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Old 2010-01-19, 19:57   Link #41
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: classified
Turn Twenty Six: Table for Two, Part Two: The Event.

“People of the World!” Zero raised his hands in front of the television cameras and reporters who had gathered at the foot of New-Brunswick Castle located at the edge of the crater-lake in the center of the city of Neo-Pendragon. Behind them was a sea of citizens from all over the world who had come to see Zero speak.
Nunnally, Suzaku, and Jeremiah stood to Zero’s right, while Cornelia, the Red Dragon, and Gilford stood to his left. In front of him sat General Tohdoh, General Xingke, Empress Reika, and Lady Kaguya.
“The enemy which shattered the peace that we have worked so diligently to attain for so long has been vanquished.” Zero outstretched his hand towards the cameras, “But it would not have been possible for simply the United Federation of Nations to perform this act alone, nor could Britannia have done it. In order to defeat this enemy they had to come together and use their combined strength to oust them.”
He turned to his right to see Nunnally nod at him and smile. Zero turned back towards the crowd of reporters below him and clenched his fist in a dramatic manner. “We must understand that this new enemy has only been driven from our planet for the moment and that this external threat may at any time return to plague us yet again.”
He thrust his open hand towards the cameras and the crowd, “The UFN is no longer adequate to deal with this new menace and Britannia is too restrictive a nation to allow for the innovations needed to contend with it. Our world as a whole is lost in the myriad of philosophies and dogmas of the past. Socialism has failed, Fascism has failed, Imperialism has failed, Corporatism has failed, Feudalism has failed, and the whole of the old world order is a failure!”
Zero punched his right hand above his shoulder towards the sky as he shouted, “We need a new form of government! A nation that protects its people and allows the best and the brightest among them too succeed without being hindered by government cronyism or bureaucratic corruption. What we must create if we are to resist this new extraterrestrial threat is a classes system of society, and an economic system which prevents the kind of greed that led to the unearthing of the city of Tartarus in the first place by the abolition of usury and egalitarian policies. Mankind needs a government that exists for people, by people, and holds individual liberty in the highest regard. Our enemy is a Republic capable of mustering forces beyond our comprehension. Therefore, we here must in turn form a new government; one that trusts its people with arms; allows people to speak out against it; and permits people to be masters of their own destiny!”
Zero reached out towards the crowd in a grasping gesture, “What we must build is a Commonwealth, a Republic with which we can defend our world from almost certain enslavement if not total destruction! We shall overcome this new enemy! We shall build our new Republic! We shall sweep away the past so that we may capture the future! And we shall do it together!”
Cheers thundered through the city as Zero bowed to the crowds.
Nunnally stepped forward as Zero walked to the back of their group. He nodded at her as she stood at the podium, “As of this moment, all hostilities between Britannia and the UFN have officially ceased and our two militaries have agreed to combine into one new global force intended to be the Military of our New Republic.” Nunnally smiled at Kaguya who stood from her chair and came up next to Nunnally at the podium.
“Beginning in March of 2025 a.t.b the leaders of the UFN, Britannia, and all non-aligned nations shall begin diplomatic talks with regard to the drafting of a document for the new world government to abide by. These talks will be democratic in nature and every country, irregardless of population size or territory, shall have equal vote in this new council. May God have mercy on us and guide us through these talks, for if we fail in this endeavor to create this new government, we shall all be doomed to whatever fate the Olympians will reign down upon us.”

“Wow, that was quite a speech you gave Zero,” the Red Dragon said as they walked towards the interior of the castle. Neither one of them saw the pair of figures who slipped through a side door of the large entry way towards them.
“It’s just the beginning,” He said with a sigh. “I wish Enoch were here. I could use his input.”
“Do you miss him?” the Red Dragon asked sympathetically.
Zero let out a short laugh, "Yeah...guess I do." He turned to her as they reached the inner set of double doors. "He was the closest thing I had to a real father. It’s kind of weird huh? What with him always trying to keep my ego in check and yet pushing me to be something more."
“Not really,” said the Red Dragon as she took hold of his hand, “You never had a real father figure in your life. Enoch knew that and tried his best to help you because of it. He said you reminded him of what he used to be like.”
“I wonder what kind of life he had growing up,” Zero lamented.
“Pardon me Zero,” A female voice asked from behind them.
The Red Dragon went into a combat stance at the sound of the woman’s voice, “Who’s there?”
“Whoa, it’s just me, Milley Ashford.” Milley raised her hands defensively. Milley’s camera man waved at them from behind her.
The Red Dragon relaxed, “You two shouldn’t sneak up on us like that.”
“Sorry,” Milley smiled.
“What can I do for you Mrs. Ashford?” Zero asked as he walked up to her.
A pleasant aroma filled Milley’s nostrils as he got close to her. Her eyes grew wide with recognition, “Oh my!” She blurt out covering her mouth. “Um…I…wanted to know if you’d be willing to do a one-on-one interview with me.” Milley stammered.
“An exclusive,” the Red Dragon teased him. “She’s cute too.”
Milley blushed.
Zero turned to the Red Dragon, “She’s married.”
“Good thing…or a certain someone we know would be jealous,” the Red Dragon tittered.
Zero turned back to Milley, “I can’t grant you an interview today, however, I would be able to after the first of the year. Is that alright?”
Milley stared at him, “Um…yes that would be okay.”
He put his hand on her shoulder, “Very good, please have your office contact the Britannian embassy in Japan to make the proper arrangements.”
Milley smiled at him as her olfactory sense identified the aroma that emanated from his sleeve, “You shouldn’t keep secrets from your friends you know.”
Zero withdrew his hand slowly. This time it was he who stuttered, “I…suppose…you are right Milley. I shouldn’t, not anymore.”
Milley winked at him, “It’s a date then.” She turned to Seiji, “Let’s go, I don’t want to distract him. I’m sure he has a big day still ahead.”
Zero and the Red Dragon watched in silence as the pair walked away.

“What was that all about? I thought you said you’d get the interview no matter what?” Seiji asked Milley with a smirk.
“I’ll get my interview don’t you worry,” said Milley confidently. “He won’t stand me up.”
“You act like you two know each other personally,” Seiji said.
“We do,” Milley said to more herself than to him, “we go way back.”
Seiji was surprised, “How the heck did you recognize him? It’s not like we’ve ever seen Zero’s face.”
“I didn’t need to see his face to know it was him behind the mask,” said Milley with an arrogant look at her cameraman. “His cologne gave him away.”
“His cologne?” Seiji scoffed.
“Yep,” she snickered, “believe me Seiji, when you’re in love with someone you remember everything about them. Especially the subtle nuances and the man under that mask wore cologne that no other man I’ve ever known would have: Ode de la Imperial.”
“Never heard of it,” the cameraman said.
Milley gave Zero one passing look before she and Seiji left the castle, “You aren’t likely to have as it was available only to the Britannian royal family.”

“Dude this is totally boring!” Tamaki whined as the Ikaruga floated above the city of Neo-Pendragon. He and the other members of the Yamato no Orochi were staring out at the city from the promenade deck at the aft of the ship.
“Miss the Greeks already do you?” Kallen snickered as she sipped her tea in the warm Arizona air of early December.
“Nah!” He leaned back on the railing and slugged his coffee. “I just can’t stand doing nothing.”
“Really?” Mika asked, “I’m enjoying the break from all the fighting.”
“No kidding,” Gregor said, “no too mention we’ll be going into space in a few months. I’d like some time to relax.”
“Me too,” Lena agreed as she held onto Akira’s arm. She looked up at him, “gives us time to appreciate the finer things in life.”
Akira bent down and kissed her, “I couldn’t agree more.”
“Okay you two get a room or something!” Tamaki griped.
“Oh stow it you old geezer!” Kallen taunted him. “They’re in love, let them enjoy it.”
“Geez you recovered fast,” Tamaki retorted carefully. “Just last month you wanted to drown your sorrows in a sea of booze.”
“I got it outta my system,” Kallen barked at him, “You gotta problem with that?”
“Yeah, you were fun as a drinking buddy, now you’re all sober and gooey.” Tamaki snickered.
“Well excuse me punk!” Kallen put her hands on her hips, “In case you didn’t notice I happen to be a woman.”
“I’ve noticed,” he said with a sly smile.
Kallen eyed him, “Tamaki you’re asking for a beating.” She laughed, “I swear if you keep this up I’ll cure your boredom by kicking your ass into space!”
“Speaking of space,” Anya interrupted, “Anybody know how soon the new space-cruiser will be completed?”
“June or July,” Tetsuo told her as he brought her a fresh cup of tea from within the ship.
“Pardon me Captain Kouzuki,” A female yeoman said as she walked out onto the promenade.
“What is it yeoman?” Kallen inquired with genuine curiosity.
The woman was carrying a stack of envelopes under her arm. She removed them and handed them to Kallen, “This mail arrived today, and it was simply addressed to the Yamato no Orochi.”
Kallen took the stack of envelopes out of her hand, "Looks like there's one of these for each of us."
"Have they been checked for explosives?" Tamaki asked with a skeptical eye on the white letter that Kallen handed him.
"Yes," the Yeoman answered him, "they're clean. Now if you will excuse me I have other duties to attend too."
"I'm sorry," Kallen smiled at her, "you're free to go Yeoman."
The woman left.
Kallen used her pocket knife to cut open the top of the envelope, "What the heck is this?" She exclaimed with a shocked look as she read over the invitation.
"Wow!" Mika blurt out, "Sounds like we're invited to a royal party!"
"Do you think that Zero could have sent these?" Akira asked a bit in shock over the contents of the invite.
"We'll I'm going to find out!" Tamaki said with a smile, "how about you Kallen?"
She looked down at the letter intently and sneered, "I'm supposed to go to the Nu's at the end of the month for the New Year, but if Zero is throwing this thing...then I have to go!"

"A Christmas party?" Lloyd scoffed as he walked along the catwalk next to the partially completed hull of the first manmade Space-Cruiser. "Really Cecile, we don't have time for this kind of thing...besides isn’t that religion dead? We've barely got the keel of this new ship laid down we can't just drop everything and gallivant off to a party."
"We’ve been formally invited to this party,” She held up their invitations, “and it's only for a few days Lloyd," She told him softly, "it'll be fun."
"Maybe you could go for me?" He said with a grin.
Cecile scowled at him, "LLOYD!"
Professor Asplundh winced, "Oh I guess I can take a few days off...what was the occasion again?"
Cecile rolled her eyes, “For a genius you’re sure absent minded when you want to be. The occasion is called Christmas and it is a celebration that commemorates the birth of the great prophet, and healer Jesus of Nazareth who was also known as the Christ.”
“Oh,” he gave her a weak smile, “well that sounds harmless enough. When do you want to leave?”
Cecile gave him a devilish smile, “As soon as Rakshata is ready to go.”
“Uh…WHAT?” Lloyd recoiled in horror.

“A gala?” Cornelia held the invitation in her hand as she stood in front of one of the giant leaded-glass windows of New-Brunswick Castle’s library.
“I got one too,” Nunnally held up her invitation ticket from where she sat next to Euphie and Suzaku in the small reading area that consisted of a coffee table, lamps, and four comfy chairs.
“Well I didn’t get one!” Euphie protested.
“But they sent one to me, and I can invite one person,” Suzaku laughed. “Obviously I’d invite you.”
“Which implies that whoever sent this knows about whom you are Princess Euphemia,” Gilford said as he walked into the study area with a tray of hot tea.
Cornelia smiled at him as he placed the tray on the coffee table and poured her a cup of tea, “It bothers me that this person wishes to remain anonymous.” She turned to Euphie, “The Greeks could be the ones behind this.”
Nunnally smirked, “Or it could just be C.C. and Lelouch trying to give us all an end of the year surprise party.” She took a cup of tea from Gilford, “Let’s try to keep an open mind about this. Athena isn’t the kind of person to return so soon after being defeated. She’ll want to secure a base of operations and such before she makes another move…besides, luring all of us away to a Christmas party to kill us seems petty and I highly doubt Athena would lower herself to such tactics. She’s a proud warrior not an assassin.”
“You may have a point Empress,” Suzaku smiled. “It does say there’s going to be a pizza party, that’s got C2 written all over it.”

“A PIZZA PARTY!” C.C. held up the invitation in front of Lelouch as he sat at his computer within the hotel room they were staying in. Outside the window of their room the lights of Mexico City began to illuminate the cityscape as dusk settled over the metropolis.
“I’m not going,” he said flatly.
“Why not?” C.C. asked him. “It’s probably Nunnally’s idea, or maybe that old girlfriend of yours.”
“You mean Milley,” he said with an irritated look at her as he tried to finish his tenth draft of a world constitution. He, as Zero, would be expected to deliver it to the world during the convention that was only a few months away.
“Yes, Milley.” C.C. leaned over him. “Are you listening to me?” She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek. C.C. gave him a puppy eyed look, “Lulu, I want to go, and I want you to come with me.”
He sighed, “If I agree to go, will you let me finish this.”
“Only if you promise to go and seal your commitment to me,” She kissed him passionately on the lips. “Promise?”
Lelouch scowled for a moment then smiled at her, “Yah I promise.”
“Good,” she unbuttoned her blouse from the top down, “I’ll be in the bedroom, so don’t keep me waiting for too long.” She kissed him again and walked away, leaving her blouse and skirt on the floor behind her as she did so.
Lelouch tried to turn back to the draft but the seductive look C.C. had given him had invaded his thoughts. He sat at the computer for a few minutes unable to think straight. “Oh…snap! There’s no way I can finish this dammn thing tonight.” Lelouch got up from the desk and walked into the bedroom.

“This place is huge Kaguya,” Reika said as she, Zhou, and Kaguya Sumeragi got out of the limousine that had brought them from the airport to the enormous Manor.
The morning sun reflected off of the freshly plowed snow that was nearly two foot deep. The air was crisp as the sunlight warmed the east side of the large building. The mansion sat atop a rocky outcropping along the New England coastline. The ocean lapped at the craggy rocks some fifty feet below the estate.
Kaguya snickered, “Well the invitation said that there were seventy-two rooms in Red-Manor Reika, it was obviously a big place from its description.”
“Do you think anyone else was invited?” Zhou asked as she got the four large suitcases out of the trunk of the limo.
“The letter was addressed to those of us who took part in the rout of the Olympians,” Kaguya said. “I’d think that would include most of the people we know.”
“I wish Xingke could have come,” Reika pouted.
“He has to deal with the rebellion in Shanghai, he couldn’t come,” Zhou said to her sympathetically. “That’s why he sent me in his stead, so as not to offend our mysterious host.”
“What about General Tohdoh?” the Tianzi asked.
“He flat out refused,” Kaguya rolled her eyes, “the man has no sense of fun. Poor Chiba bugged him about it for over a week, but he wouldn’t budge. He’s overseeing the formation of our space forces, so he’s got no time for trivial matters.” Kaguya knocked on the large, wooden, double doors, “I promised Chiba I’d apologize for both of them to our host when we meet him or her.”
“Aren’t we supposed to use our keys to let ourselves in?” Zhou asked.
“If no one answers then I will, but I’m not going to just barge into someone else’s—“ Kaguya was cut off by the door opening.
A tall inhumanly gorgeous woman with ice-blue eyes and thigh length silvery-white hair answered the door. “I’m pleased that all of you were able to come.”
Zhou put down the bags and tensed up, “Who are you?” The warrior woman asked.
“You may call me Delphi,” the woman gave them a thin smile as she opened up the second door for them. “I’m here to receive you and welcome you all. Your host will be arriving later this evening, so please come in and make yourselves at home.” She moved to allow them to enter.

“Looks like a lot of other people have already arrived here.” Rivaltz said as he and Milley got out of the Limousine that had carried them from the airport to Red-Manor.
Milley’s hair looked like a mass of gold thread in the afternoon light of the sun.
“I wonder who all is here.” She said with a giddy grin. “I hope Zero is one of the guests.”
“Why?” He asked as he got their bags out of the trunk and carried them over his shoulder. Rivaltz raised an eyebrow and smiled, “You got a crush on him or something?”
“I used too," she giggled.
"Used too?" Rivaltz was confused at first then his draw dropped open, "You don't mean..." he let the thought trail off.
"Trust me honey, if he's here and you two get to meet, you’ll feel the same way that I do.” She gave Rivaltz a wink as they made their way up to the door.

"Mr. and Mrs. Ashford have arrived," Delphi announced as she opened the ornate double doors that led to the gathering of guests in the enormous living room of the Manor.
Milley and Rivaltz walked in to find a whole host of people they were acquainted with.
"Milley! Rivaltz! It's great to see both of you!" Nunnally said as she came over and hugged her friends.
"It's great to see you also Nana...," said Rivaltz with an elated smile, "oops I mean Empress," he bowed.
"Don't be sorry," Nunnally kissed him on the cheek, "we're friends Rivaltz...always."
He blushed, "thanks Nunnally."
"So who's throwing this bash?" Milley inquired.
"We don't know," Villetta Nu said as she and Ougi came up to greet them.
"Hey you two," Milley hugged them both, "where are your two little darlings?" She asked excited.
Ougi sighed, "We decided not to take them with us on such a long trip. Plus, Nagisa wanted to punish Tohdoh for not coming to this get together, thus she volunteered the both of them as babysitters."
Suzaku let out a laugh, "Oh my! Can you image Kyoshiro changing diapers?"
Laughter filled the room.
"So who's all here?" Milley asked eager to get the inside scoop on the guest list.
Nunnally drew a deep breath before running down the list, "Cornelia, and Gilford; Kaguya, Reika, and Zhou Xianglin; Cecile Croomy, Lloyd Asplundh, and Rakshata Chawla; Akira Nobunaga, Tamaki Shinichiro, Anya Alstreim, Gregor Fontaine, Tetsuo Yuma, Mika Ontario, and Lena Shomeron; Jeremiah Gottwald and Sayoko Shinozaki; me, Suzaku, and sister." Nunnally face became flushed.
Milley caught the slip immediately, "Your sister? You already mentioned Cornelia."
"My mistake," Nunnally tried to laugh it off, "the list is so long."
"You started to say Euph Nunnally," Milley said with a smile. "Did you mean Euphemia?"
"EUPHEMIA! That's preposterous!" Lloyd yelled.
"Did you guys need me for something?" Euphie popped her head in from an adjacent room.
The living room went silent as those who were unaware of Euphie having been alive stood in shock at her presence.
Realizing her error Euphemia gave the group a half-hearted wave, "Hi." She said in a mousey tone.
Lloyd dropped his glass of wine, "I feel a little woozey." Professor Asplundh put his hand to his head and started to fall over.
Cecile caught him, "Oh some man you are. Lloyd, snap out of it."
Rakshata tittered, "Oh Lloyd you're such a drama queen. I'm sure there is a logical explanation." She looked directly at Euphemia, "Isn't there?"
"There had better be!" Tamaki grumbled, "Considering the fact that she's Princess Massa-OUCH!" Tamaki yelled as Ougi stomped on his foot. "What the hell did yah do that for Ougi?"
Ougi glared at him, "To keep your mouth from ruining the evening."
"I think we'd all like an explanation Princess Euphemia," Zhou Xianglin said as she stood up from one of the comfy chairs in the room.
"It's okay Zhou, Kaguya and I already knew." the Tianzi reassured her.
"You did? And the both of you were okay with it?" Villetta asked in shock.
"Of course we were." Kaguya waved her hand reassuringly, "It was all a misunderstanding."
"Why do I get the feeling Geass has something to do with this?" Ougi grumbled.
"Well of course it does...didn't everything relate to Geass back then? It's a really long story," Kaguya said as she poured herself a glass of sake from the liquor cabinet.
"Then you can tell your party all about it, Lady Kaguya Sumeragi, over dinner," Delphi said as she entered the living room. "Your meal is ready."
"And our host?" Cornelia asked gruffly.
"Your host has run into a delay and will not be here until tomorrow morning." Delphi answered her with a thin smile. "Also, Captain Kouzuki and the other guests have not arrived yet either and are not likely too get here until tomorrow due to a sudden snow storm which is delaying all flights into New England. Thus, there is no need to wait for them any longer. Now if you all will follow me."
Delphi led the party through the long ornately decorated halls of the handsome Mansion to the large marble lined dining room where a feast of Cranberry-stuffed Chicken awaited them.

"We should have taken a plane to get here, it's friggin freezing!" Lelouch complained as he carried C.C.'s bags up the long drive towards the Manor. "Not too mention I can barely see anything in this snow."
"Stop your whining you big baby," She snickered. "I thought you were the Knight of Justice, the great Zero! You're not going to tell me that a little walk in the snow is going to defeat you now are you?"
"Well if you hadn't packed a whole wardrobe for me to carry we would probably be there by now!" Lelouch shot back.
"But I only took what I needed," C.C. chortled. "Besides it's only two luggage cases. You make it sound like it's so difficult."
"Yeah well it is," Lelouch retorted, "I've only got my one small bag with a change of clothing and my essentials."
C.C. rolled her eyes, "Fine you whiner, I'll come help you." She removed his small bag from around his neck and slung it over her shoulder, "There is that better now?"
"Much," he said sarcastically.
"Look there's the mansion!" C.C. exclaimed. In the distance a small porch-light illuminated the front of the large manor.
Lelouch looked wearily up the long winding drive that followed the shoreline up towards the rocky outcropping the manor sat upon, "It has to be at least eleven PM by now, it'll be midnight or later by the time we get up there."
"Not if we hurry!" C.C. said excitedly.
Lelouch let out a long sigh, "Then we'd better get going."

"So Euphemia was Geassed by Lelouch because your brother couldn't control his power?" Villetta was mortified. "That's horrible."
"It was an accident," Euphie defended Lelouch's intensions, "Even if it was a stupid one."
"It cost a lot of people their lives," Tamaki scowled at the dinner table while he passed the sweet potatoes to Akira.
"How do you think I feel about it?" Euphie said softly. "After Enoch dispelled the Geass charm I've had to live with it, and it will live with me forever."
"Honestly, can we please change the subject?" Kaguya inquired in an unusually harsh tone for the normally jovial Lady-chairman. "I'd like to forget all the mistakes we ALL made during that war. We're not at war anymore and this party was supposed to be to commemorate the Spirit of Giving. I can think of no better gift to give than that of forgiveness. If I can forgive Euphemia for what happened then all of you can and I don't need or want to hear any more about it from anyone, what's done is done."
"Well, I wonder if our host is Zero?" Gregor inquired to everyone at the table in an effort to change the subject and shift the tension to where he felt it should be. "He's not here right?"
"I don't believe he's here yet," Nunnally said through a wine induced smile as she sipped from her goblet.
"Nunnally, is that your last glass of wine?" Cornelia asked her sister politely.
"It probably should be," Nunnally said with rosy cheeks.
The speculation of whom their generous host was lasted until they said their good nights and retired for the evening to their bed chambers.

"We finally made it," Lelouch collapsed on the side of the door huffing out billows of hot breath in the frigid air.
"Looks like all the lights are off," C.C. said sadly. "Guess everyone must be in bed."
"Just get the door open so we don't freeze to death out here," he complained.
"What? Don't worry, if you die out here you'll thaw tomorrow and be alive for the party by evening."
"Not funny funny," his teeth chattered.
One of the double doors opened up and a silver haired woman greeted them. "Welcome, we weren't expecting you until tomorrow, but I heard a thud on the front door as I was doing my rounds before bed. Good think I came to the door. You two look like you're about to catch your death of cold out here. Please, come in immediately. I'll make a fire for you and warm you up some dinner."
"Thank you kind woman," Lelouch said as he entered the warm home.
"You may call my Delphi," the blue eyed beauty told him as she took their bags. "The main level study is through that door," she pointed to a large oak door at the far end of the grand hall, "I'll bring you your food and some warm tea after I’ve got your bags in your room." With that she carried their bags up the grand-staircase that led to the upper levels of Red-Manor.
C.C. and Lelouch made their way into the large study. It was furnished with Victorian style furniture throughout its depth which clearly ran the whole length of the North side of the mansion. Bookshelves lined the walls and were arranged in rows in the center of the chamber like a library. A fireplace was at the center of the east wall of the room with a hearth that was as wide as a KMF, and above it was a large stone mantle. A small inferno blazed behind its brass mesh screen warming the room comfortably.
“Wow this is some place,” C.C. said with a smile as the two of them sat down on the large couch in front of the blaze.
“Sure is,” Lelouch said as he looked up at the mid-sized gun above the mantle and read the placard, “Action Arms Thomson Model 1927, huh?”
“What is it?” C.C. asked him.
“I’ve never heard of that gun company before…” He was interrupted by Delphi entering the room with their food and hot tea on a serving-cart she rolled in front of her.
“Here is your dinner Madame and Monsieur, and a map of the Manor.” She smiled at them, “I’m retiring for the evening so if you need anything just follow the map to your room. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight Delphi,” Lelouch said as the warmth of the fire drove away the chill from his body. He scowled at C.C., “did the cold drive away your manners?”
“Oh, GOODNIGHT DELPHI!” C.C. yelled at the top of her lungs after the woman had left the room.
“Shut up!” A voice boomed from above them.
C.C. snickered, “That sounds like Tamaki.”
Lelouch nearly choked on the piece of chicken breast and cranberry-stuffing he was nibbling on, “Yes it does. I guess that means others were invited as well.”
“It must be nearly one in the morning by now…,” C.C. had barely touched her food. “Merry Christmas Lelouch,” she cooed as she snuggled up next to him.
“Uh…Merry Christmas?” He asked more than stated.
C.C. giggled, “It’s what you say today. It’s Christmas, when the baby Jesus was born to bring light to the world by his teachings and thus cleanse the world of its sins and bring about peace.”
“I think he failed,” Lelouch snickered.
“No dear, we’re the ones who failed,” C.C. kissed him on the cheek.
“So tell me about him,” Lelouch said putting down his fork as he lye back on the couch.
C.C. laid down next to him and rested her head on his chest, “There are multiple accounts of his life by his twelve Apostles, but I like Mathew the best so I'll tell the story from his perspective. Starting with Chapter two…”
“Why Chapter two?” Lelouch interrupted her.
“Because Chapter one is the genealogy of Jesus, and you don’t want to hear that do you?” C.C. tittered.
“No I guess not,” he humored her.
“Now when Jesus was born in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”
Lelouch’s eyes grew heavy as C.C. recanted the tale, in a few moments he was asleep.

“Is anybody here?” Kallen knocked on the door to Red-Manor in the light of dawn. Her duffle bag was slung over her shoulder as she waited for someone to answer in the cold of the New England morning.
“Guess not, they’re probably still all asleep.” Kallen mused as she took the key to the front door from her pocket and unlocked it.
Kallen looked around the vestibule and peeked through the finely cut glass of the large oaken doors in front of her before opening one of them and walking into the large main hall of the house. A grand staircase was before her and numerous doors lined the wall of the vaulted room.
“Nice house,” Kallen said to herself. She saw a light under a door on the left of the room. “Maybe somebody is in here,” She walked into the room.
“Must be the Library,” She said out loud as she walked over to where a pair of couches flanked a fireplace. The last remaining logs within the hearth still burned giving off their light and warmth to the interior of the room.
Kallen walked over to the heat and warmed her hands. She turned to sit down on one of the couches and noticed someone sleeping under a blanket on the couch opposite the one she sat down upon. Better not disturb him. She thought to herself as the person began to stir.
The blanket rolled back to expose C.C., still dressed in her clothes from the night before. “Oh hi Kallen,” C.C. said sleepily as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
Kallen stood and stared in utter disbelief as C.C. got up off the cough like a drone. “I need to pee,” She mumbled, but Kallen didn’t notice. Her furious gaze was fixated on the person lying underneath C.C.
C.C. stopped dead in her tracks as she realized she wasn’t dreaming, “KALLEN!”
Lelouch’s eyes shot open, “What?” He said as he sat up to see her standing by the fireplace glaring at him with eyes filled with rage.
“You son of a bitch,” said Kallen with menace. “You lied to me…” Kallen glanced around the room for a weapon. The Thompson caught her attention immediately and she grabbed the submachinegun from its resting place along with the drum magazine below it.
“Kallen what the hell are you doing?” C.C. asked frantically.
“Lelouch is supposed to be dead…right Lelouch?” Kallen loaded and cocked the gun.
“Kallen let’s talk about this,” Lelouch pleaded with her.
“You’ve done enough talking!” Kallen unloaded a burst from the gun as Lelouch jumped over the couch which was riddled with bullets.
The sound of gunfire reverberated through the house.
“What the hell was that?” Zhou shot up out of bed, her bare breasts bouncing as she did so.
“Sounds like gunfire,” Tamaki said from where he lay naked beside her.
“I know what it sounds like you idiot!” Zhou rolled him out of bed. “We need to find out what’s going on.”
“It’s probably nothing…” Tamaki protested when he heard a female voice yell “LELOUCH!” Tamaki’s eyes shot wide open, “That’s Kallen!”
“Let’s get down there,” Zhou said as she put her shirt on, “Get dressed Tamaki.”
“What was that?” Euphemia sat up in bed.
Suzaku was already dressed and fighting to get his boots on, “Sounds like Kallen found out Lelouch is alive! But if we don’t get down there he won’t be for long.”
Kallen fired a burst at Lelouch as he and C.C. fled through the main hall towards the doors on the right side of the chamber. The rounds shattered the glass of the vestibule doors and tore up the furniture.
“Come back here LELOUCH! I want you to know what it feels like to have your heart torn out, to know what it’s like to have the one person you truly loved betray you.”
“This is insane Kallen!” Lelouch retorted as he and C.C. barely made it through one of the exits before Kallen filled the Oak door with bullets.
Kallen ran across to where C.C. and Lelouch had fled from her, “You think I’m insane? How about lying to the whole world just to save your sister? Or starting a revolution and lying to a whole country just because your mommy and daddy didn’t love you? What about having your best friend kill you so you don't have to face the crappy world you left behind?”
Kallen chased Lelouch and C.C. out onto a grand-balcony which overlooked the rocky shoreline of Cape Ann.
Lelouch stopped on the railing at the edge with a sheer drop and the ocean below him. He looked over the rail and then turned to face Kouzuki, “Kallen let C2 go…you’re anger is at me not her.”
Tears filled Kallen’s eyes, “Is that what this is all about? You chose that green-haired goblin over me?” She pointed the Thompson at him. “Why? Why didn’t you just tell me that day I shared my feelings for you that you loved her? Why did you torture me?”
Lelouch put up his hands defensively, “because I didn’t love C2 back then…I didn’t love anyone Kallen...not you, not C2, no one.”
Delphi ran into the main hall armed with a military assault-rifle just as the front door to Red-Manor opened up and a person dressed in a jet-black trench coat, large-rimmed black hat, and mirrored sunglasses walked in. His black-leather cowboy boots crunched on the broken glass of the shattered crystal windows. She stopped in her tracks, “I’m sorry I didn’t realize she’d react like this.”
He put up his hand in a gesture she knew meant that he’d deal with it.
“I told you to live your own life,” Lelouch said with a scowl, “I really did die Kallen. I fully intended to sacrifice myself for the sake of the world. I wasn’t hiding with C2, I didn’t love her, or you, or anyone, that’s why I ended my life, to bring happiness to this world.
Kallen’s face contorted in anger, “Then how is it you’re here now?”
“It was Euryale, one of the Olympians, who brought me back to life. I didn’t betray you. Honest. The feelings I have now for C2 didn’t manifest itself until after I gained Euryale’s code.”
“Oh really? Then if that’s the case I suppose you can explain what the hell is going on here?” Kallen shot back.
“That sounds like a good idea,” a male voice bellowed from behind Kallen. “You can start by explaining why my house is all shot to hell.”
Kallen saw the shock on Lelouch’s face and turned to face the man.
Her heart leapt into her throat as she met Enoch’s glare, “How?”
“You’re the one holding my Tommy gun you tell me.” He said with a sarcastic grin.
“But you…the satellite exploded…in orbit…there’s no way,” Said Kallen in a meek tone.
“Hah!” Enoch raised an eyebrow, “You didn’t actually think I’d die from a little boom-boom and a fall did you? I’ve been there done that plenty of times in the past.”
“How did you get back to Earth?” Akira asked as he and the other guests made their way out onto the grand-balcony. Lelouch's announced confession had made it into all their ears.
“I took the express elevator down,” Enoch snickered.
“That still doesn’t change the fact that you lied to me about Lelouch,” Kallen barked. She was shaking with a mix of emotions.
“Lied to you?” Enoch put his hands on his hips, “Kallen I never lied to you about Lelouch. I told you that I wasn’t Zero when we first met and that I thought it would be too painful for you to learn who Zero really was, and by the look of my house I’d say I was right.”
Kallen’s face was flushed with embarrassment and hurt as he walked up to her, “How can I live like this? It’s not fair!” Kouzuki’s lips trembled as the tears ran down her cheeks as she dropped the gun, “I’ve lost everyone I've every loved, I’ve lost…too much Enoch.”
“Hey, what’s with all the gunfire and yelling out here?” a blonde haired man asked as he walked through the door Enoch had come through.
“Oh my God!” Lena blurt out, “It’s Commander Weinberg!”
“But he died,” Anya said in disbelief.
Enoch chortled as he made a dismissive gesture with his hand, “Death is a primitive concept.”
Kallen’s eyes were wide with shock while her face lost all its color. Her mouth moved but nothing came out.
Enoch leaned down to Kallen’s ear, “Merry Christmas Kallen.”
She wrapped her arms around Enoch and kissed him on the lips, “Thank you.”
Enoch smiled at her warmly, “Hey, what’s Christmas without a few miracles right?”
Kallen released him and ran to Commander Weinberg, “GINO!” She yelled as she threw her arms around him and squeezed him to reassure herself he was real.
“Hey Kallen be careful, he only just got out of the Bacta Tank a few days ago!” Enoch yelled at her with a chuckle. “He’s not ready for any hanky-panky yet.”
Gino hugged her tightly, “I missed you Kallen.”
She looked deep into his blue eyes, "And I you..."
They kissed gently.
"Awww," Mika sighed. "That's so sweet."
Enoch turned to Lelouch and C.C., “Well? Gotta admit Big-Z you sure know how to make a party lively. At least you guys woke up everybody for breakfast, which is good because I’m starving. Let’s eat.”

The events of the day passed quickly after breakfast. The start of a day had been carefully planned by their gracious host, and consisted of a horse drawn carriage ride through the twenty-five acre estate to a nearby ice-covered pond; called Gray-Gull Hole. Enoch's guest-party was provided with skates for the recently buffed ice-rink and the full Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra awaited them under a heated Amphitheatre by the side of frozen pond. The mid-morning fun zipped by until the symphony retired at 10:00 am and lunch was served to all under the warmth of the Amphitheatre.
After lunch Enoch and company proceeded to Plum Cove via horse-drawn carriage until they came to tall-ship, a Square-Rigger in design, whose long-boat awaited them at the shore. The ship sailed around the scenic coastline of the Cape during the warmest part of Christmas day and out a few miles to the watch whales. The Christmas Goose was served on board ship at 2:00 pm and was followed by Enoch telling stories of his high seas adventures; one in which he and C.C. had shared a rather precarious voyage.
The ship dropped off the party goers at 4:00 pm at Folly Cove beach via long-boat as the sun began to set. From the beach the group rode via horse-drawn carriage once more back up to Red-Manor for the Pizza-Party.
"Oooooooh!" C.C. bounced up and down in her seat as they waited in the living room for the pizza to arrive.
"Will you calm down," Lelouch snickered as he removed his white wig and sunglasses; his disguise of the day had been very effective in fooling all those they had met during their trek.
Tamaki looked over at him, "I still can't believe it's you man." He had been in shock by the revelation and Ougi had to reprimand him covertly on numerous occasions to protect Lelouch and Euphemia's identities.
"How did you manage it?" Zhou asked Lelouch. "It seems all so surreal to me."
Lelouch grinned, "It wasn't what I had planned believe me."
"Still, I think it's for the better," Ougi said to Lelouch with a raised brow, "you can help us rebuild this time."
Lelouch nodded, "I agree. Last time I took the easy way out."
"Can we leave the past behind us please?" Euphie said as she removed her wig. "This day has been wonderful, so please don't spoil it by brining up that awful point in our shared past." She had worn a brown haired wig and similar get-up to that of her brother, not that anyone could have gotten past Suzaku or Cornelia to discover her identity in the first place.
"Well at least they've seen fit to do so," Kaguya tittered as Kallen and Gino came into the room arm-in-arm.
"No kidding they've been glued to each other all day," Anya added with a wink at Tetsuo. He got her hint and removed her coat for her before the two of them grabbed a pair of comfy chairs next to a coffee table.
They removed their coats then Kallen and Gino sat down on one of the love seats in the room together. They'd been snuggling on and off since breakfast and whispering amongst themselves.
Cornelia and Gilford were holding hands as they sat down on another of the love seats in the room. "Who would ever have thought we would all be sitting here together like this even a few months ago."
"How true," Nunnally agreed in a distant voice. She hadn't said much, but her smile was with her all day and it still didn't waver.
"I wish we could take pictures of this moment," Milley lamented. Rivaltz agreed as he rung her coat.
"So old buddy," Rivaltz addressed Lelouch, "you up for a game of chess while we wait?" He gestured towards the chess table under one of the windows.
Lelouch got up and walked over to Rivaltz, "I'm happy to see you again my friend."
They shook hands briefly then embraced.
"I missed you too man," said Rivaltz through teary eyes.
"Okay that's enough of that!" Enoch said as he came into the room pulling a floor-truck filled with wrapped gifts. "I don't need to see you two getting all mushy right before I hand out the gifts."
"Where's the pizza?" C.C. asked innocently.
"It's on its way," Enoch snickered. Behind him Delphi entered the room with a food cart that had a dozen boxes of pizza (of various kinds and varieties) with plates and chilled bottled beer.
C.C. zoomed over to the stack of pizza-boxes, "Tee-Hee!" She clapped her hands and started looking through the boxes.
"C2, those aren't all for you," Enoch chuckled. "Please save some for everybody else."
C.C. gave him a hurt look, "but they're all different and they all look soooooooo good."
Enoch came up to her and made her a plate of pizza with a slice from each box, "Happy?"
C.C. nodded, "Mmmm-Hmmmmm," she smiled as she chewed down her first piece.
"Beer?" Enoch asked her, but she shook her head no.
"I'll have one!" Tamaki yelled.
"Alright then," Enoch tittered, "who wants what?" He proceeded to dish out the pizza and beer to everyone as the conversations ranged from what the future held for them to the erecting of the new government to the latest fashions.
With the conclusion of the pizza-feast Enoch handed out the gifts to each member of the group.
Each of them opened their wrapped packages which contained books of a type and kind unseen anywhere. All were different and certainly appropriate to the recipient.
Lelouch thumbed through the heavy leather bound book he held in his hand, "The Idea of Freedom by Mortimer J. Adler?" He queried Enoch.
"A great book," Enoch said, "and one that should assist you in the coming months I'm sure."
"Mine's Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises," Kaguya smiled at the work.
Enoch nodded, "Another excellent work. It contains information on the best form of economy for the current situation the world is in."
"This book is extremely interesting," Lloyd said out loud to no one in particular as he got lost in thought while flipping through the pages of Quantum Mechanics by Albert Messiah.
Rakshata was equally intrigued with the tomb she skimmed over, "The Nature of Space and Time by Steven Hawking and Roger Penrose, truly interesting material Enoch how ever did you come by these?"
"I have my methods," he winked at her then looked at the whole group, "I chose books I thought that would best suit each of you and books you could not acquire anywhere else. It has always been my contention that knowledge is the greatest gift a person can give to another in physical form. I hope that the knowledge I give to all of you will help you in your endeavor to make this world a better place and prepare you for the trials that lay ahead."
"Rest assured that it shall Enoch," Cornelia smiled at him as she held the two-volume copy of The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812 by Alfred Thayer Mahan.
Enoch poured himself a tall glass of Rum and drank it down as he watched his friends and comrades enjoy themselves.
"This is our gift to you isn't it?" Nunnally asked him as she carried her three volume set of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England by Sir William Blackstone, and sat beside him.
"How do you mean?" He asked Nunnally as Lelouch defeated Rivaltz in their second game of Chess as evidenced by Rivaltz cursing with a laugh.
"I think that to you Enoch, there is something far more valuable then knowledge...isn't there? That's why you agreed to fulfill my wish and bring everyone I cared about together, but you must have planned this far in advance of that didn't you?" Nunnally put him on the spot.
"I admit I did plan this a long time ago after a gifted Geass user told me how it would unfold," Enoch smiled at her and then at all of them, "So yes, there is one thing that is more precious to me than just knowledge or my mission."
Nunnally cocked her head and smiled at him. "I thought so."
"Well what is it?" Cecile asked on the edge of her comfy chair.
Enoch smiled, "Friends."
There was a long silence in the room as his simple answer sunk in.
"Merry Christmas my friends," Enoch held up his glass in a toast.
His party did the same.
"Wow," Lena said, "I suppose we all feel the same way?"
The group nodded in agreement, though Tamaki needed a jab from Zhou.
Reika giggled at the sight of Zhou prodding Tamaki and smiled at Enoch, "So how far back did you plan for this moment?"
Enoch gave her a wide grin, "Oh...about when I trapped Tartarus under the ice."
"WHAT!" the group shouted in unison.
"But that's a tale for another time," the amber eyed man said with a chuckle as he drank down the last drought of his rum.

Thus Ends Dirge of Daedalus

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Old 2010-02-01, 01:59   Link #42
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Old 2010-02-01, 02:05   Link #43
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Side Story One: Geass Disorder.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into with the denizens of The World of Geass. In our search for the Klipot-Aemulari throughout the multiverse, I never dreamed I’d come upon a place which was actually its own mini-multiverse. Complete with a God, angels and demons. Had I known such a place existed I would have taken you with me my friend since those kinds of worlds are your forte not mine.”-Excerpt of a letter from Enoch Apsu to Bryan Briant, Head of The Order of the Aleph dated 5.0301 GS (Galactic Standard, 3001 AD Earth Relative).

