreed,” Clovis nodded.
The three of them whisked away from Aries Villa in a flash as their souls journeyed to find Charles zi Britannia.
* * *
“Well, there’s what’s left of the Intrepid,” Alice said, flying her KnightMare over the wreckage of the Kaminejima class frigate.
“At least we know the ship is still nothing more that a torn mass of metal,” Dalque remarked.
“Indeed.” Count Amontillado flew his mecha close to the ruined vessel. “But the question is, did Hel survive?”
“I think it’s possible that such a creature as Hel could live through the pounding we gave her warship,” Lucretia speculated. “Hel exhibited considerable regenerative powers. Who knows what extent of damage she can suffer and still heal.”
“I don’t like this.” Sancia used her Geass to scan the area. “There’s a lot of metal missing from this wreck.”
“How do you mean?” Count Amontillado asked.
“There is insufficient mass to account for what should be here.” Sancia confirmed her suspicions with the sensors of her Vincent-Advanced. “The main engine, FORGE, and graviton-impellers are gone.”
“Why would someone take those components?” Alice wondered aloud.
“That’s a good question,” Amontillado said, “and there’s only one way to find out.”
“We head for the vortex?” Lucretia asked, even though she knew the answer.
“Precisely,” Amontillado replied in a calm tone.
* * *
“Captain, our fleet has cleared the hyperspace marker buoy of The Seven Sisters,” Orpheus informed Jason over a laptop monitor. The portable computer laid on a small table within the observational lounge of the Glorious.
“Very good, Orpheus,” Jason replied. “Keep me informed of our progress.”
“Aye, sir; Orpheus out.” The man’s image vanished from the screen.
“The Seven Sisters?” Nunnally inquired from her comfy chair across from Jason.
Jason smiled at her, “I believe your people call them the Pleiades.”
Nunnally’s eyes grew wide. “Are we so far from Earth already? It feels like we just left.”
“We’re nearly 450 light-years from home,” Jason informed her. “Our force has been traveling at top speed for forty-five hours.”
“No wonder I’m so hungry,” she giggled. “I’ve barely eaten anything since we jumped into hyperspace.”
Jason gave her a concerned look. “You’d best keep track of the ship’s internal time and eat meals accordingly. Otherwise, you could starve yourself to death without realizing it until it’s too late. Hyperspace has strange effects on the human mind. While our bodies are relatively unaffected, the passage of time goes almost unnoticed by our psyche.”
The swirling colors of hyperspace filled the space outside the large, curved viewports of the lounge. “Oh, I didn’t know that,” she remarked as she reached over to a bowl of fruit on the coffee table and grabbed an apple.
“In forty-two days Earth time, the Galactic Council will receive us.” Jason changed the subject leaning back in his own chair.
Nunnally took a bite of the apple and ate a piece before speaking. “Does that trouble you?”
“Yes,” he stated flatly, “they’ll have been in session for nearly a week before we arrive. Our task force will only get there on the last day of the summit, which will give the Babylonians a full seven days to poison the ears of the other delegates.”
“It can’t be helped, Jason.” Nunnally tried to comfort him before biting off another piece of apple.
“I know,” he said in a somber tone, “we need to show them that the Earth forces are formidable, thus we had to wait until the Glorious was complete before our departure. However, even if this ship impresses them, it may not be enough to convince the council that war with the Commonwealth will be more costly than it is worth.”
“We’ve no choice but to convince them,” she said with a weak grin. “If the council chooses to eradicate my people, then nothing will stop the Babylonians from doing so and in the process gain control of Nibiru.”
“Where Hel will no doubt be waiting for them,” Jason added.
“Maybe,” Nunnally said softly, “but I’m more concerned about Nemo.”
“Has Lysandra learned anything new about that thing?” Jason inquired.
“No,” Nunnally replied with a frown, “whatever it is, Nemo has the ability to block its consciousness from her. Therefore, she can no longer make contact with it.”
“I suppose that’s better for the girl,” Jason said thoughtfully. “It’s my understanding that she goes through quite an ordeal when she does delve into the thing’s mind.”
“Indeed she does.” Nunnally finished off the apple and placed the core in a waste bin next to her. “The strange thing is, even when she wasn’t in contact with Nemo’s mind, she was still able to feel its presence until recently.”
“What is Nemo?” Jason inquired matter-of-factly.