Enoch Apsu trudged his way through the murky swamps of the dead-lands of the land of Deadra towards the ancient stone gateway in front of him. His full-plate armor was covered in the black blood of countless monsters he had slain while making his way to his goal. He cut through the tangled mesh of swamp-vines and dead-trees towards the archway with a finely wrought Silron-metal sword that was covered in Runes on its blade from hilt to tip. The stench of rotting flesh and vegetable matter offended his olfactory senses as he finally gained the stair to the gate.
A thousand years in this damn world and nothing to show for it. He mused as he placed his palm on the side of the archway. I need a vacation he thought to himself while the flash of blue surrounded him and a wooden door appeared before him; he opened it and walked through.
On the other side of the door was a vast circular chamber; The Room of Many Worlds. The round hall contained nearly one-hundred doors that were all identical in appearance to the one he had just come through, but all led to other dimensions, Earths, and in some cases totally different worlds.
“Ahhhh,” he sighed in relief. “Home sweet home.” Enoch smiled as he started heading towards the staircase on the far wall that led up to the second level of the room. He climbed the stair to the balcony and walkway that ringed the chamber which comprised the second floor. Numerous archways led from the upper level to other parts of the large stone building.
“I need a hot bath and a stiff drink,” He said to himself as he made his way towards the enormous main bathroom of the vast stone Castle he now strode through. He tossed the large enchanted-sword on the marble floor like an old rag and began stripping off his armor. He turned the brass-dragon shaped faucet and a stream of hot liquid gushed out into the black-marble tub “If I never see another undead Knight, Fire-Breathing Dragon, or Mad Sorcerer, it will be too soon.” Enoch grumbled as he sank his body into the hot water.
“How about a world that is more like this one?” A female voice inquired from the entry way to the washroom.
Enoch turned to see a beautiful, bodacious woman with waist long silver hair and Ice-blue eyes that betrayed her cybernetic nature standing at the threshold of the now steam filled bathroom. “Oh, hello Delphi, when did you get back?”
“Just a few moments ago,” She told him as she stripped off the spacefighter-pilot suit she wore and joined him in the tub. “Mmmm…a hot bath is a good way to drive off the chill of deep-space.”
“So how was your journey?” Enoch inquired with a smirk.
“If you mean, did I find one of the ten Klipot-Aemulari?, the answer is NO” She shrugged. “But I’m sure there’s got to be one in one of the dimensions adjacent to it. I could sense one there somewhere but it was always like it was behind a wall or screen. Anyway, I’ve just got word from Metatron that there may be one in the place you’re getting shipped off too.”
“He doesn’t waste any time does he?” Enoch laughed with a sarcastic grin.
Delphi leaned back in the tub, “No he doesn’t. We need to acquire the Aemulari before they cause any more havoc on the fabric of the multiverse.”
“I know,” Enoch said closing his eyes. “So what’s the name they’ve given to the universe I’m being assigned to?”
“Metatron called it the World of Geass,” Delphi said with a smile. “Apparently people in that world are governed by a spiritual-vortex caused by a temporal displacement in the membrane of that universe. This vortex has caused the creation of a collective conscience that has achieved a sort of demi-godhood.”
“Oh that’s just peachy,” Enoch stated snidely. “So do I have to take this demi-god on?”
“No,” She stated in a firm tone. “Your mission is to see what is causing the vortex and report back here. Metatron thinks that an event or events along the timeline of that universe are what are causing the vibrations through the fabric of the multiverse.”
“Event or events?” He opened his eyes. “What kind of vague crap is that…I wasn’t born yesterday and he knows it?” Enoch furrowed his brow, “What he really means is that there is a person or persons messing with the fabric of their universe and that’s causing the effect on the multiverse. Thus he thinks that they may have an Aemulari. So who are the responsible parties?”
“It’s a group calling itself the Geass Order,” Delphi told him with a cautious eye. “But YOU ARE NOT to dispose of them or interfere with the affairs of that world unless it assists you in your mission. You are only there to find out what is causing the vortex and then report back here.”
Enoch shrugged his shoulders, “What’s with all the warnings and hostilities? You act like I don’t know the rules.”
She rolled her eyes, “Oh I know you are AWARE of the laws which govern us Enforcers but you just don’t obey them.”
Enoch put his hands up defensively, “Sure I do” He chuckled, “I just interpret them differently then you guys, that’s all.”
She laughed, “So by your interpretation is it okay to overthrow a socialist-dictatorship; slay his entire army of clones; and alter the course of a whole plane of existence’s timeline just to satisfy your sense of justice?”
“If it gets results and I complete my mission…” He gave her a wide grin, “YES!”
Delphi tittered, “I don’t know why I put up with you…you’re impossible!”
Enoch looked at her innocently, “I know, but you still love me don’t you?”
“I do,” She leaned over and kissed him on the lips, “Which reminds me. I’ve got some time before I have to go.”
“Where are you off to this time?” He asked her in a whisper as she came over to his side of the tub.
“Oh you know, just another run-of-the-mill cyberpunk world where my talents are the most useful,” She kissed him again on the lips.
“I like your talents,” He said as he put his arms around her and they embraced their passion.

Next Side Story: "Blip"

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Old 2010-02-14, 18:38   Link #44
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Side Story Two: Blip!

“When in the course of Human events it often becomes necessary for good men to challenge governments of long standing which, after a series of incremental and long standing abuses, impairs the inalienable rights and liberties of its citizens and becomes uncaring and oppressive to its own ends. It is the natural right, no the natural duty, for the citizenry to rise up with arms and abolish said government in order to secure a just and proper one. Only a government by the people, for the people, and in concert with the protection of the rights of the people, rather than against them, is a government a just one.”-Excerpt from a speech given by Adonis (Champion of Aphrodite) during the foundation of the 1st Galactic-Republic.

Artemis flew her Theta-Kolossos Automatos at high speed through the asteroid field as she chased down the Babylonian Sargon-Mark IV battlesuit and fired a hail of Hades-cannon bolts at it from cannons on each side of the tip of her machine's spade-shaped medium combat-shield. The Sargon-Mark IV dodged the barrage and spun around at her. The Babylonian machine brought its multi-barreled gunpod to bear on her and fired.
The woman's long dirty-blonde hair shuffled to the side as the Sigils of Geass appeared instantly in Artemis’ jade-green eyes, “Fool!” She spat at the Babylonian pilot as her Theta-Kolossos became invisible.
Artemis reappeared behind the Sargon-Mark IV and riddled it with Hades cannon bolts from the shield cannons of her machine. The Greek goddess then finished off the Babylonian machine with the pair beam-sabers of her machine in one fluid swipe from their hip mounted scabbards.
“They’re getting more persistent in this sector my sister,” A male voice spoke over the com.
“I agree Apollo,” she said as she scanned the area, “We were lucky we got the jump on them this time. Their force-strength in this area continues to grow inexplicably.”
“But why now after all this time?” Apollo questioned her; seeking her consul.
“I can only surmise that they’ve chosen to abolish the peace we once held because Zeus has gotten feebleminded and uncaring about this world. His obsession with the netherworld will be the downfall of us all. Marduk must sense weakness in us and so he is finally making his move.”
“What do you think it is that he hopes to accomplish that hasn’t been tried already?” Apollo asked as they scanned the area for more Babylonian machines.
“I don’t know,” Artemis flew her Theta-Kolossos up next to his machine, “but if Marduk's Supreme Commander, Ishtar, continues pushing her forces into the Alpha quadrant then we will almost certainly be at war with them soon. It puzzles me that after nearly ten-thousand years of relative stability that the Babylonians would send their forces into our space without explanation with so much ferocity as to threaten an actual interstellar war.”
“Perhaps Marduk has been deposed and now Ishtar is Queen?” Apollo ventured as they weaved their way through the mass of floating rocks. The twin suns of Alpha Centauri illuminated many of the asteroids.
“Perhaps...” Artemis started to say before a blue-flash caught her attention. “Apollo!”
“I see it,” he said as a female voice cut into their conversation.
“Attention all Kosmos-Hoplite units, we’ve detected an unauthorized spacefold some twenty-five hundred miles from our position. Its size and shape indicate that it may be a Babylonian Ziggurat-class Dreadnaught, so be on your guard.”
Artemis checked her long-range sensors, “Apollo that doesn’t look like a Ziggurat-class on my scope. How about yours?”
“No,” he answered her in a befuddled tone, “Call me crazy but its silhouette looks like that of an old city-ship.”
“My thoughts exactly,” Artemis said as she changed radio frequencies on her communicator.
“Attention Pythagoras,” Artemis called back to their space-battleship. “This is Archer team requesting permission to investigate.”
“I can’t permit that Artemis, it’s too dangerous for just the two of you to take on a Ziggurat by yourselves,” the woman’s voice retorted.
“Aphrodite, it’s not a Ziggurat,” Apollo protested.
"How can you be sure?" Aphrodite demanded.
“Well...because it looks like an old city-ship on our sensors.” said Artemis with a sigh as she knew her superior would probably not believe her.
“City-ship?” Aphrodite scoffed, “That’s not very likely since those ships were huge. Our sensors should be able to identify such a craft easily and yet they can’t seem to get a fix on it. I suppose it’s possible that our long range sensors are scrambled due to all the iron-ferrite and other minerals of the asteroid field.”
"Commander Aphrodite, there is no reason to believe that the Babylonians would risk a Fleet command vessel without an escort of warships and I'm not picking up any Tiamat-class battleships on my scope. There would be at least a few of those with a Ziggurat-class." Apollo stated.
Aphrodite’s tone became inquisitive, “You’re probably right Apollo. Very well, you are clear to check it out Archer team, but use extreme caution. It is conceivable that space-pirates may have found a derelict city-ship and are using it as a base. Those old battle-fortresses may be obsolete, but they used to pack quite a punch.”
“Affirmative Pythagoras, Archer team is proceeding to investigate at once, Artemis out.” The pair of Theta-Kolossos sped towards the position of the object.

“Artemis, I’m reading five battlesuits inbound at three O’clock,” Apollo said in a mechanical tone as their pair of Theta-Kolossos broke out of the edge of the asteroid field.
“Roger that Apollo I see them.” Artemis replied as the bronze colored unknowns came into view.
“They’re not moving particularly fast,” He said as he scanned them. “I’ve cross-referenced their silhouettes through the attack computer and it says that the lead machine is a first generation Kolossos type Automatos while the other four are second generation Hoplite-Orion types.”
“First and second generation machines?” Artemis was baffled. “Even the poorest space-pirates use Alpha-class Automatos which are fiftieth generation compared to these antiques.”
“Still they’re not that much different than our machines my sister.” Apollo said as he scanned over their weapon systems.
“You mean they’re still deadly,” Artemis grumbled.
“Yes,” he answered her as they slowed down so as not to overshoot the five bronze-colored mecha. "Even though our Automatos have greater range, endurance, sensors, engines, speed, and pilot interface systems, those ancient mecha are still quite formidable within their element."
"You mean they're good in planetary operations," She added as they flew up on the squad of unknowns.
"Precisely," Apollo concurred, "which is why I highly doubt these are space-pirates. They're flying in a patrol formation that was standard before our peoples took to the stars."
"They're packed pretty tightly together I have to admit that," Artemis was beginning to see where Apollo was going with his line of thinking.
"I'm going to hail them," Artemis told her brother.
"Is that wise?" Apollo cautioned.
"It may well prevent any unwanted hostilities and if by some miracle this city-ship is the one I think you believe it is then we have to contact them before they get within attack range."
"Very well," said Apollo. "Let's say hello."
Artemis opened up the general Olympian communications frequency that had been used for thousands of years and called out to the approaching Automatos.
"This is Artemis, current commander of the Archer Special Operations group and holder of a gene-rank of Goddess; approaching Automatos identify yourselves!"
"This is Jason, Champion of Athena, we read you Artemis," Jason's voice came back over the com.
"Champion of Athena!" Apollo exclaimed in shock. "How is that possible?"
"It's a long story," Jason told him with a laugh as his Atlas flew up along side the pair of Theta-Kolossos. The differences between their generations were clearly evident by the lack of wings on the newer machines and their elongated, spade-shaped shields.
"You can tell it to Aphrodite when she arrives," Artemis told him with a chuckle.

The Pythagoras class of space-battleship was nearly identical to the Argos class of Aerial warships save for the tell tale Fold-Ring which surrounded the Pythagoras rather than the four "wings" used on the ancient Argos types. The modern ship was slightly larger than its ancestral cousin though not outwardly more advanced in appearance.
Aphrodite's flagship lead a procession of smaller Ajax-class cruisers, Hermes-class destroyers, Ixion-class frigates, and Artreus-Class escorts all of which were of the same basic cigar-shape with a Fold-Ring around the fuselage about one-third of the way from the tip of the aft-mounted Daedalus-Drive engine.
The fleet of ships flew in formation around the massive city-ship of Tartarus.
"That is truly an amazing story Athena," Aphrodite said within the conference room inside the central tower of the city. "I'm amazed that Enoch Apsu is still alive."
"He's a devil," Athena said as she sipped upon the goblet of nectar in her hand. "I'd like to return at once with your forces so that I might exact vengeance upon him and this protégé of his; Zero."
"Please forgive me Athena, but I cannot grant you that," said Aphrodite with a calm smile. "The kind of honor that you're still clinging to has evolved into a more civilized version. There is still revenge no doubt, but the galaxy is not a place where petty scores are settled through the use of massive forces any longer. We cannot afford to lose either this city-ship, or its two remaining battleships in this sector."
"Are Marduk's forces that great a threat?" Athena growled.
"They are," Aphrodite said with a grave look, "the situation may be worse then we know. All along our core-ward border with the Babylonians there have been intense skirmishes and fighting. No colonies or worlds have fallen to them as of yet, but many have been attacked and plundered to some extent. This sector seems to be the thrust of their whole operation. Why, we don't exactly know, save for the possibility that it may prove to be a flanking move on our home system in the Orion Nebula."
Athena contemplated her words, "When did they start this incursion?"
"By the reckoning you're used too, about six years ago." Aphrodite was puzzled, "why do you ask?"
"I ask because the young Oracle I told you about, Nunnally, told me that according to her brother Lelouch, their father had activated something she called the Ragnarok Device. It only just occurred to me that she may have meant the Altar of Nibiru."
"WHAT!" Aphrodite stood up. She knew the implications of such a foolish act and it bode ill for all the stellar-nations of mankind that inhabited the Alpha and Beta quadrants. "The fools! That device was not created by man. We don't know its full potential, nor even what its true purpose was. Even our forefathers, the Atlanteans and Mu, were careful not to activate the Altar of Nibiru because they understood its purpose better than we and still they could only garner the power to make themselves gods and champions from it, they never discovered what its true purpose was. Only the Old Ones knew what it was built for and they've been extinct for over 100,000 years."
"Do you think the activation of the device was detected by the Babylonians?" Athena asked with a sly smile.
"It is possible," Aphrodite said with a frown, "but don't think I'll break the quarantine on the star system that contains the most precious ancient relic from the Empire of the Old Ones to find out."
"You mean that not only is Ge off limits to our people but the entire star-system as well due to the Nibiru," Athena was stunned by her admission.
"Yes, the Nibiru is believed to lie within the great storm-eye of planet Ba'al." Aphrodite stated firmly. "If the Altar was activated and the power of Nibiru awoken then it is possible Marduk sensed it since his power is to see into the Netherworld and speak with the dead. He has long sought to obtain the power of that device, and we Olympians kept the promise we made to the other powers to guard it. The problem is, even though we know where the Nibiru is supposed to be, we do not know how to reach it because as best we can garner Nibiru resides both within and outside our plane of existence simultaneously." Aphrodite got hold of herself, "But Nibiru cannot be their objective, Marduk is surely aware that if his fleet breaks the quarantine then all of the other powers will unify against Babylon and crush him."
Athena opened up a star-map of the local group of stars around Sol. She pushed a few keys on her display and then brought the image up on the main viewer for Aphrodite to see. "It's seems obvious to me that the attacks on these two flanks are to distract you," Athena highlighted systems that had been assaulted along the Alpha/Beta quadrant border. Their main thrust has been along these systems here." A 3D image showed the path of the heaviest attacks that Aphrodite had reported to Athena which showed a clear train to Sol.
"Interstellar War or not, Marduk's forces are heading straight for the Helios star-system." Athena stated with confidence.
"But that's insane!" Aphrodite told her adamantly.
Athena frowned, "Maybe so, but with your fleet diminishing in every encounter with them there is no time to reconsider; Alpha Centauri must be fortified in order to repel any attempt at invasion."

"What is it Nunnally?" Lelouch asked from his comfy chair in the main study chamber of New-Brunswick Castle as put down his book and watched her as she stared distantly out the picture window of the room towards the spring sky full of stars.
"I'm not sure," Nunnally didn't turn to him, but instead she strained her eyes towards the heavens, "It's like I can hear voices. Some are talking to one another in various conversations and activities, while others are calling out to me."
"What?" Euphemia said looking up from the book Enoch had given her for Christmas: The New Atlantis by Sir Francis Bacon-published in 1627 AD.
"I said I can hear them," Nunnally said softly almost to herself.
"Who?" Suzaku asked as he finished off the chapter half-way through the copy of The Complete Works of John Locke he was reading.
"Can you hear voices of people you know are dead Nunnally?" C.C. asked from the comfy chair next to Lelouch. She was finishing off a large cheese-pizza that Enoch had brought by earlier.
Nunnally closed her eyes and tried to sift through the voices in her head, "Yes," she said softly, "I can hear Clovis, and...Shirley."
The mention of their names caused Lelouch to swallow hard. He knew his sister was not going mad. Nunnally possessed an ability that few of them understood, yet was very real.
"I thought as much," C.C. said. "You're able to hear people in the world of C."
"But why only now?" Nunnally inquired of her.
"I hear them too," C.C. said timidly, "it started a few weeks after the Tartarus folded from the Earth."
"What does it mean?" Nunnally pleaded with C.C.
"It means your world just got a whole lot more complicated," Enoch said as he entered the study with a push-cart of food. He lifted the lid on top of the tray, "Let's discuss this over dinner; Lasagna anyone?"

"There's only one thing we can do as of now," Aphrodite told Athena. "We must call for the Archimedes-Corps and refit all of your mecha, ships, and the Tartarus itself with modern weapons, sensors, drives, and defenses. The sooner we have your forces up and read for a fight the safer this system will be."
"How long will it take for the Archimedes-Corps to get here?" Athena inquired.
"At 2.5 light years per hour, they'll arrive in a few days," Aphrodite told her with a weak grin, "we should be able to hold off any minor Babylonian advance during that time. However, if they send a real battle-fleet we will be forced to withdraw from our position here."
"Then we had best find a secure area within the asteroid belt until Tartarus is ready to fight." Athena said with a smile.
"Agreed," Aphrodite nodded.

"So this Nibiru thing is some kind of device which generates the world of C?" Lelouch inquired of Enoch as he finished off his last bite of Lasagna and placed his plate on the coffee table in front of him.
"Something like that," Enoch said as he gulped down the last swallow of wine in his glass. "I came here well after the civilization of the Old Ones had ended, so I don't know what the Nibiru is exactly. I only know that the Geass Order and your father were obsessed with it. They saw it as a sort of artificial Utopian World that Charles and your mother Marianne intended to transport all of humanity too, but I'm not sure that's what it was built for."
"Nibiru was considered a destroyer of worlds according to the Sumerians," C.C. said to them as she sipped at the red-wine in her glass. "If it is the same thing as The Sword of Akasha in C's World then we may have a real problem on our hands."
"So you think this Nibiru and the Sword of Akasha are one and the same?" Lelouch asked her.
C.C. nodded, "I think that it's a distinct possibility."
"But C's World is in another dimension," Suzaku stated firmly. "It's not in this's like Valhalla or heaven, and besides wasn't the Sword of Akasha rendered useless? Why would Nunnally be hearing voices from the dead who are no longer in our world?"
"We don't know if the Sword of Akasha was destroyed Suzaku," Lelouch told him flatly. "I damaged the platform, but that thing's true form is the size of a planet."
"Be that as it may it still doesn't explain why C.C. and Nunnally are hearing voices of the dead."
"If I had to guess as to why that is I'd have to say it's because the two worlds are slowly coming together," C.C. said mechanically.
Enoch thought for a moment, "Well, in Hinduism Akasha means the basis and essence of all things in the material world. Basically it's the smallest material element created from the astral world. The Sword of Akasha wasn't built by the Geass Order as far as I could tell from their records. However, the translations of the language of the Old Ones might not be accurate into human tongue. A sword can have a double edged blade and if this Akasha or Nibiru device is able to create, then it surely can destroy."
"Meaning?" Lelouch asked him with an irritated look.
"Meaning," Enoch poured Lelouch and himself another glass of wine, "this device, which is apparently some kind of artificial planet, is able to harness what my people referred to as Sephirot and Klipot energies; at their basic levels they are the creative and destructive forces of the multiverse itself."
"Wait just one minute," Euphie interrupted, "aren't we forgetting something? The only way to access this thing is through the Thought-Elevator right?"
"Yeah?" Lelouch asked with a befuddled look.
"Well, doesn't that mean that someone has accessed this device through one of the Thought-Elevators?"
The group gave Euphie an enlightened look as her revelation sunk in.
"She has a point," C.C. said with a raised brow.
"But who would do such a thing?" Nunnally inquired.

"Colonel Madd, have you secured the area?" Nina Einstein asked the bald Cyborg as he walked down into the large underground cavern.
"The Irregulars have secured a three mile diameter area around Stonehenge as per your command Professor." The cyborg said in his cold tone.
"Excellent work Colonel," Nina adjusted her glasses as she walked up to the large gate of the Thought Elevator at the center of the room. "Very soon, we shall change this world into what it should have been. This device was never meant for men. It is the source of all Geass."
"Yes Professor, but I didn't join you for your revenge against Geass." The man stated without emotion. "My Irregulars and I want revenge for the massacre of the Geass Order that the Black Knights committed."
"And you shall have it Colonel," Nina stated with a wicked grin. "You shall have it."

Next Side Story: Steps

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Old 2010-02-14, 18:48   Link #45
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Side Story Three: Steps

“Lelouch…why? Was all I could say as the tingling sensation began throughout my body and the pain of Zero’s bullet pierced my heart. I know it was all that he could think of to do to save me; poor Lelouch, he had no idea that someone else was watching out for us. I remember lying in the hospital bed, dying as Suzaku tried to be so brave. He had lied to me to save my feelings and let me die in peace, not knowing what had really transpired. It was a noble and kind thing that Suzaku had done to try and save me, but my dear Suzaku didn’t have any idea that my guardian angel had already taken steps to ensure I would live. That time was hard, but it was nothing compared to the steps I had to take afterwards. I was like a baby having to learn to walk all over again. Not because I couldn’t walk, but because the burden of what Geass had caused me to do was a weight that threatened to crush my soul.”-Excerpt from the personal diary of Euphemia li Britannia, The Red Dragon, dated May 23rd 2025 a.t.b.

“Don’t worry Suzaku, I’m just going to see Cornelia off,” Euphie smiled at him in the airship terminal. “We will be together again soon.” She pulled up the large brim white hat she wore as part of her disguise and kissed him passionately on the lips.
“I know you’ve got to go, but…” Suzaku started.
“You can’t bear to be without my sister,” Cornelia finished for him as she and Gilford walked up behind them. “You realize Knight of Zero that if you continue to lavish her with such affection I will demand that you marry her.”
Suzaku turned multiple shades of red as Cornelia’s brazen consent to their being wed embarrassed him. He put his hand on the back of his head as he tried to respond, “Uh…yes Princess Cornelia…uh your majesty.”
Cornelia leaned down and whispered in his ear as Euphie gave her a playful scowl, “I’d prefer you be able to call me your sister at some point Suzaku, so don’t keep Euphie waiting too much longer.”
“Yes ma’am,” Suzaku involuntarily straightened up.
“Do you have to pick on him?” Euphie asked Cornelia with her hands on her hips.
Cornelia snickered, “Well, I was hoping to go to a June wedding before I had to leave on the Kaminejima, but you two are dragging your feet.”
“WHAT?” Euphie nearly fell backwards. “No…We just don’t want to rush into things!”
“Oh?” Cornelia chortled, “Finding out if he measures up in all the right ways before you snag him for good eh my sister?”
“Cornelia!” Euphie scolded her with an embarrassed smirk. “We’re not like that. We want to wait until we’re married.”
Cornelia waved her hand nonchalantly, “Oh, you don’t have to pretend with me. I’m no angel either.”
Gilford smiled.
Suzaku looked dizzy from the implications of Cornelia’s confession. “Oh dear.”
“Suzaku are you okay?” Euphie asked as she put her arm around him.
“I think I need some air,” he said softly.
Cornelia laughed out loud as she put her hand over her mouth, “Oh Suzaku you really need to be more aggressive with my sister. She loves you dearly and I do so wish for the two of you to be happy, but you have to be more forceful if you want to take her.”
“Cornelia!” Euphemia barked at her.
“Are we interrupting something?” Lloyd Asplundh asked as he and Cecile carried their luggage onto the boarding ramp of the terminal.
Cornelia sniggered, “No Lloyd, we were just having a friendly discussion about some unfinished business between Suzaku and my sister.”
“Oh I see,” Lloyd adjusted his glasses, “well this little shake-down trip shouldn’t take more than a few months. That should give them a reprieve in order to set a date by the time we get back.”
Cornelia laughed at Suzaku’s shocked look as he exclaimed, “You too?”
“Well you can’t stay single forever Suzaku,” Cecile tittered. “It’s no mystery how you two feel about each other, and we all look forward to it, so why not?”
“Speaking of mysteries,” Suzaku ventured to change the subject, “have either of you heard from Nina?”
“Not since Schneizel’s Island fortress was destroyed,” Lloyd said with a curious look. “It’s very strange…almost as though she just vanished off the face of the Earth.”
“I’m really worried about her and Kannon,” Cecile said. “They were both very disturbed by the unexpected events of last year. I do hope they haven’t gotten mixed up with any of the trouble that’s gone on since then.”
“You mean all the disappearances?” Gilford asked.
“What disappearances?” Euphie inquired a bit unnerved.
“It would seem that many high ranking members of the Russian Federation and the European Universe have gone missing over the last few months.” Cornelia stated with concern. “All of them were supports of the new Commonwealth of Earth government.”
“Is that why Zero and Nunnally aren’t here?” Cecile asked.
“Yes,” Suzaku answered her with a sad expression. “L2 (code name for Lelouch Lamperouge) and C2 are meeting with the Russians while Enoch and Nunnally are trying to keep the EU in the Commonwealth. Tensions are rising again even with the threat of attack from the Olympians looming over all our heads.”
“Monstrous,” said Cecile with a frown, “why would anyone kidnap supporters of the new government. Under the Commonwealth that Nunnally, Kaguya, Reika, and Zero created people now have protected natural rights that governments must adhere too or face international sanction. At no time in history have the citizens of the world been as free as they are now, nor government been so restricted. It’s been wonderful, why would anyone try to undermine that?”
Cornelia gave her a thin smile, “Bigots, megalomaniacs, corporate big-shots, racists, elitists, socialists, are just a small list of the types of people that hate the Free Republic we now have. I guess what Enoch says is true, that freedom isn’t free, it’s price is eternal vigilance.”
Euphie noticed the sweetness in her sister’s voice when she spoke the name Enoch, “Do you have a crush on him?”
“Wha? Who?” Cornelia stammered.
“Enoch?” Euphie folded her arms and glared at her with a sly smile, “Do you like him?”
Cornelia glanced at Gilford who held a stoic expression and then back at her sister, “Yes I do, but I also understand that it’s a thing that can never be. In much the same way as what our brother is going through with Kallen.”
“With Kallen?” Euphie’s eyes lit up at the new gossip. “Do tell Cornelia.”
“Pardon my interruption,” Gilford said apologetically, “but we have to board immediately.”
Cornelia tittered at her sister, “Looks like you’ll have to wait for the juice a little later.”
Euphie turned and gave Suzaku a long kiss goodbye, “I’ll miss you every minute and be back in a few days, protect Britannia while we’re gone Suzaku.”
“With my honor and my life,” Kururugi said with a salute across his chest in the manner that Enoch had taught them. The amber-eyed cyborg had been training him and the others to become real champions capable of fighting the Greeks. Suzaku knew that Geass would play a role at some point, though how and when he was not sure.

“Alice are you in position?” Colonel Madd asked over the com. of her Vincent-Advanced: a Vincent-Ward upgrade that made the machine the equivalent of an eleventh generation KnightMare-Frame only with special modifications designed by the Geass Order. She flew her KMF at the head of a formation of four Vincent-Advanced units.
“I am,” The blonde haired woman said with a smirk as she watched the Commonwealth Longres class airship that flew with its escort of Avalon frigates a few hundred feet below her.
“Lucretia what is the geographic area like?” Madd asked another of the pilots. The pale-haired woman’s reply was jovial as the sigil of Geass appeared on her forehead, “The terrain over their current position is perfect for our operation.”
“Good,” Madd’s voice sounded pleased, “Sancia, position of targets?”
The dark-haired woman brushed her long locks out of her face as a sigil of Geass appeared on her forehead, “Relaying target data into our attack computers now Colonel.”
“Excellent,” said Madd, “Dalque, you will begin the operation by destroying the frigates. Alice, you shall board the Avenger and capture Princess Cornelia. Kill everyone else, understood?”
“Yes Colonel,” the women replied in unison.
Madd's voice boomed over the radio, “Irregulars commence operation.”
The four Vincent-Advanced units dove down towards the fleet.

“Commander Gilford,” a male officer called his attention within the bridge of the Avenger.
“What is it lieutenant?” Gilford asked.
“I’m not sure sir,” the man sounded perplexed, “I’m detecting an unusual air-turbulence a few hundred feet above us that seems to be spiraling towards our fleet.”
“Air-turbulence?” Gilford inquired in a raised tone. “Sound battlestations! We’re under attack!” The Avalon-frigate on their port-side erupted in a fireball as a KnightMare-Frame zipped up from under the wreckage towards the starboard airship.
“Fire anti-KnightMare batteries!” Gilford yelled.
Instantly the airspace around the aerial battleships erupted in a shower of anti-KMF rounds and beam cannon bolts.

“What the?” Euphie exclaimed as she jumped up from a chair within Cornelia’s personal quarters. The alarm claxons of the ship had interrupted them just settling down to resume their conversation from earlier.
“We’re under attack,” Cornelia said as she donned her gunsword and fastened its belt.
Euphie put on the helmet of The Red Dragon, and suited up.
“We’d better get to our KnightMares,” Cornelia told her with a mischievous smile, “I’m anxious to see how well Enoch has trained you for battle. It’s my understanding you’re quite good.”
“Of course I am,” The Red Dragon snickered, “I’m the sister of the Goddess of Battle.”
“Indeed,” Cornelia gave her a proud look. “And together we’ll be unstoppable.”
They left the room for the KnightMare hangar.

“Dalque, I’m through their defenses,” Alice said as she piloted her machine towards the main dorsal hangar door of the Avenger.
“Roger that,” the dark-skinned woman said as she felled the second Avalon-frigate with her machine’s shoulder-mounted Hadron cannon. “I’ll be there to back you up in a moment.”
“Sancia, have they launched any mecha?” Alice asked as she blasted the hangar bay doors open.
“No Alice, not yet,” the older woman told her over the radio. “It would appear we took them completely by surprise.”
“Good,” Alice said as she landed her machine in the hangar, “we need to move quickly before they can field their KMF-Victorias, or else we will be hard pressed to complete our mission.”
“Don’t worry Alice,” Dalque said as she rolled and spun her Vincent-Advanced to dodge the hail of anti-KMF fire coming from the Avenger. “I’ve got your back.”
“I’m disembarking from my unit,” Alice replied, “I’ll keep in contact with you while I go and retrieve Princess Cornelia.”

“Lloyd are our machines ready yet?” The Red Dragon asked as the enemy KnightMare Frame blasted through the outer door of the hangar and came to a stop.
The blast of the explosion caused Lloyd and Cecile to hang onto the KnightMare gantry railing for dear life as the enemy machine landed.
The Red Dragon shielded Cornelia from the blast as the cockpit of the enemy unit opened up.
A blonde haired woman jumped down from the machine with a machinegun in hand and rushed towards them.
“Watch out!” Cornelia told Euphie as she drew her gunsword and aimed at the enemy pilot.
This is too easy. Alice thought to herself as she activated her Geass: SPEED! Alice moved at blinding speed towards the Red Dragon and Cornelia. Lloyd and Cecile were too stunned by Alice becoming a blur to be able to react quickly enough to stop her from disarming Cornelia.
“You’re coming with me Princess!” Alice told Cornelia as she jabbed the muzzle of her machinegun into the small of Cornelia’s back.
The Red Dragon moved into a subtle combat stance, “I’m going to give you one chance to release her and surrender.”
“Hahahaha, you’re going to give me a chance?” Alice cackled. “How amusing.”
The Red Dragon pulled a flash-grenade from her belt and threw it in one swift motion. The harmless charge detonated before Alice had a chance to react and created a brilliant light that caused Alice to turn away quickly giving Euphie the opening she needed.
The Red Dragon kicked the machinegun out of Alice’s hands with a snap-kick then followed up with a side-chop to her collar-bone.
Alice winced in pain as Euphie’s strike connected, but the Irregular used her Geass to dodge a round-house kick that followed the Red Dragon’s first attack. The Geass-soldier grabbed her machinegun and fired it at the Red Dragon. Euphie was riddled with bullets which penetrated her suit.
“NO!” Cornelia screamed as she unloaded a salvo of rounds from her gunsword at Alice.
Even with her Geass-enhanced speed Alice was grazed by one of the rounds. She turned to fire on Cornelia but chose to flee as Gilford and a squad of soldiers entered the hangar deck. Dammn it! I’ll have to retreat.
“Stop!” Gilford commanded Alice as her blurred form fled to her KnightMare Frame. In the next instant her machine flew out of the hangar.
“Euphie,” Cornelia whispered to the Red Dragon with trembling lips.
“Don’t worry, I’m okay,” Euphemia reassured her.
“But you’ve been shot,” Cornelia said with panic creeping into her tone.
“It’ll be okay,” Euphie said as Gilford and the others came over.
“We need to get to our KnightMares immediately,” Cornelia exclaimed urgently.
“That won’t be necessary Princess Cornelia. Reinforcements from our submarine escort have arrived and the enemy is in full retreat,” Gilford informed them. “It would seem that Empress Nunnally’s premonition was correct.”
“Remind me to thank my sister when next we speak,” Cornelia said as she helped the Red Dragon up from the floor.
“We should get you to the infirmary immediately,” Gilford said hurriedly as he saw the various bullet-holes in the front of her suit.
“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it,” Euphie reassured him with upraised hands.
“But, how is that possible?” Gilford asked her in shock at the bullets falling out of her through the holes in her uniform.
“It’s a long story,” She replied with a giggle.
“One that I certainly want to hear,” Cornelia said with a hand on her hip.

“That is truly amazing,” Cornelia said as Euphemia stripped off her uniform revealing her undamaged skin. “How is it possible?”
“Nanomachines,” Euphie replied with a smile.
“Nanomachines?” Cornelia inquired with a befuddled look as Euphie put on a fresh Red Dragon uniform.
“You know, microscopic robots.” She said with a giggle.
Cornelia shrugged in confusion, “I know what they are Euphie, but how did they get inside you?”
“Oh, Enoch put them inside me.” She said in a nonchalant tone.
“Oh my god Euphie, you didn’t,” smiled Cornelia slyly.
Euphemia was perplexed, “Didn’t what?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about…he is really cute you know.” Cornelia snickered.
“What? Oh for heaven’s sake no…” Euphie blushed, “As if I’d ever do that with him. He slipped them in my tea before…” Euphie's expression hardened as her words trailed off.
“Before your incident,” Cornelia said sympathetically as she put her hand on Euphie’s shoulder. “Does Suzaku know?”
“Yes his does,” Euphie said. “I told him about how I became the way I am now after the battle over the Hawaii Islands when we were walking to meet with Lelouch. Suzaku actually had the same reaction you had.” Seeing Cornelia’s puzzled look she added, “about Enoch I mean. He thought I was in love with him or something. Suzaku can be a real dork sometimes.”
“Well he loves you,” Cornelia smiled.
“I know. That’s why I suggested we take the stairs up to meet with Lelouch so I could tell him everything.”
“Would you share it with me?” Cornelia ventured to ask cautiously.
“Of course,” Euphie replied as she sat down on a long angled-couch that covered one corner of her quarters. Cornelia sat down beside her. “But it’s easier for me to tell it like I did with Suzaku. It helps me keep it impersonal.”
Cornelia nodded, “Okay.”
Euphie took a deep breath, “It was shortly after I had my first taste of the horrible power of Geass that I awoke under the crystal-lid of my coffin. I totally freaked out,” Euphie paused as a smile crossed her face, “so did Suzaku when I told him about how I was gasping for breath and trying to claw my way out. He nearly tripped over himself as we took the first steps up the long stair towards Lelouch’s quarters on the Ikaruga.”
Cornelia tittered, “Poor Suzaku.”
Euphie laughed, “Yeah, he looked like he wanted to hug me and sob right then and there, so I had to rush my story along to the part where I noticed a man I had never met before, a man with amber colored eyes and skin that glinted gold in the warm candlelight of the crypt I had been laid in.”
“Enoch I presume,” Cornelia interrupted.
“Yes, he lifted the lid and introduced himself.”
Cornelia raised her brow as she opined, “As your Prince Charming no doubt.”
Euphie let out a laugh, “Will you let me tell this tale.”
“I’m sorry Euphie, continue with your yarn.”
“Enoch helped me out of that dreadful place under the cover of darkness as the battle that raged all around the Tokyo settlement ensued. It was during the confusion of the Black Rebellion that Enoch stole me away from the mausoleum that I had been laid in awaiting transport back to the homeland for a proper burial. He told me that I had been the victim of a horrible mistake and that he had to get me to the safety of solitude before the dreadful effect of this power took hold again and caused me more grief.”
Euphie held back tears as she remembered, “How we got out of the city was blurry to me at that time, but when I did regain my memory I recalled that I had had the overwhelming urge to kill the Japanese, to destroy their entire country and purge it from the face of the Earth. Enoch, in his vice-like grip, had restrained me until he got me to Ashford Academy and through the broom-closet door into his world and out onto a small farm he owns on Tsushima Island.”
“You guys traveled to his world through a broom-closet and came out on Tsushima?” Cornelia forced back her urge to smile out of respect for the dreadfully sad expression on Euphie’s face.
Euphie’s dark look softened to a smirk as she said, “Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Anyway, he took me through to his five-acre retreat where I first met Delphi. She did all she could to try and help me in those first few weeks but her knowledge of the arcane was limited as her specialty is in computer technologies and cybernetics not metaphysics. Thus Enoch called for a man he knew that could help me with my dilemma. A man named Brian Bryant. I won’t elaborate on the details of this gentleman's fantastic talents nor the journey that he and I took in a real starship, since I’d hate for you to think I'd gone completely mad, not too mention I don't want the Kaminejima to fall short of your expectations should I reveal what is possible or more accurately, what I’ve experienced.”
“Oh thanks Euphie," Cornelia snickered. "I'd hate to view my new ship as a toy compared to what I can only imagine was grandiose judging my Enoch himself, but will you at least tell me what this Monsieur Bryant did to you?"
"Funny you should ask that as Suzaku wanted to know in detail what happened," Euphemia laughed, "Monsieur Bryant, being a Modern-Sage in various disciplines of the Magi, found the most expeditious and safe method to attempt to reverse the effects of Geass on a planet that orbits a star quite far from our own."
"So you're saying that you're already an interstellar traveler before me is that it?" Cornelia tickled her softly on the side.
"Yeah," Euphie giggled as she pulled away playfully, "jealous?"
"A little," Cornelia tittered as she lean back on the couch. "So...what did they do to you?"
"They used an incantation that dispels curses of nearly all types and kinds," said Euphie in a plain manner. "I was simply laid within the center of a large incantation-circle and subjected to a Technomantic spell."
"Technomantic?" Cornelia inquired with a grimace.
"Yes, a combination of Super-science and Theosophical-magic." Euphie shrugged and smiled, "Don't ask me to explain because that's all I know about it."
"I take it that this spell worked?" Cornelia asked with an amazed look.
Euphie blushed slightly, "On me yes, on the nanomachines, no."
"Why do the nanomachines matter?" Cornelia was intrigued.
"Unbeknownst to any of us, the nanomachines were affected by Lelouch's Geass because they are directly linked to the neural-network of the brain which is how they know when the body is in need of repair and how much to repair."
"Lelouch's Geass took control of the nanomachines?" Cornelia scowled.
Euphie chortled, "Suzaku reacted the same way. He wanted to beat Lelouch to a pulp for it until I told him the next part. You see the nanomachines have no concept of nationalities, or peoples, or races outside of the need to repair. Their little computer brains don't input data the way ours do and they don't have emotion like we do, so they inputted Lelouch's command as destroy all foreign bodies. Thus they became highly augmented in their programming and produced a here-to-fore unknown generation of themselves within my body. This new generation of nanomachines not only repaired damage, but regenerated any damage sustained at speeds far in excess of what they were originally designed to do. That augmentation was caused by the power of Geass, and in effect created a new model of nanomachines that will regenerate my body in a matter of seconds."
Cornelia was mortified, "Are you saying you can't die?"
Euphie took Cornelia's hand in hers gently, "Suzaku stopped dead in his tracks half-way up the stair when I told him that. He got mad and thought I'd gained a Code or something. I had to tell him that I'm not immortal like Lelouch or C2, but I will live until my brain is destroyed or my body sustains massive damage, according to Monsieur Bryant, something in the range of eighty-five percent or higher."
"I see," Cornelia clasped her hand, "you poor thing."
"That wasn't the bad part my sister, believe me. Living for an indeterminate period pales in comparison to what I have to live with: the memories of the Special Administrative Zone." Euphie tried to smile but couldn't, "Suzaku turned away from me in shame for lying to me about what had really happened there and what I had actually done. I told him it wasn't his fault and thanked him for trying to let me die in peace not knowing the evil that I had committed."
"But it wasn't you that was responsible," Cornelia told her softly.
"That doesn't chase away the nightmares I have about shooting down innocent people, or the horror of screaming in my head for my body to stop, while being overpowered by a force it could not resist. Geass is an evil that no man or woman can control. It is precisely what Lord Acton warned about when he said that Power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
"Who?" Cornelia was unfamiliar with the name.
Euphie smiled, "Someone I read about in one of Enoch's many volumes of books. In his world power is seen as more of an evil than a good. It is something that good men obtain in order to protect from evils."
"Oh," Cornelia sniggered, "I suppose that explains a great deal about why such a man plays the humble-fool rather than the Great Leader or Ruler."
"It's also partially what I learned when Enoch and Delphi trained me in Gevurah-Krav Maga. You must learn to only use power when power is used against you or the powerless: that is the way of the peaceful warrior, the way of the hero. It is a philosophy that I hold dear to my heart because I've learned first hand what unbridled power can do and how many people can be hurt or die from it. The concept can be summed up simply in the words of William Hazlitt when he wrote that The Love of Liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves. That is the stark contrast between our father Charles, and his desire to subjugate and destroy this world for his own selfish desires, and a Hero who would liberate this world and let men be masters of their own destinies."
Cornelia was shocked, "I've never seen you so determined or filled with conviction."
"Neither had Suzaku," Euphie tittered. "He was practically drooling when he hugged me tightly on the third landing of the stairwell and confessed his love for me over and over until I had to ask him politely to stop."
Cornelia laughed out loud, "Oh I'd loved to have seen his face. It must have been glowing."
"It was," Euphie said with a warm smile. "When he finally composed himself we began up the steps and I continued my tale to him. I went on to explain that as I gained knowledge of what could be in this world I achieved control over my mind and was able to stop the night-terrors and horror that invaded my dreams. I had lived in solitude on that Japanese estate for four years before I got control of my mental-demons. I knew that Lelouch was as much a victim of his Geass as any of us that were hurt by it. I couldn't hate him for what had happened and me saying that hit Suzaku pretty hard."
"Did he cry?" Cornelia asked.
"Yes, a little," Euphie grinned. "Then I told him that my determination to leave my exile and return to the world drove me faster and harder then before. The UFN was still behaving like a subtle dictatorship, with corruption creeping up through its ranks faster then anyone had expected. The tipping point was the terrorism and the reformation of the Black Knights. It was clear to me with all my new found knowledge at that moment that the peace was over."
"Ah, so then the Red Dragon was born?" Cornelia asked as she leaned her head in her hand and listened.
"Yes, the Red Dragon was chosen as my codename because in Chinese Culture it represents Bravery and valor. The color red is also the primary color of the Japanese goddess Kannon Bosatsu who represents mercy and the giving of children. I chose her because I wanted to use my new found power and ability to defeat the merciless and to protect children most of all. You see, there is one horrible image that I couldn't will away. It was of a little girl crying over her dead mother in the stadium in the SAZ, right before I..." Euphie couldn't finish as two tears ran down her cheeks.
Cornelia leaned over and kissed her on the forehead and hugged her, "It's over now Euphie, and you've helped save millions since that time by defeating the Greeks and ending our war with them. Tell me more about what you said to Suzaku and forget this bad memory."
Euphie wept softly before going on, "I told him that I had shadowed Zero according to Enoch's orders. To be sure to keep track of him and see whether he had been corrupted by the growing number of corporate and government lobbyists that had undermined the democratic nature of the UFN. Anyway, I followed him and Nunnally onto the Britannian ocean warship Emerald Queen last year."
"The Emerald Queen?" Cornelia interrupted, "why does that sound so familiar?"
Euphemia sniggered, "The ship you and I stowed away on that one time by hiding in the oversized ventilation units that Charles had installed for his secret police, remember that ship?"
"Oh gee, yes I remember, we were gone for a week and the whole Britannian military was searching for us. Oooh was he mad at us for that." Cornelia snickered.
"But he did commend us on our ability to outwit his best commanders," Euphie winked at her sister.
"Yes he did," Cornelia said thoughtfully. "So what happened on that ship that you needed to tell Suzaku about?"
"Let's just say that Suzaku didn't think this was funny when I told him about it," Euphemia smiled in embarrassment.
"Why not?" Cornelia was curious.
"Because I was hiding in your old room on the Emerald Queen which at that time was being occupied by Zero," Euphie giggled. "Poor Suzaku..." She laughed, "I had donned a suit of optical camouflage just after midnight one night before coming out of the secret passage in his room. My intension was to slip out, get something to eat, and then go back to my mission of observing him and gathering data. When I came out of the secret passage I had the suit's hood down so I could see better in the darkness. Unfortunately I was startled by Suzaku screaming out my name and I stopped in my tracks. At first I thought he was awake and had recognized me, and then I realized too late that he was only dreaming."
"And he woke up," Cornelia chortled.
Euphie's eyes closed as she held back her mirth and nodded, "Yes, he shot up in his bed and I had to pull the suit's hood over my head as quickly as I could then dart out of his room. He donned his Zero helmet and cloak but nothing else and came after me down the halls."
Cornelia chucked, "Did he have anything on underneath or does he sleep naked?"
"No, he was naked." Euphie laughed heartily, "and that's not the best part. The ship was passing through a moderate storm system and an ocean breeze was rushing through the ship to air it out, but that small-wind was also flipping Zero's cape behind him."
"Hah! Oh this is too much!" Cornelia held her hand over her mouth as she snorted in laughter. "Did you actually confess this to Suzaku?"
"Yes," Euphie admitted with a sigh, "and he didn't talk to me until we reached the last landing before the doorway that lead to the deck that Lelouch's quarters were on. He was mad."
"Why?" Cornelia shrugged, "So he streaked though the halls of the Emerald Queen, big deal."
Euphie chortled, "The storm had brought with it a fog that was interfering with my optical-camouflage suit, so he was able to see my silhouette and gave chase. I had to find someplace to hide and the only place I could think of was my old room since I knew where the secret door was in there and could get back into the ventilation system quickly. The problem was Jiang Reika, the Chinese Empress, was occupying that room at the time. I successfully slipped past her and into the secret passage but Suzaku was right behind me. I think he thought I was someone else because he flipped the light on and woke the Tianzi up."
Cornelia's shoulders shook as she tried to hold back her laughter.
"Naturally she screamed but what she said forced me to bite my knuckle to keep from laughing hysterically. She said; Guards! Come Quickly...there's a naked man in my room! The image of that poor girl's fear and Zero naked from the helmet down was just too much. I don't think Suzaku could dodge bullets faster than he sped out of her bedroom."
Cornelia was crying jovially, "Oh my..." She coughed and got her breath, "Did he forgive you?"
"Yes, though I had to ask him why he chased after me." Euphie waved her hand in an upward gesture, "He could have just informed the ship's security force."
Cornelia composed herself, "Did he say?"
"Suzaku said he thought it was Kaguya spying on him and didn't want to make a scene." Euphemia answered with a smile.
"I guess that plan failed," Cornelia cleared her throat with a final giggle. "I assume you two made up?"
Euphemia nodded her head, "Yah, all I had to do was kiss him as we reached the door and tell him I was sorry. He understood and we kissed for awhile before we proceeded to Lelouch's room."
Cornelia regarded her sister for a moment, "You have no idea how much I missed you Euphie." She leaned in a hugged her, "the world is a brighter place with you in it."
"And you also my sister." Euphie hugged her back.