Nunnally’s expression became distant with thought. “An ancient being from a forgotten civilization that possesses unimaginable power and equally unspeakable evil coupled with the insatiable desire to become a god.”
“Did Lysandra learn exactly how this evil thing intends to carry out its plans?” Jason asked.
Nunnally gave him a black look. “Lysandra didn’t divine that knowledge about Nemo.”
Jason was shocked. “Then how do you know so much about this thing?”
“Enoch told me,” she answered softly.
“Enoch?” Jason spat the name, showing his displeasure at the mere mention of the man. “What is Nemo to him?”
Nunnally grinned wickedly, “His nemesis.”
* * *
“Another Thought Elevator?” Cornelia couldn’t believe her ears.
“Yes, Captain,” Kallen confirmed the news over the main monitor on the bridge of the Kaminejima. “We found the second Thought Elevator on the side of a large rock face in a cove eight hundred kilometers north of the first one. It’s located on a small continent with sakuradite deposits that should meet our needs.”
“Were you able to open it?” Lloyd inquired from where he stood next to Cornelia, Enoch, and Lelouch.
Cecile’s image folded onto the screen next to Kallen’s. “No, Lloyd, we could not activate the second gate either. Kallen and Rai both tried but were unable to get any result.”
“It might require a Code-wielder to activate these gates,” Lelouch said as he contemplated the repercussions of there being multiple Thought Elevators on different planets.
“Is it possible that Nibiru is not the only mobile planet?” Kallen asked, looking at Enoch.
“Anything is possible,” the amber-eyed man answered her, “but it’s highly unlikely. It’s far more probable that there are numerous Thought Elevators throughout the galaxy that lead to Nibiru.”
Lelouch cupped his chin absentmindedly. “If that’s the case, then we’ve got a real problem.”
“No kidding,” Kallen interjected. “If there are multiple doorways to Nibiru, there’s no telling where they all are or how many are still active.”
“Which is why we must get to Hadar and warn the Commonwealth,” Guilford said as he walked onto the bridge.
“Have you finished moving the crew to the city?” Cornelia queried.
“Yes, Captain,” he replied with a nod, “we’ve moved all nonessential personnel, supplies, and nearly all of the Knightmare Frames there.”
“Very good,” Cornelia smiled at him before turning to Lloyd. “Professor Asplund, you should get going and take charge of the settlement.”
Lloyd put his hands on his hips. “Really, Cornelia, I still don’t think this is a good…” Cornelia’s glare caused him to pause.
“I’m through with this discussion, Lloyd. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you, get off my ship and proceed to the settlement at the city.”
Lloyd sighed, “Yes, Captain.” Lloyd left the bridge.
Cornelia turned to Lelouch. “Get your team ready.”
Lelouch nodded at her before he and Enoch left the bridge.
Captain Britannia turned back to Kallen. “Colonel Kozuki, get to the settlement as quickly as you can. It’s a given that the Babylonians will try and capture our people there to use them as hostages.”
Kallen scowled, “Aye, Captain, we’ll get to the settlement as the situation permits.”
* * *
“Hmmm, there certainly is quite a bit of movement.” Enkidu drew a sip of water out of a straw attached to a small bottle as he slouched in the cockpit seat of his Sargon-V.
“Indeed there is.” Gilgamesh sat up in his seat. “It would seem they’ve finished repairs and are preparing to leave.”
“Should we attack?” Enkidu was sick of waiting. He’d eaten, slept, and watched the repair of the Kaminejima patiently for days.
“I think now is the time,” Gilgamesh answered as the Earth warship began to lift off from the plateau it had hovered over. Gilgamesh touched an icon on his heads-up display. “All warriors, launch!”
The force of nearly two hundred Sargon-IVs moved in unison on the floor of the sea. The mass of machines caused silt to rise as their ion engines boosted them towards the surface, led by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in their Sargon-Vs.
* * *
“Kallen, I’ve got enemy units on my long-range RADAR!” Cecile blurted out as the mass of Sargon-Vs sprang from the ocean’s surface. “They’re heading for the Kaminejima.”
“Has the Kaminejima launched her KMFs yet?” Kallen demanded.
“No.” Cecile typed away on the touch screen of her Type-21E. “The Kaminejima has just begun accelerating away from the island and is now headed out over the ocean.”
“Major Croomy, I’m picking up over two hundred enemy units on my RADAR,” Rai stated in a concerned tone. “Is that correct?”
“Yes,” Cecile confirmed the number, “there are 202 enemy mecha.”
“TWO HUNDRED!” Kallen blurted out. “Those idiots!”
“Does this mean we’re defying orders?” Shirley asked Kallen mischievously.
“You bet your sweet ass we are,” Colonel Kozuki replied. “Major Croomy, you’re welcome to return to the settlement if you want. I can’t force you to disobey orders with us.”
“Are you kidding?” Cecile tittered. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
“Alright then,” Kallen smiled wickedly, “let’s get over there and kick some ass.”
* * *
“Incoming!” Guilford exclaimed.
“Fire all anti-KMF batteries!” Cornelia commanded.
Instantly, the six twin-barrel, anti-Knightmare Frame Hadron Cannons came to life on both sides of the space frigate.
The six cannons unloaded a hail of deadly beams at the swarm of Sargons, destroying dozens of the Babylonian machines in the volley.
“The enemy units are breaking up into smaller groups,” Gilbert announced. He watched the movements of the Sargons on his computer monitor. The various blips burst about like fireworks then regrouped into smaller formations.
Cornelia studied the tactical information on her own console. “Helm, accelerate float generators to 36,000 kilometers per hour and keep us steady. Tactical, fire aft heavy Hadron Cannon batteries; keep those enemy mecha at bay.”
The pair of twin-barrel, heavy Hadron Cannon turrets on top of the Kaminejima turned and adjusted their nozzles toward the rapidly approaching Babylonian machines. The large-bore beam turrets erupted with the red and black streams of Hadron particles. The deadly streaks of energy tore through four of the numerous clusters of Sargon-IVs, reducing the groups to molten slag.
* * *
“They’ve increased their velocity, and our long-range Hades Cannons aren’t enough to knock down their shields,” Enkidu told Gilgamesh as the Hadron beams wiped out another dozen Sargons. “If we don’t close into melee attack range soon, they’ll tear us apart.”
“Patience, old friend,” Gilgamesh said. “We need to lead them to where we want them first.”
“Which is?” Enkidu asked while dodging a burst of Hadron blasts from one of the anti-KMF turrets.
Gilgamesh transmitted a map of one of the islands that the Kaminejima headed for. “When they pass over this volcano, we’ll hit the mountain with everything we’ve got. That should cause it to erupt.”
“So,” Enkidu scoffed, “such an eruption will only buffet their deflector screens. It won’t damage their vessel.”
“No, but the debris thrown up by the eruption will weaken their deflectors enough for our long-range weapons to penetrate.” Gilgamesh smiled, “Then we can bring her down and capture her.”
“I’m not so sure about this, Gilgamesh.” Enkidu rolled out of the way of yet another salvo from the Earth ship. “Enoch is on that ship; no doubt that devil has something up his sleeve.”
“I’m hoping he does,” Gilgamesh replied with a snicker. “His tactics are simpleminded and easy to guess. I assume he’s advised these mortals to run at full speed along a low altitude course to take advantage of this moon’s weather patterns and terrain. As you can see, their ship is headed for a large storm to the east. Such a low-pressure system provides a nice bit of camouflage when combined with ECM. Normally, this would allow such a vessel to skim along the surface nearly undetected.”
“I see.” Enkidu fired at the aft Meson shield of the Earth warship. His Hades beams bounced off the powerful energy screen. “I hope this plan of yours works. Otherwise, we’ll have to use the Esagila to bring her down.”
“I’ve already informed Captain Kassite of that possibility,” Gilgamesh said. “He’s waiting within the hurricane system to the east just in case we need him.”
“Guess you did think of everything on this one,” Enkidu laughed as the Kaminejima started over the volcano.
* * *
“Enemy units are still gaining on us,” Guilford recited off the telemetry from his tactical console. “Captain, we should launch KMFs to intercept—“
“No,” Cornelia cut him off, “they’ll be needed once we get into space. For now, we have to rely on the weapons of the Kaminejima.”
“Captain,” Darlton blurted out, “I’ve got four Type-21s inbound at 2-o’clock and closing fast.”
“Type-21s?” Cornelia growled. “Guilford, tell Captain Kozuki to veer off and get to the settlement at once. Inform her that she’s in danger here and this is a direct order to leave.”