"The first few steps of our plan are complete," a man in an Oni Mask and military uniform of the Irregulars said to Colonel Madd over the main video monitor on the bridge of the Intruder: the Ikaruga-class aerial warship of the Irregulars.
"But we failed to capture Cornelia," the Colonel replied. "Professor Einstein will be furious."
"Do not concern yourself with Nina, I'll deal with her," the man assured Madd. "What is important is that the next step of our campaign be implemented without fail."
"But that's risky isn't it; we could lose a considerable portion of our forces in this--." Madd was cut short by the masked man.
"That is of no consequence." The man in the Oni Mask stated firmly. "We must make our move now lest we loose the opportunity to do so in the future."
Madd adjusted his collar before continuing, "Professor Einstein has uncovered the second temple and the contents of it are all intact. It would seem that V2's plan was never put into action, but the specimens that he and the Order created are all fully grown and ready for use."
"And the special weapon?" The masked man asked.
"A perfect replica of the original, although the Professor isn't comfortable with this as even the Geass Order was fearful the thing could become infected by the former..."
"It doesn't matter," the masked man cut Madd off again, "tell Nina that I intend on using this weapon against our adversaries, particularly Zero, no matter what her personal feelings might be about this asset."
"Yes sir, but Zero may have the power of Geass." Madd knew that Zero's file showed that his influence was very similar to that of a Geass user with the Power of the King or similar manifestation of Geass ability. He didn't know whether Lelouch Britannia had acquired a Code or not, but he knew that given the ex-Emperor's genius and cunning it was certainly possible that he had attained one and was in effect Zero. The details of the defeat of the Olympians was sketchy at best as most of the information had been filtered for mass consumption by the UFN in order to cover the involvement of forces they had an interest in keeping secret, but one thing was certain, without Geass there was highly improbable that the UFN would have defeated them.
The mask hid the emotion of the man behind it as he answered Madd. "Whether Zero has the power of Geass or not is irrelevant to our plans. What matters is that we eliminate him as threat, even if we don't necessarily kill him, in order to push forward with the project. The other target we must either acquire or neutralize is C2. Have you located her yet?"
Madd seemed nervous, "Not as of yet sir, we've whittled down the area she's in to somewhere in the Russian Federation, presumably with Zero, but as of yet there has been no confirmation."
"Confirm it Colonel," the masked man said in a cold tone. "We need to ensure that only our forces have the power of Geass before we can proceed with the final step."
"Yes sir," Madd bowed in salute, "I will put more effort into it."
"See that you do," the masked man said. "I'll speak to you again soon."
The masked man's image vanished as Madd considered his words and turned to his helmsman, "Set course for the Russian Federation."
"Aye sir," the woman replied obediently.
Madd walked up to the front of the bridge with his hands behind his back in a military fashion, "With C2's genetic code in our hands again, we'll soon have an army of Geass users and the world will be ours."

Next Side Story: Brassiere Battle

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Old 2010-02-21, 20:47   Link #46
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Side Story Four: Brassiere Battle

“Why me? Of all the times for Kallen to have to show up now was surely the worst. We had just taken down the Apollyon and returned to the Ikaruga when I realized that I wasn't wearing a mask to cover my face. Euphie, Suzaku, Enoch, and I had landed well ahead of the Yamato no Orochi, but still time was of the essence and with Kallen's team only a few minutes behind us, I had to find a way to disguise myself. Unfortunately it was Euphie who got an idea that really wasn't what I had had in mind, but amazingly it worked." -Excerpt taken from Lelouch (after a hearty helping of Rum laden eggnog) telling the story of how he and the Red Dragon switched places just prior to the Battle of Gambier Island: dated November 25th 2024 a.t.b. during Enoch's Christmas Party.

"We're tracking the unknown airship now Big-Z," Kallen told him with a snicker over the monitor of Lelouch's personal laptop computer as he and C.C. traveled via limousine from a meeting with the Russian leadership back to their hotel room. Captain Kouzuki had taken to using the nickname Enoch had given Lelouch in order to show Lelouch that she wasn't still mad at him, but she wasn't exactly pleased with him either.
"Any idea what nation she belongs too?" He asked Kallen.
"That's just it, there's no record of her outside of Rakshata's suggestion that she may be the warship Kyoto which was the sister ship of Ikaruga that was assumed destroyed during Britannia's invasion of the Indochina region in 2018 a.t.b.," Kallen told him with a troubled look. "However, Rakshata cannot confirm the ship's identity unless we can get hold of her hull-contract construction number somehow."
"Assuming it hasn't been effaced from the surface of the ship's hull," C.C. said as she joined the conversation.
"Captain Nagisa Chiba hasn't given us the order to sortie yet," Kallen paused for a moment as she said something to Gino then continued, "but I'm sure she will just as soon as you guys can get us permission to do so from the Russians."
"The Russian government shouldn't be too problematic," Zero told her confidently. "Once we convince them that it's in their best interests for us to capture this rogue aerial-battleship they should be quite cooperative."
"Roger that," Kallen said with a smirk, "You do your magic on your end Zero and we'll sit tight and wait for the order to engage."
Lelouch smiled under his mask, it was almost like old times again, that feeling of when Kallen was on his side as his Queen of the chessboard. "I'll be sure to relay the order as soon as I can secure permission from the Russians."
"Very good, Captain Kouzuki out," her image vanished from the screen.
"Well I 'm glad to see the two of you getting along so well again," C.C. said with a warm smile.
"Why wouldn't we?" Lelouch asked. "It's not like I wanted to betray her, it just happened that way and she knows it."
"Still, she seems to have overcome her obsession with you," C.C. said with a shy smile.
Lelouch frowned under the Zero mask but he didn't let his voice show it, "Well, you heard her at the party. She told everybody that she was done with childish teenage dreams of a hero and that she wanted a man in her life not a boy that turned out to be a big Zero."
"I think she was drunk when she said that." C.C. sniggered, "besides, she needs to convince herself you're no longer a big deal in her life or else it will hurt too much."
"Why are you so stuck on this?" Lelouch inquired.
C.C. blushed, "because I feel guilty about it...who knows what could have happened if I never met you. Maybe you two would've gotten married or something?"
"Married?" Lelouch balked at the idea, "I don't think so C2. I think that if I hadn't met you then I'd probably be dead, and Kallen would certainly have been executed."
"Does that mean your meeting me was a good or bad thing?" She had to know.
"It's obviously a good thing," he told her as he caressed her cheek, "without you and the power you gave me I could never have changed the world. No matter what your reasons were to begin with, in the end you and I were inseparable, conspirators and accomplices in a grand scheme, just you and I against the tyranny of the world."
"But you left me behind with no intension of ever returning," C.C. looked down at the floor, "that really hurt me. I know you had your reasons, but..."
"It doesn't matter now," he said as he held her hand gently, "there's no need for me to run away anymore. I know that I have to face my fears and right the wrongs I've committed. Death doesn't wipe away the damage one does in this world. It only leaves your mistakes behind for those who are alive to deal with them. That was wrong of me. I think I realized that the most the last time I hid from Kallen."
"Do you mean on the Ikaruga?" C.C. inquired.
"Yes," he said softly.
"You never finished that story at the party," she giggled.
"I don't remember even starting it," he replied in a befuddled tone.
"Well, you passed, you never got the chance." C.C. said with a wide grin.
"Enoch makes mean eggnog doesn't he?" Zero joked with her.
“Yes he does,” C.C. giggled. “Do you mind finishing that tale now, we’ve got some time before we get back to our hotel.”
“I suppose we’ve some time before I have to contact the Russian President.” Zero pushed the button on the back of his helmet and removed it.
“Should you do that?” She asked.
“What?” Lelouch smiled, “the divider is up so the driver can’t see me and the windows are all mirrored. Besides, I can’t hide under this mask forever.”
“No, I suppose not,” C.C. leaned in and kissed him.
“I thought you wanted me to tell you about how I became the Red Dragon for a day?” Lelouch asked as he kissed her back.
“I do,” She laid her head on his chest and snuggled up to him. “So start talk’n Lulu.”
Lelouch lay his head on hers as he began his yarn, “Well, it began with us defeating the Apollyon and rushing back to the Ikaruga. Our Hakodeshim and Enoch’s Type-21Z had recovered quicker than the Yamato no Orochi from the titanic explosion of the giant Greek machine. We raced back to the airship as quickly as we could manage for the express reason of beating Kallen’s team.”
Lelouch sighed, “Enoch had reasoned that if we made it back faster than the others that we could avoid any unnecessary subterfuge.”
“He doesn’t like deception,” C.C. said. “That’s one of things that make Enoch so different. He really believes in honor and respect.”
“I know, and I learned just how strongly he felt about it during that incident. He started on me as soon as we landed and he realized that there was no way we’d be able to get back to our private quarters fast enough as the Yamato no Orochi were already starting their final approach to land.”
Lelouch tittered as he mimicked Enoch’s voice, “Make a choice right now Lelouch, either man-up and face Kallen or get your butt into the locker room so we can find a way to disguise you, was what he demanded of me as soon as I disembarked from the Samael. He wasn’t mad at me that I could tell, but he seemed disappointed when I chose the locker room.”
“How come you didn’t man-up?” C.C. asked with a snicker.
“I couldn’t have a whole schism with Kallen weighing on my mind right before the final battle with the Olympians, or at least that was my reasoning for running away again. Maybe facing her at that moment would have been better than squaring off with my sister in the locker room.”
“Oh?” C.C. looked up at him, “what happened with Euphie?”
He gave her a gentle smile, “She did her duty as a big-sister and put me in my place the way a big-sister should when her little-brother is acting like a twit.”
“Guess we need Euphie around more often,” She teased him with a mischievous smile.
“Anyway, they got me into the locker room as quickly as they could." Lelouch remarked with a grin. "Once inside we rushed through the various lockers and Devicer-suit bins that lined the walls of the room looking for anything we could find to cover my face."
That’s when things went awry.

"Suzaku did you find anything,” Enoch asked him as Kururugi pulled down a duffle-bag from one of the Devicer suit closets within the locker room. Within it was a helmet that had a heavily tinted visor. The head-gear was of a type that was normally used for high-altitude missions in the Type-21R Reconnaissance variable KnightMare Frames used by the Black Knights.
“Just this,” Suzaku held up the helmet.
“That’ll do fine." Lelouch stated arrogantly as he snatched the helmet away from Suzaku, “There’s no time to loose. Kallen’s team has already landed.”
“Do you think Kallen is an idiot?” Enoch barked at him. “Captain Kouzuki is well aware of what that helmet is used for. She’s not going to be fooled by you waltzing out of this room with it on. In fact it is more likely to raise her suspicions even further.”
“I could just hide in here until she leaves the hangar,” Lelouch shot back.
“Oh no,” Enoch sniggered, “I’m not going to let you lurk in the men’s locker just so you can get a peep at the male members of the Ikaruga’s Devicers.” He emphasized the word member with an obscene tone.
Euphemia gasped and playfully slapped Enoch on the shoulder, “He’s not like that and you know it Enoch! Maybe we should try something else?”
“Like what?” Lelouch asked snidely.
“Maybe we should tie and gag you and stuff you in this duffle bag.” Suzaku retorted with a sinister grin as he held up the bag the helmet had been in.
“That’s not funny,” Lelouch glared at him.
“Well we need to think of something quickly,” Euphemia demanded as Zero, Kaguya, and Reika exited the elevator at the far end of the hangar. “The welcoming committee just arrived and is heading towards the deck-officer.”
“C2 is here already?” Enoch inquired with surprise. “Guess she just can’t be away from you for a minute.” He snickered at Lelouch.
“I’ve got an idea,” Euphie said as she removed her helmet and started taking off her uniform. “Lelouch strip off your clothes.”
Suzaku and Lelouch were speechless.
“Whoa, settle down there gorgeous,” Enoch said as he put his hands up, “I’m not sure where you’re going with this but it’s not looking like the right direction.”
“Do you men have any decency?” Euphie inquired with a stern look as she began to unclip her bra.
“Uh…” Lelouch grasped for words. “huh?”
Enoch grabbed him and Suzaku and pulled them around to face away from Euphie, “she wants us to turn around. I think I figured out where she’s going with this, so strip Big-Z and throw her your uniform.”
“But I can’t pass for the Red Dragon,” Lelouch protested as he took off his uniform and undressed down to his underpants. “I don’t resemble her body even remotely.”
“I dunno,” Suzaku tittered, “you do have a woman’s physique, though Euphie is certainly better looking.”
“You’re not helping,” Lelouch griped as he displayed his flat chest, “really Suzaku, do I look anything like my sister.”
“Put this on,” Euphemia said as her bra landed on Lelouch’s head.
Lelouch turned multiple shades of red as the sweet smell of her perfume hit his nostrils. “Wow.”
“Don’t drool all over it you little pervert, just put the thing on!” Euphie barked at him as she donned his flightsuit.
Suzaku blushed, “Better do as she says.”
“Yah,” Enoch smiled, “You wouldn’t want to have your older sister kick your butt again would you? Besides, your buddy Suzaku here is turning green with envy since I imagine even he hasn’t seen, let alone worn, her underwear.”
“What?” Suzaku blurt out with a nervous laugh, “what’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’ll find out when you decide to pop the question to me and finally get the courage to marry me,” Euphemia said with a playful smirk at Suzaku as she walked over in front of them. “So,” she twirled around in front of Suzaku, “what do you think?”
“You’re the only person who can make that uniform look…look.” Suzaku stammered as he struggled for the word.
“I believe the word is sexy.” Enoch patted him on the shoulder.
“Thank you Enoch,” she winked at him then turned to her brother who was struggling to get the bra on. “What’s the matter little girl, is that bra the wrong size?”
“It won’t stay on,” He protested to her as he clipped the brassiere on then let it go. The bra fell off his flat chest down to his waist.
She giggled as she walked into the men’s lavatory. “Just hold on a minute Lelouch, I know how to get that thing to stay on.” Euphie returned a moment later with two fresh rolls of toilet paper.
“What are you doing?” Lelouch cringed.
“Showing you a special technique women use on occasion,” she laughed as she stuffed her bra with one roll in each cup on Lelouch’s body, “although I’ve never seen a woman go to this extreme to get a bra to fit.”
“I’m not a woman,” Lelouch grumbled.
“You certainly could pass for one,” Enoch teased, “All you need is to let your hair grow long and add a little make-up.”
“Oh gawd,” Suzaku chuckled at Lelouch, “I remember when Milley made you up for the cross-dresser’s ball.”
“Don’t remind me,” Lelouch grouched.
“What?” Euphie cocked her head slightly as she adjusted her bra on Lelouch to get the proper fit and position on his body, “Aw, I wish I could’ve seen that. I bet you were cute.”
“Creepily gorgeous is how Milley put it,” Suzaku snickered.
Lelouch wasn’t laughing, “It was one of her stupid school functions. Milley's school projects all centered on anything that involved sex.”
“Oh stop being a big baby,” Euphie scolded him as she helped him into the Red Dragon uniform and zipped it up over the toilet-roll stuffed brassiere. “You don’t know how lucky you were Lelouch. I wish I could have gone to Ashford.”
“Wow, he looks pretty good,” Suzaku complemented her, “nice job Euphie.”
“Thanks,” she said as she took a bow. “I’m available for parties, plays, and weddings” She winked at Suzaku.
“I’m impressed,” Enoch smirked. “But what about your hair, doesn’t it stick out the top-back of the helmet like a tassel?”
“Ooh, I didn’t think of that.” She said as she cupped her chin with her hand and gave Lelouch a dumbfounded look.
Lelouch smiled wickedly, “Maybe we should just cut yours off my dear sister?”
Euphemia raised an eyebrow at his jibe and retorted sarcastically, “Maybe we should cut something else and make you a girl for real.” She made a snipping motion with her fingers. “Snip! Then I’d have another little sister.”
“Euphie don’t even joke about that.” Enoch recoiled.
“That would certainly cure his problem with Kallen,” Suzaku added with a horrified look.
Lelouch was not amused, “Are you guys finished yet?”
"Sorry Lelouch," Euphie kissed him on the cheek, "we're just picking on you a bit, you're a man, you can take it can't you?"
He smiled at her, "yeah, well it's just a bit much right now that's all."
"I suppose you're right Lelouch," Enoch nodded. "Let's get you a tassel for that helmet." He said as he fished through a mass of red parachute line in a trash-bin. He cut one end of the line that was at the proper length with his pocket knife and spread the fibers out.
Lelouch ran the fibers through his fingers, "Well it looks similar to hair, but if someone touches it the gig is up."
"I know Lelouch, but we're out of time," Enoch said as he heard Kaguya's voice getting closer to the locker room.
"Did you just agree with me?" Lelouch asked with a snicker.
Enoch grinned, "Wonders never cease."
"Indeed," Lelouch laughed realizing how hard all of them were trying to help him. He knew they didn't approve of his deceiving Kallen but they assisted him anyway. Their harsh jibes were not for the sake of being mean, but for the purpose of teaching Lelouch the value of humility and friendship.
Euphemia put the Devicer helmet on as Suzaku and Enoch fitted the tassel to the back of the Red Dragon's helmet.
"I hope this works," Suzaku said woefully, "or else Kallen's gonna have all our heads."
"No kidding," Enoch sighed, "we're aiding and abetting here."
Euphie took Lelouch's hand in hers, "good luck little brother. I hope this feint works."

"Feint!" Lelouch blurted out in the back of the Limousine as he realized the plight of their situation. His action startled C.C. as Lelouch hit the intercom button next to him, "Driver stop the car immediately!"
"What is it?" C.C. asked him. She was unnerved by his sudden outburst.
"This is a set up," he said more to himself then to her as the limo came to a halt at the curb of the street.
C.C. sat up, "how can you be so sure?"
"They're trying to get our guard detail to follow that other airship." Lelouch answered as he flipped open his laptop and contacted Captain Chiba.
"Lelouch you're helmet!" C.C. said as she pushed it over his face.
"Thanks!" he grumbled as the lip scrapped over his nose just as Chiba's face came on the screen.
"What is it Zero?" Chiba asked a bit surprised by him having to adjust his helmet. "Have the Russians cleared us to intercept the unknown airship?"
"No," Zero told her, "I need you to have a Type-21R do a fly-by of my current position and check for enemy units."
"Wha? Enemy units?" Chiba was confused.
"Please Captain, trust me on this one," he said politely.
"As you wish Zero," she replied.

"Alice we've got an enemy aircraft inbound," Sancia told her over the radio of the cockpit of her Vincent-Advanced which rested in the shadow of a large water tower on the roof of a building along the path of Zero's motorcade.
"What type is it?" Alice inquired from inside the cockpit of her machine. Alice's mecha stood between two large warehouse buildings along the street that Lelouch's limo traveled on within the city of Leningrad.
"Looks like a recon Type-21, probably from the Ikaruga." Sancia told her with concern in her voice.
"You're in a tight spot Alice," Lucretia told her from the bridge of the Intruder, "I advise against you, Sancia, and Dalque engaging in combat in the city. The terrain is too tight and you don't have the units to conduct this operation without bringing down the whole Russian military on our heads."
"Whadda mean?" Dalque asked from her KnightMare Frame as it stood across from Alice's mecha on the opposite side of the street in an alley between two large buildings. "We can take these Russian dullards any day of the week."
"No Dalque," Alice said, "Lucretia is correct, we don't want to expose ourselves for nothing. Sancia, can you confirm whether C2 is within the limo?"
"Absolutely," Sancia told her, "and Zero is with her as well."
Alice smiled, "Very well, let's withdraw for now. We can collect them later when they've let their guard back down."
"Ohhhh, but they're just down the road," Dalque whined. "We can get them now."
"No Dalque," Alice scolded her, "we wait until we can capture both of them without exposing ourselves. We can't conduct a snatch and grab with a spy-plane above us, our sensor-jammers won't stop it from seeing us if we launch an attack."
"Very well Alice," Dalque said as she slumped back in her Devicer seat with a pout. "Let's get back to the ship."
"Don't worry Dalque," Alice said with a smile, "We know where both C2 and Zero are now, so we can bide our time for a little while before making our next move."

"The Recon plane confirmed three unknown KMF's along the travel route of your motorcade but they took off and disappeared into the Gulf of Finland." Nagisa told Zero on his laptop, "We lost them from there as we couldn't track them underwater. Their sensor-jammers are clearly top of the line."
"Thank you Captain," Zero nodded, "it would seem that either I or C2 were their intended target. Perhaps even both of us. The fact that they did not simply attack us indicates they may be trying to capture us. I think it might be prudent if we returned to the Ikaruga as soon as the talks here in Russia are finished."
"Would you like me to send down a guard detail?" Nagisa asked.
"Yes," Zero said, "send the Yamato no Orochi."
"Will do," Chiba replied before signing off.
"Why Kallen's group?" C.C. inquired a bit shocked by his request for them.
"It's like I told you about in my Brassiere battle with Euphie and the others; Enoch said that Kallen is no idiot and he's right. She isn't fooled by looks or the calmness of a situation. Her warrior instinct is keen and sharp. I'll need her close to us to flush out these would be kidnappers."
C.C. didn't respond. She wondered if Lelouch's words were true or if this was one of his elaborate deceptions; one that involved having Kallen close to him again for some reason.
The green-haired witch laughed inwardly, after all these years? Could I really be jealous of Kallen? She smiled to herself as Lelouch typed away fiercely on his laptop. He had shared a private memory with her, his dreaded battle with Euphie's brassiere, which was enough for her at the moment. Even if you do have feelings for her my love, you would do well to remember my warning. Geass brings with it grave consequence. You and I have beat the odds and found each other, but I fear for Kallen if you try to bring her too close to you.
For Geass is a curse that is not as forgiving as I am.

Next Side Story: Puppy Love

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Old 2010-02-21, 21:03   Link #47
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Side Story Five: Puppy Love

"Obsession, something we all experience at one time or another in our lives, but for most of us an intimate relationship ends without the incessant desire to continue it at all costs. It is with those types of people who cannot let go of someone that obsession takes on a dangerous turn. Often the victim of such an obsession has attempted to call off the relationship but the other person simply refuses to accept being rejected. Left untreated an obsessed person can develop personality disorders ranging from the emotionally immature, to the extremely jealous. This is often a cover for deeper feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, or powerlessness without the relationship. While reconciliation or acquisition is the goal of the obsessed person, they believe they must have the specific person of their focus or else they will not be able to continue in life properly. Such was the case with Evita Ernst. A woman I learned to hate with all my heart, even though she and I shared much in common."-Excerpt from the personal diary of Captain Kallen Kouzuki dated March 22nd 2025 a.t.b.

"Make sure the perimeter is secure Tamaki, we don't know what kinds of technology these people might have at their disposal," Kallen told him over her hand-held comm. Kallen flipped her hair behind the long black-leather Duster she wore over a jet-black skirt and blouse. Her high-heeled boots clicked rhythmically as she and Gino made their way through the vestibule of the Hotel into the lobby.
"Don't worry Captain," Tamaki's voice boomed over the radio, "Akira and I have got things covered on our end."
"Good enough," Kallen replied with confidence that at least Akira could handle whatever Tamaki might screw up.
Kallen turned to Gino who flipped his mirrored sunglasses up onto the top of his head as she spoke, "We should probably place some portable mini-surveillance cameras in Zero's room just to keep watch on all possible entry points."
“Kallen,” Gino said to her softly as they made their way through the lobby of the hotel towards the elevators, “We talked about this. You need to focus on protecting the perimeter of the room.” Gino smiled at her, “You agreed to let C2 and Lelouch have their privacy remember?”
She glared at him through her rose-tinted sunglasses, “You should put your anti-Geass glasses back on. Rakshata spent a great deal of time perfecting these things for us.”
“I know,” he said as he placed his pair back on, “but you still didn’t answer my question.”
“The thought of the two of them…” she turned away from him, “alone together still makes my blood boil-OKAY!”
“I understand Kallen, but put yourself in Lelouch’s shoes,” he reasoned with her, “think about he feels in all of this.”
“I know Gino, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I lost,” Kallen grumbled.
“No one likes to lose Kallen,” Gino told her as they entered the elevator. “Just look at Evita. She couldn’t stand loosing.”
The mention of the Duchess sent a shot of anger through Kallen, “What do you mean?”
“She lost to you and nearly killed me in the process because of it,” Gino said with a weak grin, “no matter how much she tried to win me, or torture me into loving her all I could think about was you.”
Kallen blushed, “So you’re saying that I won against her in more ways than just battle huh?”
“Your victory over Evita Ernst was total,” Gino said with a kiss on her cheek.
“What do you mean?” Kallen asked with a curious tilt of her head.
“Well, Evita had been after me since we first met.” Commander Weinberg told her with a smirk.
“Oh, when did you two first meet?” Kallen asked him as the elevator got underway towards the penthouse suite on the twentieth floor of the hotel.
“It was about nine years ago,” Gino said a bit embarrassed. “That’s when Evita and I had our first...encounter.”
“Robbing the cradle were you?” Kallen picked on him.
He put his hand on the back of his head, “yeah…that’s one way to put it.”

“Can you believe it!” Evita exclaimed at her older sister Dorothea in their guest-suite within the walls of Pendragon Castle, “There are still rebels in Japan even after we defeated them so quickly in the war.”
“Shouldn’t you be preparing for his majesty’s birthday gala?” Dorothea scolded her half dressed fourteen year old sister. The Knight of Four stood in front of a full length mirror beside her younger sibling as they made themselves up for the event.
“I’m not sure I want to go to some stuffy party for that curly haired old man,” Evita pouted.
Dorothea adjusted one of her tear-dropped shaped diamond earrings, “Evita! He is our Emperor and you as a member of the royal court will show him the proper respect!”
“But I don’t wanna go Dorothea,” She whined.
“You are required to attend and thus don’t have a choice.” Her sister shot back as she stood up and gave herself one more look over in the mirror. “All the families of the Knights of the Round must attend this function, do you understand?”
“Yes ma'am…” Evita gave in.
The door to their suite opened up and a blonde haired young man popped his head in, "Hey Dorothea what's keeping you?"
"Get out Gino!" Dorothea yelled at him, "Can't you see that we're not ready yet!"
"Hi Gino," Evita cooed at him covering her exposed bra with her arms.
Gino gave her a wink, "Hey there Evita."
"Knight of Three stay away from my baby-sister," Dorothea scowled at him.
"I'd rather learn more about her older-sister," he gave Dorothea a sly smile.
"OUT!" Dorothea threw a pillow from a nearby chair at the door right before he shut it.
"I think he likes you," Evita giggled as she pulled the top of her dress over her.
Dorothea sighed, "Yes, he does, but I don’t feel the same way."
“Why?” Evita inquired, “he’s cute.”
“Relationships are more complicated than that Evita,” Dorothea told her with a frown, “don’t get any foolish ideas about him. He’s a wolf.”
“But aren’t wolves strong creatures?” Evita asked with a snide smile.
“Maybe you should stay here,” Dorothea grumbled.
Evita lifted her chin arrogantly, “No, my presence is required at this function remember.”
Dorothea walked over to her sister and adjusted the young girl’s dress, “Promise me you’ll stay away from him Evita.”
“Why? I’ve nothing to fear from a Knight of Three…” Evita started to say when Dorothea shook her.
“Promise me!” Dorothea yelled at her.

“How did you know all this Gino?” Kallen asked him as she listened intently to his yarn while the elevator made its way past the ninth floor.
“I was listening at the door,” He said.
“Eavesdropping?” Kallen kicked at him playfully, “you were such a scoundrel.”
“I thought you liked scoundrels,” he laughed.
“I do,” Kallen gave him a crooked smile, “so what happened after that? That can’t possibly be the only reason for her obsession with you.”
A dark look crossed his face, “no, it wasn’t. The birthday party for Emperor Charles zi Britannia had gone through its motions with all the usually pleasantries, speeches of greatness, and declarations of the invulnerability of the Empire before the orchestra began and we all took to the floor to dance.”
“Naturally every gentleman in the room was looking to court one of the Emperor’s daughters, particularly Princess Euphemia who was about to leave for Japan soon to tour what was then Area 11.”
“Don’t remind me,” Kallen interrupted.
“Sorry,” he said in an apologetic tone then continued his yarn, “Thus with all the other men searching for the favor of one of the Princesses or other ladies higher up the social ladder I had sought out the poor ladies that were discarded on the sidelines due to their unfortunate station in life.”
“How kind of you,” Kallen teased, “but I’ll bet you were actually looking for an easy lover in that mix.”
Gino blushed as he let out a laugh, “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this.”
“Too late now, there's no way you can stop at this point, so go on,” Kallen folded her arms but couldn’t hold back the grin that crossed her face, “tell me how much of a jerk you were.”

“Madame Ernst, may I have this dance,” Gino asked Dorothea.
She ignored Gino and waved her hand for him to leave.
“I’ll dance with you Sir Knight of Three,” Evita piped up upon seeing her sister dismiss his invitation.
“Evita!” Dorothea snapped at her sister. “You Promised.”
“I know, but it’s just a dance,” Evita tittered as she stood up slowly. She was tipsy form a hearty helping of wine she had consumed to drive away her boredom during the formal ceremony. “We’re going to be out in front of everyone to see. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Gino had also toasted to the health and long life of the Emperor with every lord and knight he had met during the revelry and was not sober though still somewhat able to function.
“I graciously accept your kindly offer milady,” Gino held out his arm.
Dorothea stood up to protest but Prince Schneizel arrived at their table, “Pardon my intrusion, but I’d like to have at least one dance with the Most Radiant Lady of the Knights of the Round. May I have this dance Knight of Four, Dorothea Ernst?”
Dorothea stood up and offered him her hand as she could not refuse, “Of course I would happily accept your gracious invitation my lord and Prince. I am honored that you have chosen me for this dance.” She bowed to him before Schneizel took her hand and led her out onto the dance floor.
Gino and Evita followed them out into the gathering of royal-dancers and made their way out onto the floor as the formation of lords and ladies began to waltz slowly to the rhythm of Blue Danube.
“Let’s go somewhere Gino,” Evita pleaded with him by the end of the second performance, “my head is starting to spin from all these twirls and dancing."
“I understand,” Gino told her as he led her through the crowd towards the ladies room.
“Thank you,” Evita smiled at him as she allowed him to guide her to the front of the lavatory. She turned towards him, “I think I just need to sit down someplace quiet. Would you accompany me Lord Weinberg?”
“Of course,” Gino told her in earnest.
The pair of them made their way through the darkened corridor towards a small sitting room that was furnished with plush chairs and couches and an extravagant view of the city beyond. The full moon of the night sky radiated its silvery light into the dimly lit chamber.
Evita sat down on one of the large couches, “Please sit by me Gino.”
Gino was hesitant about her intent but obeyed her wish and sat beside her, “Are you feeling better?"
"Much," she said as she laid her head on his shoulder. She looked up at him with longing eyes, "Do you find me attractive?"
"You are radiant as the silver light of the moon, but whether I find you beautiful or not is irrelevant Lady Ernst," he said looking down into her gorgeous face, "I’m not so sure about this Evita. I realize you've taken a shine to me, but I’m a bit old for you…”
Evita kissed him passionately on the lips, “I want you Gino.” She ran her hands through his hair as she pulled him down onto her.
His body responded before he could speak which caused Evita to blush as she caressed his inner thigh. Her soft touch was too much for him, his mouth moved to protest but no words came out.
“Have you ever been with a gentleman before,” was all that Gino could manage to ask her. He was concerned that the girl was confused due to her imbibing so much alcohol and would hate him should she continue and he take advantage of her advance.
Not too mention the wrath of her older sister that was foremost in his mind.
“No,” She said as she folded down the top of her dress, “but after tonight I will have been with one I’ve loved since I first laid my eyes on him.”

“YOU DIDN’T!” Kallen barked at him with a look of disgust.
“Yah, well, she was beautiful you know, and it’s not like I planned on it.” Gino turned beet red, “she wanted me okay.”
Kallen was wide eyed, “That’s not what I’m saying Gino.”
“You’re not mad?” he asked with a sheepish grin.
“No,” she giggled as she eyed his groin, “I feel sorry for her. I mean, you’re so well endowed.”
Gino gave her a puzzled look, “how so?”
“Like a horse,” she laughed, “I can see why she didn’t want to let you go. I doubt any other man could measure up.”
“What? Kallen,” Gino was stunned by her brazen admission.
“Well, you probably sent her into a euphoric state that she couldn’t find anywhere else.” Kallen gave him a friendly push, “Don’t let it go to your head Commander, but you’re dammn good in bed.”
“Thanks…I think,” Gino said in a confounded tone.
“So what happened afterwards?” Kallen asked with a raised brow, “Did her sister find out about you deflowering Evita?”
“Thank God no,” he said with relief, “Dorothea would have challenged me in single combat for sure and I’m not confident I would have beaten her. You see I hated myself for what I did. It was weak and foolish of me to take advantage of such a young girl.”
“True,” Kallen agreed with him as she caressed his face, “but you didn’t deserve the punishment she gave you simply because you gave in to her desire. She was her own person capable of making decisions, and an adult at fourteen*”
“Well I feel I did,” Gino confessed, “I’ve never told that story to anyone before.”
“Really?” Kallen kissed him, “thank you for sharing it with me.”
Gino smiled at her, “what about you? Who was your first?”
Kallen was taken off guard, “what? Me? Oh, you wouldn’t want to hear about it. It was really…kinda private.”
“Oh, was it Lelouch,” Gino wondered out loud to her.
“Lelouch?" She laughed out loud, "No, the only time he wanted me was when he was depressed; as if I was some kind of blow-up doll for him. The more I think about it the more it really pisses me off." She humpfed, "I think he was too immature, and in love with himself back then." Kallen rolled her eyes, "He probably died a virgin knowing Lelouch.”
Kallen took hold of Gino's hand as the elevator doors opened up onto the twentieth floor, “Lelouch and I never did anything Gino, of that you can be sure,” she didn’t have the heart to tell him that she knew exactly how Evita must have felt because he, Gino, was her first lover.

Author's Note:
*Age of sexual consent in Japan is thirteen years of age, however prefecture laws override Federal law in Japan and may raise the age of consent to as high as 18 years of age.

Next Side Story: The Man With The Plan

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Old 2010-02-21, 21:19   Link #48
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Side Story Six: The Man With The Plan

"Planning is the first step in any operation. This was especially true during the conflict with the Greeks when victory was uncertain for all of us and none of us had any idea of exactly how to go about dealing with them. Naturally some people are better at planning then others, but our brother is probably one of the best at it. Pity Lelouch let his dammn ego get in the way of his better judgment more often than not. I guess that's why God made little sisters. They help keep their head-strong brothers in line."-Excerpt from a conversation between Empress Nunnally vi Britannia and her older sister Euphemia during the christening ceremony of the Earth Space Ship Kaminejima dated July 3rd 2025 a.t.b.

"I have the target in sight Alice," Sancia said over her headset communicator as the young woman looked across the street into the hotel from her vantage point in an adjacent building.
"Looks like there are two security personnel at the door to their suite," Lucretia said as she monitored the hotel from another room in the same building as Sancia.
"I see them," Alice replied through the cell-phone radio she held against the collar of her maid's outfit with her head. Alice pushed a cleaning-cart, complete with mop-bucket, out of the elevator and into the hallway towards where Gino and Kallen were guarding the hotel suite of Lelouch and C.C.
Colonel Madd's voice came over her radio, "Remember Alice, you need only capture C2 and get Zero to follow you."
"Shouldn't I neutralize him?" Alice inquired as she came into Kallen and Gino's view. The pair of them had been talking to each other but stopped upon seeing her. They now began walking in her direction.
"Don't worry about Zero." Colonel Madd said with confidence, "Our masked benefactor, Count Amontillado, has a plan to deal with him."
"Very well sir," Alice whispered into the phone, "I've got to go now."
"Be careful Alice, C2 is sure to sense you as soon as you use The Speed." Colonel Madd hung up just before Captain Kouzuki and Commander Weinberg reached her.
"Hey there," Gino said with a half-hearted motion at Alice to stop. "Can we help you?"
"What are you doing up here?" Kallen barked at her.
Alice answered her in a sweet voice, "The front desk sent me up here to clean the bathroom and change the sheets of the penthouse. Is that Okay?"
"Not until we check you out," Kallen stated with a narrow eyed look at the young woman. Kallen took out her own cell-phone and called down to the front desk.
"Main lobby, how may I help you?" Dalque asked over the intercepted call.
"Did you send a cleaning lady up to the penthouse?" Kallen inquired.
"Yes ma'am we did," Dalque's tone was apologetic, "is there a problem?"
"No," Kallen answered her gruffly, "just next time please inform security before you send someone up."
"Absolutely ma'am," Dalque said. "You have our sincerest apologies."
Captain Kouzuki put her phone away and turned to Gino, "Cover me while I give her trolley an inspection."
"No problem," Gino put his hand on the butt of the pistol that sat in his shoulder holster as Kallen went through Alice's cart.
It took Captain Kouzuki only a moment, "Nothing," Kallen sounded disappointed, "Sorry, but I have to frisk you now. No offense."
"None taken," Alice smiled nonchalantly as Kallen patted her down for weapons of any kind.
Captain Kouzuki examined Alice's cell-phone then sighed, "Alright, you're good to go."
"Thank you," Alice said with a wide grin, she then proceeded to the door of the penthouse suite and knocked on it softly.
"Who is it?" C.C. asked from within.
"Room service," Alice replied as Kallen watched her from a few meters down the hall.
"Just a minute," C.C. answered. A few moments passed then the door opened.
C.C. greeted her at the threshold, "Please come in."
Alice stepped inside the lavishly decorated penthouse suite's main living area. Within the spacious room was a large fine cherry-oak wood table with five ornately carved chairs around its polished surface. The mirror finish reflected the light from the brass chandelier that hung from the center of the ceiling. A pair of coffee end-tables and matching chairs flanked a large fireplace on top of a richly woven Oriental rug carpet.
Zero sat at one of the tables staring at Alice as she made her way into the room.
"If you don't mind ma'am, I'd like to start in the bathroom," Alice said to C.C. as Zero watched her from under his mask but said nothing.
"That would be fine," C.C. told her as she walked back over to sit next to Zero.
Alice made her way over to the bathroom following her memory of the penthouse layout she had studied prior to the mission. She found her way through the spacious suite quite easily and into the large marble lavatory and washroom.
Alice pulled out her cell-phone and switched it over to a coded frequency, "I'm in."
"Open the side window to your left," Lucretia instructed her over the phone.
Alice proceeded over the leaded-glass window and turned the brass-handle until it was open fully, "Now stand back Alice." She did as Lucretia instructed her to. In an instant a puff of smoke from the adjacent rooftop sent what looked like a bazooka rocket through the window.
The large rocket-propelled-grenade shell landed harmlessly on the large shag-carpet throw rug next to the bathtub.
"Open it quickly," Sancia's voice came over the line.
Alice unscrewed the nosecone of the RPG and pulled out the contents of the missile: a pair of dark-sunglasses, a metal-box, and three submachinegun magazines fully loaded.
Alice pushed a button of the side of the box and unfolded a compact submachinegun then loaded the weapon.
"Professor Einstein developed the bullets in those clips especially for shooting C2," Sancia said over the radio. "They'll knock her out and put her into a temporary coma for at least an hour, but after that her Code will revive her so you have to get her and leave as quickly as you can. Dalque is moving to her Vincent-Advanced as we speak in order to pick you up as soon as you've acquired C2. Just shoot her, get back into the bathroom, and jump out the window. Dalque will pick you up."
"She'd better," Alice said as she thought of the long drop to the street below, "or else you'll have to scrape me up off the pavement."
Sancia tittered, "don't worry Alice, she'll be there."
"Okay," Alice said as she put on her anti-Geass glasses and cocked the submachinegun, "here does nothing."
Alice burst out of the bathroom and walked briskly to where C.C. and Zero were talking.
"What the hell?" Zero barked at Alice as the girl opened fire on C.C. The specialized rounds tore through the witch's clothing and riddled her body.
Lelouch opened up his mask's eyepiece and used his Geass, "I Zero command you to stop!"
The anti-Geass glasses reflected his power back at him and dissipated harmlessly off of the lenses. Good thing these glasses work, Alice thought to herself as she fired at Zero.
Kallen and Gino burst into the room with their pistols drawn.
Kouzuki fired on Alice as soon as she saw her.
"Too slow," Alice shouted out loud as she used her The Speed to dodge the rounds and grab CC. In the next instant Alice was through the bedroom and back in the bathroom with Zero and Kallen in hot pursuit while Gino secured the room.
"STOP," Zero ordered Alice as she leapt out the open window into mid-air.
Zero nearly jumped out after them before Kallen grabbed him and stopped him, "Lelouch no!" Kallen exclaimed as she held him fast.
Captain Kouzuki had no way of knowing that Alice had heard her. Alice didn't have long to think about the implications of Kallen's words before Dalque had caught her and C.C. in mid-air.
"Dalque, GO!" Alice yelled to her comrade as Zero and Kallen watched from the bathroom window above.
"We have to go after them now!" Zero turned towards Kallen.
"I realize how you feel Lelouch, but there's no way we can..." Kouzuki started to say.
"I don't have time for your jealous nonsense Captain!" Lelouch barked at her. "This isn't about my personal feelings, this is about the possibility of C2 being captured by members of what can only be the remnant of the Geass Cult."
Zero darted out of the penthouse suite towards the elevator with Kallen and Gino close behind.
"What the hell are you on about Lulu?" Kallen demanded from him as they piled into the lift.
Gino hit the button for the garage level.
"C2 was the kidnapper's intended target, not me," he said as if speaking to a child. "That means they know what she is and there is only one group that has that kind of knowledge that I know of."
"Fine, but you don't have to be so dammn condescending about it you know!" Kallen scolded him.
"Sorry Kallen, but we've got to get her back lest she fall into the hands of the people who served my father and we know where that could lead." Zero told her as the elevator descended down to the garage level.
"A return of the Geass Cult's influence on the world," She answered him with a sarcastic grin. "I'm aware of what could happen, Lelouch."
"Then let us make haste," Zero stated snidely as the elevator doors opened up onto the garage level.

"Do you wonder how soon they'll return?" Kaguya asked Nunnally as the two of them sat side-by-side within an aerial shuttle.
Nunnally look up out a viewport window at the deep blue of the sky, "Yes, I wonder just how much time we have left before Athena and the Greeks decide to launch an invasion of our world."
"I see," Kaguya gave her friend a weak smile, "I guess that could be any time." The Lady-Chairman eyed Nunnally mischievously, "but I'll bet your brother has a plan."
Nunnally smiled at her friend's keen sense of perception, "He does."
"Care to let your old friend Kaguya in on the details?" Sumeragi asked with a raised brow.
"The plan was made nearly a year ago," Nunnally looked out the window of the shuttle with a blank expression, "it was back on Kaminejima Island right after the battle with Charybdis and my jaunt through Enoch's Quantum Castle. Enoch, Suzaku, the Red Dragon and I had come through Enoch's rather unusual Room of Many Worlds into the Ashford Academy Library in order to pick up the Hakodeshim Uriel and Gabriel. We used them to return to Kaminejima Island as we intended to transport back to Britannia via the Thought Elevator that was on the Island."
The Britannian Empress snickered, "You can probably imagine my shock and awe at meeting Zero standing beside C2 and Jeremiah while my brother's casket lay on its dais empty."
"Did Lelouch try and deny he was Zero?" Kaguya whispered.
"Of course," Nunnally rolled her eyes and laughed, "As if I'm that stupid. Ooh his arrogance really burns me up sometimes."
"But you did play along didn't you?" Sumeragi inquired with a titter.
"To a certain extent I did," Nunnally lamented, "but I probably shouldn't have. I made it clear that I knew who he was right to his face. Although I regret not making him come clean right then and there and tell all of you that he was alive. It would have saved some time and helped solidify the plan that I was putting into motion."
"You," Kaguya blurt out in surprise.
"Indubitably my dear Kaguya," Nunnally lifted her chin. "Who else could have pulled off such a smooth plan of action that didn't involve some game-show-host presentation by Zero to feed the egotist behind that mask?"
Sumeragi put her hand on Nunnally's shoulder as she chuckled, "Do tell."
"Well after Zero and I had finished squabbling about his identity we sent Medusa and Jeremiah outside to intercept Suzaku then got down to formulating a plan..."

"We don't really have time for this nonsense!" C.C. pleaded with Zero once Nunnally finished interrogating him within the Geass Temple of Kaminejima.
"She's right," Enoch said as he sat down on the empty coffin that had held Lelouch's corpse. "We've a limited amount of time before Schneizel's allies get here. Our decisions at this point will be the fulcrum that swings the scale of victory either for or against us."
"And who are you?" Zero asked.
Enoch gave him a playful smile as he wrapped his arm around Nunnally, "Your sister's new boyfriend."
Nunnally poked Enoch in the side and laughed, "You wish."
Lelouch was speechless as C.C. let out a hearty laugh and put her hand on his shoulder, "Don't worry about him. He's an old friend...and a prankster"
Lelouch sighed as he removed his mask, "I guess there's no point in hiding since the three of you seem to know who I am."
"That should have been obvious big brother," Nunnally folded her arms as she moved away from Enoch. She tried to scowl at Lelouch but couldn't.
Tears welled in her eyes, "I'm happy to see you again."
Lelouch wanted to be angry at her for forcing him to reveal himself, yet he found it difficult just to keep from crying. He was barely able to hold back the tears that welled in his eyes upon seeing his beloved sister again, "and I you."
Lelouch walked up to Nunnally and embraced her.
The Red Dragon moved forward and started to remove her helmet but Enoch put his hand on her arm and stopped her. "Now is not a good time," he whispered.
C.C. gave Enoch a puzzled look as The Red Dragon dropped her hand to her side and slowly nodded.
Nunnally took hold of Lelouch's gloved hand, "this time we work together in this struggle. No secrets between us."
"No secrets," he said as he kissed her cheek.
Nunnally's eyes grew wide, "OH MY GAWD!" She looked over at C.C., "You this could you?"
Lelouch turned beet red as he realized his mistake, "It wasn't my fault. It was Euryale's Code! You should have been able to see that too!"
C.C. blushed as she put her head in her hand, "Oh dear."
"I'm lost," The Red Dragon said with a shrug at Enoch.
Enoch sniggered, "I think C2 and Zero have finally consummated their relationship."
"OH!" The Red Dragon giggled.
"In his tomb no less," Nunnally announced in a mortified tone, "I mean really Lelouch, back at Ashford every girl on campus was after you and you showed no interest in any of them. Is a crypt the kind of setting it takes to get you involved with a woman?"
Enoch turned to the Red Dragon and shrugged, "maybe rigor-mortis was the only way he could get an erec..."
"ENOCH," C.C. yelled at him, "do you mind?"
Enoch gave her an innocent look, "what? I'm just saying."
"I know what you're saying," C.C. sneered at him playfully through her ear-to-ear smile.
"Can we get down to business?" Lelouch inquired with a blank expression.
"I'd say you've already done enough of that," Enoch cackled.
"Okay," Nunnally put her hand on her brother's arm, "we've picked on him enough. We do need to formulate a plan for a counter offensive."
"I'm sorry, I get carried away sometimes," Enoch said as he held out his hand to Lelouch, "I'm Enoch Apsu, it's a pleasure to finally meet you."
Lelouch shook his hand reluctantly, "I'm Lelouch vi Britannia, pleased to make your acquaintance."

"No, we cannot allow the Greeks to invade Britannia!" Nunnally scoffed at Lelouch's plan to trap the Olympians in the uninhabited regions of the country and use FLEIJA to decimate their forces.
"Their mecha have already exhibited an ability to absorb FLEIJA energies," the Red Dragon pointed out. "We don't know if they have any other machines like it, but the possibility does present itself."
"Then how are we supposed to neutralize their superior technology if we don't lure the bulk of their forces into a position where we can crush them." Lelouch stated firmly, "Medusa has already informed me of the power of the Apollyon. If we battle that machine over a populated area the results will be disastrous."
"Well then, we'll just have to ensure that we engage it over the ocean," Enoch pointed out. "That shouldn't be too hard considering their battle plan certainly revolves around securing the Sakuradite in Japan."
"That fact troubles me," Lelouch said as he cupped his chin, "Schneizel is well aware that the Fuji mines have only just been repaired and are operating at less than ten percent production. They're useless for the amount of Sakuradite the Greeks require."
Nunnally put her index finger to her lips then spoke, "Unless Schneizel intends to betray the Greeks?"
The others looked at her in shock as the revelation she had put forward sunk in.
"That's it Nunnally!" Lelouch told her with a smile, "it's the only logical answer to why Schneizel is pushing the Greeks away from Britannia. He's using Japan as bait to exhaust the resources of the Olympians without resupplying them."
"But Schneizel has to know that the Greeks will discover his betrayal at some point," C.C. remarked.
"Then Schneizel must realize that has to die," Enoch stated in a nonchalant tone, "and the Greeks have to be the ones that do it."
"He's our brother!" Nunnally scowled at Enoch.
"No Nunnally," Lelouch smiled, "Enoch is right. Schneizel must know that at this point defeat is a very real possibility for him either at our hands or the Olympians. The best way for him to execute whatever plan he's concocted would be for him to perish at the hands of the Greeks...or at least appear too."
"But Schneizel won't know about any of our plans in this," the Red Dragon pointed out, "he could just as easily really be killed by the Greeks if we set this type of plan in motion. Doesn't that mean anything to any of you?"
"It may be for the better if he dies," Lelouch said sadly, "we don't know how much information Schneizel has acquired about Geass. We know from Medusa that Schneizel himself now possesses the power. He may have also gained access to what Clovis and Bartley were working on while he was in control of Area 11 through doctor Viviane since she was a lead researcher on their project."
C.C. folded her arms, "You mean Code-R don't you?"
"What's Code-R?" Nunnally asked.
C.C. smiled at her, "It was a project that involved the artificial replication of Codes and Geass by using my DNA structure and cells. It was started by Charles Zi Britannia in order for him to create an army of immortal Geass wielding clones and augmented humans that could help him solidify control of the world. It also dealt with learning how to activate and control the Sword of Akasha to kill god."
Nunnally looked at them dumbfounded, "what is the Sword of Akasha?"
"A mobile planet that exists in a different dimension," C.C. said in a distant voice, "it was created by the ancients to tap into the power of the known universe and defeat death itself. How they made it, or where it is now was lost through the passage of the eons from when it was first built. Now it is only accessible through the Thought Elevators."
Lelouch had a grave expression as he asked C.C., "Do you think Schneizel might be reviving that plan?"
"I'm not sure," C.C. shook her head slightly.
Nunnally regarded them all with a thoughtful look, "I remember an argument that Schneizel and Cornelia had on the Damocles while I was with them that may shed some light on this situation."
Lelouch nodded towards her, "Please Nunnally, let's hear it. Any information will help at this point."
Nunnally took a breath, "Cornelia and Schneizel had expressed how they both despised Geass for what it had done to our family and to the world. Cornelia hated it for killing Euphie and corrupting you Lelouch. Schneizel wanted to find its source and destroy it to stop its influence from continuing to plague mankind. The part they argued over was how to go about finding and purging the origin of Geass. I wonder if Schneizel might be putting that plan into motion."
Enoch contemplated what Nunnally said. "It seems clear to me that the first order of business in our counter-offensive will be to stop Schneizel." He leaned his head back and looked up at the ceiling of the tomb, "Your brother clearly has a plan of his own in this conflict and thus he must be neutralized first if we are to have a clear shot at defeating the Greeks and obtaining a victory without fear of being routed by a third party."
"Assuming we do find and defeat Schneizel, what then?" C.C. asked.
"Then we'll have to contend with the city of Tartarus and its forces," Lelouch stated as if it should be obvious. "We'll need to use the combined forces of both Britannia and the Black Knights to do so. Medusa's description of the city was clear. It's a floating fortress armed to the brim with weaponry and filled with mecha."
"Then there's no way we can defeat it through brute force," C.C. remarked with a frown. "You should know that."
"I want to know what the hell is going on in there." Suzaku's voice emanated from the mouth of the tomb.
"We'd better get over there and stop him," C.C. said to the Red Dragon.
The Red Dragon nodded, "that's a good idea."
The two women briskly made their way to the entrance of the chamber and intercepted Suzaku as he tried to push past Jeremiah and Medusa.
Lelouch picked up his helmet in case he needed to don it quickly.
He, Nunnally, and Enoch waited until Suzaku and the others closed the door of the chamber behind them.
Enoch pulled out a small cell-phone sized black case, "I didn't want to talk about this in front of C2 because she'd never agree to what I'm about to propose. However, I feel that it may be the only way to defeat the Greeks." He paused a moment as Lelouch and Nunnally gave him their full attention, "A direct assault on Tartarus is not going to work, we simply don't have the firepower, but there may be another way."
He held up the cell-phone sized pouch and removed a gray and bronze colored cassette-tape sized device, "This little gem should take care of the Tartarus if we can get it into the main engine room of the city."
Lelouch gave him a skeptical look, "And what pray-tell is that?"
"This is a computer input device that has a virus which will rewrite the command and control programs of the Tartarus," Enoch handed the device to Lelouch, "It will cause the city's Hyperspace Fold System to activate and jump the metropolis into space a few light years from Earth. The virus will then cause the Fold Drive Computer to classify the Sol system and thus Earth as a nonexistent star system. Therefore the Greeks will not be able to return with the Tartarus for some time as they'll have to purge their computers of the virus and reboot the whole city."
"How long will that take?" Lelouch inquired as he examined the small gray device.
Enoch let out a chuckle, "A few years, maybe more depending on how soon they can figure out the virus' programming-code."
"That would provide us with the means of securing a more permanent peace, and unify the world." Nunnally blurt out as she thought about the article she had read in the Galactic Tribune back in Enoch's Quantum Castle.
"How so" Lelouch inquired.
Nunnally smiled at him, "what's the fastest way to stop warring factions?"
"By introducing a threat greater than they are," Lelouch smiled at his sister.
"Exactly," she smiled back at him, "we'll force the UFN, Britannia, and the EU to unify against a common enemy. One that is powerful enough to be convincing and one that exists beyond our reach."
Lelouch laughed, "Nunnally...that's brilliant!"
"But how do you two intend on delivering this device?" Enoch asked. "Getting into Tartarus isn't going to be easy."
"I'll have to be the one that does it," Lelouch stated firmly. "Only a very few people know that I'm alive, with a Code and the power of Geass."
"I can't just let you go head first into that city," Nunnally gave Lelouch a pleading look. "I'll not loose you again."
Enoch smiled, "You won't loose him Nunnally. If we plan this carefully, we should be able to pull this off without any major problems. Assuming everything goes as planned."

"Did it?" Kaguya interrupted Nunnally's yarn.
"Not entirely," Nunnally grinned, "but the majority of what we set out to do was accomplished. Since the war with the Greeks allowed us to create the Commonwealth of Earth and the spaceforces we achieved three of our major objectives. Now all we have to do is put the next phase of our plan into motion."
"Next phase" Kaguya inquired with intrigue in her voice.
"Yes," the Empress smiled, "Lelouch is convinced that the mobile planet, the Sword of Akasha, is in orbit around Jupiter because when he faced my father in C's World he saw the Red Gas-Giant above the mobile planet."
Sumeragi held a befuddled expression on her face, "But didn't you say it's in another dimension?"
"Yes, but the Greek Champion Jason once told me that Eden Vital, what we call Geass, is connected directly to the fabric of this universe. When I told Enoch that privately at his Christmas Party he explained to me that Jason was wrong. While the Greeks may believe that Geass and Eden Vital are the same, Enoch said they are not. Eden Vital is the energy which Codes and Geass spring from, not the power itself. That energy exists in an alternate dimension, but must be anchored to this universe for it to flow here. Otherwise there would be no Geass."
Kaguya stared at her wide-eyed, "How did Enoch know this?"
"The Geass Cult's records that Enoch had stolen contained this information," Nunnally told her. "Since the mobile planet is moored in this universe, Lelouch and Enoch surmised that it must be using Jupiter as an anchor. It's a planet that is certainly big enough, but not so large as to be a star which they both thought would damage the mobile planet."
"Oh," Kaguya said nonchalantly, "so that's why you convinced me to push for the creation of the new spacefleet? You want to go hunting for this mobile planet someplace out near Jupiter is that it?"
"Basically," Nunnally blushed. "We fear that if anyone gains control of the Sword of Akasha they'll have the power to access the Eden Vital and who knows what kind of danger that could pose."
"So finding this thing is imperative," Sumeragi grumbled as the aerial shuttle started to descend towards the landing platform of Buenos Ares. The silhouette of a large cylindrical ship in the distance caught Kaguya's attention. "And that's why we need the Kaminejima."
"Yes..." Nunnally answered her as they touched down.

"Zero is giving chase on a motorcycle with a Red headed female driver," Lucretia informed Dalque as her Vincent-Advanced headed for the harbor.
"I could just take him out you know," Dalque said over the radio.
"No," Alice told her over the channel, "I heard that red-headed security guard call him Lelouch. If she meant Lelouch vi Britannia then we must assume he has a Code and cannot be killed by normal means."
"Are you sure of that Alice?" Colonel Madd's voice came on the line.
"Yes sir," Alice replied.
"Dalque, proceed to the Z-1 submarine at pier seventeen," Madd instructed her.
"Understood Colonel," Dalque replied as she maneuvered the Vincent-Advanced towards the docks.

Colonel Madd watched the motorcycle chase Lucretia's Vincent-Advanced on the overhead monitor on the bridge of the Intruder.
"Colonel we're receiving a transmission from Count Amontillado," A female comm. officer informed him.
"Put him through," Madd told her.
The masked visage of Count Amontillado came on the screen, "Greetings Colonel."
"What's the status of your operation?" The man inquired in a soft tone.
"We've captured C2 and Zero is in pursuit. However," Madd cleared his throat, "Alice informs me that Zero may in fact be Lelouch vi Britannia."
The emotionless mask didn't move, "Really, How marvelous." Count Amontillado stated coolly.
"Sir," Madd asked in confusion.
"Have they reached the Z-1 yet?" Amontillado inquired patiently.
"Almost, but if Zero is Lelouch our people on the submarine will be vulnerable to his Geass," Madd stated with concern.
"Don't worry Colonel," the masked man's voice held an air of confidence, "Rai will deal with him."

Next Side Story: A Hop, Skip, and a Jaunt!

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Old 2010-04-08, 00:30   Link #49
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Side Story Seven: A Hop, Skip, and a Jaunt!

“How long I slept in darkness with only my dreams to comfort me. I remember fighting, killing, and being killed. Then I heard singing, the song of endless voices and infinite music. I was shocked when I felt the vibrations of my throat synchronized with the melodies that reverberated in my ears. It was then I realized that I could sing in countless voices and I had knowledge of boundless harmonies from the depths of Eden Vital. With song I was to woo my enemies to their doom. The gift of Geass blessed me with the voices of an angelic choir and the power of a demonic siren. Twas then I saw her face as I awoke in my birthing chamber…like a marble visage…determined, sharp, and with fierce intelligence behind her eyes. Nina Einstein, a woman consumed by vengeance who had made a blood oath to rid the world of Geass by making an army of Geass users. Strange that I seem to recall fighting against her kin, the Britannians, in some distant memory within the depths of my cranium, yet now I am to serve their very cause with the Irregulars. Kannon said I was once an eleven...whatever that means.”-Excerpt from the personal journal of Rai The Piper, dated June 12th 2025 a.t.b.

“Hurry!” Zero yelled at Kallen as they rounded a corner. “They’re heading for that submarine with the open hatch.”
Kallen drove the motorbike like a mad-woman, “I can see that Big-Z, but if I push this bike any harder it’ll become uncontrollable. It wasn’t meant for two people...especially when one of them is wearing a Halloween costume with a cape!”
“Funny Kallen…Real funny,” Lelouch griped.
Captain Kouzuki maneuvered the motorcycle over a ramp onto the deck of a submarine just as the Vincent-Advanced landed inside the open hatch at the back of the submersible.
“Follow them,” Zero barked at her as she slowed the bike to a halt.
Kallen turned slightly towards him, “this is obviously a trap.”
“I know,” Lelouch said softly as Kallen brought the motorcycle to a halt at the side of the submarine, “but we have to stop them from taking C2 or else the consequences will be dire.”
“You really think that whoever has taken her wants to use her to revive the Geass Cult?” Kallen asked as they got off the motorbike and headed for a hatch on the side of conning tower of the submarine.
“Yes,” Lelouch said as he checked the door.
It opened.
“Guess we’re invited,” Kallen remarked with a sour expression.
Lelouch removed the pistol from under his bib-shirt, “We’d better be ready.”
“I agree,” Kallen said as she removed her own weapon from its holster.
The two of them proceeded into the dimly lit causeway of the vessel and passed by a deck-map of the ship.
“We should make our way down this corridor to the first right as it goes straight back to the hangar,” Lelouch said as he quickly perused the image.
“Will do,” Kallen whispered to him as she guarded their rear and allowed Lelouch to take point.
He angled his pistol around the bend in the hallway before proceeding down towards the rear of the ship.
“Strange that there is no one coming to greet us,” Kallen said to him in a sarcastic tone.
“I know,” Lelouch said to her as they made their way down the hall quickly, “it’s bugging me.”
Kallen waited for Lelouch to open the hatch that led to the hangar bay beyond before she spoke, “Yeah, it seems as though we are expected to do this.”
“I’m sure we are,” Lelouch told her as they entered the large chamber. Within it was the Vincent-Advanced that had spirited off with C.C. as well as several other modified KMFs of various Britannian types.
“Fewww,” Kallen whistled softly, “looks like somebody is going to war.”
Lelouch looked over the machines as they descended an iron-grill stairway down to the mecha-deck below the egress they had entered through.
Zero looked at the KnightMares closely, “those aren’t typical KMFs. They’ve been modified using a technology I’m not familiar with, and I’d say there’s something amiss about them due to their organic appearance.”
“I know what you mean,” Kallen said as she examined the fingers of the Vincent-Advanced in the center of the hangar, “the hand units look more like a real hand under a glove than a mechanical one.”
“We’ll have to save the examination for later.” Zero told her as he caught sight of an open doorway on the right hand side of the bay. “My guess is they took C2 through there.”
“I could’ve figured that out on my own,” Kallen rolled her eyes as she followed him towards the egress that led into another hallway.
The door shut before they reached it.
“Guess we’ve sprung the trap!” Kallen blurt out.
“Indeed,” Lelouch said as he tried to open the hatch, but it was locked from the other side.
“Lelouch vi Britannia,” a melodic male voice said from the doorway they had come through before.
“Who’s there?” Zero demanded as Lelouch prepared to use his Geass.
A handsome young man with snow-white hair and ice-blue eyes walked over the pressure-lip of the hatchway onto the iron-grill landing of the stair that led down to Kallen and Zero.
The man began whistling a tune which emanated from his vocal cords like a symphony of instruments as the sigil of Geass formed around his throat;
Kallen dropped to the floor onto her knees. Her mouth moved to tell Lelouch to run but her head was so filled with music that she couldn’t think until finally she blacked out and collapsed onto the metal deck.
Zero tried to summon his Geass but the sound of the music caused him to clasp at his ears. He tried in vain as he was unable to remove his helmet fast enough. The sound reverberated in his skull compelling him to look up at the white haired youth.
The young man began to sing and gesture towards Lelouch as he made his way down the stairs towards Zero;

BY the last breath of the four winds that blow
I'll have revenge upon Fortunato

The man walked up in front of Lelouch and stretched out his hand as Zero sank to his knees before him. The ice-blue eyes looked down at Zero with sadness as he removed Lelouch’s mask, but his voice didn’t miss a beat;

Smile in his face I'll say "come let us go
I've a cask of Amontillado"

The will of the man passed into Lelouch’s mind as he felt himself compelled to take the man’s hand in his.

Sheltered inside from the cold of the snow
Follow me now to the vault down below

Zero stood up and started to walk with the white haired man as he led Lelouch to a globe shaped object that was concealed just behind the Vincent-Advanced. The device was identical to the one Lelouch had first found C.C. in.

Drinking the wine as we laugh at the time
Which is passing incredibly slow

The young man smiled at Lelouch as they walked up the stair next to the sphere towards a control panel. The white haired man used his free hand to press a button on the control panel and open the container.
Lelouch suddenly had a rush of words enter into his thoughts that he was compelled to sing.

(What are these chains that are binding my arm?)

The man sang the next line as he held Lelouch’s hand and eased him into the sphere.

Part of you dies each passing day

Lelouch sang another bar as the man let go of his hand.

(Say it's a game and I'll come to no harm)

The man gave Lelouch a sideways smile as he began activating the containers various controls and functions and sang the next line.

You'll feel your life slipping away

Lelouch lay back into the side of the large sphere as the man monitored the external containment devices that were attached to its outer shell.

You who are rich and whose troubles are few
May come around to see my point of view

The man was so engrossed with his melody and his task that he didn’t see Kallen pulling herself slowly up off the floor on the other side of the KnightMare Frame.
The angelic voice continued to sing;

What price the Crown of a King on his throne
When you're chained in the dark all alone

Lelouch sung again as the devices on the sides of the sphere came to life with various dials and meters beginning to light up;

(Spare me my life only name your reward)

The control screen in front of the white-haired man began a count-down as the systems of the stasis chamber started their sequences.

Part of you dies each brick I lay

The sphere began closing as Lelouch sang the next verse;

(Bring back some light in the name of the Lord)

The white haired man shook his head slowly in response as he ended the song and Lelouch felt his body go numb;

You'll feel your mind slipping away

“STOP!” Kallen yelled as she fired a shot at the white-haired man. Her round grazed his right arm which sent him reeling over the side of the control station onto the hard metal floor.
Kallen fired at him again to get him away from the globe while she rushed up the stairwell to the top of the now half closed sphere. She looked at the controls but knew there was no time to try and figure them out. Captain Kouzuki aimed for the hoses and tubes around the globe and fired on them.
Her barrage of bullets tore through the rubber hoses and metal fittings causing a stream of liquid nitrogen to flood the hangar bay all around the sphere; her action slowed down the closure of the globe but failed to stop it. The freezing liquid turned into a fog almost instantly and began to rise up within the hangar.
Machinegun bullets ricocheted past Kallen from behind her.
“Stop there Captain Kouzuki!” Dalque commanded as she and Sancia entered into the hangar from the formerly locked hatchway.
Kallen spun on her heel and fired back at Dalque with her pistol.
A round zipped past Dalque’s head, “That little bitch tried to kill me!” Dalque fired a full burst directly at Kallen with her submachinegun.
“No Dalque! Count Amontillado said he wants her alive!” the white-haired man barked at her as he got to his feet. Blood ran down his arm where Kallen had grazed him.
Kallen jumped backwards to dodge the hail of bullets and fell into the sphere with Lelouch. The rounds peppered the control console of the sphere and a panel at the back of the hangar bay itself.
The globe closed with Kallen inside it.
“Dalque you hit the bay-door controls!” Sancia yelled at her in a panic as the floor doors of the bay began opening.
“Rai save my KnightMare!” Dalque demanded as her machine began to fall into the ocean water when the egress opened.
“There’s no time,” Rai yelled back at her as he got off the rapidly opening floor-hatch.
A blur passed by Dalque, Rai, and Sancia towards the KMF while the sphere and its control station dropped into the sea.
A moment later the KnightMare frame started up and stabilized itself above the doors as the damaged hatch control panel shorted out and burst in a blue explosion of electrical energy.
The cockpit-hatch of the Vincent-Advanced opened up as soon as the KMF landed on the deck and Alice stood up from its seat, “Sancia, get Rai down to the infirmary and patch him up. Dalque see if you can get those doors opened all the way. Our KMFs can’t get through with them ajar, and we need to retrieve that sphere ASAP.”
Dalque tried to open the portal from another console that rested near the front of the hangar bay. “It won’t open Alice. The entire hatchway control system is shorted out. We’ll have to fix it before we can launch.”
“Dammn it!” Alice cursed as she thought of Lelouch and Kallen falling into the depths of the icy Gulf of Finland as the sphere would surely be swept out into the waters of the Baltic Sea by the current.

“Lelouch wake up,” Kallen said to him within the dim green light of the stasis chamber. She tried to control the panic that was swelling up in her head as she felt the metal globe bobbing up and down. Kallen knew that could mean only one thing: they were under water and moving.
Lelouch lay unconscious on the side of the sphere.
Kallen shook him lightly, “Lelouch you have to wake up.” She could feel the cold of the waters of the Gulf of Finland as its frigid temperatures penetrated the walls of the metal globe.
Kallen tried to rouse him again. His eyes opened but stared blankly back at her as if he were in a trance.
“Dammn it Lelouch, if you don’t snap out of it we’re…,” she held back her fear as she felt the heat of her body dropping, “I’m not going to make it.”
Captain Kouzuki opened up her trench-coat and wrapped it around her bare thighs as she hugged Lelouch’s warm body. She pulled his cloak over both of them to try and retain more heat.
Kallen lay with him for a few minutes trying to warm up, but the icy waters were draining the heat from the sphere faster than their bodies could generate it.
Her teeth chattered despite the warmth coming from both their bodies. “I don’t think I’m going to last long.” Kallen could see her breath as she spoke to him knowing that he didn’t hear her.
The metal globe shuddered a moment then Kallen felt her stomach lift. We’re falling, she thought as all hope of rescue slipped away from her mind. We must have drifted out to the Baltic Sea which means we’ll freeze before anyone can reach us. I’ll die for sure, but at least you’ll go on.
The thought was painful to her as she looked up at him and smiled. The freezing cold was beginning to cloud her thoughts.
“I lied to you, you know.” She said as she snuggled up next to his face. “I didn’t mean what I said about you being a boy…well I kinda did, but that’s because you hurt me.”
Her eyes grew moist, “Don’t get me wrong Lelouch, I do like Gino a lot, maybe I even love him, but not like you. You are like no one I’ve ever known, and my heart-of-hearts will always belong to you no matter how many other men come into my life. I will always truly love you. Is that wrong? Is it evil of me to truly love only one man while I give myself to others?”
Kallen laid her head next to his as her lips trembled with the freezing temperature, “Will you hate me for being with them? Or do you not love me?”
She caressed his face as the sphere landed on the bottom of the Baltic with a thud that jarred them a little.
“Looks like this is it,” she said to him as she felt the tips of her fingers burning with the cold. “Soon we’ll start to go numb, then as hypothermia sets in we won’t feel anything as we fade off into death.”
Her body shook uncontrollably as she leaned closer to him, “one kiss before I go my love.” Kallen put her lips to his and kissed him.
She closed her eyes while she kissed him and a flood of images entered her mind.

“Hey Kallen what are you doing here?” Lelouch asked from where he looked out over the Britannian settlement. The sun shown high in the sky, but it gave no warmth.
Kallen looked around the rooftop that she and Lelouch were standing on. She knew the landscape of the place but it was different somehow, warmer.
“How did we escape the metal sphere and end up back here at Ashford?” Kallen asked him.
“Sphere,” Lelouch asked with a befuddled expression, “are you feeling okay Kallen?”
“I’m not so sure?” She wondered if she had faded off into death as she had kissed him and that this perhaps was the afterlife. “A moment ago you and I were at the bottom of the Baltic Sea and freezing to death. Now we are here at Ashford.”
“Hey you guys,” Rivals called out as he and Milley came up from the stair that led back down into the academy. “What’s going on?”
Rivals and Milley? Kallen thought to herself. They’re not dead, of that I’m sure. No, this must be something else.
“You’re late for music class,” Rivals scolded Lelouch.
“As always,” Milley tittered. They were both dressed in their her school uniforms.
It suddenly hit Kallen that Rivals and Milley looked like they did in their teens, this must be how Lelouch remembers them. That means I’m in his mind and we really are still dying in the sphere. It must be his Code; Pizza Girl once told me that Lelouch knew her true wish because they had a connection. Kallen laughed to herself, and I just thought she was being a jerk, now I understand what she meant.
Lelouch laughed slightly at them then looked back out over the landscape of Japan; a Japan of castles, brilliant white cities and endless green fields, it wasn’t the Japan of Area 11, it was clearly Lelouch’s ideal.
“I can’t go back to class until I find what I’m looking for,” he said as he gazed out longingly out into the world.
“What are you looking for?” Kallen asked him.
“My sword and shield,” He replied as a suit of brilliant golden armor appeared on his body from nowhere. It was not mediaeval armor, but more like an armored version of his Zero outfit, with a long green-cape that flowed like shadowy hair down from his shoulders. The mechanized suit fit to his body tightly yet gave his form a muscular appearance that was biomechanical in its construction.
The Zero Helmet was swung back on the suit as if it were connected to the armor via a hinge. Tubes ran from under the chin of the helmet to some device on the back of the armor that was concealed by the cape of green-hair.
The handle of a Katana rest on the left hip of his armor, but the weapon had no blade.
“She’s lost her fire,” Lelouch told Kallen as he noticed her looking at the weapon. He removed the handle from his hip and handed it to her. “I don’t know how to rekindle her flame.”
She? Kallen wondered, “Lelouch, I have no idea what you’re talking about, but we don’t have any time, you have to wake up.” Captain Kouzuki pleaded with him.
“What are you talking about Kallen?” Milley giggled, “He’s awake, and you can see that.”
Kallen ignored her, “You’re just dreaming right now Lelouch. None of this is real.”
Rivals checked his watch, “We’ve gotta go. Class starts any minute now.”
Lelouch’s armor faded away as he replied to Rivals, “you’re right Rivals. We need to get to music class.” He walked briskly towards the stairwell that led down into the school.
Kallen ran after the three of them and into the main hall of the Ashford. She nearly ran over a well dressed man in a suit and jumped backward when she realized it was Schneizel.
“Pardon me Miss Kouzuki,” he smiled at her. “Have you seen my brother Clovis? He’s supposedly teaching an art class today and I was invited to see his latest works.”
“I’m very sorry Schneizel, I haven’t seen him today,” She replied slowly as Kallen realized this must be what Lelouch really wanted: A world where he, his friends, and family could live peaceful lives…normal lives.”
Kallen had lost sight of Lelouch, Milley and Rivals but followed the sound of music to a large symphonic amphitheater that she was sure was not a part of the real Ashford Academy.
Sitting in the rows of seats in front of the stage on the right side of the music hall were Suzaku, Euphemia, Nunnally, Cornelia, Milley, and Rivals. Lelouch sat alone on the other side watching the blood-red curtain of the stage.
Kallen crept up beside Lelouch as briskly as she could and started to speak to him quietly.
“Shhhhhh,” the others shushed her.
“The performance is about to begin Kallen,” Lelouch told her softly.
The curtain rose and suddenly the room disappeared.
It was replaced by the nighttime sky of Japan and the bus-stop just outside of Ashford. Thunder boomed in the cloud filled sky as a keyboard began playing from some unseen location.
A voice began a song as a visage appeared in front of Kallen and Lelouch, though the image of the orange-haired girl wasn’t the one singing.
Lelouch mouthed the words of the song as he moved over to the girl who Kallen recognized instantly as Shirley:

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin' when I hold you
Don't you know I feel the same

Lelouch walked up to Shirley and embraced her as tears poured down Shirley’s face and the rain began to downpour in sheets from the sky while the song played on:

'Cause nothin' lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it's hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain

Kallen looked for the source of the singing as the song continued.

We've been through this such a long long time
Just tryin' to kill the pain

The landscape changed again to the memorial in Narita cemetery where Shirley’s father had died. Kallen watched as Lelouch cast his Geass on Shirley to spare her the knowledge that he was Zero and responsible for her father’s death.

But lovers always come and lovers always go
An no one's really sure who's lettin' go today
Walking away

Kallen experienced Lelouch’s memories of having to lie about why Shirley acted like she didn’t know him as the landscape changed back to Ashford. Kouzuki felt the ache in his heart as the song went on:

If we could take the time
to lay it on the line
I could rest my head
Just knowin' that you were mine
All mine

The scene changed to him standing in front of a young Kallen as he contemplated taking Refrain. The seventeen year old Kallen slapped Lelouch as Captain Kouzuki watched the spectacle and laughed softly to herself:

So if you want to love me
then darlin' don't refrain
Or I'll just end up walkin'
In the cold November rain

The scene changed again to when Lelouch found Rolo standing over Shirley bleeding to death. Anger swelled in Kallen as she felt the anguish in Lelouch and watched him cry over her friend’s dying body:

Do you need some time...on your own
Do you need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...
on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone

The environment faded to the hangar of the Ikaruga when Kallen stood in front of Lelouch to stop the Black Knights from shooting him as they chose to betray Zero:

I know it's hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But if you could heal a broken heart
Wouldn't time be out to charm you

The image before Kallen changed to when she kissed him on the lips and he rejected her. Tears welled in her eyes as she could feel the love he had within him for her.

Sometimes I need some time...on my
Sometimes I need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...
on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone

The landscape changed again this time to when C.C. first kissed Lelouch. Kallen felt the love that welled inside his heart for the witch.

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame

The image changed again to C’s World when Charles went to take C.C.’s Code and Lelouch told her he would fulfill her wish to be truly loved by someone.

So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain

The image of Shirley stood alone on the rooftop of Ashford where Kallen had first entered this dreamworld.

Don't ya think that you need somebody

Kallen’s teenage visage appeared next to Shirley on her right.

Don't ya think that you need someone

C.C.’s image faded into existence next to Shirley on her left side.

Everybody needs somebody

Lelouch appeared in front of them and turned to face Kallen:

You're not the only one
You're not the only one

Guilt, Kallen realized the kink in Lelouch’s mental armor that the white-haired man had used to cast his spell upon Lelouch. It was the thing that consumed Lelouch the most. His shame for he did to those he loved. Anger burned inside Kallen with a fury she hadn’t felt in years. Suddenly the katana hilt in her hand shot forth a burning red blade.
“I understand now!” Kallen yelled. “I am his SWORD that strikes down those that would hurt him.” Kallen closed her eyes and zeroed in on the source of the music as the last note played and plunged the sword into the image of Lelouch up to its hilt.
Lelouch’s face contorted in horror as his visage changed to that of the white-haired man. He smiled in pain, “Well done Captain Kouzuki, you’ve earned his life at the cost of your own.”
“NO!” Lelouch’s voice resounded everywhere around Kallen and Rai. “I will not allow you to take her from me!”
“Lelouch!” Kallen cried out to sky.
“Kallen, will you be my sword…my champion?” Lelouch’s voice asked her.
“YES!” She called out to him with all her heart as tears ran down her cheeks.
“Very well then, our contract shall be between hearts. Your love for me and mine for you, I shall be your Knight and you shall be my Sword.”
“I accept your contract,” Kallen said to him with a smile.

Kallen’s eyes shot open, the freezing cold had caused her to loose feeling in her fingers and nose which were turning blue, but the fire that burned in her left-eye was warmer than anything she had ever felt before.
“JAUNT!” She demanded automatically as the sigil of Geass formed in her left-eye. Instantly she and Lelouch were engulfed in orange-red light which caused them to vanish from the sphere.

A moment later they rematerialized on the docks where the submarine had been.
“What the hell?” Kallen heard Tamaki call out. “Gino! Akira! Over here!”
Captain Kouzuki could feel them uncover the freezing cold cape of Zero’s that was wrapped around both of them.
“Get a medical team down here now!” Gino called out to the other members of the Yamato no Orochi, as Akira checked her over for any injuries.
“What happened to Lelouch’s hair?” Anya asked as she and Tetsuo ran over to where Kallen and Lelouch lay.
“I dunno, looks like it turned silver,” Mika remarked as Akira bent down and checked Kallen’s life signs.
“She’s gone into the first stage of hypothermia,” Akira said as he felt her pulse, “but she’s still alive.”
Kallen felt the heat of the sun on her face as the emergency shuttle from the Ikaruga landed next to them.
“Did we make it?” Kallen mumbled out loud.
“Yeah Kallen, you made it…” Tamaki said with an edge in his voice, “but don’t ask me how. One minute you weren’t there the next minute you were.”
Kallen tried to laugh in her delirium, “That’s because I’m his sword, I can strike from anywhere.” Captain Kouzuki faded off into darkness.

“I’ve lost control of him,” Rai told Count Amontillado as he stood in the medical bay of the submarine. The hum of the ship’s engines reverberated throughout the vessel as the Z-1 submarine made its way out of the Baltic Sea. “The woman, Captain Kouzuki, freed him.”
“Oh,” the masked man asked with a change in the tone of his voice. “How did she do that?”
“By learning Lelouch’s secret.” Rai told him.
“Which is?” Amontillado asked.
“That he loves her,” Rai stated bluntly. “But that she is only one facet of Lelouch’s complex personality. One woman is not enough for him. There are three which comprise his mental arsenal, each a specific aspect of his life experiences and each necessary for him to be at his maximum potential.”
“Curious,” Amontillado said cupping the chin of his metal mask, “so he is like his father to a certain extent?”
“No, it’s not sexual love,” Rai said with confidence, “it’s pure. Like a true love only split in three ways. One is the armor that has protected him and taken bullets for him. That armor is C2. The second is his shield, the one who sheltered him from his own evils and mistakes. The girl whose smile and forgiveness for his transgressions allowed him to go on despite his own self-loathing, that one was the girl Shirley, whom Rolo had killed. The last one is his Sword, the woman who was loyal to the end, and would fight for him no matter what. She is a blade of pure fire, whose heat can cut down any of his adversaries. That one is Captain Kouzuki.”
“So, he was weakened by the death of Shirley, which must have led to his decision to kill himself since she no longer shielded him from his sins. We now have C2, so we have his armor.” Count Amontillado smiled under the mask as he realized the extent of C.C.’s value in ways he had not comprehended previously. “All we need to do now is acquire his sword, and Zero will be at our mercy.”
“That would be a logical assumption my Lord,” Rai concurred.
“It was also the conclusion that V2 had come up with according the records I’ve uncovered in Britain,” Nina Einstein said as she walked into the medical bay of the Z-1.
“Ah Nina, I’m so glad you could join us,” Count Amontillado said pleasantly.
“I cannot stay here very long,” she said with a scowl, “but I’ve brought the weapon you requested, although I’m not comfortable with using this…thing.”
“Oh come now Professor,” the Count said with a wave of his hand as he and Rai started towards the exit of the infirmary, “you can’t allow your personal emotions to get in the way of using this weapon.”
Nina got in line with them as they made their way to the next room which was the biological storage bay on the medical deck of the submersible
“We don’t know what will happen if this thing comes in contact with a Code wielder.” Nina said as the trio came up to a stasis chamber within the spacious bio-lab.
The silhouette of a young girl floated within the chamber.
“Especially if that Code wielder is Lelouch vi Britannia,” Nina spat at the Count as she illuminated the interior of the cylinder.
Rai’s eyes shot wide open as he saw the girl, “I see why you wanted to use her,” he said in awe.
“Indeed,” the Count snickered, “your information has made this clone even more valuable then we first surmised.”
There floating within the chamber was Shirley.

Next Side Story: Clones

Thanks for Reading
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Old 2010-04-08, 00:32   Link #50
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Join Date: May 2009
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Notes for Turn Seven:

The songs are "A Cask of Amontillado" by the Alan Parson's Project and
"November Rain" by Guns 'n Roses.
GundamFan0083 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2010-04-11, 16:38   Link #51
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: classified
Side Story Eight: Clones

“Cruelty was a vice that has plagued man since his creation. An aspect of whom and what he is that contributes to his never ending abuse of his fellow man and the making of war. Geass only added to this vice in its ability to augment the selfish desire of the individual imbued with its harsh enchantment. But never had I expected that the cruelty of Geass could be used to threaten so much or so many by the simple miscalculation of a plan that once set in motion had far reaching, and unintended, consequences.”.”-Excerpt from the personal diary of Nunnally vi Britannia dated August 2nd 2025 a.t.b.