“I’d like to, Captain,” Gilbert said sheepishly, “but I’ve already tried to contact them. They’ve obviously decided to run silent.”
“Damn it!” Cornelia cursed aloud.
“Captain!” Darlton shouted. “The enemy has fired on the volcano below us!”
“WHAT?!” Cornelia blurted out.
* * *
“All Sargons, concentrate fire at the base of the mountain!” Gilgamesh commanded over his helmet communicator.
His army of mecha responded with a converging salvo of Hades Cannon fire that turned the base of the mountain a cherry red as the stone turned molten hot. The expanding earth caused massive pressure to exert itself on the volcano as liquid water within the rock became steam.
Hot, molten rock spewed out the top of the volcanic cone as the pressure caused it to shoot up towards the Kaminejima. The superheated liquid crashed into the ventral deflector screen of the ship and poured over it like hot fudge over glass.
“NOW! FIRE ON THE LOWER SHEILDS!” Gilgamesh bellowed to his comrades.
The force of Babylonian machines aimed their lance-like gunpods at the bottom of the Kaminejima and unloaded a full barrage of cannon fire towards it.
The hail of beams passed through the badly weakened, ventral Meson screen and into the lower rear hull of the ship.
* * *
“Ahhhhh!” Cornelia and her bridge crew held onto their computer consoles for dear life as the ship was rocked by the impacts of the Hades bolts.
“Damage report!” Cornelia demanded.
“Severe damage to the bottom aft main Hadron turret,” Gilbert informed her as another salvo rocked the ship. “Main engine has taken minor damage…”
The ship began to list to port.
“What’s happening?” Cornelia yelled as the ship turned hard to port and started dropping.
“Their weapons must have damaged the ship’s gyroscopic system,” Darlton reported while his fingertips scrambled over his keypad. “I’ll have to reset the system.”
“You’d better hurry or this is going to be a short trip,” Cornelia barked.
The ocean was coming up fast through the viewports of the bridge.
* * *
“Looks like your plan worked,” Enkidu chuckled, bringing his Sargon-V up next to Gilgamesh’s machine. “They’re going down.”
“We need to finish them off to be sure,” Gilgamesh said in a cold tone, “and for that, we’ll need the Esagila.”
“But I thought we needed to capture them?” Enkidu asked in a befuddled tone.
“The ones we want are immortals,” Gilgamesh informed him, “they’ll survive.”
“Shouldn’t we at least do the honorable thing and give them a chance to surrender first?” Enkidu didn’t like the idea of wholesale slaughter of fellow warriors.
Gilgamesh sighed, “You’re of course correct, old friend.” He switched to a general radio frequency. “Attention, Earth vessel…”
* * *
“Captain, the enemy commander is hailing us.” Gilbert clutched the side of his chair as the Kaminejima righted itself just before skimming the ocean’s surface. The bulk of the enemy Sargon-IVs flew alongside the Earth ship, constantly firing on it with their Hades Cannons and pinpricking the warship with numerous holes in the armored skin of the craft.
“Let’s hear it.” Cornelia had an idea what the enemy wanted, and she needed to buy some time. Captain Britannia turned to her tactical officer. “Darlton, how close is Colonel Kozuki’s group?”
The anti-KMF beam turrets of the Kaminejima blazed with Hadron bolts that scored numerous deadly hits which brought down tens of Sargon-IVs with each volley as the battle ensued.
Claudio lurched forward as the ship shook violently from another score of Hades beams hitting the hull. “They’re nearly here.”
“Good,” Cornelia smiled, “send her a coded message to attack the enemy command group from above.”
Darlton was confused. “But, Captain, there’s no way they can take on that many—”
Cornelia eyed him. “NOW!”
“Aye, Captain,” Claudio responded stoically.
Gilgamesh’s helmeted visage appeared on the main viewscreen of the bridge. “…attention, Earth vessel, know that I am Gilgamesh, the commander of the Imperial Babylonian force which has you at its mercy. I offer you and your crew your lives in exchange for your unconditional surrender. You have one chance to answer, so choose wisely.”
Cornelia glanced at Darlton quickly. Claudio nodded slightly, indicating that he had sent Kallen the message.
“I am Captain Cornelia li Britannia of the Commonwealth frigate Kaminejima. What guarantee do I have that you’ll keep your word?”