“Where the heck could he be?” Shirley wondered as she roamed around the gardens of Aries Villa.
“Where’s who Ms. Fenette?” Marianne inquired of the orange haired girl as she came outside onto the grand-patio of the Villa.
“Lelouch,” Shirley griped. “I can’t seem to find him anywhere.”
“Lelouch,” Marianne asked as she put her finger to her lips and thought for a moment, “come to think of it, I haven’t seen him in quite awhile. I wonder where he could have run off to.”
“I believe he went back to the world of the living,” Clovis said as he walked around the side of a patch of shrubbery carrying an easel, canvas and paint supplies under his arm.
“THE WORLD OF THE LIVING,” Shirley exclaimed in shock. “Why would he do that? He promised me that he had left that world to be with me!”
“I believe it was because Suzaku came here looking for him,” Clovis told her nonchalantly.
“Suzaku,” Shirley looked perplexed. “What was he doing here?”
Clovis paused for a moment, “something about the Zero Requiem failing, gods of Olympus returning, and him needing Lelouch to right the world. I think my elder brother Schneizel had something to do with it all.”
Shirley put her hands on her hips and scowled, “He went back to the world of the living to help Suzaku fight Schneizel…”
“That’s what he said he was going to do,” Clovis gave her a thin smile as he saw her clench her fists.
“Ooooooh…that Lulu,” she growled as she turned towards Marianne, “Mrs. Lamperouge, do you perchance know how to get back to the world of the living?”
“There’s no way I know of,” Marianne said with a sympathetic smile.
“But there has to be if Lelouch did it,” Shirley protested.
“There is a way,” V.V. said as he came out of the house behind Marianne onto the porch.
“How Mr. V2,” Shirley pleaded.
“Some time ago I gave the order for Lelouch’s termination and had the Geass Order clone your body for that purpose. If you could find a way to that body you could possess it like your own.”
Shirley gave him a narrow eyed look, “You cloned me?”
“Well I didn’t know you back then, plus things are much different in the world of the living then they are here.” V.V. said matter-of-factly. “Power, money, and want of material things don’t exist here, so the desire to use a copy of you to slay my nephew isn’t something I’d consider in this world, but back in the world of the living it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Shirley raised an eyebrow, “I see. Well, maybe it will turn out for the better.”
“Assuming that the clone still exists,” V.V. informed her. “I’ve seen many of my old associates in this world that were once part of the Order. Lelouch has killed off nearly all of the Geass Directorate in the world of the living. I doubt anyone still knows about your clone unless some new group has discovered it.”
“How will I find this clone?” Shirley inquired of him.
V.V. considered her question for a moment, “I’d say you’ll have to find the Thought Elevator and then listen for the sound of your heart. When you hear it you’ll know how to find your clone.”
Shirley gave him a befuddled look, “huh? What do you mean follow my heart?”
V.V. rolled his eyes, “I mean that your soul knows what your heart sounds like and can distinguish it from the bodies of other people. Your clone is basically you in physical form with a new proto-soul within it that is both you and not you at the same time.” V.V. adjusted his collar, “Therefore when you are in close enough proximity of your cloned body you will be able to take possession of it by moving into it with your will.”
“I will?” Shirley said with a blank expression.
“Yes,” V.V. hissed in irritation at her lack of comprehension of what he thought should be obvious. “If your clone still exists then you will be able to merge with it!”
“Oh…” Shirley contemplated his words for a moment, “um…how?”
V.V. narrowed his brow, “just touch yourself.”
Shirley’s eyes shot wide open, “excuse me?”
V.V. sighed as he put his face in his palm, “just go…the Thought Elevator is at the edge of the horizon.” He pointed to the East. “If your clone still exists, that is where you’ll have to go to find it.”
“Okay…well, thank you Mr. V2,” Shirley bowed and ran off towards the Eastern horizon with high hopes of finding her body and giving Lelouch a much needed Piece of Her Mind.

“She’s not located in the Biminis Thought Elevator temple,” Enoch told Lelouch over the main viewscreen within Lelouch’s private quarters on the Ikaruga. “Our dive teams checked out the entire facility your father built there and it has clearly been abandoned though not for any length of time. Most of the power-plants have been recently recharged, and the place was fully stocked with food, supplies, smallarms and the like. I’d say whoever was here has moved their operation elsewhere.”
Lelouch held a firm look but his emotions were boiling inside his head, “It’s been five weeks since they got hold of her. We’ve got to find her.”
“I agree with you Big-Z,” a thin smile crossed Enoch’s face, “but don’t beat yourself up too much. It’s not like you stood a chance against a whole squad of Geass users. That reminds me; the data I uncovered here at the Biminis Temple had some information on V2’s Code-R project that Clovis and Bartley were working on.”
“Let’s hear it,” Lelouch said anxiously.
Enoch nodded, “It would seem that V2 had been building up an army of artificial Geass users using C2’s DNA. They never perfected a Code wielder but they did manage to perfect the spawning of Geass powers in some of the clones they created. Rolo was one of those clones as were many of the children you wiped out during your assault on the Geass Cult.”
Lelouch eyed Enoch with a scowl, “don’t you mean massacre.”
Enoch shook his head, “No Lelouch, I’m not as naïve as Ougi and the others I know full well what those children could have done if they were allowed to live. V2 would have had a legion of Geass wielders that no army on Earth could have stopped. You did the right thing.”
Lelouch put his head in his hand in a depressed fashion, “if you say so Enoch.”
“I do,” Enoch replied sternly at him, “I told you to make C2 the focus of your heart for a reason, and that reason is finally here. You said that Ougi reported no one at the elevator on Kaminejima, and Akira says the Temple located at Stonehenge was the same. That means I’ve got a good idea where C2 may in fact be and it’s going to take your special link with her to find her.”
“Not exactly,” Lelouch perked up, “Akira said that there had been someone at that temple under Stonehenge but all the contents of the facility had been moved someplace else.”
Lelouch sighed for a moment then he continued, “But still, all of the other Thought Elevators have also been thoroughly searched by our Black Knight Special Ops units all over the world including Antarctica and they’ve come up empty handed.”
“Which means…” Enoch trailed off waiting for Lelouch to follow his line of thinking.
“Which means we’ve lost them and C2,” Lelouch said.
“No Lelouch,” Enoch told him matter-of-factly, “think about it and use your heart. Where do you think C2 is? We’ve not found the submarine or the airship this group is using anywhere on the planet. We’ve used satellites and conducted a worldwide search for a full five weeks. It’s as though they’ve just fallen off the face of the Earth.”
Lelouch contemplated his words, “C’s world.” He said with a shocked expression.
“C’s World,” Enoch repeated with a widening grin. “The Geass Temple here in Biminis is big enough to transport a whole airship or submarine, and has done so accidentally on numerous occasions in the past which is why it was one of the first Thought Elevators found according to the Geass Directorate’s files.”
“But why go into C’s World?” Lelouch asked him.
“That’s a good question Big-Z,” Enoch put his hand on his chin. “I’m willing to bet that whoever took C2 is looking for a way to reactivate the Sword of Akasha.”
“That’s impossible,” Lelouch blurt out, “god put an end to that device. I know because I used my power of Geass to convince god to stop the Sword of Akasha and deactivate it.”
“Then that entity is clearly not a god if a power it creates can in fact effect it,” Enoch scoffed. “Your Geass must have accessed the main computer of Nibiru which caused it to stop Charles’ plan of activating the Ragnarok.”
“But I saw my father and mother disintegrate by the power of that god right in front of me Enoch,” Lelouch recalled the painful memory of Charles being absorbed.
“Matter-digitization is a function of the thought elevators Lelouch,” Enoch said nonchalantly, “It is how your physical body is able to travel from this world to the world of C intact and back again. The information about what makes you…well you…is simply transmitted to C’s World through the Thought Elevator and reassembled on either side of the gate. What happened to Charles and Marianne was that their information was transferred into the storage component of Nibiru itself. Like when you load data from a CD or DVD onto a hard-drive then destroy the CD or DVD. The information is still available but the old vessel is gone. That’s what happened to your parents, their bodies are gone but their information still is accessible.”
“But that doesn’t explain why this group has taken C2 into C’s World or what they plan on doing there.” Lelouch inquired.
“Actually it does,” Enoch smirked. “This group has to know they’re badly outmatched by the combined strength of the Commonwealth of Earth and thus they’d need a base of operations that is outside of our reach. Nibiru is obviously out near Jupiter and we’ve nothing that can reach out that far in any reasonable amount of time. Even the ESS Kaminejima would require months to travel out to the gas-giant, let alone search and find the mobile planet. No, this enemy has every reason to hide on that moon-sized metal Dyson Sphere. Even chasing after them through the Thought Elevators may prove difficult if we don’t go through the exact same one as they went through. I assume the one here in Biminis is the one they used to transport their warships, but you just told me that Akira reported to you that there was someone at the Stonehenge temple that has now fled. We must assume that a second team has gone through the Thought Elevator there and has come out at the corresponding C’s World terminal on the other side.”
“I can have the Yamato no Orochi assembled in a few days…” Lelouch started to say before Enoch cut him off.
“NO!” Enoch barked. “It’s far too dangerous for us to endanger any non-immortals in this operation Lelouch. There’s no telling what’s lying in wait on the other side of those gates. I think for this operation only you and I should go alone.”
Lelouch couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “How are the two of us going to search both Thought Elevators at once?”
Enoch laughed, “You start at the one at Stonehenge and I’ll start at this one here in Biminis. We’ll meet up later in C’s World. Pretty simple don’t you think?”
“That’s insane,” Lelouch shouted at him, “how the hell are we going to find C2 with just the two of us, and starting from different points in C’s World on top of that?”
“You do still have the Samael right?” Enoch asked as he took a sip of water from a glass next to him. “I’ve got a Type-21Z here that I can use from my end. You follow your heart to C2 and I’ll follow the transponder signal of the Samael; again, a very simple solution to a simple problem.”
“You make it sound so easy,” Lelouch folded his arms in irritation, “what do you plan on doing if we meet up with the armed enemy force in there?”
“Samael is a Hakodeshim if you remember and he can pretty much destroy any KMF.” Enoch smirked and I’m a decent pilot so I can whip anything these kidnappers throw at me in there. It’ll be a piece of cake.”
“Sure,” Lelouch replied sarcastically. “I’m not as confident as you are about this. Whoever is behind this operation has to be extremely intelligent. The use of the Thought Elevators is simple enough, but cloning humans is quite another affair altogether. It would take someone with considerable knowledge of how Sakuradite works to use that element’s innate alchemic properties to create a copy of a person from dead cells and then fuse them with C2’s cells on top of that.”
Enoch raised his left eyebrow, “You don’t think this group is just cloning our green-haired wonder-woman?” Enoch looked sad for a moment, “pity…I know I wouldn’t mind one.”
“Will you get serious,” Lelouch snapped. “NO, I don’t think that only C2 is being cloned I think that the other kidnappings prove that you dolt.”
Enoch waved his hand dismissively, “Oh don’t get your training-bra in a bind little girl. I was only kidding to try and lighten up your depressing mood.” Apsu’s tone became serious, “I’ve no doubt that the leaders of the world who’ve been captured have probably been cloned in this as per V2’s original plans to replace the world’s leaders with Geass users loyal to the Directorate. That was part of Rolo’s purpose, to kill off political leaders and crime bosses that stood in their way and replace them with clones. I’m willing to bet that whoever is behind the kidnapping is following that plan.”
“That makes sense,” Lelouch smiled slightly, “Alright Enoch, I agree to your plan of action, but keeping this from Kallen isn’t going to be easy. Especially since she’s been watching me like a hawk these past few weeks.”
“Can’t get enough of you now that C2 is gone huh?” Enoch teased him.
“Something like that,” Lelouch seemed uncomfortable with the subject.
“Alright Big-Z, you think you can slip away in say forty-eight hours time?” Enoch asked as he pulled out his gold pocket-watch and flipped it open.
“0:800 hours Greenwich Mean Time okay with you?” Enoch inquired.
“Perfect,” Lelouch answered with a smile.
“See you then Big-Z,” Enoch gave him a two-fingered Boy Scout salute then switched off his transmission.
Lelouch watched the blank screen for a moment then said to himself, “I’m coming C2.”

Kallen was bent over with her ear against the door of Lelouch’s private quarters when Tamaki came up behind her with two cups of coffee in his hands.
“Eavesdropping are you?” Tamaki snickered.
“What…NO!” Kallen jumped up. “I was just…uh…checking the door.”
“Sure you were,” he grinned as he handed her one of the cups, “let me know when you find out if the door is okay.” He tittered as he walked back down the hall to his post.
Kallen sighed as she whispered to herself, “You’re not going without me Lulu.” She took a sip of her coffee then pulled out her cellphone and pushed an autodial button. Kallen waited a moment before a woman picked up the line on the other end.
“Hello Captain Kouzuki, how may I help you?” The woman’s voice asked in a thick Indian accent. Two voices were in the background, one that Kallen recognized as Suzaku’s.
“Hi Rakshata,” Kallen said with a mischievous smile, “I was wondering. How soon could you have the Guren-Phoenix ready for launch?”
“Anytime, why,” Rakshata sounded confused.
“I need a favor,” Kallen said in a coy tone.
“Name it,” Rakshata replied in an inquisitive voice.

“Why do we need so many?” Colonel Madd inquired as he stood next to Nina Einstein within a vast metallic chamber.
Nina looked out over the multitude of cylinders that filled the floor of the chamber below them. “We need quite a few and are fortunate that so many have already been incubating in this place for years.”
Colonel Madd didn’t like how her answer dodged his question but he thought better of pressing the issue, “It is amazing how far the Geass Directive had managed to get in their plans.”
“Indeed,” She agreed with him as she tapped away on a control console that was in front of her. The two of them stood upon a mezzanine that overlooked the expanse of cloning chambers. “Although I wonder exactly what they were planning.”
“To conquer the world with a Geass army of course,” Colonel Madd tittered.
Nina eyed him venomously, “Your rather childish perception seems to have missed the obvious as usual Colonel.” Professor Einstein adjusted her glasses, “there are far too many clones here then would be necessary for an army which leads me to the hypothesis that the Geass Directive may not have even started this project.”
Madd’s face held a look of shock, “But if they didn’t start it then who?”
Nina thought for a brief moment, “The ancients.”
“The ancients,” Colonel Madd inquired in disbelief. “But why would they build an army of Geass clones if they never intended to use them?”
“These clones do not possess the power of Geass, Colonel,” Nina informed him as she worked the control screen in front of her, “that’s why we needed C2. These clones are like a blank slate. Each is an identical clone of a master manlike body which was probably genetically produced some time in the distant past. Through the use of Sakuradite I can take that fully developed blank body and genetically alter it to be anyone that I have the proper DNA code for. The person need not even be alive anymore, so long as I have their genetic code I can make a copy of them.”
“Is that what the Directive was doing? Making copies of others with these bodies?” Madd asked.
“No, not exactly, the Geass Directive only made a few clones from these bodies,” Nina tapped away on the touchscreen, “I don’t think they trusted these blanks since they’re indistinguishable from the real thing. Unlike Rolo’s line of clones that were clearly made from a master form which was once human, it is my belief that these clones were built to actually replace individuals who had died and thus were susceptible to being re-inhabited by those deceased people.”
“I see,” Colonel Madd cupped his chin, “so you feel that these bodies were like a repository of ‘spare’ bodies for the ancients, is that it?”
“More or less,” Nina said as she brought up the screen she wanted. “That is why I’m not comfortable with the clone of Shirley being activated. The Geass clone that V2 created has a considerably nasty power and I fear that if it comes into contact with the disembodied data of the real Shirley then we will have a very real problem on our hands.”
“Are you implying that her soul could retake her body?” The Colonel was intrigued.
“That is precisely what I’m saying,” Nina was uncomfortable with the thought of Shirley returning to the land of the living.

An orange star zoomed along the sky of Eden Vital leaving a yellowish-gray contrail through the rust colored sky as it did so. The mighty gas-giant Jupiter was just barely visible through the hazy atmosphere of the Dyson Sphere.
“That’s the Samael,” Dalque said from within the cockpit of her Vincent-Advanced. The machine was nestled between two large towers on the surface of the mobile planet as she watched the black and gold machine flying along the skyline of Nibiru towards their position.
“I’m surprised he’s coming this way considering the size of this mega-structure,” Sancia remarked as she monitored the Samael on her KMF’s viewscreen. Her machine was hiding in a niche in the side of a large skyscraper that had a tuning fork shape.
“I’m not,” Lucretia added as she kept a bead on the Samael with her sniper-beam rifle of her Vincent-Advanced. “It’s my opinion that he’s got a link to C2 somehow and he’s following it to her location.”
“That’s a real possibility,” Alice interjected. “We’d better lay low until we know for sure whether Lelouch is following a plotted course or just snooping around.”
“What if he gets too close to our base of operations,” Dalque asked.
“Then you have permission to shoot him down,” Alice answered her in an icy tone.
“Roger that,” the other members of the Irregulars replied in unison as they lay in wait for the Samael.

“I know you’re out there somewhere C2,” Lelouch said to himself as he piloted the Samael according to the ache in his heart. He could actually feel the direction the green haired witch was in, yet another feeling tugged at him from behind. It was faint, but definitely there.
A warning light came on and distracted him, “KnightMare frames!” Lelouch reacted quickly as a flash of blue streamed towards the Samael. He just barely dodged out of the way of the beam.
“Dammn it!” He shouted as a barrage of autocannon shells clipped the left engine pod of the Samael.

“Dammn it that thing’s fast,” Sancia said as she fired a second barrage of cannon rounds towards the Hakodeshim.
“Just keep boxing him in,” Lucretia ordered her as she focused her sniper-rifle and waited for the Samael to enter its kill-zone.
“Remember that thing’s got a shield,” Alice reminded her team.
A stream of cannon shells spewed out of Dalque’s machine and slammed into the force-field around the Samael while simultaneously forcing the Hakodeshim into Lucretia line of fire, “That should do it Lucretia.”
“Thanks Dalque,” Lucretia smiled as she fired the beam-rifle at the Samael. The blue-white beam tore through the sky and struck the Hakodeshim on its left engine-pod: destroying the engine-nacelle completely.
“Good shot!” Sancia exclaimed as the Samael fell out of the sky.
“Let’s get after it,” Dalque started to move her machine.
“No Dalque,” Alice said. “Count Amontillado has something else in mind.”
“Oh not Rai again,” Dalque fussed. “He’s cute and all but he just doesn’t have what it takes Alice. I mean he’s already screwed up once.”
“No, Rai was sent out with an armed detail of clones to deal with the other intruder that’s headed this way from the south. The Count sent someone else to acquire Lelouch this time,” Alice told them as she watched her long range sensors.
“Ooh, trying out the new Irregular huh?” Sancia snickered.
“Yeah something like…” Alice cut herself short, “I’ve got three bogies, inbound, at one-O’clock. Looks like one KMF and two Hakodeshim.” she barked. “Look sharp people.”

“I don’t think the two of you should have come with me,” Kallen protested.
“He’s my brother Kallen,” Euphemia retorted as she flew the Uriel next to the Guren-Phoenix.
“And my best friend,” Suzaku added as his Gabriel came up alongside Kallen’s other flank, “so it’s only natural that when Rakshata told us what you were up to that we had to come.”
“I understand that,” Kallen complained, “but Lelouch doesn’t know I’m going after him and I doubt he’d approve of it.”
“Since when does Lelouch ever approve of us trying to help him Kallen?” Suzaku asked as they flew over a large city-complex on the surface of the metallic world. “You know what he’s like. He’s a loner and wouldn’t allow us to come no matter how strong of a case we made to counter his viewpoint. He’s too stubborn.”
“I agree,” Kallen sighed. “Lelouch can be pigheaded sometimes.”
“Hey what’s that?” Euphie blurt out as a pair of blue-white beams shot up from the ground in the distance.
“Looks like beam-cannon fire,” Suzaku said as he checked his instruments. “They’ve hit something but there’s too much interference in this atmosphere for me to see what it is.”
“I’ll bet its Lelouch,” Kallen said as she accelerated the Guren towards the area of the beams.
“It’ll take us at least ten minutes to reach that position,” Euphie said as she used the Uriel’s dashboard controls to calculate the distance and ETA of their machines.
“Then we had better get moving!” The Guren-Phoenix zoomed out ahead of them.

“This is just great,” Lelouch growled at the controls of Samael as he guided the falling machine towards the streets of the vast city complex below him. “Guess I didn’t fly high enough to avoid detection. Still, the amount of interference from those metal buildings should be enough to conceal my position within that city as it did for those KMFs that attacked me.”
The Samael came down in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by six small buildings on the outskirts of the city, but much closer to where he felt C.C.’s presence.
“I’m nearly there Enoch, so you’d better hurry up and get here.” Lelouch said to himself as he checked over the regeneration screen of Samael. He read the screen silently, Ninety minutes until it repairs itself. I can’t wait that long, I’ve got to find her now.
He checked the external conditions of the planet, breathable atmosphere and a cool temp of 15 degrees Celsius, but at least its supports life.
Lelouch opened the cockpit canopy of his mecha and got up out of his seat. His black and gray colored Devicer-suit clashed with the red-light of the skyline as he removed a submachine gun and four spare magazines from a small compartment in the floor of the cockpit of his Hakodeshim.
Lelouch disembarked from the cockpit of the Samael.
He could see his breath in front of him as he surveyed the courtyard for a moment before he started in the direction of where his heart told him C.C. was.
A bullet grazed the side of his head.
Enoch’s training caused Lelouch to instinctively dive to the ground and roll out of the way of numerous other rounds which impacted the tiled surface of the courtyard.
“Show yourself!” Lelouch yelled in the direction of the attack as he sprinted towards a metal bench on the periphery of the circular area.
Dammn I can’t see where this sniper is, Lelouch thought as a round ricocheted off of the bench. I’ve got to flush him out, Lelouch could feel Euryale’s influence on him as his mind went into offense-mode.
He peered over the top of the bench as he waited for the shooter to fire another round.
A small flash from a second story window caused him to duck just as a bullet flew over his head. Gotcha, he thought as he whipped over the bench and laid a full burst of submachinegun rounds at the window.
Lelouch made a mad dash towards the alley on the side of the building as he replaced his spent clip with a fresh one. He went to the far end of the alley and checked the street beyond.
I’ll never make across, he knew the distance was just too great. He looked around the side of the building and hugged the farce of the building as he made his way to the front doors.
It was dark within the building and hard to see within, but he had no choice, he had to find the sniper and neutralize him.
Lelouch rushed through the front doors which slid open automatically as soon as he came within a foot of them.
Within the lobby of the building was a grand-staircase which fanned out onto the ground floor. A balcony wrapped around the second floor over the lobby. A desk and numerous chairs and tables littered the room. A hallway ran into the interior of the building on each side of the grand-staircase.
Lelouch ran towards the grand-stairwell knowing that at any moment the sniper would be upon him; he didn’t have to wait long.
Bullets zipped past him from his left as he darted up the stairs towards a pair of double doors at the top. They’re coming down the left hallway towards me. Good thing his weapon is only a semi-automatic.
Lelouch crashed through the double doors which swung inwards as he dove over a desk. The room was clearly a conference room of some kind with a dozen chairs situated around a large oval shaped table of some plastic-like substance.
Three rounds impacted a large LCD screen at the far end of the room and showered him with sparks and debris as Lelouch took cover under the lip of the table.
Lelouch’s attacker hugged the threshold of the chamber and fired at him from behind the lip of the doorway.
The rounds came in a short volley then Lelouch heard his attacker pull the magazine from his rifle.
Now’s my chance, Lelouch said to himself as he rushed the threshold of the doorway with his submachinegun raised to fire. He rolled out onto the landing just outside of the room and brought his weapon to bear on his attacker.
He shot the rifle out of his attacker’s hands sending the weapon tumbling down the staircase.
“Surrender…” Lelouch started to command the sniper but was dumbstruck by the sight of the person he saw standing before him as she flipped her orange-red hair up to face him.
“Shirley?” Lelouch’s voice was barely a whisper.
“Not quite,” she smiled menacingly as the sigil of Geass formed on her forehead. “For you my dear Lelouch, I am the Angel of Death!”
“SHIRLEY NO!” Lelouch yelled at her while her power entered him and his heart stopped as the life left his body.
“Die,” the clone said as she watched her power cause Lelouch to collapse to the floor as a lifeless corpse.

Shirley walked around the last of the Thought Elevators wondering what to do, “now what should I do? I’ve searched every one of these darn things and my body isn’t anywhere around here.”
“SHIRLEY NO!” She whipped around in the direction of Lelouch’s voice. “Lulu?”
She felt his essence both in C’s World and outside of it at the same time. Shirley didn’t know how she did it, but she honed in on where Lelouch was with an ache in her heart that guided her towards his voice.
“Hang on Lelouch,” She said as she started running towards the last direction of his voice, “I’m coming!”

Next Side Story: Equilibrium

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Old 2010-05-15, 08:58   Link #52
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Side Story Nine: Equilibrium

“It wasn’t that the world leaders felt the worst was behind us after the defeat of the Greeks in 2024 that lead me to such extreme measures. No, it was because I believed that the world lacked a proper equilibrium we needed if mankind was going to survive. You must understand that most of the world thought the City of Tartarus destroyed, and thus the need for a real SpaceNavy, complete with Geass warriors, unnecessary. It was that realization that drove me to join in what seemed like a mad scheme at first. Cloning C2, reviving the Irregulars, re-starting Code-R, it was sheer lunacy without the understanding of why it was so necessary. It’s a pity Nina didn’t see it that way in the end.”[/I]-Excerpt from a conversation between Count Amontillado and Lelouch vi Britannia dated February 13th 2026 a.t.b.

“Lelouch, do you read me?” Enoch called over his radio.
Where the hell could he be? Apsu wondered to himself as he flew his Type-21Z at high altitude over the endless cityscape of Nibiru.
A warning chime from his instrument panel caught his attention.
“What’s this?” He asked aloud sarcastically.
A Hadron beam nearly cut his fighter in half, but he dodged at the last moment.
“Guess I know what happened to Lelouch,” he rolled the fighter into a dive knowing that he must close the distance between the attacker and him before his enemy shot him down.
Enoch’s cybernetic eyes locked onto the glint of metal that was a KMF on the top of a nearby building, “you just cashed your chips in friend.” He fired a long-burst of Kaon-blasts from his gunpod. The orange-red beams hit their mark and tore the Vincent-Advanced into metallic ribbons before the machine exploded in a fireball.
A volley of autocannon shells sprayed his Type-21Z from below.
“Son of a…” Enoch cursed as he transformed his machine and blocked the bulk of the shower of cannon rounds with the Meson-Shields in his mecha’s forearms. Apsu used the buildings to his advantage as he maneuvered through them towards the flashing muzzles of the autocannons that unloaded another hail of shells at him.
The Type-21 Cosmo-KnightMare flew up over the group of six Vincent-Advanced units that were positioned within what looked like a business-district of the city. The large warehouse buildings provided ample places to hide, but this strike-team was crouching in formation, which puzzled Apsu considering the circumstances.
“These guys must be amateurs,” He said aloud to himself as his machine landed in the center of the group. With one fluid-motion, his KMF unsheathed both of its hip-mounted beam-sabers and cut the six Vincent-Advanced units in half with a single twirl.
A Hadron beam flew at his machine from a concealed position, “Or a decoy.” He laughed nervously as he parried the blast with the beam-sabers.
“That move was impressive,” Rai said over the radio. “You must be the one called Enoch.”
“That would be me,” Enoch snickered as he homed in on the source of the Hadron blast, “never knew I was so popular.”
“Or infamous,” Rai teased, “you shouldn’t think that just because you’re popular that it’s necessarily a good thing.”
“Weren’t you the one that tried to sing Lelouch a lullaby?” Enoch asked sarcastically.
“I tried to give him peace,” Rai replied with disdain, “but that red-haired witch interfered and nearly got both of them killed.”
“Gee, jealous much?” Enoch taunted Rai as he unleashed a hail of Kaon-bolts towards a white Vincent-Advanced with blue-highlights.
The machine dodged out of the way of the barrage behind a building.
“I’m not so easily defeated,” Rai retorted as his machine raised its large tubular gunpod and fired another Hadron beam.
“Really?” Enoch snickered as his Type-21Z closed the distance between them, “Kallen said you were a wuss.”
“You don’t seem so great yourself,” Rai replied as his machine unsheathed its pair of Hadron-Blades from the back of his Vincent-Advanced in anticipation of Apsu’s attack.
“That’s because I don’t think of myself as being great” Enoch said smoothly, “unlike some people.” His Type-21Z crashed through the warehouse next to Rai and slammed into the Vincent-Advanced.
Rai recovered and parried the pair of beam-sabers with the Hadron-swords just as Enoch brought them down towards the Vincent-Advanced.
“Not bad Enoch,” Rai exclaimed as he flew his KMF back away from the Type-21Z, “but not good enough.” The Vincent-Advanced fired a pair of MVS-Harkens from its hips. The unseen electromagnetic-tethers gave the pair of deadly spades incredible speed and maneuverability.
“That’s what villains keep telling me,” Enoch chuckled as his Type-21Z used its pair of shoulder-mounted MVS-Harkens to deflect Rai’s pair, “but they just don’t seem to get it.”
Enoch sighed, “I was built for only one reason…to fight.” His Type-21Z lunged at the Vincent-Advanced with its pair of beam-sabers.
“How sad for you,” Rai remarked as he locked blades with the Type-21Z.
“Actually it’s my opponents you should feel bad for,” Enoch tittered as the Type-21Z let go of the beam sabers while simultaneously grabbing its gunpod at lightening speed.
“They’re the ones who need the sympathy,” in one move, the combination gunpod-Hadron-Blade flipped into sword position and cut off the forearms of the Vincent-Advanced.
“Dammn you!” Rai raged at him over the comm. as the Hadron-Blades of the Vincent-Advanced fell to the ground and Enoch brought the tip of his own Hadron-Blade to the chest of the Rai’s KMF.
“It’s too late for that,” Enoch said softly, “now surrender.”
Rai smiled to himself, “gladly.” He said as he opened up his cockpit and stood up. “However, should I remain in my machine, or come out.”
“You will abandon your KMF and not try anything untoward,” Enoch told him as he opened his own cockpit canopy in the belly of the Type-21Z. Apsu grabbed a wooden quarterstaff before jumping over to Rai’s KMF.
Rai smiled at him, “You certainly are a trusting one.”
“Perhaps,” Enoch gave him a crooked smile, “now step out of your machine.”
“Of course,” Rai said as vicious smile crossed his face and he began to sing1;

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, paper flowers
Rai outstretched his hands towards Enoch as he moved towards him, and beckoned him to come closer.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, paper flowers

Enoch walked towards Rai slowly with an emotionless expression as the white-haired man continued to sing with the voice of a vixen;

I linger in the doorway
Of alarm clock screaming
Monsters calling my name
Let me stay
Where the wind will whisper to me
Where the raindrops, as they’re falling, tell a story

Rai waited for Enoch to come close to him and stop before he moved his hands behind his back in an artistic manner while his body swayed to the song;

In my field of paper flowers
And candy clouds of lullaby (flowers)
I lie inside myself for hours
And watch my purple sky fly over me (flowers)

Rai felt the grip of this pistol on his back as he gently removed the weapon from its holster. Enoch stared at the man as if in a trance;

Don’t say I’m out of touch
With this rampant chaos - your reality
I know well what lies beyond my sleeping refuge
The nightmare I built my own world to escape

Enoch stared straight ahead and stood still as a stone-statue with his quarterstaff resting on his hip, while the white-haired man brought his hands to his side, his left hand holding the pistol.

In my field of paper flowers
And candy clouds of lullaby (flowers)
I lie inside myself for hours
And watch my purple sky fly over me (flowers)

Rai’s hand raised slowly upwards bringing the weapon up towards Enoch’s face;

Swallowed up in the sound of my screaming
Cannot cease for the fear of silent nights
Oh, how I long for the deep sleep dreaming
The goddess of imaginary light
Rai leveled the pistol to Enoch’s forehead and gave him a sad smile;

In my field of paper flowers
And candy clouds of lullaby (flowers)
I lie inside myself for hours
And watch my purple sky fly over me (flowers)
Rai began to squeeze the trigger of the handgun gently as he sang the final words of the song;

Paper flow

A flash of steel cut the weapon from Rai’s hand as a wooden scabbard swept his legs out from underneath him.
“All too easy,” Enoch snickered as he brought the tip of his unsheathed Katana to Rai’s Adams-apple.
Rai gawked at him in shock, “What the…how?”
Enoch smirked mischievously, “I’m a cyborg who’s immune to Geass, that’s how you singing-sissy. Now tell me where you’ve stashed the Green-Goddess-of-Gorgeous.”
“Who?” Rai asked fearful of what the cybernetic man might do to him.
“C2,” Enoch glared at him.
“What makes you think I’d tell you,” Rai said as his initial fear evaporated with the knowledge that this man needed him alive.
Enoch was used to this line of resistance and moved the tip of the Katana down to Rai’s crotch, “Because if you don’t tell me I’ll prune your twig-and-giggleberries and have you singing soprano for real. Are we clear?”
“Crystal,” Rai said wide-eyed as he felt the metal tip gently press against his genitalia, “I’ll take you to her.”
Enoch smiled, “I knew you’d see it my way.”

“Too slow!” Alice taunted Euphemia over the radio as she used her Geass.
“Dammn it that thing is fast!” Euphie exclaimed as Alice’s Vincent-Advanced dodged the energy bolts of Uriel in a blink.
“It’s got to be Geass,” Suzaku cautioned his two female companions as his Gabriel did a spinning kick into the hip armor of Dalque’s KMF.
“Bastard!” Dalque spat at Suzaku over the channel as her cockpit monitor displayed the damage to the hip joint of her mecha.
Dalque used her Geass to enhance her mecha’s strength and pull the Gabriel’s leg from her machine. “How dare you.”
“Hey, you guys are the ones that picked a fight with us remember,” Suzaku retorted as Gabriel unsheathed one of its beam-sabers.
Dalque’s Vincent-Advanced drew its pair of Hadron-Blades. “You have no idea what you’re talking about Knight of Zero. You chose this battle as soon as you came here.”
“That’s no excuse for what you’ve done,” Kallen boomed over the radio as the Guren-Phoenix dodged salvos of Hadron-Cannon fire from Lucretia and Sancia’s pair of KMFs.
“You wouldn’t say that Captain Kouzuki if you knew what we were all about,” Lucretia scolded her as she homed in on the left wing of Guren with her sniper Hadron and fired.
The beam tore across the sky above the city and clipped the wing of Guren but did no measurable damage.
“I don’t care what you’re about, but thanks for giving me a bead on your position,” Kallen said as she lined up her Fukusha Hadou Kikou disc-rifle gunpod.
“It’s not that easy!” Sancia fired a burst of autocannon rounds at Kallen that made her volley of energy discs miss Lucretia by a wide margin.
Euphemia blocked a salvo of autocannon rounds from Alice’s machine with the shield of Uriel. “Why are you doing this?” Euphie exclaimed. “You had no right to take Lelouch and C2, or anyone else for that matter.”
Alice laughed, “It’s not a matter of rights. It is a matter of survival.”
“Survival,” Suzaku gasped, “do you mean you need them in order to survive.”
“No you blockhead,” Dalque barked as her KMF slashed at Gabriel, “the human race needs us if it is to survive.”
“That’s not good enough!” Kallen raged as Guren flew towards Sancia with a quick burst of supersonic speed from Guren’s Hyper-Float system and lashed out with the Mark-VI Fukusha Hadou Kikou right hand.
“Sancia move!” Alice yelled at her over the comm., but Kallen was too fast.
The Guren grabbed the Vincent-Advanced by the head, “this is it for you,” Kallen pulled the trigger of the Supernova-Wave.
A bright-blue beam cut off the right hand of Guren just as the energy of the Fukusha Hadou Kikou weapon pulsed through it: the appendage exploded.
“What the fu…”Kallen blurt out as a second beam from atop a nearby tower nearly cut her machine in two.
“It’s the Uther!” Lucretia exclaimed over the radio.
“Count Amontillado, you shouldn’t endanger yourself like this,” Alice cautioned him.
“Nonsense,” Count Amontillado said as his charcoal-black machine flew via a pair of cone-shaped graviton-impellers that protruded from each side of the backpack of the machine.
Suzaku gave the machine a once over and knew it was trouble, “Kallen, be careful that thing’s based on the Gawain!”
“How perceptive of you Suzaku,” Amontillado tittered. “It should be no surprise that Britannia has been developing her own 1st Generation series of Cosmo-KnightMare Frames.”
“Britannia?” Euphie scoffed as the battle paused for a moment. “But Nunnally is Empress, so how is that possible?”
“Anything is possible Knight of Draconis,” Amontillado snickered. “Now would the three of you kindly surrender? I don’t see any need for further violence.”
“Like hell,” Kallen said as she flew the Guren-Phoenix at the Uther.
“Such anger,” the Count said sadly, “you really should learn to control it.” He fired a brilliant-blue blast from the large Lance-gunpod his machine carried, which opened up like one of the shoulder cannons of the Gawain to eject its deadly energy.
Kallen used the ultimate-invincibility shield of Guren to deflect the beam and returned fire with her machine’s Zero beam, “two can play that game Count!”
“This is no mere KnightMare Captain Kouzuki,” the Uther used its space-shaped shield mounted to its left forearm to generate an omni-direction force field of its own. Kallen’s Zero-beam dissipated off of Amontillado’s shield harmlessly.
“It’s not the KMF that matters Amontillado,” Kallen said as she closed the distance between them, “it’s the pilot.” The Guren flew up and over the Uther then unleashed its pair of MVS-Harkens. The duo of spinning Maser-Vibration-Shurikens were intercepted by a pair of Hadron-Blade-Discs that flew from the shoulder armor of the Uther.
“I agree that an aggressive pilot with your level of skill is impressive,” Amontillado said as the Uther swung about, “but attacking without a strategy to use that level of excellence neutralizes your advantage.” A pincer-claw shot out from under the shield of the Uther and grabbed onto the main body of the Guren.
Electrical energy shot through the cable of the large pincer into the Guren.
“Ahhhhhhh!” Kallen screamed as the electrical jolts sparked throughout her cockpit.
“Kallen!” Suzaku yelled for her as he and Euphie continued to dodge the hail of weapons fire from the Irregulars.
“She’s at my mercy now Knight of Zero,” Count Amontillado stated confidently, “I suggest you surrender.”
“We don’t have a choice Suzaku,” Euphie told him with a tinge of anger in her usually calm voice.
“I know,” Suzaku agreed as he sheathed the beam-sabers of Gabriel.
“That’s better,” the Count said politely, “Alice, cease your attack on the Hakodeshim, and kindly escort them to the surface. I think its time they knew the truth.”
“Are you sure about that Count Amontillado?” Alice inquired unsure of his orders.
“Completely,” he said pleasantly.

“Lelouch where are you?” Shirley called out as she wound her way through the streets of the alien city.
She stopped in front of a building, “What’s that?” She thought aloud as she wandered into the vestibule.
“It sounds like a heartbeat,” Shirley looked up the grand-staircase of the lobby of the building and saw the backside of a figure standing over someone.
Shirley rushed into the room as the female figure leaned down towards the person lying on the floor.
“I’m sorry I had to do that Lelouch,” the woman said aloud as Shirley walked towards the staircase.
“Lelouch!” Shirley yelled at the woman but could tell that her voice was not heard, as the female did not register her presence in any physical manner.
“I still retain all of her memories you know,” The woman caressed his face, “but I have knowledge she didn’t. You see I know you can’t die.”
He can’t die! Shirley fumed as she scaled the stair.
The orange-haired woman lifted him up off of the floor slowly and leaned in, “I had to neutralize you for Count Amontillado and Professor Einstein. You see my dear we need your Coded-DNA, but I promise no further harm will come to you.”
Shirley only saw the back of the woman’s head as she kissed Lelouch on the lips.
“YOU LITTLE HUSSY!” Shirley yelled at the woman, but her words fell on ears that could not hear them.
The assassin put her hands between Lelouch’s legs knowing he would revive at any moment.
Shirley gnashed her teeth, “Take you hands off of MY LULU!” She swung her clenched fist at the head of the woman.
As soon as she connected with the head of the woman, she felt herself sucked into the assassin’s body.
Shirley’s spirit was momentarily confounded as it gained control of its cloned form.
Lelouch’s eyes opened up with Shirley still kissing him and caressing his inner thigh. The passion within Euryale’s Code took hold of him and he kissed Shirley back.
“Eahhhh!” Shirley fell backwards as she turned multiple shades of red. “It wasn’t me…I mean…I didn’t…it was her.”
Lelouch looked at her befuddled, “First you kill me, and then you try to have your way with me, now you don’t want me?”
Shirley put her hands up in the air, “No…I mean…I do want you, but not like this! The woman raping you wasn’t me…I mean…it is me in this body now, but it wasn’t a moment ago.”
“Huh?” Lelouch asked dumbfounded as Shirley noticed the bulge in his pants.
Shirley recoiled in disgust pointing at his pants, “Oh geez…Lulu, what the hell is that?”
“You did this,” Lelouch said as his senses came back to him fully, “right after you killed me apparently.”
“WHAT!” Shirley protested, “It wasn’t me…it was that other me…that SLUT that was all over you.”
“How do I know you’re really Shirley and not just a clone?” Lelouch inquired as he felt around the floor behind him for his submachinegun. He wagered this clone might be immune to Geass and thus put his trust towards a more conventional weapon.
“HOW!” Shirley yelled at him, “I tell you HOW.”
Shirley came nose-to-nose with him and snarled, “After falling for you like a fool, I spent nearly two years putting up with you calling me, hanging up on me, standing me up, using your Geass on me, and lying to me until I finally found out what the heck your problem was…MR ZERO!”
Lelouch cringed back on the floor as she took a breath and continued, “Then your heterophobic little brother Rolo guts me, I end up in the afterlife, you came soon afterwards, and you PROMISED ME you’d stay there with me for eternity LULU!”
The Sigil of Geass formed on her head, “REMEMBER!”
“Okay, calm down,” Lelouch said defensively. “I believe you, you’re Shirley.”
Shirley sat back on the floor and folded her arms, “I can’t believe you came back to the world of the living. How could you?”
Lelouch saw the sigil fade and tears well up in her eyes as he tried to explain, “I had to Shirley…”
“Why!” She pouted, “because of Suzaku or was it because of Kallen?”
“Well…yes and…uh no,” he stammered unsure of what she was driving at.
“YES!” Shirley blurt out as a knotted feeling filled her stomach, “does that mean you came back here for Kallen?”
“NO!” He shot back a bit irritated by the uncomfortable sensation of his lust subsiding and her nagging questions. “I came back here to help Suzaku stop Schneizel and the Olympians, and save the world.”
Shirley sighed as she wiped the tears from her eyes, “Oh…Well that doesn’t explain why Suzaku couldn’t have done it on his own. Didn’t you leave him here to prevent this kind of thing from happening?”
“The Olympians were far beyond Suzaku’s ability. I had to come back Shirley,” Lelouch reached over and took hold of her hand, “I’m sorry.”
She held onto his hand, “I accept your apology…although you’re still a jerk, and what’s with the silver hair.” Shirley gave him a narrow eyed look despite the smile that forced its way onto her face, “It looks nice, but…I dunno, it’s definitely a different you. Anyway, you should have told me before you left that you were off to save Suzaku. I would have understood you know.”
Lelouch did not know how, but he was sure this was no mere clone of Shirley. The assassin that inhabited this body before him was gone now of that he was sure. The smile on her face and the soft look in her eyes told him this was the woman that he once thought of as the girlfriend he wished he could have had.
“We’d better get moving,” Lelouch said as he heard the roar of battle outside. “It sounds like someone’s fighting out there.”
He and Shirley stood up together as Shirley asked, “So where are we off to?”
“To save a dear friend of mine,” Lelouch said with a shy smile, “a green-haired woman named C2.”
“C2?” Shirley thought the name sounded familiar as she allowed Lelouch to lead her over to where his submachine gun and the assassin’s rifle lay on the floor. “Where have I heard that name before?”
She loaded her weapon and slung the rifle over her shoulder matter-of-factly, which surprised Lelouch, “wow, I didn’t know you were so comfortable with guns.”
“Huh?” Shirley asked as C.C.’s name stewed in her psyche. “Oh, it just seems natural, did I do it right?”
“Looked professional to me,” Lelouch said still a bit unnerved by this assassin that had somehow become the real Shirley, yet it did not bother him the way he thought it should.
Shirley snapped her fingers, “Ah-ha! I know where I’ve heard the name C2 before.” She sneered at Lelouch, “She was that witch Rolo told me was living with you at Ashford wasn’t she?”
Lelouch turned beet-red, “what? Oh, yeah, she was hiding out there with me while I was Zero. Our relationship was platonic…believe me.”
Shirley gave him an evil eye, “it had better be,” she said as she strolled out down the stair in front of them.
Lelouch sighed before following after her, “Great, now how do I get myself out of this one?”

“Shirley has returned to her body as planned,” a young, dark-haired girl said as she sat Indian-style on a pillow with her eyes closed.
“What else do you see Lysandra*?” Kannon asked from where he stood before her in a lavishly decorated Victorian style room.
The adolescent girl lifted her head revealing facial features that reminded Kannon of Lelouch, “I see the Count. He has taken Kallen, Euphemia, and Suzaku captive and is bringing them to a place that Nina will not find them.”
Kannon shifted his position apprehensively, “what of Lelouch?”
“Lelouch and Shirley are moving towards the center of the city…soon they will be at the main-shaft of Nibiru and the complex where Nina and the Colonel are.” The girl swayed back and forth in her ornately embroidered black-dress. “Nina has found something…something she…she shouldn’t touch.”
“What do you mean?” Kannon inquired with concern in his voice.
“Something that we overlooked, or didn’t know, something not part of the plan,” the girl’s face contorted in anguish. “It is what the Babylonians want.”
“The who?” Kannon pressed her.
“Marduk has made contact with it,” her voice was strained, “it has promised him the power of God, the power to create and to destroy limitlessly, but it is trapped. It needs a host, someone to bind with.”
“I don’t understand Lysandra,” Kannon pleaded with her carefully, “what is this power.”
“The power of Sephirot,” her hands clutched the pillow in agony, “the power of the Klipot. Order and Chaos…raw energy of the multiverse…the Alpha and the Omega.”
The girl screamed and passed out.
Kannon rushed over to her and checked her vital signs. He sighed in relief as he said aloud, “good, she’s only unconscious.”
He walked over to a French-phone on a nearby Oak desk and picked it up. He dialed a number quickly then spoke into the receiver, “It’s me.”
Kannon paused while the person on the other end spoke before he said, “Everything is proceeding as you have planned except…Lysandra has had another vision. This time she’s seen something I’ve never heard her speak about before.” He waited a moment before continuing, “No, no, nothing like that. It would seem Nina has disturbed something she shouldn’t have and may have jeopardized your plan.”
There was a long silence then Kannon said, “Nina isn’t aware of what our plans are. If she knew that we were using her there could be dire consequences.”
Another quick pause, then, “You don’t understand how emotional she can get…it’s not that…she’s unstable and prone to violent outbursts. If Nina knew the real reason we were building a Geass army she’d turn against us in a heartbeat.”
The person on the other end of the line spoke for a few minutes before Kannon began again, “I can’t explain everything over the phone. I think it would be best if you came here in person to help Lysandra cope with this. She’s out cold right now, but could wake at any moment. I’d hate for whatever demons she saw to unsettle her already fragile mind.”
“Enoch? No, she said nothing of either Rai or Enoch,” Kannon contemplated the discrepancy for a moment as he listened on the phone, “perhaps his immunity to Geass is the reason she can’t see him, or maybe it’s something about him we don’t know. However, you may be right; he might be the wildcard we need to execute this plan successfully.”
Kannon waited with the receiver to his ear then said, “Yes, if that is your decision. I will inform Count Amontillado to take Nina into custody as soon as he is able. No, I’ll be sure to impress upon him that you don’t want her harmed if possible.”
“I will do as you command…Your Highness.” Kannon hung up the phone.

*NOTE: The name Lysandra is Greek and means “liberator of mankind.” Also this character looks similar (though much better looking) then the fanfiction-favorite “Luluko.”

1) This song is "Imaginary" by Evanesence.

Next Side Story: Pinky Promise

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Old 2010-05-15, 09:28   Link #53
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Old 2010-05-15, 09:54   Link #54
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Side Story Ten: Pinky Promise

“I remember that song that Sayoko taught me back when we lived at Ashford. She called it a Japanese promise. Cross my heart, hope to die, eat a thousand needles, if I lie. The Pinky promise song. You remarked that it was scary and that you may have to eat a thousand needles someday. ‘That's right,’ I replied, ‘so I'd better not catch you telling lies, okay? To which you answered, ‘Don't you worry. I'll never lie, I swear. Not to you anyway.’ If only that had been the case my dear brother, and you had not lied to me. I know I forgave you while you died in my arms, and that you had your reasons for what you did. Nevertheless, that doesn’t change the fact that you continued to do it. Not just to me, but to others as well. Enoch once told me a saying from his world that I hope someday you really will take to heart. He told me that people ‘Shouldn’t let their mouth write checks their ass can’t cash.’ If anyone on Earth needs that advice…it’s you Lelouch.”-Excerpt of a letter from Earth Commonwealth President Nunnally vi Britannia to her brother Colonel Lelouch vi Britannia (Earth Space Forces, Geass Special-Operations Division) dated March 7th 2031 a.t.b

“What’s keeping them I wonder,” Colonel Madd remarked to Nina as she finished typing away on the control console in front of her.
“I’m sure the Count will be along anytime now,” she replied in a distracted tone. “I’ve unlocked the seventh seal.”
“Pardon?” The Colonel inquired.
“The final protecting seal of the Operating system of this mobile planet’s computer mainframe,” she said with a dull smile as a section of the large structure they were in opened up directly behind the control-station they stood on.
“Oh…I see,” Madd gave her a befuddled look, “why exactly did you do that?”
Nina seemed puzzled by the opening of the structure on their end of the vast metal building they were in, but said nothing of it. She could see down into the endless depths of the pit, which only radiated eerie light from some unknown source.
“Because I’ve found a file here within the vast memory-banks of this artificial planet that tells the location of where the source of Geass actually comes from,” she responded with a glint in her eye.
“You can read the language of the ancients?” Madd knew there was a rudimentary understanding of their language in the Code-R files, and the Geass Order had information on the language, but none of them had cracked the code.
“No,” Nina adjusted her glasses, “but this computer speaks a binary language, which can be translated from the soul-information it stores in its memory. You see, I don’t need to know the language of the ancients since this system knows English from the spirits of the dead which reside within its data files.”
“Soul-information?” The Colonel cocked his head in confusion.
Nina snickered at the dumbfounded look on Madd’s face. “Nibiru stores the souls of people within its memory-banks. However, the sheer volume of soul-data became so large over the last twenty-thousand years that Nibiru had to compensate by using the electromagnetic field of a gas-giant as external storage. Its part of the reason it’s in orbit around Jupiter. You see, this huge machine was designed to store souls as quantum-data in order for the ancients to escape the calamity that befell wherever they came from. I’m not sure if it was another planet in our solar system, or perhaps a galactic wide event, or maybe even an entirely different universe fading into oblivion. However, no matter what it was that brought them here, they needed a way to store their essence while they made the trip because their mortal bodies couldn’t do it even using a Code.”
“Ah,” he said as he straightened up uncomfortably and looked towards the rim of the large crater-like terminal they were standing in. The apparatus was the size of a coliseum with various intricate systems where the rows of bleachers would normally be. Within the center of the bowl were the thousands upon thousands of blank-clone bodies within their cryogenic cylinders, and before them a bottomless pit that radiated an eerie multi-colored light that reminded Madd of the Aurora-Borealis.
“I wonder why this energy collection terminal opened up,” Nina thought aloud to herself.
“You don’t know,” Madd inquired with an edge of concern creeping into his tone. A machine of the size and magnitude of Nibiru could reap unspeakable damage in Madd’s mind, and he was growing uneasy with the Professor’s level of knowledge with the machine. He knew she was a genius, but there is a fine line between that and madness.
A brilliant mass of blue-white orbs were sucked into the Aurora-Borealis from the sky overhead and into the depths of Nibiru.
Madd was awestruck, “What is that?”
Nina looked at the spectacle with an expression of intellectual curiosity on her face, “those are souls.”

“What the heck is that?” Rai asked Enoch as they walked at a brisk pace along one of the lonely streets of the city.
Enoch looked up at the globes heading for the Aurora-Borealis in the distance nearby, “a bad sign,” was all the amber-eyed man said in reply.
Rai turned to him and gave him a crooked smile, “you know more then you’re letting on, don’t you?”
“I know enough to be weary of what that is,” Enoch replied with a frown. “If it’s what I think it is then this Dyson Sphere is of a type I’ve encountered before.”
“And that’s a bad thing?” Rai asked as the two of them made their way to the open space surrounded a large coliseum shaped structure.
“Yeah…,” Enoch said in a distant voice, “it’s a soul collector.”
Rai contemplated making a break for it while the cybernetic man was distracted, then thought better of it. Let the Count deal with this man. I’ll not waste my second chance at life for Amontillado.
“C2 is within that building.” Rai told Enoch as he started in the direction of one of the entrances at the base of the huge construct. “We should keep moving.”
“Indeed we should Rai,” Enoch responded as if coming out of a daze, “this situation just got a whole lot more complicated.”
“What do you mean?” Rai asked.
Enoch gave him a boyish grin, “I believe I may have found what I’ve been searching for.”

“What’s that?” Euphie asked over the radio of her Hakodeshim as Kallen, Suzaku, and she followed behind Count Amontillado’s Uther towards the radiant multicolored lights in the distance.
“I don’t know,” Count Amontillado confessed, “but I would imagine it has something to do with Professor Einstein.”
“Would you like us to go on ahead and check it out sir?” Alice inquired while she and the other Irregulars flanked Suzaku and Euphie; Sancia and Lucretia’s Vincent-Advanced units were flying at the rear and carrying the Guren, which held the unconscious Kallen.
“No, I wouldn’t want to be rude to our guests,” the Count said politely.
“How courteous of you,” Suzaku grumbled.
“Please don’t pre-judge me Knight of Zero,” the Count replied softly, “you must understand that we are working towards the same goal.”
“Be that as it may,” Suzaku barked, “we don’t go around kidnapping people to meet our goals. We work within the system, as much as possible, to help people. You anti-unification terrorists don’t seem to understand that.”
“Anti-unification terrorists? My dear Suzaku the world is not as Black-and-White as that. I see you haven’t changed a bit,” the Count tittered, “still as head-strong as ever. Cecile was right about you. You are an idealist.”
“Cecile…Wha?” Suzaku was taken off guard, “how do you know Cecile?”
“Count Amontillado, you have a coded-communiqué coming in from the Intruder,” Lucretia informed him.
“Pardon me Suzaku. We’ll have to finish our conversation at another time. Lucretia, please put them through,” the Count waited for Lucretia’s signal.
“Yes,” he asked into the private channel but his voice still carried over the radio, “I understand. Of course, I’ll try to ensure her safety, but she may resist. No, I promise I’ll do my best to take her peacefully.” Amontillado paused then spoke, “Lelouch should be with Shirley as we speak.”
“Shirley?” Suzaku blurt out upon hearing her name. “What do you mean Shirley?”
“One moment,” Count Amontillado said, “I hadn’t realized the channel was still open Suzaku, but would you please enhance your calm, all will be explained soon enough.”
The masked man returned his attention to the person on the coded-channel, “I will do as you command, Amontillado out.” The Count’s tone became serious as he shut off the coded channel and addressed his troupe, “Irregulars there has been a change of plan. Right now we are to consider the plan as having gone into its final stage, due to the fact that our dear Nina has unfortunately found something she ought not to have.”
“Does this mean we’re no longer under Operation Antagonist?” Alice asked him.
“Yes, the clones we wanted have been completed and are being ‘rescued’ as we speak” the Count informed them with a snicker, “our new orders are to implement Operation Vindication, retrieve C2, and then apprehend Nina Einstein as per the original plan.”
“What of the DNA donors?” Sancia asked.
The Count answered her as they all flew above the ring of open space that surrounded the coliseum-like building, “They’re being held on the Intruder until the plan reaches its final phase and the Earth Commonwealth solidifies its power.”
“What of Captain Kouzuki and her companions?” Lucretia inquired.
The Count laughed, “We’ve no reason to hold them any longer, provided they promise to leave in peace.”
The Count’s words shook Suzaku’s opinion of him and his intensions. He certainly didn’t trust Amontillado, much of the what the man said confused Kururugi, but he could not contemplate it for long as he knew Kallen’s safety came first, “I give you my word as the Knight of Zero, that if you release us we will not interfere in your apprehension of Professor Einstein. However, I cannot promise anything after you’ve taken her prisoner. I came here to rescue my friends and I mean to do it.”
Amontillado sighed as a myriad of blue-white orbs descended into the radiant Aurora-Borealis, “I understand Knight of Zero, that’ll have to do for now as we’ve run out of time.”

“Looks like Kallen, Suzaku, and Euphie followed me here,” Lelouch said to Shirley absentmindedly as the Samael skimmed over the surface of the street they followed towards the kaleidoscope of color in the distance. They could see Amontillado’s flight in the air ahead of them as it flew towards the coliseum.
“Euphie?” Shirley blurt out. She suddenly recalled that she had never met Lelouch’s sister while in the afterlife. “Do you mean your sister isn’t dead?”
“Didn’t you already know that?” Lelouch teased her.
“Yeah…,” She tried to recover while she blushed, “I just didn’t realize that you knew.”
Lelouch gave her a warm smile, “well to be honest I didn’t know while I was with all of you in Eden Vital, but I learned that Euphemia is alive when I came back to the world of the living.”
“Oh,” Embarrassed, Shirley tried to change the subject. “What do you think that light is Lulu,” Shirley asked as she sat on his lap within the cockpit of Samael.
“I was hoping you might know,” he said with a weak smile.
“No, I’ve never seen anything like it before,” She replied as she laid her head on his shoulder. She had a bad feeling about those lights, but did not share her dread with Lelouch.
“Well, looks like we’ll find out what they are soon enough. I’ll bet that’s where C2 is being held,” Lelouch maneuvered the Hakodeshim through the streets out into the open space that separated the city from the bowl shaped building the light emanated from, “so that’s where we’re going.”
“What about Kallen and the others?” Shirley inquired. “We can’t just leave them in the hands of those people can we?”
“No, we can’t,” he said with a sly smile, “I’ve got an idea.”

“That’s Count Amontillado,” Rai informed Enoch as the flight of mecha flew over them.
“Looks like Kallen, Suzaku, and the Red Dragon are with them,” Enoch said a bit disappointed at their capture.
“It would seem your friends were no match for us Irregulars,” Rai jeered.
“If that’s so Rai, then why is Amontillado letting them go?” Enoch retorted with a nod in the direction of the machines as the Hakodeshim and Guren-Phoenix dropped away from the group. Count Amontillado and his flight of KnightMares accelerated away from them and moved over the open roof of the building.
“Oh, that’s the reason right there,” Rai pointed to the Samael coming out of the metallic forest of buildings that lined the ring around the coliseum. “The assassin must have succeeded.”
“Assassin!” Enoch grabbed Rai and lifted him off the ground by the shirt with one hand. “Talk.”
Surprised, Rai blurt out, “Nina activated a clone of Shirley Finette and sent it after Lelouch.”
Enoch contemplated Rai’s words for only a moment, “you fool. Do you have any idea what could happen if Shirley’s ghost finds her body again?”
“Yes I do,” Rai replied, “Shirley could be resurrected.”
“And you went ahead with it anyway?” Enoch asked.
“Please believe me Enoch when I say that Nina wasn’t exactly happy with the whole situation,” Rai said as Enoch set him on the ground. “She worried about the same thing, but Count Amontillado insisted she activate the clone made by the Geass Directive.”
“Then Lelouch might be the one piloting the Samael,” Enoch said aloud to himself.
“You mean you think that Shirley is with him?”
Enoch gave Rai a devilish smile, “it certainly is a possibility, but there’s only one way to find out.” He grabbed Rai by the arm and started in the direction of where the mecha were landing. “Let’s move.”

“Yes Count,” Shirley said over a coded channel, “I have Lelouch’s body with me here now.”
“Well done,” the Count complemented her, “but we’ve no need of Lelouch any longer. The plan has been accelerated to the next phase prematurely by Nina Einstein, and now we must deal with her.”
Lelouch sat in silence listening to the audio conversation between Shirley and Amontillado. The man’s voice was raspy, but something about it bothered Lelouch, yet he couldn’t put his finger on what it was.
“I understand,” Shirley replied as Lelouch typed a response for her on the control panel of Samael. “Shall I proceed to join with you to assist?”
“No, there’s no need for that, we can handle the arrest of Nina Einstein,” the Count paused for a moment, “however, you should return Lelouch to his comrades. Contact Suzaku and have him take charge of Lelouch.”
Lelouch pondered the man’s unusual level of concern, his calm demeanor, and ease at which he gave commands as he typed a new message to Shirley.
She recanted his silent words, “Very well Count, I will proceed to deliver Lelouch as per your instructions and await further orders.”
“Very good, Amontillado out,” the radio channel shut off.
“Shirley, patch me through to Suzaku,” Lelouch told her since he couldn’t reach the left hand controls with her in his lap.
Shirley found the simple controls easy to understand and gained a novice-proficiency with them quickly. “I’ve got a coded channel open to him.”
“Lelouch? Is that you?” Suzaku inquired.
“Yes, it’s me,” Lelouch responded.
“Me too Suzaku,” Shirley could not help herself upon hearing her friend’s voice.
Her voice stunned Suzaku, “Who is that?”
“Uh…” Lelouch wasn’t sure he should divulge Shirley’s identity yet, but she had other ideas.
“It’s me Suzaku…Shirley,” she told him matter-of-factly over the radio.
“WHAT!” Suzaku nearly crashed the Gabriel into the tarmac as he suddenly realized that Count Amontillado’s earlier comment meant Shirley Fenette was alive. “How the heck did that happen?”
“It’s a long story,” Lelouch responded with a sigh.
“I’ll tell you when all of this is over,” Shirley said with a laugh.
“Okay,” Suzaku replied a bit unnerved.
Lelouch snickered, “Inform Kallen that we need to prepare to raid this structure and rescue C2.”
“I can’t do that Lelouch,” Suzaku said, “Kallen was hit by an electrical attack. However, the sensors of Guren indicate that she’s okay, but she’s out cold as far as I can tell.”
“As far as you can tell?” Lelouch growled. “Suzaku, we need to land immediately and make sure Kallen is okay.”
“I realize that Lelouch, but we were just released by the Count, and haven’t gotten a chance to check on her yet,” Suzaku knew by the tone of Lelouch’s voice that he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
“Released?” Lelouch inquired in a perplexed tone as he began to realize the Count had diverted them from following him intentionally.
“I thought it was unusual also, but—" Suzaku started to say.
Lelouch cut him off, “Suzaku, we’ve got to attend to Kallen immediately and wake her up.”
“Dammn it Lelouch, I already told you that the Guren’s sensors show her as being okay,” Suzaku barked at him, “she’s only unconscious.”
“That’s not the point,” Lelouch barked back, “we’re going to need her in this fight.”
“You intend on fighting the Count?” Suzaku asked in an irritated tone.
“No Suzaku,” Lelouch replied in a grave voice as he suddenly realized the implications of the Aurora-Borealis in the distance, “I think the Count is going to need our help against Nina.”

“It would seem that the Count is returning,” Nina said as she watched the five KMFs skim over the rim of the bowl shaped building towards where she and Colonel Madd stood at the control station.
“Huh?” The Colonel seemed confused, “I wonder why they’re flying in formation…,” his communicator buzzed in its belt harness.
He removed the device from its case. Madd opened the cellphone and spoke into it as Nina pulled a pistol from under her lab coat.
“Yes?” Madd asked the person on the other end of the line as Nina used her other hand to type away on the control panel in front of her.
“I understand Count Amontillado,” the Colonel said in a sober tone, “I’ll do so at once.”
Colonel Madd drew his pistol from its holster, “I’m sorry Professor Einstein, but I have to”
A single shot rang out that cut the Colonel short as the round penetrated his left arm, forcing him to drop his weapon.
“Imbecile,” Nina stated coldly, “did you actually think I was so naïve as to believe that the creation of a Geass Army would help me in my quest to destroy Geass itself?”
The Colonel only stared at her in horror.
Nina sneered at him from the control station, “I knew from the very beginning that you were using me Colonel, so in turn I used all of you to gain access to the mainframe of Nibiru.”
“Be that as it may,” Madd grimaced, “the game is up for you Professor. The Count has five KnightMare Frames at his disposal. You’ve lost.”
Count Amontillado’s machine flew closer as Nina continued, “Poor, ignorant, fool, you’ve no idea what this mobile planet is capable of.” Nina tapped a few of the holographic keys on the control panel with her free hand, “with the Code bearer plugged into the system I unlocked its seals, and now there is no limit to my power.”
A cylinder containing C.C. rose out of the floor of the Coliseum directly in front of the control station at the head of the endless rows of clones. C.C. lay within the cylindrical device unconscious.
“With the access key to this massive machine open, I can bend the laws of nature itself,” She raised her voice in the direction of the Aurora-Borealis behind her, “RISE CHILDREN OF NIBIRU! RISE!”
From the glowing myriad of color rose a dozen machines that resembled futuristic, flying chariots. A top each machine rode a burly-pilot with a mask that Madd recognized as the Masks of C’s World.
“What are they?” the Colonel asked as the long, rectangular structures that hung where wheels would be on a normal Chariot swung forward to face the approaching KMFs.
“They are the guardians of Nibiru,” Nina smiled manically, “clones of the greatest warriors of this Dyson Sphere. I’ve resurrected them in order to protect the sphere from enemies like you.”
“You’re insane,” Madd cursed at her.
“Perhaps,” Nina cackled, “but all of you are doomed.”
Nina turned towards her dark-riders, “Go now my Knights. Kill...Kill…KILL THEM ALL!”

“What the hell are those things?” Alice asked over the radio.
“I don’t know,” Count Amontillado said gravely, “but I doubt they mean us well. Irregulars, prepare to attack the new arrivals. View them as hostiles and attack with extreme prejudice.”
“Yes sir,” the girls said in unison as the first aerial-chariots got within range of their weapons.
“Let’s see what these fools are made of,” Dalque raged as she fired a full burst of autocannon rounds towards one of the chariots. Her Vincent-Advanced riddled the alien machine with rounds, which caused it to explode.
“Hah! They’re not as tough as they look,” Sancia bellowed as she unloaded her own barrage of autocannon rounds at another of the Knights of Nibiru.
Alice followed their lead and blasted two more of the machines into metallic confetti, “These guys are no challenge at all.”
“Don’t be so sure Alice,” Lucretia warned her as the machines and their pilots regenerated out of the Aurora-Borealis effect.
“That’s not good,” Dalque said as the Children of Nibiru regrouped.
The Count assessed the situation quickly. “We need to get to Nina,” Amontillado informed his troupe, “but we don’t have enough KnightMares to outflank these sentinels. He flipped his radio over to Suzaku’s frequency. “Knight of Zero, this is Count Amontillado, do you read me?”

“I understand Count,” Suzaku said as the flashes of the battle lit up the sky over the coliseum, “but how do I know this isn’t some kind of elaborate trap?”
“You don’t,” Amontillado said as he dodged a hail of ruby-red energy beams that shot forth from the side cannon-arms of one of the Chariots, “but you soon will if my Irregulars and I are defeated.”
“I still find it hard to believe that Nina Einstein has somehow raised an army from nowhere,” Suzaku said stubbornly.
“It would seem that Nina has learned the secrets of this alien sphere and is thus using her new found knowledge to her advantage,” the Count said as he parried a hail of the red energy beams with Blaze-Luminous force field of the shield of Uther.
“I’m still not convinced,” Suzaku stalled as he watched Lelouch and Shirley make their way to the cockpit of Guren.
“You will be when your friend Lelouch drops dead from his Code vanishing with Geass if Nina gets what she wants,” the Count countered another beam attack.
Euphemia could not sit silent with that remark, “Suzaku, we have to take our chances and help him.”
“The Knight of Draconis I presume?” The Count inquired over the channel.
“I am,” she replied, “but do not mistake my desire to help as weakness Count. The world needs Zero for a short time longer in order to maintain this fragile cohesion that you have sought to disrupt.”
“Disrupt?” Amontillado asked as he destroyed another pair of Nibiru Knights with the Kaon-Beam Lance of Uther. “On the contrary, we wish to ensure the creation of the Earth Commonwealth.”

Lelouch had listened to Amontillado over the radio of the Guren-Phoenix as Amontillado recanted what was transpiring. He and Shirley worked to revive Kallen from her unconscious state with haste.
“Please help me hold her up while I break open this pack of smelling salts crystals,” Lelouch asked hurriedly as he tore at the package.
Kallen’s head rested on Shirley’s lap as the harsh ammonia smell of the salts roused Captain Kouzuki, “What the…?” Kallen gasped upon looking up at the smiling face of Shirley.
“Hi Kallen,” Shirley grinned.
“I guess the Count must have killed me,” Kallen remarked wide-eyed.
“Nope,” Lelouch snickered, “guess again.”
“You’re alive?” Kallen asked Shirley in a disappointed tone as she sat up and glared at Lelouch.
“Is this your doing?” Kallen growled at him.
“Wha? No!” He defended himself.
Shirley stood up and humpfed, “Aren’t you happy to see me Kallen?”
“Of course I am Shirley,” Kallen gave her a hug, “but look at me.” Captain Kouzuki let her go gently and put her hands on her hips, “you body is like what? Seventeen at most, Lelouch is in his seventeen year old body, C2 is that way, and here I am an OLD LADY!”
“You look beautiful to me Kallen,” Shirley said softly, “I really love your long hair.”
“Honest?” Kallen asked.
“Yeah,” Shirley nodded enthusiastically.
Lelouch put face in his palm, “We don’t have time for this.”
“Oh stow it Big-Z!” Kallen chided him, “you’ve got some nerve flying off into danger without telling anybody—“
“Leave him alone Kallen,” Enoch yelled over to her as he and Rai walked up towards where Guren sat on the metallic tarmac.
“Enoch,” Kallen eyed him suspiciously, and then looked over at Lelouch, “oh I see what’s going on here. You two scampered off together thinking you could rescue Pizza-Girl, since you’ve both got the hots for her.”
“WHAT!” Shirley shot Lelouch a scowl, “what does she mean? Who’ve you got the HOTS FOR?” The sigil of Geass formed on her forehead.
“C2,” Rai snickered. He was enjoying watching Lelouch squirm.
“The green-haired girl that used to live in his room at Ashford,” Kallen added as a deer-eyed look crossed Lelouch’s face.
“Oooooh!” Shirley’s sigil glowed bright orange-red. “Lulu!”
“Ahem! I hate to be a party-pooper but we got bigger problems then this right now,” Suzaku’s voice boomed over the external loudspeaker of Gabriel.
An explosion overhead caused Shirley and the others to duck for cover: Shirley’s Geass subsided immediately and the sigil faded. It was the left-arm of Lucretia’s KMF as ruby-red beams from a flight of Nibiru Knights decimated it.
“They’re not going to last much longer,” Euphie informed them as she and Suzaku flew their Hakodeshim up to act as cover for their comrades on the ground.
“We need to do something now Lelouch!” Suzaku added.
“Enoch, we need you’re Type-21Z for what I have in mind,” Lelouch thought quickly as he spoke, “Kallen you need to take Enoch back to his machine.”
Rai raised his hand, “Uh, mine too if you don’t mind.”
“I DO MIND!” Enoch barked at him, “I don’t trust you Rai.”
“Hey,” Shirley looked Enoch over, “weren’t you that guy in my music-class?”
“Huh?” The out of place question threw Enoch for a curve, “uh, yeah I used to play the guitar…why?”
Shirley snapped her fingers, “I knew it!”
“You play an instrument?” Rai asked with an intrigued look at Enoch.
“Yes, I play multiple instruments,” Enoch ushered he and Shirley over to the Guren, “I’ll tell you all about it as Kallen flies us back to our KnightMares.”
“I thought you didn’t trust me?” Rai asked.
“I don’t,” Enoch smiled, “but with Shirley baby-sitting you I can be sure you won’t give us any trouble. You did say she was an assassin didn’t you?”
“Yes,” Rai griped, “I did.”

“Hold them back!” Alice yelled as she used her The Speed to zip behind four Nibiru Knights and cut them down.
“I’m out of ammo,” Dalque said in a distressed tone as she cut through two more enemy units with the Hadron-Blades of her Vincent-Advanced.
“We may have to withdraw,” the Count lamented as the endless supply of Nibiru Knights continued to flow out of the Aurora-Borealis.
A hail of red beams rained through the Irregulars.
“Ahhhhhhh!” Sancia screamed as the bulk of the beams headed towards her Vincent-Advanced making escape impossible.
The shower passed over her machine harmlessly as a green energy field surrounded her KMF with the Uriel directly above her.
“Sorry we took so long,” Euphemia apologized, “but we had to make sure this was the right move.”
“I’m glad you chose to help,” Amontillado said with relief, “although it may already be too late.”
“It’s never too late,” Lelouch said over the radio as he unloaded a double blast from the forearm cannons of Samael. The golden-yellow twin beams cut a swath through the legion of Nibiru Knights destroying nearly all of them.
“NOW!” Lelouch yelled as the Gabriel flew over the lip of the bowl-shaped building with lightening speed towards the control station upon which Nina stood.

“It’s not that easy!” Nina chuckled aloud at the Gabriel as the machine dove towards her with blinding speed. She tapped a few holographic keys on the screen and watched as the Gabriel slammed into a pinkish-purple force field that threw it back to the ground.
“Nina this is madness!” Suzaku’s voice boomed from the loudspeaker of Gabriel. “Why are you doing this?”
“You of all people should know why Suzaku,” she yelled back at him upon recognizing his voice. “Geass is EVIL!”
“No Nina,” Suzaku tried to reason with her, “it’s people’s abuse of it that is evil, Geass is simply a tool.”
“Stop deluding yourself Suzaku,” Nina countered as another mass of Nibiru Knights flew up from the radiant pit. “Do you think this power I wield has any capacity for good?”
Suzaku was unable to answer her as the legion of Nibiru guardians sent a barrage of ruby-red bolts of energy at the Gabriel. He was barely able to raise the energy shield of his machine in time.
“Once I destroy all of you I will use this power to cause Nibiru to collapse in on itself and release the poor trapped souls from Jupiter,” Nina waved her hand in the direction of the gas-giant that was just barely visible through the atmosphere of the Dyson Sphere.
“Souls trapped in Jupiter?” Suzaku asked her, “What do you mean?”
“You’ll find out soon enough Suzaku Kururugi,” Nina sniggered as she pressed another of the keys on the control station. Instantly a pinkish-purple sphere formed around the Gabriel and bolts of energy shot from it into the Hakodeshim.
“Ahhhhhhh!” Suzaku cried as the energy bolts overloaded the force field of Gabriel and bolts of energy arched within its cockpit.

“Suzaku!” Euphemia called out as she dodged through the fury of energy blasts coming from the increasing number of Nibiru Knights. She flew her machine as if the devil chased her towards the fallen Gabriel.
“Wait!” Lelouch yelled at her as he tried to maintain the cohesiveness of their formation. His first plan had ended in failure, and now Suzaku was in grave danger.
Count Amontillado radioed Lelouch, “Use those beam cannons of yours on the enemy mobile units to cover me. My Irregulars and I will flank Nina as a distraction for the Red Dragon to rescue Suzaku.”
“Good idea,” Lelouch saw the quick plan as the best option under the conditions, “but don’t get yourselves killed in the process.”
“We’ll try not to,” Amontillado said, “alright Irregulars, Charge!”
Amontillado and his flight of KnightMares flew to the left and right of Nina while Lelouch let loose another bombardment from the powerful cannons of Samael.
Lelouch’s beam weapons incinerated nearly all of the Nibiru Knights while the Count’s forces assaulted the force field from both sides.
“Now Red Dragon,” Count Amontillado told her, but she was two moves ahead of him and on top of the Gabriel.
Euphie cut through the weakened globe of energy with the twin beam sabers of Uriel. “Suzaku can you hear me?”
“Yeah,” he replied as he gnashed his teeth from the pain of the electrical burns on his hands. “I’m still alive.”

“How pathetic,” Nina scoffed as another battalion of Nibiru Knights reformed over the Aurora and drove back the Irregulars.
“Such a foolish attempt to rescue him will cost you all dearly,” Professor Einstein snickered as she pressed a series of holographic keys.
Instantly tendrils of pinkish-purple lightening erupted form the atmosphere of Nibiru and lashed out at the Samael, Uriel, and Gabriel.
The energy smashed the three Hakodeshim to the ground where force fields pinned them with their eerie light.
“Destroy them!” Nina pointed towards the fallen archangels as she commanded her legion of Knights.
Her minions unleashed a barrage of ruby-red beams which tore into the Hakodeshim causing considerable damage to the three machines, but not enough to destroy them.
The Nibiru mecha flew up above the three archangels and aimed their weapons down at them to finish them off when a flash of brilliant superheated energy exploded in the midst of the Nibiru Knights and melted them into slag.
“Nina STOP!” Kallen yelled as the Guren-Phoenix, and Enoch’s Type-21Z dove down towards the control platform.
“Come and make me,” Professor Einstein spat at her manically.
“Fine, have it your way!” Kallen yelled at her as the wings of the Guren flew up and the machine accelerated at enormous speed towards Nina.
“Such arrogance!” Nina tittered as bolts of lightening rained down towards Guren, but Kallen rolled, dodged, and skimmed out of the way of the deadly energy with nearly unmatched precision.
“You’re one to talk Professor,” Enoch chuckled while his Type-21Z maneuvered around the energy discharges with ease as it slipped closer to the control station, “considering that you’re playing with a device of which you’ve no comprehension.”
“Are you questioning my intelligence?” Nina yelled at him wild eyed. “BASTARD!”
“In more ways then one,” he laughed as he unloaded a hail of Kaon-beams from his gunpod at the force field around Nina. “Now Shirley!”
The Vincent-Advanced zipped up over the top of the coliseum with one of the Hadron-sniper beam rifles that Rai’s unit had used against Enoch earlier over its left shoulder.

“You’ve got to shoot Rai,” Shirley said as the sigil of Geass formed on her forehead. She and Rai had been arguing about attacking Nina the whole trip from where they boarded Rai’s KMF together.
Rai knew that Shirley’s cloned body had been designed by V.V. to be immune to Geass and thus he couldn’t charm her. Not only that, but her Geass power could kill him with a word.
He did not want Nina killed, but knew she had to be stopped, “I can’t kill her.”
“I don’t want to hurt her either Rai,” Shirley pleaded with him, “but we have to think of the others...we’ll all die if you don’t shoot now!”
He hesitated, “I…I owe her for my second chance at life. I can’t just kill her.”
“Then shoot the stupid control panel!” Shirley compromised, “at least take away her power.”
Rai nodded as he aimed for the base of the control station and fired.
“Thank you Shirley,” he said to her with a smile as the beam struck the metal of the control station.
“You’re welcome”—Shirley started to say when the beam bounced off the metal and deflected into the midst of the cylinders in front of it “Oh no, it didn’t work!”

“Hah!” Nina laughed, “as if your puny weapons could damage the work of a race thousands of light-years ahead of Earth’s most advanced technology, what imbeciles you are.”
The pain in Colonel Madd’s arm was excruciating as he groped around for his pistol. The impact of the Hadron cannon shook the control station violently and forced him back down on the ground. “Where is it?” he said aloud to himself as he looked desperately for the weapon.
“Now taste my fury,” Nina rattled on as the Knights of Nibiru emerged from the crevice behind her yet again, and lightening bolts rained down on the Guren and the Type-21Z with more intensity.
Try as they might Kallen and Enoch could not dodge their way through the downpour of energy that Nina sent at them.
“NO!” Kallen cried out as Guren was hit by one of the beams of energy and slammed into the ground: the only thing that prevented her machine’s destruction was its own energy shield.
“Dammn that psycho bitch,” Enoch cursed as his Type-21Z was forced back away from the control station by a combination of the Nibiru Knights and the lightening.
“None of you will stop my revenge,” Nina said triumphantly, “I WILL DESTROY GEASS!”
“No, you will not,” a female voice said in a cold tone as a bullet tore through Nina’s chest.
Professor Einstein looked down at her chest and the rapidly expanding stain of blood on her blouse in disbelief.
“How?” She asked as she fell backwards into the endless shaft that led down to the bowels of Nibiru.
Madd looked up to see C.C. standing above him with his pistol in her hand, “I’m sorry Nina,” C.C. whispered aloud to herself.

“Nina has fallen,” Lysandra said to Kannon. “C2 was forced to deal with her.”
“That is unfortunate,” Kannon said to her as someone entered the lavish Victorian room behind him.
“The others are safe,” Lysandra told the newcomer.
Kannon turned to their guest and asked with a courteous bow, “Should we inform Lelouch and his companions of the truth now that the operation is over?”
The young female arrival waved her hand as she shook her head silently in a “NO” gesture.
“She intends for him to pay for breaking his promise,” Lysandra snickered.
“Pay?” Kannon asked with concern in his voice, “but I thought the only reason for this operation was to prepare for what both of you have foreseen.”
“It has proceeded quite well,” Lysandra informed him, “considering the many paths that lie before us and the lesson Lelouch must learn if he is to be the savior of our world. Isn’t that right Empress?”
Nunnally smiled at her warmly and looked down at her curled pinky-finger, “yes my sister. It is.”

Next Side Story: To Hel in a Hand Basket

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Old 2010-09-13, 21:10   Link #55
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Side Story Eleven: To Hel in a Hand Basket

“The doctor reeled, and through his head raced wildly disjointed scraps from all he had seen, heard, and read of the frightful case of Joseph Curwen and Charles Dexter Ward. "I say to you againe, doe not call up Any that you can not put downe ... Have ye Wordes for laying at all times readie, and stopp not to be sure when there is any Doubte of Whom you have ... Talkes with What was therein inhum'd ..." Mercy of Heaven, what is that shape behind the parting smoke?”-From H.P. Lovecraft’s novel, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Nina fell through the myriad of color in a foggy haze. She felt the world around her reeling as she passed through the rainbow of energy, which singed her clothing and burned her skin while her body sank down through darkness.
Nina found herself bathed in radiant golden sunshine coming from below her as she careened towards the central core of the Dyson Sphere. Miles passed in a matter of seconds as the artificial gravity pulled her towards certain doom.
The events of her life passed through her thoughts slowly while Nina’s battered form plummeted into a mass of clouds.
The water was like solid concrete when her body hit it, breaking nearly every bone and causing what should have been mortal damage to her already tortured shell. The icy sea passed over her and engulfed her as she sank into the deep-blue liquid.
An unseen force pushed her to the surface as her lungs burned from lack of oxygen. Her mouth opened instinctively and she sucked in draughts of air while her body floated with the waves.
Nina shivered uncontrollably as a strange current swept her along the surface of the dark waters swiftly until she felt the soft dirt of dry land beneath her.
Her body came to rest upon a soggy beach, unable to move let alone stand or even crawl.
“So here is where it shall end,” Nina managed to say aloud. She had come to accept her final defeat and her death that was surely moments away.
“End?” An effeminate voice asked. It was neither male, nor female, but soothing nonetheless.
“Who…” Nina tried to ask.
“Who?” The voice inquired politely.
“…are you?” Nina managed to finish.
“Oh,” the voice remarked. “I’ve gone by many names in the past, but you may call me Nemo.”
“,” Nina’s breathing became labored. Her eyes began to dilate and the skin beneath her lids darkened.
“No, no,” Nemo protested, “you can’t go and die on me just yet. I have a question to ask you.”
Nina felt a hand touch her forehead: it was gritty like the sand she lay upon. A flash of images from ages of experience flooded through her mind as the life returned to her body.
“There now,” Nemo’s voice cooed, “that should be much better.”
Nina’s vision returned to her and her throat found its voice, “What did you do to me?”
“I healed you,” Nemo said matter-of-factly. “You see, I need to ask you a question.”
Nina tried to sit up, but was unable. “I’m still unable to move.”
“Yes,” Nemo said. “You don’t need to move to answer my question.”
The situation was clear to Professor Einstein, “what is your question Nemo?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” Nemo said facetiously. “My question is this. How badly would you like a second chance at life?”
“I don’t deserve a second chance,” Nina whimpered. “I failed to stop Geass.”
“Geass?” Nemo asked as if the word were alien to its ears.
“Yes,” Nina said confused by his unfamiliarity with the term. “You know, the power which emanates from Nibiru.”
“Oh I see,” it remarked with a snicker. “You mean the artificial-ESPer powers that are a byproduct which stem from the interface of the Aemulari and this mobile-planet within its core.”
“Aemulari?” Nina inquired perplexed.
“It’s nothing of importance,” Nemo assured her. “However, you still haven’t answered my question.”
“I told you I don’t deserve a second chance,” Nina said.
“Everyone deserves a second chance my dear,” Nemo said in a sweet tone, “even you.”
“A second chance at life isn’t going to help me destroy Geass,” Nina cried. “I’m a mortal with no power save my intellect. Geass will continue to bring its evil to the world no matter what I do.”
“So you don’t want a second chance?” Nemo asked in a hurt tone.
“I would if it meant I could stop Geass forever,” Nina complained, “but I’ve lost everything. I’ve nothing left.”
“As have I my dear,” Nemo told her in a firm tone, “yet I go on. You must not give up on your dream of a world without…Geass.”
Nina’s conscience was tugging at her psyche. Something about this being troubled her, “why would you help me if you’ve nothing left but your dreams.”
“I shan’t lie to you my dear,” the thing said. “I’m not offering you charity. I’m offering you a contract, between you and me, for our mutual benefit. You see I’m trapped here on this ring which surrounds the core of this Dyson Sphere and I cannot escape.”
“How did you come to be here?” Nina asked.
“That is not important,” Nemo reassured her. “What is important is whether or not you’re willing to throw away an opportunity that few are ever offered.”
Perhaps it was the air of this place, or maybe the soothing voice of the creature Nemo, but whatever it was Nina could not resist the temptation, “If your offer will give me the power to destroy Geass, then I will accept your contract no matter the terms.”
“Good,” Nemo cooed as it walked into Nina’s line of sight.
The thing looked like a statue made of beach-sand that was neither male nor female. An eerie green glow radiated off its constantly shifting body. It was as though Nemo was unable to hold the physical form it took without great effort.
“What are you?” Nina asked in terror.
A smile no wider then a slit in the sand formed on Nemo’s face, “unbridled power.”
The mass of sand exploded into a shower over Nina’s immobile body and buried her. The weight of the beach-sand felt like it would suffocate her as Nemo’s power metastasized throughout her mortal coil.
Excruciating pain caused Nina to scream inwardly as she was choked with sand.
The whole of her physical structure felt as though it were on fire, melting, shifting, and pooling like liquid metal in a clay-mold.
An eternity of pain passed through Nina before the torture ended and darkness consumed her.

“NO!” Lysandra cried out on the bridge-mezzanine of the Intruder.
Her outburst startled Kannon and Nunnally.
“What is it?” Nunnally could feel the horror that filled the girl.
“It has obtained a vessel,” Lysandra told her with tears in her eyes. “It’s gained the ability to leave its prison. We are too late.”
“How can that be?” Kannon asked her as he watched the artificial-sun of Nibiru come into sight through the viewports of the airship. The craft had made the decent into the depths of the mobile-planet through one of its many access-shafts as fast as they could manage.
“Nina…” Lysandra told him. “She’s made contact with it. She gave it her body. She doesn’t know what she’s doing.”
“How soon can we reach the service-ring around the core?” Nunnally asked Kannon with urgency in her voice.
“Ninety minutes maximum,” he said. “The air turbulence within the Dyson Sphere is slowing our decent considerably.
“I see,” Nunnally said in a dry tone. “Would it be possible for us to send a team of Vincent-Advanced units out to scout ahead?”
“Yes,” Kannon replied, “they could reach the ring before we do.”
“No,” Lysandra pleaded with them, “don’t send anyone else to it. We must leave.”
“Lysandra, I understand your fear, but we must know what we’re dealing with.” Nunnally reassured the girl.
“You don’t understand,” the girl warned, “that’s what it wants. It knows the curious nature of mankind. It will use that to its advantage.”
“She could be right Empress,” Kannon cautioned. “Perhaps we should send down an unmanned Vincent-Advanced. We can control it from the Intruder via a Ghost link unit.”
“That’s probably a good idea,” Nunnally agreed to the precaution.
“I’ll have it prepared for launch immediately,” Kannon nodded to her.