“Guarantee?” Gilgamesh laughed. “My dear Captain Britannia, I offered no guarantee.”
Cornelia scoffed, “Then how can you expect me to surrender? Obviously, if we’re going to die, we’ll die fighting.”
“Very well,” Gilgamesh saluted her with a motion of his left hand, “may whatever gods you serve whisk you on your way into the afterlife.”
“Don’t be so sure of victory, Gilgamesh,” Cornelia warned him with a cold smile. She motioned Gilbert to cut the signal.
* * *
“Well, that’s that,” Gilgamesh said as he switched radio frequencies. “Captain Kassite.”
The image of a man in his middle forties appeared on Gilgamesh’s cockpit monitor. “Yes, Commander?”
“You are clear to attack the Earth vessel,” Gilgamesh told him flatly. “Try to minimize the amount of damage; we want as many of them taken alive as possible, but be sure to completely disable their vessel.”
“Of course, Commander,” Captain Kassite smiled, “I will do my utmost to comply with your wishes.” The man’s image vanished off the screen only to be replaced by Enkidu.
“Can the Esagila hit the enemy vessel accurately from her position?” Enkidu asked. “There’s still a great deal of electromagnetic interference due to the volcanic eruption and ash. Even our sensors are a bit fuzzy from all the debris.”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about Captain Kassite,” Gilgamesh reassured him, “he’ll do his duty.”
“I hope you’re right,” Enkidu replied, watching the Kaminejima limp over the surface of the ocean just to the east of the island they were above. “I’d hate to get blasted by friendly fire during the attack.”
“Don’t worry,” Gilgamesh told him with a titter as he flew his machine up over the large ash cloud from the erupting volcano below, “we’ll be out of the way when they—”
A Kaon beam tore through the left leg of Gilgamesh’s Sargon-V, causing severe damage to the limb.
“What the?” Enkidu blurted out as four shadows dove down with the sun behind them.
* * *
“Thought you’d take down our friends, did you?” Kallen yelled over the radio at the Babylonians. Her Type-21Z transformed into Knightmare mode and simultaneously unfolded the Kaon blade of its gunsword.
Kallen’s machine thrust the blade at the chest of Gilgamech’s Sargon.
A flash of metal intercepted her Kaon blade and parried the thrust.
“You’ll have to get through me first!” Enkidu said as the sigils of Geass burned in his eyes.
“No problem!” Kallen’s Zebulun cut the shield of Enkidu’s Sargon-V in half with its Kaon blade. She followed up with a barrage of Hadron blasts from one of her forearm cannons.
Enkidu’s Sargon flashed again, this time appearing just behind Kallen’s Type-21. “You’re mine!” he exclaimed as he thrust the lance of his machine at the back of the Zebulun.
“Not if I have anything to say about it!” Rai bellowed with a hail of Kaon beams that rained down on Enkidu’s Sargon.
Enkidu sped his machine out of the shower of energy bolts as fast as his Geass allowed him to. His Sargon-V did not escape unscathed. His machine’s beam-lance was riddled with holes that rendered it useless. Enkidu discarded the weapon and drew a beam-sword from a concealed storage bin at the waist of his Sargon.
“A noble effort,” Gilgamesh said as he parried another assault by Kallen with the shield of his Sargon-V. Colonel Kozuki’s Kaon blade tore through the adamantine shield, wrecking it. “However, you’re too late to save your vessel.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Kallen spat.
“Watch,” Gilgamesh tittered.
A volley of pinkish white energy beams tore through the dark clouds of the approaching hurricane and slammed into the forward shields of the Kaminejima. The impact forced the already badly riddled frigate to dive nose-first into the sea.
Another barrage of beams streaked from the clouds into the ocean where the Earth ship has disappeared below the surface.
A moment later, the sea erupted in a titanic explosion that engulfed the swarm of remaining Sargon-IVs.
“NO!” Kallen yelled in anger while the vaporized sea water created a brief fog bank over the ocean surface. It cleared quickly, leaving only the silt-filled churning waters of the sea.
Nearly all of the Sargon-IVs and the Kaminejima were gone.
Next Stage: Stage Six: Hide and Seek
Thanks for Reading
Comments are welcome here BTW.
|2013-06-17, 05:06||Link #65|
Join Date: Jun 2013
Last edited by MaxErickson; 2013-06-18 at 00:44.