“Poor Nina,” Shirley whispered at the edge of the pit into which the Professor had fallen. “I wish we could have helped her.”
“Some people are beyond help Shirley,” Enoch said in a sad tone. “Nina was a product of the society that bore her and was unable to overcome her prejudices. Wouldn’t you agree Count?”
“Yes, Charles Britannia’s heavy handed rule warped the hearts and minds of many people.” Count Amontillado stood next to Enoch as the cybernetic man worked the computer terminal Nina had used to summon the Knights of Nibiru.
Shirley put her hands on her hips, “It didn’t warp my mind.”
Enoch looked at the Count and smiled.
Both men let out a quick laugh.
“What the heck is so funny?” Shirley scowled.
“Nothing important Ms. Fenette,” the Count told her softly, “it’s just that most times we don’t see ourselves from the viewpoint of those around us, that’s all.”
“Are you saying that I’m warped or something?” Shirley asked with a dark look at the Count.
“No Shirley,” Enoch said. “I think he’s trying to say that you don’t see just how short tempered you are and that your behavior it typical of a Britannian who grew up under Charles’ rule.”
Shirley thought about his words for a moment then made a crooked smile, “Yeah, I guess maybe you’re right.”
“How’s it coming up there?” Suzaku asked from the base of the control station.
“We’re almost done,” Enoch informed him as he added the final security codes to the computer system, “but I’m going to need C.C. and Lelouch’s Codes to seal it.”
Shirley looked down at where the Irregulars and the others were waiting patiently for Enoch to finish sealing the main computer of the mobile planet. Her gaze panned over the whole crowd when she suddenly realized Lelouch was missing, as was the green haired girl.
“Hey Suzaku,” Shirley called out to him. “Where are Lulu and that green-haired woman?”
“Uh…,” Suzaku looked around the crowd, “I dunno Shirley.”
“They left together a little while ago,” Rai told them from where he and his fellow Irregulars tended to Colonel Madd’s wound.
“Oh did they?” Shirley asked in a hurt tone. “Did you happen to see where they went Rai?”
“No,” he replied with a sly smile, “but I do know which way Captain Kouzuki went when she followed after them.” Rai pointed towards one of the exits of the bowl shaped building.
Shirley descended from the top of the platform at a brisk pace towards the egress. “Thanks Rai,” she said as she ran past him.
“I’m not so sure that was a good idea you two,” the Red Dragon said to Suzaku and Rai. “What do you think will happen if Shirley finds them in a compromising position?”
“Lelouch will get what’s coming to him?” Rai asked facetiously.
The Red Dragon huffed, “is that how you feel Suzaku?”
He sighed, “No, you’re probably right. I need to go after her.” Suzaku got up and started after Shirley.

“I’m sorry it took me so long,” Lelouch said softly to C.C. in the dim light of the entryway to the coliseum.
C.C. put her arms around him and held him tight, “its okay. I know you came as fast as you could.”
He leaned down and kissed C.C. on the lips, “I missed you.”
“Lost without me were you?” C.C. giggled.
“Yes,” he said as he kissed her again. “You are my armor that protects me.”
“What?” She asked softly as she stared into his eyes.
“Something that Kallen showed me,” he told her with a tender smile.
“Kallen huh?” C.C. narrowed her eyes in mock-anger, “what have you been doing with my romantic-rival while I was away? Hmmm? You weren’t exercising that libido of yours with her were you?”
Lelouch blushed involuntarily, “Wha…no…I…”
C.C. put her index finger over his lips, “Shhhhh…I don’t care if you did or even if you do. Don’t misunderstand me, I would be upset if you gave yourself to just anyone, but I know how you feel about Kallen. We do share a bond you know, so if you stray, be sure it’s with her, or Shirley, only…,” she winked at him, “understood.”
Lelouch was shocked, “how can you be okay with that?”
“I’m an immortal witch remember," She smiled mischievously, "thus I've been with many men in the past. How could I hold you to a standard that is higher than the one I've kept for myself? You see Lelouch, I have to be okay with your love for those two because I love you, and I want you to be happy.” C.C. caressed his face, “my love isn’t lust, Lelouch. It’s not your body that I want, or your sex.” She gave him a coy look.
“Oh,” He replied unsure of her meaning. “What is it that you do want?”
She rolled her eyes then kissed him, “You.”
“Yes,” she cooed. “...and your soul,” C.C. said playfully raising her left eyebrow.
Lelouch’s eyes grew wide.
She laughed at his worried expression, “I’m kidding Lelouch. What I'm trying to say to you is that being with you is enough. To hold you, to love you, to be apart of your life is all that I want.”
C.C. snickered, “the sex is nice too, but it isn’t why I love you.”
Lelouch was beet-red with embarrassment at his loss for words. "Yes...the sex is nice." He said grasping for any phrase that could express his feelings for her.
“AND…” She glared at him.
“I…I…,” A feeling of discomfort knotted his stomach as he said softly, “I love you.”
Her expression softened, “I know, but I still need to hear you say it.” She kissed him again.
Lelouch embraced her passionately.

A few yards away, at the lip of the hallway leading to the exit, Kallen lay up against the wall listening to C.C. and Lelouch.
“Guess this means everything’s back to normal,” she said sadly with her head down. She stared at the metal floor at her feet lost in thought when—
“Shirley!” Kallen snapped out of her depressed thoughts.
“Lelouch,” C.C.’s voice moaned from within the vestibule.
Shirley’s attention immediately went to the corridor.
Kallen tried to stop her from entering the hall, “let them alone Shirley, we don’t have the right to—
“Out of my way Kallen,” Shirley brushed past her and saw C.C. and Lelouch smooching.
“LELOUCH!” Shirley barked.
“Shirley?” Lelouch broke his embrace with C.C., “uh…let me explain.”
“I don’t need your explanation!” Shirley yelled at him as the sigil of Geass formed on her head, “I have EYES you two-timing bastard!”
“Whoa there Shirley, calm down,” Kallen grabbed her by the arm gently.
Shirley sneered at Kallen, “Back off!”
Her ferocious look caused Kouzuki to let go of her arm and shrink back, “uh…okay.”
“Shirley, you have to understand it’s not his fault,” C.C. started to explain but Shirley cut her off.
“I know, it’s yours,” tears of anger welled in Shirley’s eyes, “you were the one living with him at Ashford in his bedroom, in SECRET! You’re the one who seduced him into becoming Zero. You took him away from me…you…you witch!”
“Don’t blame C2 for my mistakes Shirley,” Lelouch scolded her as an instinctual urge to defend C.C. overwhelmed him. “I’m with her because I love her.”
“You WHAT!” Tears flowed down Shirley’s cheeks.
“No wait…that’s didn’t come out right…,” Lelouch tried to recover as Shirley’s fists clenched. His true feelings forced their way through his resolve. “What I mean is that I love her and you…” Kallen’s glare from behind Shirley caught his attention, “and Kallen…I love all three of you.”
Kallen put her hand on her forehead, “You’re just digging yourself deeper Lelouch, you should quit while you’re ahead.”
C.C. let out a huff, “you better let me handle this Lelouch.”
Shirley began to sob.
“No,” Lelouch protested, “this is my fault. I should have been honest with all of you from the beginning.” He walked over to where Shirley stood with her head hung low and took her hand in his, “Shirley, I’m sorry but—
“Oh, just drop DEAD LULU!” She cried from the hurt in her heart.
Lelouch’s face went blank as his body dropped dead to the ground.
“Oh boy,” Kallen shook her head in disgust, “when is he going to learn.”
“Shirley!” Suzaku yelled as he came up on the scene. “Wait!”
“You’re a bit late Suzaku,” Kallen remarked sarcastically, folding her arms. “She’s already had her melt down.”
“YOU!” Shirley turned on Suzaku with a fierce expression. “YOU knew about her,” Shirley pointed at C.C., “didn’t you!”
Suzaku saw Lelouch’s still form on the ground. “Yes I did,” Suzaku told her the truth, “but believe me Shirley I tried to stop him back at Ashford.” Her expression softened and he seized the moment, “Since then I’ve come to realize that Lelouch is his own person and I don’t have a right to interfere. If he wants to be with an immortal witch then that’s his problem. It shouldn’t stop me from being his friend, or forgiving him when he does something stupid. You’re the one who taught me that…remember?”
Shirley looked down at Lelouch knowing that at any moment he would revive, “I guess you’re right Suzaku. Maybe I should just accept that he doesn’t love me...maybe he never did.”
“That’s not true Shirley, he does love you,” C.C. interjected.
“Then why was he kissing you?” Shirley demanded.
“Because Lelouch has a thing for all of us Shirley,” Kallen added, “but Pizza-girl is the only one who’s gotten into his pants.”
“Wha…You two have had sex?” Shirley asked C.C. with a long face.
C.C. gave Kallen a pleading look then nodded solemnly towards Shirley. She felt bad for Shirley knowing that what the strawberry-haired girl had said was true. C.C. had seduced Lelouch into fulfilling his contract with her and used him for her own ambitions at the expense of what Shirley could have had with Lelouch.
“Hey Shirley, look at the bright side,” Kallen laughed half-heartedly, “at least you had to die for him to reject you. I was still here when he did it to me.”
Shirley gave Kallen a puppy-eyed look as she walked up to Captain Kouzuki and hugged her, “you poor thing.”
C.C. looked away from them with a dejected expression.
“Hey Pizza-girl,” Kallen reached her hand out to C.C., “it wasn’t entirely your fault. We all know that Lelouch chose his own path…he just should have been straight with us.”
C.C. smiled at her and joined their group-hug.
Kallen suddenly had the oddest feeling of being the eldest of three siblings as she looked at the other two women. “Friends?” She asked with a smile.
C.C. and Shirley both smiled back at Kallen. “Friends,” the two of them said together.
The three women held each other like sisters again as Kururugi stood watching them with a warm smile.
Lelouch roused on the ground and stood up. “Did I miss something?” Lelouch asked Suzaku as he saw the three women.
Suzaku just smiled at him and put his hand on his shoulder, “come on old buddy, we need to get back to the others.”
“Hey you guys!” Rai called out as he ran up to Suzaku and Lelouch huffing and puffing.
“What is it Rai?” Suzaku asked with concern.
“Enoch wants Lelouch and C2 immediately,” Rai caught his breath, “he says he needs them to seal Nibiru, so we can get back to the Intruder to go home.”
“Alright Rai,” Suzaku told him, “but I think the ladies need a few minutes alone.”
“Why?” Rai peered over his shoulder and saw the three women still embracing, “what’s with them?”
“I dunno,” Lelouch said sarcastically, “Suzaku thinks it’s some kind of secret.”
“It’s more of a cease-fire,” Kururugi laughed. “They’ll catch up with us later.” Suzaku ushered the two of them out of the exit hallway back towards where the others awaited them.

“The turbulence is too strong!” A bridge bunny on the Intruder exclaimed as the crew of the airship tried to maintain course for the ring-structure around the core of Nibiru.
“Maintain our altitude,” Kannon yelled. “We can’t afford to crash down here.”
“Where did this come from?” Nunnally asked while hanging onto the railing of the mezzanine as the ship was buffeted by another airburst.
“Our instruments indicate that it’s some type of jet-stream current,” the ship’s navigator declared from her station. “It may be part of the natural eco-system that provides Nibiru with its atmosphere.”
“What’s the status of the unmanned Vincent-Advanced?” Kannon asked.
“We’ve lost track of it in this air-storm,” the tactical officer said as the ship listed to one side.
“Empress, we’re not going to last much longer in this,” Kannon told her. “The Intruder was not designed to handle this strong of a wind. It must be hundreds of miles per hour.”
Nunnally looked over at Lysandra. The girl was huddled at the back of the mezzanine curled up in a ball and staring straight ahead. Nunnally could feel that the young girl’s terror didn’t stem from the turbulent currents of the atmosphere around the ship. Her fear was from whatever it was she sensed from the ring itself.
Nunnally turned her attention back to Kannon, “this is enough. Withdraw at once. There’s no point in us allowing the ship to be torn apart. We’ll have to return with the Kaminejima or other ship capable of dealing with this kind of thing.”
“What about the unmanned KMF?” Kannon asked.
“It can’t be helped,” Nunnally said. “Leave it behind.”
“As you wish Empress,” Kannon said in a relieved tone. He was happy just to get the ship out of the jet-stream. “Helm, set course for the nearest exit shaft leading back to the surface, we’re leaving.”

Far below the retreating Intruder lay a dome of hardened sand where Nina once had lain upon the beach of the ring that surrounded the core of Nibiru. The waters of the sea lapped the sides of the womb-like structure for a considerable amount of time after the airship had made its assent back to the surface of the mobile planet.
The whole of beach was still, windless, and silent as when a great storm approaches from the sea.
A cloud passed over the spot on the beach just as the “skin” of the thing burst in an explosion of sand and green energy.
From the steaming mass a tall, voluptuous female form arose. Her raven black hair absorbed the radiant sunlight that rained down from the artificial sun at the core of Nibiru.
Eyes with irises like fiery rubies scanned the beach around her naked form.
The woman strut to the edge of the water and looked down into the still sea which reflected her visage.
“I’m beautiful,” the commanding female voice said aloud to her reflection.
“Indeed you are,” Nemo said as the unmanned KMF walked over to her. “You are reborn, a new being entirely.”
Nina ignored the strange transformation the KMF was undergoing due to the power flowing throughout her new body. “What is this?” She asked as her hand glowed faintly with blue-white electrical power as she concentrated on it.
“A quaint little trinket your former associates left behind,” Nemo said in reference to the KMF. “I shall serve as a new body for me now that we’ve made a contract and I’ve the ability to affect the physical world again.”
“Not that,” Nina tittered as she let loose a discharge of electrical energy into the waters. The bolt exploded on the surface with considerable force.
“Oh that,” Nemo snickered. “That’s power.”
“You mean I have Geass?” She asked.
“No,” Nemo laughed, “you have real power. Just as this machine is no longer what it once was, you are no mere mortal anymore. Nor are you a simple immortal either. Your abilities are far greater then the trifle parlor tricks of what you call Geass. What I have bestowed upon you is a complete rewrite of your atomic structure. Your body is able to generate electrical fields that can burn through metal, manipulate gravitons, and draw hydrogen out of the atmosphere to form incinerating balls of fire. I’ve added hundreds of new genetic codes to the basic foundation of the rather primitive body you inhabited. Your mental powers are nearly equal to those of your physical abilities.”
Nemo sounded pleased with himself, “couple that with your exceptional level of intelligence and I’d say I’ve made you into a fine Goddess.”
“But how can I ever repay you for this?” Nina asked.
“You can bring me the one called Enoch,” Nemo said viciously, “we have unfinished business…he and I.”
“I shall do as you ask.” Nina bowed towards the KMF, “Thank you Nemo,” Nina said.
The tone of Nemo’s voice became pleasant again, “No need to thank me…” Nemo hesitated, “I don’t suppose it would be right to call you by your old name. What name shall you take now that you’re a Goddess?”
Nina didn’t need to think for more then a moment. She knew what name would best suit her intentions, her mission, and her new form.
She smiled wickedly, “You may call me, Hel.”

Next Side Story: To the Stars

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Old 2011-01-03, 21:29   Link #56
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Side Story Twelve: To the Stars

"I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars." —Stephen Hawking, interview with Daily Telegraph, 2001

Cornelia watched the slowly spinning orange-red oblate-spheroid of Mars through the portside bridge viewports of the Kaminejima. The first space-frigate of the Commonwealth of Earth was larger then the old Avalon type aerial warships that now patrolled the skies of the planet below.
“How soon until we reach Phobos?” Captain Cornelia li Britannia inquired of her commanding officer.
“We will reach the Martian moon in two minutes Prin…I mean Captain Britannia,” Gilford was still getting used to his Princess being stripped of her royal title once again.
It was something that had shocked the world in September of 2025 a.t.b. right after the incident of the Irregulars special operations group being exposed to the world. The story fed to the general population was that this group of Geass-soldiers turned on their master and “thwarted” a plot by Professor Nina Einstein to kidnap and replace the leaders of the world. Due to this incident Empress Nunnally vi Britannia officially dissolved the Britannian Empire and gave its territories to the Commonwealth of Earth to prevent any future crisis.
“Excellent Gilford, inform Phobos Base Alpha that we’ll be arriving with the supplies they requested.” Cornelia said as she continued to watch the rotation of the Red Planet. The Western Hemisphere, which was now the seat of the domed cities of New Britannia, came into her view.
Cornelia pondered the changes that her sister had made when Nunnally was elected President of the Commonwealth in February of 2026 a.t.b. by a near unanimous vote of the member nations. Her first action as President of the CoE (Commonwealth of Earth) was to brake up the old Britannian Empire territory into twenty-six independent sovereign nations whose boundaries were based on maps she had acquired from Enoch.
Cornelia’s fondness of the amber-eyed man didn’t cloud the fact that he had helped her youngest sister over the last four years to reshape the world into an interplanetary power which now had domed city-bases as far out as the asteroid belt.
Ceres, Pallas, Vesta, Hygiea and a whole slew of other planetoids were home to numerous outposts that guarded the inner planets of the Sol system. A fleet of nearly one-hundred new spaceships had been constructed, though most of them were of the smaller Goddard class of missile-spaceboat and the Kaminejima class frigate, plans were being made for destroyers, cruisers, battleships, and even a dreadnaught class in the near future.
“Phobos Base Alpha has cleared us for landing Captain,” the ship’s Lady-helmsman declared as the Kaminejima turned towards the moon that was growing rapidly in the starboard viewports of the ship.
“Very good Lt. Commander Von Vogt,” Cornelia nodded towards the woman. “Tell the Crimson Cavaliers to return from their patrol of the area.”
“Aye Captain,” the woman replied.

“This is booring!” Lena said as she zipped past Anya’s Type-21Z with her own. The Earth filled the starboard view out of her cockpit canopy.
“It could be worse,” Anya told her, “we could be back on Earth patrolling the same route over and over and over.”
“Yeah,” Gino snickered, “now we’re privileged to fly the same rings around the ESS Defiance over and over.”
“Maybe this will cure your boredom, Lena,” Mena piped up, “I’ve got an unidentified ship bearing Z-plus eighty-five degrees, nine-minutes, fifteen-seconds, at exactly forty-three degrees to portside, distance approximately 12,000 kilometers.”
“Roger that,” Akira’s military tone interjected before anyone else, “Anya, contact the Defiance and inform them of the situation.”
“Will do Commander,” Anya replied as she heeded Akira’s order.
“It’s probably nothing Akira,” Tetsuo assured him.
“Looks like a Kaminejima class frigate on my scope,” Tamaki said as he watched the computer generated image of the thing on the HUD of his Type-21Z.
“Still, we’d can’t be too sure it’s not an alien vessel,” Gregor added.
“He’s got a point Tamaki,” Gino added. “It could be Grecian.”
Captain Nagisa Chiba’s voice broke through their radio channel, “this is Captain Chiba, Moon Base Apollo has informed us that there are not supposed to be any of our vessels in this sector at the current time. It may be an alien ship, thus you have permission to investigate.”
“Roger that Defiance,” Akira replied emotionlessly. “Okay Yamato no Orochi, you heard the Captain, let’s find out what we’re dealing with.”
The group of eight Type-21Z variable KnightMares moved into a delta formation and sped towards the unknown object.

“Attention unidentified ship, this is Black Knight Squadron 008, the Yamato no Orochi, do you read me, over?” Mena radioed the stationary vessel that was now visible as a blue and white cigar shaped object in the distance.
“Still no response?” Akira asked Mena.
“Nothing Akira, and that’s the sixth time I’ve tried. They’re either unable or unwilling to reply to our hails,” Mena told him.
“Tamaki, any sign of them preparing for hostilities,” Akira asked him.
“No, their weapons do not appear online,” Tamaki responded.
“It’s not just their weapons,” Anya said. “I’m not picking up any power readings from that ship at all.”
“Confirmed,” Tetsuo added. “No power signs anywhere near them.”
“What do you think skipper?” Lena asked Akira.
“A Kaminejima class space-frigate is a powerful weapon platform. I think we can’t take any chances, everyone change modes to KMF and arm your weapons,” Akira didn’t like mysteries, “we have to assume this is a trap. The ship may have been pirated.”
“Anya, are you detecting any life signs?” Tetsuo asked her.
“No Tetsuo, but we’re still just over three thousand kilometers away.” Anya did another sweep of the ship with her bio-electric scanner, “the sensor may not be able to detect anything accurately from this distance.”
“But it should detect something shouldn’t it?” Tetsuo inquired with an edge of concern.
“Yes…,” Anya started to say, “I see your point Tetsuo.”
“Look alive people,” Gino warned, “we’re entering the firing range of her anti-mecha batteries.”
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem Major Weinberg,” Lena said. “I don’t see any navigation or formation lights active on her hull.” The basic details of the craft were now visible through their cockpit canopies as they came within a thousand kilometers of the vessel.
“Still no response to my hails Akira,” Mena informed him.
“No power signs either,” Gregor added.
“Her velocity is zero,” Tamaki said, “well except for her slight drift.”
“The ship does appear to be headed straight for Moon Base Apollo though,” Gregor said as he checked the course the ship drifted on.
“Must have been its last heading before cutting its engines,” Mena told him.
“Maybe,” Akira wasn’t convinced.
“Akira we’re within five-hundred kilometers and I’m not picking up any life signs,” Tetsuo’s tone didn’t hide his apprehension. “That’s not right.”
“Agreed,” Akira said, “can anyone make out any markings on her?”
“I’ve got a visual on her ship’s banner,” Lena said as she used the long-range optical camera of her fighter to zoom in on the white lettering that adorned the portside of the hull. “It’s the SDG-002, ESS Intrepid.”
“The Intrepid?” Tetsuo exclaimed in shock, “but wasn’t that Captain Xingke’s new command?
“Yes, Tetsuo,” Lena answered him in a concerned tone. “He and his vessel were lost nearly four years ago.”
“Yeah, on a top-secret mission somewhere near the Bermuda-Triangle from what I heard,” Gregor added.
“Still that doesn’t explain what the hell this ship doing up here headed for the moon, without power, and without any life signs aboard her,” Anya griped.
“Maybe they abandoned ship?” Mena suggested.
“I suppose that’s possible,” Akira agreed, “but after four years why hasn’t anyone heard from her crew and why is she just here all of a sudden?”
“Akira, I’m detecting some considerable micrometeor pitting along the hull of this ship,” Lena said as she thoroughly scanned the vessel, “far more then I’d expect from a craft traveling in open space. I’d say this ship has gone through a Kirkwood gap in the asteroid belt.”
“The asteroid belt?” Tamaki scoffed. “How the hell can that be? This ship couldn’t make it this far without her main graviton-drive pushing her here and this craft sure didn’t just drift all that way.”
“I concur,” Anya said. “This ship would have to been traveling via its main engine to make it all the way to Earth from the asteroid belt.”
“The only way we’ll find out what happened to it is if we go aboard,” Tamaki said with confidence. “That way we’ll know if there’s something wrong with this class of ship that the propeller-heads in the Science-division may have missed, or if it was something else.”
“Tamaki does have a point Akira,” Tetsuo added. “Although, it’s equally possible that the crew got themselves into something they couldn’t handle and if we go aboard we could expose ourselves to the same danger.”
Akira looked at the darkened windows of the nearly three-hundred meter long warship as they came to within tens of meters of the vessel. “Fine, we go aboard her, but we do so armed and with extreme caution…understood?”
“Yes sir,” the members of the Yamato no Orochi confirmed in unison.
“Alright Anya see if you can open the bottom hangar doors,” Akira said in a dry tone.
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem Commander,” Anya answered him in her serious monotone. “Since the doors are already open.”
“What?” Lena asked. “Now that’s odd, I could swear they were closed as we came up on this vessel.”
“Like I said, proceed with extreme caution,” Akira grumbled.

I see you Lysandra, an effeminate voice said from the darkness of the corridor the young girl stood in. There were no windows or doors, only a single light above her head which flickered incessantly.
“Who are you?” she yelled into the darkness.
Power incarnate, it said from the inky black.
“What do you want?” Lysandra pleaded with the horrid voice.
A proper body, it answered.
“Body?” She asked confused, “how can you not have a body?”
I need a form capable of containing my power, it hissed, without being consumed by it prematurely.
“You body was consumed?” Lysandra dared to ask. “How?”
It was made of an inferior material, but new bodies came, it cackled. New machines I bonded with, yet even they are unsuitable for my needs and I’ve only a few left before they melt under the heat of my inner-flame.
“Why tell me all this?” She demanded.
Because you can see me Lysandra, it snickered manically. You can sense my presence and my power. Therefore, I want you to know what it is I am so that you fear me.
“But we sealed you away,” Lysandra said to him with defiance. “Four years ago we sealed you away.”
Four years? It laughed, what are years to me, or centuries, or millennia, or eons. They are nothing. I’ve waited so long Lysandra, the thing said in a hollow tone, so very, very long. I shan’t be denied my destiny. I deserve it, to live, to become that which I dream.
Lysandra hesitated to inquire. “What is it that you dream?”
To become one with all of creation, it boasted as a pale-white egg-shaped object began to form in the midst of the darkness, to rewrite the whole of the myriad of dimensions by my own desire, a pair of bulging eyes rolled from under the surface of the egg, and consume all who oppose me, a maw of jagged teeth opened wide as the skull dove towards Lysandra.

“Ahhhhhhhh!” The girl yelled as she shot up in bed. Beads of sweat trickled down her body as she ran out of her room in a frenzy towards a familiar door.
She threw the door open startling Count Amontillado, Kannon, and Nunnally who were seated at a large round coffee table inside the plush room.
“Lysandra?” Nunnally asked with concern while she got up and rushed over to her.
The teenage girl was shaking from head to toe.
“What’s happened to her?” The Count inquired of Kannon.
“She’s obviously been awoken by something…disturbing,” Kannon told the man with a grave look.
“A nightmare?” The Count asked Kannon.
“No,” Nunnally answered. “A vision,” she added with fear in her voice.
“He’s returned,” Lysandra whimpered. “He has found a way out of his prison.”
“How?” Nunnally pressed her. “We made sure to seal him in Nibiru, he couldn’t have escaped.”
“Who couldn’t have escaped?” Kaguya Sumeragi inquired as she and Jiang Reika Lihua entered the room from a door on the opposite side of the study: both were dressed in their nightgowns.
“Don’t the two of you consider knocking as an option?” Count Amontillado asked facetiously.
“When the occasion calls for it,” Kaguya replied with a snobbish grin. ”However, we heard someone scream and thought it our duty to help since this is the Presidential Palace (formerly the Imperial Castle in Neo-Pendragon).”
“What exactly could the two of you hope to accomplish?” Kannon chuckled. “You’re not what I would consider intimidating, especially in your pink pajamas.”
“No,” Kaguya smiled, “but he is.” She pointed in the direction of Jeremiah Gottwald as he entered the room and bowed.
“I came as soon as I could.” The Knight of Orange apologized for his tardiness.
“That’s quite alright Jeremiah,” Nunnally said as she settled Lysandra down on a nearby sofa. “There’s nothing you could do to help her.”
“Still Madame-President, that doesn’t answer my question,” Kaguya eyed Nunnally with mock-contempt.
Nunnally smiled at her friend, “I think the three of you had better sit down and have some tea. We’ve much to discuss.”
The Madame-President recanted the tale of what really happened with the Irregulars, Nina, and the thing in the bowels of Nibiru.
“And you chose to keep this from your friends, why?” Kaguya raised an eyebrow at Nunnally.
“Probable deniability,” the President said with a smirk. “I wouldn’t want to endanger my two best friends.”
“Oh I see,” Kaguya sipped at her cup of tea.
“Is this why you called us here Madame-President?” Jiang Reika asked.
“Yes,” Nunnally looked over at Lysandra who now slept peacefully on the sofa.
“Our plan to create a Geass-army hit a snag the day Nina made contact with that thing. Therefore, the only force of Geass-users we currently have are the Irregulars. Even after four years of trying to create new Geass capable clones.”
Kaguya thought of Rolo as she asked, “Didn’t the Geass Directorate create Geass users?”
“Indeed they did,” Jeremiah opined. “I was a product of the Code-R project and given my Geass-negation ability by the Directorate. It is strange that you are unable to duplicate the process when our knowledge of Geass is so much greater now.”
“It isn’t our knowledge of Geass that’s the problem,” Count Amontillado said. “It’s something else.”
“The thing in the world of C?” The Tianzi queried Nunnally. The young woman had learned a great deal about Geass from research done by her own country at the ruins of the Geass Directorates’ former Headquarters in China.
“It’s a strong possibility,” Nunnally said to her with a grave look.
Kaguya shook her head, “but how Nunnally?”
Jiang Reika Lihua was also skeptical, “and why now after all these years? Why has it waited all this time?”
“Because it has made contact with Marduk, and his fleet approaches,” Lysandra answered them in her sleep.
The party stared at the sleeping teenager.
“Who’s Marduk?” Kaguya inquired.
“He is the god-Emperor of Babylon and at the lead of the armada which nears,” Lysandra answered her in a mechanical voice.
“How far away are they?” Nunnally asked her softly.
“Many light years distant is the fleet,” the girl’s eyes moved rapidly under her lids, “they will soon be able to break the blockade the Grecians have made.” The girl’s face twisted in pain, “Marduk awaits Nibiru…he knows it will come to him when…,” she began to writhe on the sofa, “when…”
“Nunnally help her,” Jiang Reika demanded.
“When!” Lysandra yelled as she sprang off the couch towards Nunnally.
“WHEN I’VE CONSUMED YOUR SOULS!” Lysandra’s eyelids opened revealing nothing but a radiant green light in their sockets. The light faded instantly and her eyes became normal again before the woman collapsed to the floor.
“My God Nunnally,” Kaguya blurt out in a trembling voice, “what the hell is that thing in Nibiru?”
“I don’t know,” Nunnally said looking down at the sleeping girl, “but we know someone who might.”

“Pull up Shirley!” Kallen bellowed over the radio as Shirley flew her Type-21Z over the cratered surface of an oddly shaped moon.
“I’m trying!” She cried through the comm. in her EVA suit’s helmet.
“Move the accelerator towards you as you pull back on the flightstick,” Rai told her calmly as he followed behind her in his own Type-21Z.
Shirley did as he instructed and sighed with relief as she passed over the small moon without crashing.
“Not bad Lieutenant Fenette,” Enoch complimented her. “You dive bombed Phobos at a speed few are capable of doing and survived without crashing. I’m impressed.”
“Yeah well I don’t think you and Lelouch should be pushing her so hard,” Kallen scolded him.
“On the contrary, we’ve got to get her up to speed with the rest of us Kallen,” Lelouch said in mild tone.
“That doesn’t change the fact that you two are too harsh with her,” Kallen protested.
“You hear that Commander Lamperouge?” Enoch snickered. “Apparently your number two honey thinks we’re a couple of meanies.”
“It would seem so,” Lelouch laughed as he came up on the flight of Type-21Zs with the Samael.
“I’m NOT his number two HONEY.” Kallen complained as the Guren-Phoenix flew up next to Samael. “Not that it’s any of YOUR business Enoch…but we share time with him equally.”
“And how does that work exactly?” Enoch snickered.
“Yeah, I’m a little curious about that myself,” Rai tittered. “Where does the third girl go?”
“Oh my,” C.C. gasped.
“That’ll be enough of that!” Kallen demanded. “Like I said, we don’t take numbers in this Rai. Lelouch makes time for all of us.”
“But Major Kouzuki, technically you do take numbers in a way,” Rai jibbed at her. “Lelouch is commander of the Crimson Cavaliers, and you’re his number two.”
“Yes Rai, but what the Major really wants is to be his numero uno,” Enoch chuckled.
“Oh Enoch, you are sooo dead when we get back to the ship,” Kallen tried to sound angry but a smile forced its way onto her face.
“Speaking of which,” C.C. interjected from the cockpit of Ariel, “Cornelia is calling us back so we should be returning to the Kaminejima at once.”
“Already?” Enoch asked. “But we’ve hardly had time to give Shirley another go at ground attack training.”
“She’s had enough today old man,” Lelouch said. “Besides we’ve got to be getting back anyway.”
“That’s right!” Shirley declared with urgency, “We need to get moving if we’re gonna make it to Suzaku’s wedding!” She maneuvered her fighter towards the blue-white cigar shaped cylinder beyond Phobos.
“That’s not what I meant,” Lelouch sniggered. “But there is that too.”
“Earth is only a few days away Shirley,” Rai tittered, “and the wedding isn’t until the end of the week so I’m sure we’ll make it.”
“Are you kidding?” Shirley asked in disbelief. “With all this KnightMare training I haven’t had time to pick out a dress, shoes, how to have my hair done…”
“She’s gotta point,” C.C. agreed. “So Lulu, when are you taking us shopping?”
“Huh? Me?” Lelouch asked confused. “I don’t know the first thing about shopping for a wedding.”
“That’s not the point Lulu,” Shirley grumbled. “You’re supposed to want to go with us.”
“Yeah, some gentleman you are,” Kallen guffawed as the Crimson Cavaliers flew towards the ESS Kaminejima. “You want three women, but don’t want the responsibilities that go with it, eh?”
“That’s okay girls,” C.C. stated snobbishly as the KnightMare team came in for their final approach of the Kaminejima class frigate, “we don’t need him anyway. Maybe we should just go by ourselves. Lelouch can fend for himself.”
“Hah, you’re in trouble now Lelouch,” Rai teased.
“Isn’t he always,” Kallen laughed as she landed the Guren into the main hangar that hung from the center of the warship on its ventral side.
“What did I do now?” Lelouch asked innocently.
“You should already know.” Shirley barked at him.
“How?” Lelouch pleaded with her as he landed the Samael.
“Well Lelouch,” Kallen scolded him, “maybe you should spend more time reading romance and learning a little something about women rather than wasting endless hours with those god awful military manuals.”
“I’m commander of the Crimson Cavaliers, and it is my duty— Lelouch started to say.
“DUTY!” Shirley barked, “what about us Lulu? We all agreed that OUR relationship came first…remember?”
“C2 help me out here,” Lelouch pleaded.
“I wish I could Lelouch, but I agree with them. You DID make a contract with us, so you took it upon yourself to love three women equally.” C.C. added with a huff, “If you were as tactful with romance as you are in combat you’d save yourself this grief.”
“Typical answer from a witch,” Lelouch grumbled.
“Oh really?” C.C. asked sarcastically, “so you enjoy sleeping alone is that it?”
“Ooh-hoo, sounds like checkmate to me,” Rai laughed. “What do you think Enoch?”
“What do I think…Oh boy,” Enoch sighed as he landed his fighter. “I think this is gonna be a long trip.”

“Do you see anything Akira?” Lena asked as they panned their flashlights around the interior of the hangar bay of the Intrepid.
“No,” he said in a stern tone, “and that’s what bothers me.”
“I wonder where all their KMFs are?” Gregor inquired over the radio to no one in particular.
“Maybe they used them to abandon ship?” Lena asked sheepishly.
“Why not just use the escape pods?” Anya pointed out the obvious.
“Yeah, this doesn’t make any sense.” Tamaki said as he walked over the elevator and pushed the button. “Nothing,” he grumbled.
“I figured they’d be useless. Guess that means we have to take the stairs,” Tetsuo said as he manually opened the airlock door to the emergency stairwell.
“You need to be more careful Tetsuo,” Anya pointed her machine carbine into the inky blackness of the stair. “We still have no idea what we’re dealing with here.”
“She’s right,” Gino agreed as he examined the stairwell with his flashlight while simultaneously following the LED beam with his machinegun.
“Akira, we need to get the power back on in this tub,” Tamaki told him as they ascended the stairs. “I suggest we go to engineering first.”
“Wait a second there Tamaki,” Mena but in, “we can’t just go and reactivate the main FORGE reactor without knowing if it’s safe or not. There may be a very good reason the crew shut it down.”
“Mena is right,” Akira stated flatly, “I think it best if we proceed to the bridge and check out the log books for any details as to what happened here.”
“Perhaps it would be better if we split up,” Anya suggested. “I know it’s not the best thing to do in this circumstance, but it would allow us to cover more ground quickly.”
“Anya is right Akira,” Gino didn’t hide his sarcasm, “even if there are actual ghosts on this ship, they’re still no match for us.”
“Ghosts?” Gregor scoffed. “I don’t think we need to worry about specters.”
Mena rolled her eyes, “I think we should be more concerned about the possibility of pirates rather then the boogeyman.”
“Still, getting this vessel reactivated is a priority,” Gino interjected. “If we rush up to the bridge as one unit we may inadvertently fall into this trap…if it is one. I think we should cover all our flanks and take the engine room as well.”
Akira’s patience was wearing thin. He sighed, “Alright, Anya, Gino, Tamaki, and Tetsuo, you go down and secure the engine room. Mena, Lena, and Gregor, you’re with me.”
The Yamato no Orochi scaled the steps up towards the main deck of the vessel where they parted company.

“The engine room is straight ahead,” Tamaki said as he checked the holographic screen of his hand held computer. The cell phone sized device projected a 5 x 6 inch digital screen from its top, which showed the internal layout of the Intrepid.
“Are you sure?” Gino taunted him, “It seems like we’ve been walking for over a mile.
“Yeah I’m sure!” Tamaki shot back. “I’m not an idiot Commander Weinberg.”
“I didn’t say you were,” Gino replied innocently. “I’m just suggesting that you might not be using the mini-comp correctly.”
“Enough you two,” Anya scolded them. “The door to engineering is just ahead.”
The four of them entered the pitch-black room, panning their flashlights around in the blackness until they came upon the master control panel.
“I don’t like this,” Tetsuo griped as they made their way down a short flight of steps towards the main control panel.
“Aw, you’re not afraid of the dark are you Tetsuo?” Tamaki teased.
“That’s not what I mean,” Tetsuo said as he brought his weapon to the ready. “Call it a feeling, but I don’t think we’re alone in here.”
Gino gave the interior of the chamber a quick “once-over” with his flashlight, “There’s nothing in here but the reactor and us, Tetsuo. Don’t worry, we’re alone.”
“I’ve accessed the main computer,” Anya interrupted them. “I don’t see any anomalies in the logs before the FORGE was shut down.” She said in a perplexed tone.
“Does that mean there’s no danger if we reactivate the main power?” Gino asked her as he turned towards her.
“It would appear that way,” Lt. Alstreim said with a thin smile.
Gino took out his communicator and opening it, “Akira, do you read me?”
“I read you, go ahead Gino,” Akira responded in a flat tone.
“Anya has inspected the engineering logs and found no indication that the FORGE malfunctioned.” Gino pursed his lips, “You have a problem with us turning on the power in this haunted house?”
“No, go ahead Gino,” Akira said.
Gino nodded towards Anya.
Lieutenant Commander Alstreim typed away on the keys of the main control panel of the engine room and in a few moments the main power came on.
“I’ll hit the lights,” Tetsuo said as he moved over to the wall panel that contained the light switches.
Tetsuo flipped on the lights and nearly jumped out of his skin in terror as Captain Xingke’s ashen gray face stared at him with inhuman intensity.
“What the fu…?” Tamaki yelled out in a panic due to the mass of crewmen that had come out of nowhere around them.
Their ghastly forms closed in around the Black Knights.
“Gino, what’s going on down there?” Akira asked over Commander Weinberg’s communicator.
“Akira, get out of here!” Gino yelled into his comm. before the mass of crewmen pounced.
The sound of machine carbine fire echoed over the radio before it went dead.

“Gino! Gino!” Akira barked into his communicator.
“What do you think happened?” Lena asked Mena sheepishly even though the answer was obvious.
“I don’t know,” Mena said with apprehension in her voice. She turned towards Akira, “but we need to get down to engineering and find out.”
“I agree,” Gregor said as he examined the blackened remains of the bridge of the Intrepid. “Besides, I think it’s obvious that whatever happened up here…we missed it.”
Akira looked around at the burned and shattered control panels of the command deck before speaking, “You’re right, let’s get down there.”
The four of them made their way through the ruined bridge towards the door.
The egress opened before they reached it and a flood of Nibiru Knights poured into the chamber.
Akira and Gregor instinctively fired their weapons at the troopers.
Their machinegun rounds bounced off the armored skin of the Knights, who drew their swords in response.
One of the Knights chopped Gregor’s weapon in half with its first swing then reversed its grip and plunged the blade forward. The sword sunk deep into Gregor’s gut and came out his back.
“GREGOR!” Mena screamed as she riddled the soldier that attacked Gregor with a full clip of machinegun bullets.
The Nibiru Knight withdrew his blade and left Gregor in a pool of blood on the deck. The fiend then lunged at Mena.
Lena fired a full burst into another of the monsters that headed for Mena.
“ENOUGH!” A female voice called out from behind the Knights.
The Nibiru Knights stopped in their tracks and straightened to attention like a company of automatons.
From the dim light of the corridor beyond the bridge exit a tall woman with flowing raven black hair walked into the room. She wore an armored uniform not unlike that of the Nibiru Knights, but far more feminine and tight fitting around her voluptuous form.
“I see that one of my minions has overreacted. My apologies,” She said as she walked up to Gregor’s bleeding body and placed her hand upon his wound. It healed instantly.
“Who are you!” Akira demanded.
“An old friend,” she smiled at him as her ruby red eyes met his glare.
“I don’t remember ever meeting you before,” Lena scowled.
“I’m not surprised that you don’t recognize me,” She cooed. “I’ve shed my old body and now you may call me by the name of my new form, Hel.”
“Friend?” Mena spat. “No friend of ours has ever tried to kill us.”
“Kill you?” Hel laughed. “My dear Mena, if I had wanted to kill you, I wouldn’t have stopped my minions. No dear, I need you and your companions very much alive.”
Akira gave Hel a dark look, “And what happened to the crew of this ship? Did you need them too?”
“Of course,” Hel smiled. “They’re here in this ship with us.” She said as she walked over to one of the Knights of Nibiru and removed his Mask. Under the metallic faceplate was the ashen gray face of one of the crew of the Intrepid.
“What have you done to them?” Mena demanded.
“I’ve given them bliss,” Hel stated innocently, “in exchange for service.”
“You mean you’ve brainwashed them,” Lena said in horror.
Hel waved her hand dismissively, “whatever.”
“What do you intend to do with us?” Akira asked.
“What do you think?” Hel retorted sarcastically as she made an upward gesture with her arm. The Nibiru Knights grabbed Akira and his companions, holding them up to where Hel could look them in the eyes.
“You’ll never succeed in this you bitch!” Akira spat at her.
Hel caressed Akira’s face, “you’ll make a fine addition to my collection.”

“Captain Chiba, we’re detecting a vessel heading towards our position at 14,500 kilometers and closing at 3750 kps,” the tactical officer of the Defiance read off the report quickly.
“It’s probably Akira and the Yamato no Orochi with the ship they encountered,” Nagisa said, “however, raise our Omni-directional Maser Shields just in case.”
“Yes ma’am—“ The tactical officer was cut short by the impact of Hadron-cannon fire on their starboard side.
Chiba lunged forward in her Captain’s chair as a second salvo hit the ship.
“Starboard Meson Shields down!” The tactical officer yelled.
“Return fire!” Chiba yelled to her crew as a third barrage blew off the nosecone of the ship. Electrical bolts shot across the hull of the vessel towards the aft of the warship causing the lights on the bridge to go out.
“We’ve lost main power!” The female engineering officer informed Chiba from her station. “All our weapons are dead.”
“Helm, get us out of here,” Chiba exclaimed frantically.
“No response from the engines Captain,” the Lady-helmsman shouted back.
“What’s that?” The tactical officer asked aloud while pointing to a pink-white star just in front of the bow of the ship.
“A FLEIJA,” Nagisa said as the explosion consumed the Defiance.

Next Side Story: The Galaxy Is Calling

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Old 2011-01-03, 21:44   Link #57
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Side Story Thirteen: The Galaxy is Calling

“Many are the strange things I’ve seen during my tenure as a Guardian, but never anything as insane as this. Finding my old nemesis hiding away in a mobile planet created by an alien race was nothing new for me, but learning that it was built by my people, who have been extinct for nearly 500,000 years, was something totally unexpected. How it came to the world of Geass was not as shocking to me as the fact that it was the cause of the World of Geass in the first place. I shan’t easily forget the events of Suzaku’s wedding day when we got our first glimpse of what my old ‘friend’ Nemo had in store for us. It was on that day when the denizens of the galaxy came a calling.” —Excerpt from the journal of Enoch Apsu.

Milly Ashford’s image stared out from the viewscreens of millions of people across the globe as she read off the nightly news. In stores, bars, homes, and shopping centers, her visage relayed the information of the news from the International Broadcasting Network.

“There are still no leads in the attempted murder of Mr. Kamine Ohgi Nu and his family. Mr. Nu remains in a coma nearly two weeks after he was shot in the head by his assailant. The attack occurred sometime after 2000 hours Japan time. According to police sources, if not for Mrs. Villetta Nu’s military training, she and her family might have been slain.”

A picture of Villetta Nu came up behind Milly. “The former Black Knight Ace Devicer drove off her attacker by reflexively throwing a kitchen knife at the man. According to Mrs. Nu, the knife hit her attacker in the shoulder causing him to drop his pistol, but not before the man got off a burst of rounds. Mrs. Villetta Nu suffered minor gunshot wounds to her left shoulder, thigh, and leg but has managed to make a full recovery. The children in the home were unharmed. However, the attacker managed to escape.”

A stock photo of Tamaki replaced Villetta’s image. “A worldwide manhunt is still ongoing for Black Knight Ace pilot Lieutenant Shinchiro Tamaki. He is wanted in connection with the attempted murder of the Nu family and is considered armed and extremely dangerous. All citizens are advised to avoid this man if you come in contact with him, and inform the proper authorities immediately.”

“That’s him alright,” Alice said within the shadows of an alleyway across from a rundown apartment building. The silver light of the moon illuminated the old cobblestone street that ran in front of her position.

“Proceed with caution, Alice,” Colonel Madd’s voice reverberated over the headset of her comm. “President Nunnally wants Tamaki alive.”

“That’s easier said then done,” Sancia told him. “He’s armed himself with a submachine gun and is holed up on the third floor.”

“So?” Dalque asked with a snicker. “He’s one man and not even a Geass user. I think we can take him.”

“Still, that building is old and thus has numerous external fire escapes. It’s also right on the edge of Tokyo harbor,” Lucretia added. “He could effect an easy exit if we’re too quick to pounce.”

“Agreed,” Alice said from her position, knowing that the other Irregulars were hiding in the darkness around the four-story building. “Dalque, I want you and Lucretia to take the rear of the building near the docks. Sancia, you and I are going in via the front door. We’ll rout him out and herd him towards the others.”

“If we’re gonna do this, we best move quickly,” Lucretia said. “The third floor is mostly empty right now since it’s still quite early for a Friday night.”

“You’re saying we need to fetch him before the tenants come home from work, is that it?” Alice inquired.

“Basically…yes,” Lucretia replied.

“Okay then,” Alice removed her pistol from its holster, “let’s go.”

“You failed to get it?” Kallen scolded Enoch as she fiddled with her pearl tiara that doubled as a hairnet. The frills of her large bridesmaid’s dress were making it difficult for her to tie up her hair.

“Well…the nearest cake shop is closed on this side of the moon,” he responded defensively.

“Maybe you should’ve thought about that before you volunteered to buy the cake,” C2 snickered from the far side of the church cathedral vestibule they stood within. Her elegant, white dress blended perfectly with the Britannian architecture of the building.

“You’ll just have to fly to the dark side of the moon and buy another cake,” Shirley told him as she helped Kallen with her tiara.

“Buy another cake?” Enoch scoffed as he pulled his gold pocket watch from the breast pocket of his jet-black tuxedo. “It’ll never be ready in time!”

“You’ve still got four hours. If you get going right now, it will be,” Kallen smiled sarcastically. “Just transfer the order to another shop, pay for it, then zip on over and pick it up. That can’t be too hard for an immortal übercyborg like you, right?”

Enoch gave her a narrow-eyed look. “Even my abilities have limits.”

“She’s coming!” Cornelia declared as she barged into the room.

“Who’s coming?” Enoch asked in a stunned tone.

“Euphie is!” Cornelia smiled at him. “And you need to leave. It’s Britannian custom that no men be allowed to see the bride until the wedding ceremony.” Cornelia made a shooing motion with her hand. “Now get!”

Enoch briskly made his way towards the door.

“Oh, and, Enoch dear,” C.C. called after him, “don’t forget to pick up my order on your way back.”

“Don’t worry, gorgeous,” he tittered, “pizza hut is open twenty-four hours here on Luna.” With that, Enoch left the room.

“We’re in position,” Lucretia informed Alice over her headset radio.

“Roger that,” Alice replied as she turned to face Sancia.

The girl was leaning against the apartment hallway wall opposite Alice with her pistol at the ready.

Alice nodded at her, and in the next moment, both women rushed the door to the room where Tamaki was staying.

Machine gun fire blasted at both women from the far side of the room. The bullets would have riddled both women if not for Alice using her the SPEED! to pull both of them out of the way.

“Surrender, Shinchiro Tamaki!” Alice yelled at him as she returned fire from behind an overturned table.

Bullets ripped through the top of the wooden table in response.

“Cover me!” Alice told Sancia.

“Will do.” Sancia rolled on her stomach over to behind the kitchen counter nearby and began firing at Tamaki from the safety of the heavy, wooden structure.

The sigil of Geass formed on Alice’s forehead as she used the SPEED! to rush Tamaki while he fired on Sancia’s position.

Shinchiro noticed Alice heading towards him out of the corner of his eye and tried to bring his weapon to bear on the blur that approached at inhuman speed, but it was too late.

Alice performed a spinning kick as she deactivated her Geass and used the momentum of her speed to knock the weapon in Tamaki’s hands across the room.

“Don’t move, Tamaki!” Alice aimed her handgun at him, but Shinchiro ignored her and leapt for an open window nearby.

His action took Alice by surprise as he tossed himself out the egress.

Sancia and Alice rushed to the open window only to see Tamaki running down the stairs of a fire escape as quickly as his legs would take him.

Tamaki was nearly to the second landing when Lucretia met him with her pistol pointed directly at him. “Stop right there, Lieutenant. You’re under arrest.”

Shinchiro smiled at her venomously then jumped off the fire escape landing down in the alley below.

Lucretia fired a few rounds at him as he went over the side but missed.

“Dalque!” Lucretia yelled down towards where Tamaki had landed.

Tamaki landed on his rump only to be dragged off the ground by Dalque. She activated her Geass the POWER and punched Tamaki in the gut, knocking the wind out of him and causing him to double over as she dropped him on the ground.

“Let’s cuff him!” Lucretia said as she got off the fire escape ladder and joined up with Dalque.

“Nervous?” Rai asked Suzaku as he helped adjust Kururugi’s bowtie.

“Yeah…but it would seem Lelouch is more nervous than I am,” Suzaku snickered as he watched Lelouch pacing back and forth within the antechamber of the church they were using as a dressing room. Lelouch stared at the floor, biting his thumbnail as he strode the length of the chamber.

“Master Lelouch, are you alright?” Jeremiah Gottwald inquired from where he stood in a regal pose next to a small stool.

Lelouch either ignored him or didn’t hear him as he continued to pace the room mechanically.

“What’s with him?” Suzaku asked Rai.

Rai smiled, “He’s been like this since we learned about the fate of Defiance and your wedding got bumped up a week. The destruction of the ship by a FLEIJA has got him in a tizzy.”

Lelouch stopped at the mention of the name Defiance and turned towards Jeremiah. “Knight of Orange, has the president and her entourage arrived yet?”

“I believe they’ll be here within a few hours,” Jeremiah responded with a concerned look. “However, Master Lelouch, you should be rest assured that the defenses here on Luna are more than adequate to deal with a single pirate vessel. Even one armed with FLEIJA warheads.”

“They’re not going to use FLEIJAs,” Lelouch said confidently as he stared at a fresco on the wall. His mind was working overtime as he processed every conceivable scenario of who could have destroyed the Defiance and what their next move would be. A crucial clue that cued him in to the identity of the perpetrators came with the attack on Ohgi and Villetta. Lelouch knew that Tamaki would never try to kill Ohgi. They had been comrades and friends for far too long. No, something had forced Tamaki to do it, and he had an idea of what that something was.

“How do you know that?” Rai asked.

“If you suspect something, Lelouch, you’d better not keep it to yourself,” Suzaku scowled at him. He knew Lelouch all too well. Even though his best friend had changed a great deal over the past few years, he was still the old Lelouch…still Zero in many ways.

Lelouch smiled at him, “I don’t want to ruin this day with my wild paranoia.”

Suzaku gave him a narrow-eyed look. “Humor me.”

Lelouch sighed, “You may find this difficult to believe…”

“Go on,” Suzaku prodded him.

“I don’t think Nina Einstein is dead,” Lelouch stated.

Rai gasped, “What makes you say that?”

“This enemy specifically targeted Nagisa Chiba and the Yamato no Orochi.” Lelouch folded his arms. “Then Shinchiro Tamaki, a member of the Yamato no Orochi, attacked his best friend and former comrade Ohgi Nu. Forget how Tamaki survived the FLIEJA attack on the Defiance for now, as the more pressing question is why did he attack Ohgi?”

“Geass?” Suzaku asked.

“Probably,” Lelouch frowned.

“Are you implying that this is a strategy being implemented by Professor Einstein?” Jeremiah inquired with an intrigued look.

“Precisely,” Lelouch said. “The actions taken thus far indicate a plan of attack by someone who is picking their targets intentionally. Someone who is acting according to a set plan in order to isolate those of us who were the key players involved in both the defeat of Tartarus and Nina Einstein. The thing which is troubling me though is that this strategy greatly resembles a chess match, which is not Nina’s forte as far as I know. Be that as it may, this adversary is certainly executing a plan that resembles a basic strategy akin to chess. In chess, the objective is to isolate the king while eliminating as many of the pawns as possible to prevent reinforcements from entering the fray. By taking out the peripheral pieces that are aware of what really happened during the Tartarus conflict and at Nibiru, this person or persons gains a considerable advantage if the actual objective is greater.”

“But why now?” Suzaku asked with a confused expression. “It’s been years since the incident on Nibiru. Why would Nina, if that’s who’s doing this, wait so long to move against us?”

“That’s the part I can’t figure out,” Lelouch admitted with a grimace.

Rai put his hands on his hips. “Well, whatever the reason is, I’m sure we’ll find out eventually, but for now, we need to consider the possibility of an attack on this wedding, considering that all the people responsible for what happened to Nina are going to be here.”

“Indeed,” Jeremiah agreed. “We need a plan of action should the situation require it.”

Lelouch looked over at Suzaku.

Kururugi smiled at him, “Let’s hear it, ‘cause I know you’ve already got one.”

Lelouch snickered, “Okay then, here’s what I’ve come up with.”

Alice slapped Tamaki across the face within the dim light of a small room. “Tell me why you attacked former Captain Ohgi Nu!”

Tamaki just stared at her from the chair that he sat in with an ashen expression. The man was in a full-bodied straitjacket suit but didn’t seem to notice one iota.

“We’ve been at this for nearly an hour, and he’s not responding,” Lucretia told her.

The interior of the room was suddenly bathed in bright light from the hall outside as the door to the chamber opened. “She’s right,” the shadow of a tall figure said as he entered the interrogation room of the Kaminejima class warship Arcadia.

“But, Count Amontillado, if we don’t find out what he knows, other people might be in danger,” Alice told him with concern.

“I realize that,” the count said softly from under his mask. “Which is why I sent for help.”

A teenage girl walked out from behind him. To the Irregulars within the room, she looked like the female twin of Lelouch vi Britannia.

“Madame Lysandra,” Lucretia bowed in respect towards the girl.

Alice looked at the youth with pity and then turned towards Count Amontillado. “Is putting her through this really necessary? We don’t know what’s been done to Tamaki’s mind. It could be Geass related.”

“Which is precisely why I must connect with his subconscious,” Lysandra told Alice in a soft tone. The girl smiled at her slightly, “I know what dangers may lay in his head, Miss Alice, but don’t worry, I’ve come prepared for this.”

Alice only nodded in reply as Lysandra made her way across the room towards Tamaki.

Shinchiro stared ahead with a blank look on his face as the young woman gently put her hand on his forehead.

Lysandra closed her eyes as she looked into his thoughts. The girl pulled her hand away as she recoiled in horror from him. “They’re going after Nunnally! We have to warn them!”

“WHAT?” Alice cried out in alarm.

Count Amontillado wasted no time in contacting the bridge of the Arcadia. “Colonel Madd, set course for Luna at once!”

“Luna, sir?” Madd inquired in a confused tone.

“Yes, you dolt!” Amontillado barked with urgency in his voice. “President Nunnally and her entourage are the assassin’s targets; now get this damn ship there at maximum speed!”

“Yes, Count…at once!” Madd stammered over the communications link.

“Yeah, I need it within the next three hours,” Enoch spoke into the communication headset of his Type-21Z as he flew over the cratered surface of Earth’s moon. Far below him, the once gray and dusty surface of Earth’s natural satellite was dotted with various city domes of the newly colonized moon.

“Yes, a full eight-tier wedding cake…” He paused for a moment as he noticed seven blips on his long-range LADAR scope. “What the…?”

The seven blips were closing in on his fighter fast as he switched over to the general military frequency. “Apollo base control, are there supposed to be any fighters at my current location?”

A female voice from the base control tower responded immediately, “No, Major Apsu, there are no units in your area.”

“No units in my area?” Enoch queried her. “But I’ve got seven inbounds closing fast—” He dove his fighter down towards the surface of the moon instinctively as Kaon blasts zipped past his machine.

“Major, are you alright?” the female control tower officer inquired frantically.

“I’m under attack!” he said as the radio frequency cut out. Damn it! They’re jamming me. Enoch rolled his KMF out of the way of a hail of Hadron blasts from a pair of Type-21Z fighters that had broken off from the main group.

He just barely activated his machine’s OEAPT (Omnidirectional Enhanced Absolute Protection Territory) defense system before Kaon blasts slammed into the multifaceted, ruby-red energy shield.

Enoch transformed his fighter into KnightMare mode as he used the rocky outcroppings along the edge of the Haemus Mountains on the north “shore” of the Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) as cover while he dodged the onslaught of Kaon energy bolts. “Son of a…” Apsu cursed as Hadron blasts followed behind his machine in a rain of red-black death that blew moon rocks into dust behind his KnightMare.

“They’re herding me,” Enoch blurted out as the seven pursuing Type-21Z KMFs split up above him into three groups of two and a single fighter that boosted ahead of Enoch’s machine until it was out of sight.

“So, you punks are going to try to ambush me in the Mare Serenitatis, eh?” Enoch tried to weave his way through the mountainous rocks and foothills towards the dome city in the Plinius crater.

He was met by a pair of Type-21Z KMFs in KnightMare mode as his machine broke out into the Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity) to avoid a shower of Hadron blasts from the single enemy KMF that flew above him in fighter mode.

Another pair of Type-21Z KMFs met Enoch as his KnightMare skimmed over the surface of the crater bed. Both of the Cosmo-KnightMares fired on him simultaneously, which caused Apsu to instinctively boost his machine up into the air to avoid the blasts.

The pair of KMFs that were pursuing him from behind dodged out of the way of the friendly fire and split into two directions.

Enoch saw his opening and took it. He let loose a burst from each of his rapid-fire, shoulder-mounted Hadron Cannons into the dusty surface of the Mare as he dodged another hail of Kaon bolts. The bursts of Hadron energy caused a large cloud of dust to cover the immediate area in a thick, gray fog that Enoch flew directly into towards where the pair of pursuing KMFs had split up.

Apsu maneuvered his machine towards where one of his pursuers had dodged to the left. He activated the Kaon blade of its gunpod as he saw the shadow of the enemy KMF through the dust. He flew his machine at reckless speed towards his prey, knowing that he would get only one shot before the other enemy KMFs found him.

The enemy Type-21Z didn’t respond fast enough to stop Enoch from hitting his mark.

The enemy Type-21Z attempted to parry the Kaon blade with the Blaze Luminous Maser shield of its right arm just as Enoch’s mecha swung its weapon in an uppercut motion.

Enoch’s Kaon blade chopped off the right arm of the enemy mecha at the elbow, which severed the limb completely, sending the machine’s gunpod to the ground.

The enemy machine fired the medium Hadron Cannon of its right forearm towards the cockpit of Enoch’s mecha.

Apsu boosted his machine backwards using the four chest-mounted vernier thrusters of his mecha to avoid the blasts, but the Hadron bolts still grazed his cockpit, blowing off its armored shield and exposing the plasti-steel glass underneath.

“Just peachy,” he said sarcastically as he dodged a second volley from the damaged machine. Enoch let loose the pair of MVS slash harkens of his Cosmo-KnightMare. The duo of deadly spinning blades tore through the chest armor of his opponent’s machine, destroying its MVS harkens, rapid-fire Hadron Cannons, and shoulder-mounted thrusters/engines.

Enoch’s KnightMare swung its Kaon blade in for the coup de grâce.

A hail of Hadron blasts forced Apsu to parry the onslaught of deadly energy with his Kaon blade instead of using the weapon to hit its mark.

He pushed the accelerator of his machine forward to dodge a second volley of energy bolts, causing his Type-21Z to burst out of the dust cloud where he was met by three of the seven enemy KMFs.

Enoch put up his OEAPT as the three enemy mecha unloaded a stream of Kaon blasts from their gunpods at his Type-21Z.

“Damn it!” Apsu cursed aloud. “If this keeps up, my energy fillers will be drained in no time.”

“It’s been nearly two hours,” Shirley complained within the bridesmaid’s chamber. “Where the heck is Enoch?”

“Good question,” Kallen fumed at his tardiness.

“He may be a goon at times,” C.C. interjected, “but he’s never tardy without good reason.” The green-haired woman got up from the chair she sat upon. “I’d better go find Lelouch and the boys and let them know something’s not right.”

“Oh, no you don’t,” Kallen scowled at her, “you stay here and wait for Enoch in case he gets back. “I’ll go and tell Lelouch.” Kallen didn’t wait for C.C. to protest. She stormed out of the bride’s room into the vestibule of the grand cathedral and began heading for the groom’s chamber across the vast entryway.

“Where the hell could he be?” Kallen cursed aloud.

“Where’s who?” a voice asked from the darkness of an alcove on the far side of the dimly lit chamber.

“Who’s there?” Kallen demanded. The man’s voice was familiar, but something about it seemed alien, hollow.

“You’ll have to come closer if you want to find out,” the male voice teased from the inky blackness as he stepped forward. His tall stature was just barely visible in the dim light that came in through the stained glass windows above the huge, oaken double doors that led outside.

Kallen realized the potential danger in going over to the man as she was without a weapon at the moment and wearing a bridesmaid’s dress that was anything but maneuverable should she need to fight hand-to-hand.

“Why don’t you come out halfway?” Kozuki asked him with a sly smile.

“I will if you promise to meet me there,” the man said with a snicker.

“Fine!” Kallen shouted in frustration. She hated games, but something inside her told her that she had to find out who this person was.

Kozuki strutted out into the center of the chamber. “Now your turn, mister.”

“Of course,” the man replied in a smooth tone as he walked out into the light.

Kallen gasped in shock, “Gino!”

“Are you sure this will work?” Suzaku asked Lloyd Asplund as they moved a large vase into the main hall of the church cathedral.

“How dare you question my new Geass Amplification Interface (GAI),” Lloyd complained in a hurt tone. “You ought to know me by now, Suzaku. I’d never have gone along with Lelouch’s plan if I thought my invention wouldn’t do its job.”

“I wasn’t questioning your new machine, Lloyd,” Suzaku smiled as Cecile scowled at Professor Asplund.

Her finely crafted, flowing, white dress enhanced her beautiful figure as she approached them. “I think what Suzaku is saying, Lloyd, is that he’s wondering if this new toy of yours will work the way Lelouch suspects it will.”

“TOY?” Lloyd asked in horror. “My dear Cecile, I’ll have you know that this is a state-of-the-art, third-generation GAI that is vastly superior to the ones used by the Irregulars in their Vincent-Advanced KMFs.” Lloyd grunted slightly as he and Suzaku set the vase down into position.

Cecile tittered, “I’m sorry, Lloyd. I should have realized how important this machine is to you.”

Lloyd adjusted his glasses as he stood up. “Indeed you should.”

Suzaku rolled his eyes behind Lloyd causing Cecile to giggle.

“I fail to see what’s so amusing,” Lloyd said glumly.

“Sorry, Lloyd,” Suzaku laughed. “Let’s test your device to make sure we didn’t damage it.”

Lloyd folded his arms. “Let’s,” he said in a less than amused tone.

“It’s good to see you again, brother.” Nunnally took hold of Lelouch’s hand.

“You also, Nunnally,” he said as he hugged her tightly under the archway of the side entrance of the cathedral.

Kannon stood near them with a smile on his face as he watched the siblings embrace.

“Hey, are you two just going to stand there all day or what?” Kaguya Sumeragi bellowed from the bottom of the side stair where she and Jiang Lihua stood among their security entourage.

“Yeah, it’s not like its safe out here or something,” Jiang Lihua said with her hands on her hips. “We are dignitaries of the Commonwealth of Earth, you know, Lelouch vi Britannia. It would be wiser if we went inside.”

Lelouch let go of Nunnally and smiled down at the Tianzi, “I suppose you are right, we should be getting—”

A van flew down the side street and crashed into the car that Nunnally, Kaguya, and the Tianzi had arrived in.

“INSIDE!” Lelouch commanded Kaguya and Jiang Lihua as he pushed Nunnally into the cathedral behind him.

“But those people in the van could be hurt,” Kaguya protested upon seeing the mangled front end and exposed sakuradite battery.

Lelouch ran towards her down the stairs. He drew a pistol from within his tuxedo as the back of the van opened up and five figures jumped out.

Jiang Lihua recognized the man leading the troop of armored Knights. “Xingke!”

“Kaguya, that’s not Xingke,” Lelouch yelled as he and Kannon formed a human wall with the six members of the security detail charged with protecting the dignitaries. “You need to get Lihua inside immediately!”

“It’s no use, Lelouch vi Britannia, just hand over Nunnally and we’ll leave you in peace,” Xingke said in a mechanical tone.

“I don’t know who you are,” Lelouch took aim at him, “but you’re NOT taking my sister!” Lelouch fired directly at his forehead.

A Knight of Nibiru stepped into the shot with blinding speed. Lelouch’s bullet sank into the faceplate of the armor, but the soldier seemed unfazed by it.

“Fire!” Kannon ordered the security detail.

A hail of bullets streamed from their submachine guns into the four Knights of Nibiru, leaving only Xingke standing.

Xingke laughed, “Resistance is futile.” A green glow emanated from the bodies of the fallen Knights causing them to get up off the ground.

The four armored warriors drew their swords.

Xingke drew his own sword from its scabbard. “Attack.”

The Knights of Nibiru pounced on the six security guards with their deadly broadswords. One guard was cleaved in two at the waist as another’s head was chopped clean off.

“Shoot their knees!” Lelouch yelled at Kannon as Kaguya and Jiang ran up towards the heavy, oak doors of the church.

Kannon, Lelouch, and the four remaining guards fired on the approaching Knights of Nibiru as Xingke watched the battle where he stood near the crashed van.

The knees of the four attacking fiends were blown out by a volley of submachine gun and pistol fire. The Knights crumbled to the ground only to rise again after a brief glow.

Lelouch caught a glimpse of green radiance from Xingke’s sword as the healing light engulfed the Nibiru Knights.

“Ah ha!” A thought coursed through Lelouch’s mind. “So that’s how it is.”

Another of the security guards was cut to pieces as the four Knights advanced.

“Kannon, get your men inside as well,” Lelouch demanded. “There’s nothing more you can do here. I’ve got a plan that might stop them, or at the very least slow them down.”

“Understood,” Kannon replied as he fired his submachine gun at an encroaching Knight.

“Retreat to the church,” Kannon ordered his two remaining guards.

Lelouch aimed for a metal bracket which held the sakuradite battery of the van in place just as Kannon and his men got within the frame of the door.

“Lelouch, c’mon!” Kannon yelled for him.

Lelouch fired two shots at the bracket as the Knights of Nibiru scaled the stair towards him at lightning speed. The first bullet knocked the bracket off the remaining screw which held it while the second sent the long, metal bar into both contact terminals of the powerful electric battery.

The battery exploded in a fireball that sent Xingke tumbling across the side street, his sword clanged along the sidewalk away from him. The shock wave knocked Lelouch onto his derriere as the four Knights of Nibiru were strewn all over the stairs.

“Thought so,” Lelouch said as he picked himself up. “The sword acts like an amplifier. That means the true puppet master must be nearby.”

Xingke began to stir and pick himself up off the ground. Lelouch realized his pistol had been blown down into the hedge next to the stair from the shock wave of the explosion.

“I’d better get out of here,” he said aloud to himself as Xingke reclaimed his sword. Instantly, the Knights of Nibiru stirred and began moving again.

Lelouch ran for the side door where Kannon and the others were waiting.

“Bar the door!” Lelouch told Kannon as soon as he passed through and closed the heavy, oak door behind him.

“That won’t hold them for long,” Kaguya remarked as the portal began to shudder under the onslaught of the supernatural force on its other side.

“To the main hall,” Lelouch said with urgency, knowing that their only hope laid in his plan. “We’ve got to warn the others.”

“Gino, how could you possibly be here?” Kallen inquired of him in awe. She knew that Gino should be dead.

Gino walked closer to her. “Does it really matter? I’m here now.”

His complexion seemed gaunt in the lunar light of the stained glass windows. “Where are the others? Did they survive?” Kallen asked, hoping that perhaps her friends had managed to survive the fate that befell the Defiance.

“They’re close,” he smiled wickedly. Gino held out his hand. “You could be with us, Kallen. You could join us. All you have to do is come closer.”

“This isn’t right.” Kallen could feel something was wrong. “You shouldn’t be here, Gino,” she said as she backed away from him.

His smile grew more malevolent. “Oh, but I should be. Just as the fox enters the hen house when the farmer leaves open the door, so should I be here to partake of the bounty before me, and I choose you, Kallen.” He drew a pistol from behind his back.

“No.” Kallen moved backwards toward the bridesmaid’s chamber. “What happened to you? Why are you doing this?”

“Don’t worry,” he said softly as he aimed the pistol at her, “you’ll understand soon enough.”

“Hey, what the heck is going on out here?” C.C. asked as she walked out of the bridesmaid’s chamber into the vestibule.

“C2, get down!” Kallen yelled in a panic.

Gino changed his aim towards C.C. and fired.

The bullet barely missed the green-haired woman’s heart; the round tore through her left shoulder.

C.C. fell back in pain while Kallen grabbed onto her and the sigil of Geass formed in her eye. “JAUNT!” The two women vanished in front of Gino and reappeared on the other side of the door to the bridesmaid’s chamber.

“What’s all this about?” Shirley asked as C.C. held her bleeding shoulder for a moment while it regenerated. At the same time, Kallen barred the door with furniture from within the room.

“There’s no time to explain!” C.C. told her. “We’ve got to get Cornelia and Euphemia out of here.”

“Well…they’ve already gone to the Grace Chapel,” Shirley informed them. “What happened to you, C2?”

The door began to thump from blows hitting it on the opposite side.

“Never mind that right now,” C.C. said as her arm finished healing. “We need to find Lelouch and the others.”

“But…what’s going on?” Shirley whined.

“We’re under attack,” Kallen said firmly.

“By who?” Shirley asked in disbelief.

“I can’t explain it right now,” Kallen said with an urgent look at Shirley. “We need to get to the sanctuary. That’s where Suzaku and Lelouch went, right?”

“Yeah,” Shirley replied in a hurried voice.

“Then let’s go,” Kallen said as she and C.C. moved Shirley out through the doorway that led into the nave of the cathedral.

Alarm klaxons screamed out over the city of New London which sat within the flat surface of the Palus Putredinis (Marsh of Decay) crater.

The sound echoed throughout the marble halls of the cathedral.

“Are we under attack?” Cecile asked aloud to her companions as they stood within the sanctuary of the cathedral making last-minute preparations for the wedding.

“It would seem so!” Lelouch bellowed as he and his companions came running through the side door of the Virtue Chapel on the right side of the sanctuary.

Kannon bolted the door after all of them had come through.

“So you were right?” Rai asked Lelouch.

“Unfortunately,” Lelouch replied with a nod.

“But who would dare?” Jeremiah Gottwald remarked in a disgusted tone.

“Knights of Nibiru,” Kannon told him. He had no sooner bolted the door than the wood began shaking from blows given on its other side. “Xingke was with them.”

“As was Gino,” Kallen said as she, C.C., and Shirley ran into the sanctuary. Shadows flew across the overhead stained glass dome at lightning speed.

“Are those Type-21s?” Kaguya asked to no one in particular.

“Oh, dear, it would seem that the defense forces have been scrambled,” Lloyd said while adjusting his glasses and looking up at the dome for a moment.

Lelouch looked at the high altar which rested in the ambulatory of the cathedral. “We need to make a break for the crypts below. There’s an exit from there that leads out to the city’s graveyard. We can escape that way.”

“Actually,” a soft female voice said from behind the altar, “for you there is no escape.” Anya walked up behind the altar from the crypts below. Akira, Tetsuo, Mika, Lena, and Gregor walked up behind her. The door of the Virtue Chapel burst open and Xingke walked through with his four Knights.

“C’mon, you slackers!” Enoch yelled as he parried another volley of Hadron bolts that caused the whole area to fill with dust kicked up from the soft surface of the moon.

He flew his Type-21Z like a madman through the haze of thick dust towards one of his pursuers that he could just barely see. The enemy machine attempted to dodge his furious assault, but it was in vain. Enoch used the twin beam-sabers of his mecha to chop off the left forearm and shoulder of his opponent’s machine.

A second machine fired a burst of Kaon bolts at the backside of his Zebulun.

Apsu got his OEAPT up just in time, but a warning screen popped up on his main display.

Enoch grumbled to himself, “I can’t use the OEAPT again. I’m nearly out of power, and I haven’t even managed to take one of them down yet.”

He caught the glint of a green Kaon blade out of his peripheral vision. “Oh, no you don’t!” Enoch used the Blaze Luminous shield on his machine’s left forearm to parry the slash of the third enemy mecha, but the attack distracted him long enough for the first Type-21Z to use its beam-sabers.

Apsu tried to parry the twin-beam sword attack with the other Blaze Luminous shield of his mecha to no avail. The first beam struck the Blaze Luminous shield, but the second passed below the defense screen into the left breast of his KnightMare frame.

Red warnings popped up all over his HUD (heads-up display). “Looks like this is it for this machine,” he remarked with a snicker of frustration. “Sure is gonna be a long walk back to the city.”

The second enemy Type-21Z lifted its Kaon blade over its head for a final blow as Enoch braced for the impact.

“What the—“ Enoch gasped as a silver-gray blade pierced through the center of the Type-21Z from its backside. The blade withdrew, and the enemy mecha slumped down to the lunar surface where it exploded.

The force of the explosion cleared away the dust cloud, thinning it out to reveal a platoon of bronze-colored mecha.

The troop of Grecian Theta-Kolossos and Zeta-Orion Automatos quickly dispatched the Type-21Zs in a blaze of Hades Cannon blasts from their gunpods.

The lead machine was a mecha that Enoch recognized as soon as he lay his eyes on it.

“Well, if it isn’t the devil himself,” Jason tittered over the radio to Enoch.

“I don’t know what to say,” Apsu answered in a befuddled tone.

“How about thank you,” Heracles laughed over the comm.

“Thanks,” Enoch said in an unsure tone. “I suppose now you’ll get revenge upon me for what I did to you two back on Earth?”

“No, Enoch,” Jason said in a cool tone, “we’ve more pressing matters to attend to here.”

“What’s more important than revenge to an Olympian?” Apsu asked, confused.

“War,” Jason replied.

“You’ve no hope for escape,” Gino said as he walked down the nave with a dozen Knights of Nibiru in tow towards the sanctuary. “You may as well surrender.”

Lelouch smiled devilishly as Gino and his storm troopers came within the sanctuary. “I don’t think so. NOW, JEREMIAH!”

Jeremiah Gottwald squeezed the switch of a small device on his belt, and instantly, the vases surrounding the sanctuary shattered revealing eight pyramidal devices which hummed.

“Now we’ll end this foolishness,” Jeremiah said as the inverted sigil of Geass appeared in his cybernetic eye.

A blue radiance filled the whole of the cathedral with a brilliance intensified by the Geass Amplification Interface devices.

Xingke, Gino, Anya, and their compatriots slumped down onto the marble floor as if struck down dead from the blue light. The Knights of Nibiru fizzled into dust within moments.

“That’s enough, Jeremiah,” Lelouch told him as he observed Xingke’s sword evaporate into black powder on the floor. “They’re finished.”

“Bravo,” a deep female voice said from the far end of the nave. She clapped slowly as she waltzed down the aisle towards the sanctuary. “I must admit your ingenuity never ceases to amaze me, Lelouch.”

The woman’s raven-black hair and deep, ruby-red eyes only enhanced her unnatural beauty as she made her way into the sanctuary. She eyed the Geass Amplification Interface devices. “Be that as it may, I can’t have you spoiling my plans like this.”

Hel waved her hand in a circular pattern causing the GAI devices to short-circuit and fry.

“My inventions!” Lloyd cried out in horror.

“Hahahahaha,” Hel cackled in an amused tone. “You never change, do you, Professor Asplund?”

“Nina?” Cecile asked, recognizing her mannerism.

“Nina Einstein is no more,” she said with venom towards Cecile. “I am Hel, both in name and in deed.”

“What is it that you want?” Suzaku demanded.

“I want Nunnally,” Hel stated flatly. “In exchange, I’ll let you have your friends back. It’s a fair bargain, the lives of seven of your friends for the life of only one.”

“You WITCH! I’LL NEVER LET YOU HAVE NUNNALLY!” Lelouch yelled as he came between Hel and his sister.

“Oh? I didn’t realize that it was only your decision,” Hel snickered. “Are all of you still letting him lead you along by the nose, or will you finally start making decisions for yourselves?”

“What’s all this yelling about out here?” Cornelia came out partially through the door to the Grace Chapel.

Cornelia froze upon seeing Hel then drew her ornamental sword-pistol from its baldric at her hip and fired instinctively.

Hel put up her hand in a blinding flash and caught the bullet. “Typical coming from you, Cornelia, and now allow me to return the curtsey.” Hel put her palm out towards Cornelia but hesitated as a voice broke her concentration.

“What the heck is going on out there?!” Euphemia demanded as she pushed past her sister.

A sickening feeling overcame Hel upon seeing Euphemia. “How…Eu…” She felt dizzy. “But…I thought…you’re dead.”

Euphemia stopped cold upon seeing the unnatural woman. “Do I know you?”

Hel started to walk towards Euphemia. “I…did all of this…all of it because I thought you were dead.”

Suzaku saw his opening. “Get away from her, you crazy bitch!” Kururugi jumped up in his signature Kuru-kick towards Hel’s head.

“Suzaku, NO!” Lelouch yelled at him, but it was too late.

Hel spun on her heel and threw her palm out. A bolt of lightning caught Suzaku in the side. The blast sent him crashing into the pews nearby.

“SUZAKU!” Euphie cried out.

“You dared to lie to me…” Hel fumed towards Euphemia. “All of you knew! DIDN’T YOU?!” Fury burned behind her eyes. “I’ll kill YOU ALL!”

Black mist began swirling about her form.

“I’m sick of your crap, Nina, or whatever you are!” The sigil of Geass burned bright red on Shirley’s forehead as tears flowed down her cheeks. “Why don’t you just drop DEAD!” she said in a burst of frustration to the shock of all around her.

Her Geass hit Hel like a bullet train. The force of the death power sent Hel backwards onto the marble with audible force.

Jeremiah started towards Hel and unsheathed his forearm blades. “I’ll finish this.”

“No, Knight of Orange,” Lelouch warned him. “She’s not dead.”

“How perceptive of you, Lelouch,” Hel huffed as she got up off the floor. “Fortunately, Shirley’s little power only works once on me.”

Hel put out her hand. “Now where was I? Oh, yes, time to die.”

An arrow struck Hel from behind in the left shoulder.

“Ahhhh!” the black-haired demoness screamed.

“Now what?” Cornelia asked as Euphie brushed past her to Kururugi’s side.

“Suzaku,” she whimpered over his still form. The smell of burnt flesh rose up from the blackened wound on his side.

Hel spun around as she removed the arrow. “Adamantine.” A second arrow struck her in the left thigh. “Ugh, show yourself, coward!” Hel demanded as she moved backwards.

Cornelia took aim at the back of Hel’s head with her pistol, but Lelouch grabbed the weapon’s barrel. “It’s no good, Cornelia, your weapon will only antagonize her. It won’t kill her.”

A third arrow from down the nave hit Hel in the chest.

“Yarh!” Hel tore out the missile and dropped it to the floor.

“Pandora was right about you. It would seem you are a hardy one,” a strong male voice said from somewhere down the aisle. “Nevertheless, I still must take you into custody, since it is known to us that you are the one who released the beast of Nibiru.”

“Who are you?” Hel demanded.

“I am Leto,” a young man said as he stepped out from behind a tympanum he had used for cover in the nave. “I am the brother of Apollo and Artemis, son of Zeus, and leader of the 8th Special Forces Unit of Orion,” he stated flatly. “And this is my phalanx.”

The thunderous sound of marching metal boots resounded through the aisles of the cathedral as Hoplites in powered armor flooded the building on all sides.

“I see,” Hel sneered at Leto as he approached the sanctuary with his force. “Then it would seem I’ve outstayed my welcome.” Hel moved towards Nunnally. “But I shan’t leave without my prize.”

Hel reached out to grab Nunnally, but a blade stuck her in the gut allowing Nunnally to escape to the safety of the Grecian soldiers in power armor.

“You’ll do no such thing,” Gino said as he rose up from the floor.

“Fool, you dare rob me of my prize!” Hel grabbed the blade and sent a massive bolt of electrical energy into Gino. The voltage caused Gino’s hair to catch fire as his eyes melted in their sockets. His smoldering body collapsed onto the marble floor.

“Take her!” Leto ordered his soldiers.

“I think not,” Hel spat at Leto. She leapt up backwards with inhuman speed and crashed through the central stained glass window of the ambulatory.

“You men, follow her!” Leto commanded.

“Belay that order,” Athena commanded from behind him. The Grecian warrior woman entered the scene with the grace befitting a goddess. “There are wounded here to tend to and more pressing matters to discuss.”

“Athena?” Nunnally asked.

“Yes?” the armor-clad woman inquired back.

“Have you come to conquer?” Nunnally feared the worst.

Athena smiled at her, “No, Oracle of Britannia.”

“Then why are you here?” Nunnally pressed the woman as physicians pulled Euphemia off of Suzaku to tend to his wounds.

Athena watched the Grecian medics reassure Euphie that Suzaku would be all right before she answered Nunnally. “I’ve come here at the behest of my commander, Aphrodite. My orders are to sue for peace with you and your people so that we may forge an alliance.”

“Alliance?” Lelouch could no longer contain himself. The reassurances of the Grecian medics that Suzaku would be okay helped put aside his fears for his best friend.

“Yes, Lelouch vi Britannia,” Athena smirked. “You see, we can no longer hold back the Babylonians, and we lack the forces to keep them from overrunning your star-system any longer.”

“I see,” Lelouch lamented. “So you’ve come in peace for the purpose of waging war.”

Athena smiled at him mischievously, “Precisely.”

--To Be Continued--

Thanks for Reading
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Old 2011-01-03, 22:03   Link #58
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Here is the Kaminejima Class space frigate:

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Old 2011-01-04, 19:57   Link #59
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Time for the final Story to begin:

Alpha and Omega.
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Old 2011-01-04, 20:07   Link #60
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Code Geass
Alpha & Omega
Stage One

“Many are the strange things I’ve seen during my tenure as a Guardian, but never anything as insane as this. Finding my old nemesis hiding away in a mobile planet created by an alien race was nothing new for me, but learning that it was built by my people, who have been extinct for nearly 500,000 years, was something totally unexpected. How it came to the world of Geass was not as shocking to me as the fact that it was the cause of the World of Geass in the first place. I shan’t easily forget the events of Suzaku’s wedding day when we got our first glimpse of what my old ‘friend’ Nemo had in store for us. It was on that day when the denizens of the galaxy came a calling.” —Excerpt from the personal journal of Lelouch vi Britannia, dated October 19th, 2034 a.t.b.

February 22nd, 2035 a.t.b.

“I don’t care what Zeus thinks!” Athena barked at Aphrodite within the comfortable lounge of the command tower of Tartarus.
“He wants us to withdraw from here at once, Athena,” Aphrodite said in a cool tone as the blue-white jewel of Earth filled the view through the grand window of the chamber.
“That’s pure madness,” Athena retorted from where she stood by the window. “We can’t just let the Babylonians have Nibiru.”
“I know that, my friend,” Aphrodite picked up a cup of tea from a small end table and sipped it, “but we’ve already lingered here for too long. The other powers are getting suspicious of our intentions here.”
Athena was mortified. “Don’t they understand that if Marduk and his minions obtain Nibiru, he’ll gain the power to crush them all?”
Aphrodite put down the cup and sighed. “The Babylonians are claiming that we instigated their invasion of this system. Hera suspects that when the Galactic Council meets next month, Marduk will push for sanctions against us.”
“And what of the Commonwealth of Earth?” Athena inquired with a scowl. “Will the council deem them worthy of recognition, or will they do something drastic?”
Aphrodite turned away from Athena. “I fear the council will deem these people a threat to galactic security and conduct a purge.”
“A purge!” Athena was horrified. “That’s genocide.”
“I know,” Aphrodite replied with a sad look as she watched the slowly turning sphere of Earth, “but these mortals have the power of the gods, and they have knowledge of Nibiru. The council will not let them harness that power lest they become a threat.”
Athena clenched her fists. “Do you think that these people will just lie down and die?!”
“You and I both know the answer to that, Athena,” Aphrodite said in a soft tone. “Nevertheless, their fleet is too small and their Automatos too primitive to be able to repel what will undoubtedly be a full-scale invasion by the Babylonians with the consent of the council.”
Athena smiled wickedly, “And what if Enoch chooses to interfere? What then?”
Aphrodite contemplated her words for a moment before responding. “If the Enforcer chooses to protect this world and its people in a direct manner, then I would imagine that the council will authorize Marduk to seize Nibiru and use it to try and destroy Enoch.”
“Hah!” Athena cackled. “You know his curse as well as I do, Aphrodite, so how do you destroy something that’s indestructible?”
“I don’t know, Athena,” she stood up from her comfy chair, “but I do know this: the path before us leads to the beginning of something dark and foreboding. Whether we survive this will depend on what we do here and now.”
Athena caught the meaning behind her words. “Then I guess it was wise of you to allow us to refit the Earth fleet with fold drives.”
Aphrodite eyed her mischievously. “I thought it best considering rumor has it that Zeus has a new lover. Taking his long-held affinity for Ishtar into account, a woman he’s never had, I decided to proceed under the assumption his decision making is being conducted in his private bedchambers rather than the halls of the senate.”
Athena rolled her eyes in frustration. “Men. They’re so easily led along by their loins.”
“Indeed,” Aphrodite tittered. “However, they do have their uses. Speaking of which, where is your champion as of late?”
“You mean Jason?” Athena smiled. “He’s at Saturn repelling the latest Babylonian force. He took along a fleet of Earth ships with him.”
“Oh?” The news surprised Aphrodite.
“Apparently, he feels they need actual battlefield practice,” Athena replied with a smirk.
“That was noble of him,” Aphrodite remarked as she watched the shiny, metallic dots in orbit around Earth. “I just hope he can train them fast enough.”
“Fast enough?” Athena walked over by her side. “For what?”
Aphrodite smiled, “I’ll not be led into action on the bedroom whims of Zeus’ Babylonian whore.”
“Then you’re disobeying orders?” Athena gave her a wide smile.
“Don’t look so victorious,” Aphrodite cautioned her. “I’m not doing this haphazardly. I have a plan.”
“Which is?” Athena queried her.
“Lend me an ear and I’ll tell you,” she answered with a sly grin.

* * *

“Akira, keep your wits about you!” Heracles barked over the comm. as he fired the Chaos beam of Helios into a Sargon-IV. The exploding Babylonian Automatos caused a small, bowl-shaped depression in the rings of Saturn that was gone in moments.
Just beyond the ringed world were two lines of space warships. Brilliant discs of explosions littered the space between them as the two fleets clashed with one another.
“There are so many of them,” Akira responded as he used the blade of Susano-O to slice through another of the enemy machines.
“Yes, which makes this combat all the more fun,” Heracles chuckled as he let loose the adamantine shield of his machine. The discus tore through three Sargon-IVs before returning to the forearm of Helios.
“Too bad you don’t have an area-effect weapon, Akira,” Mika taunted him over the radio as she and Lena piloted the Kali. The metallic ring on the back of their KMF glowed with a pinkish-red radiance that erupted into a ball of energy that engulfed several of the Sargon-IVs, disintegrating the Babylonian machines as it did so.
“Yeah, yeah,” Akira scoffed, “but I prefer to get up close and personal.”
“Oh,” Jason laughed as his Talos cut down two enemy mecha. “You don’t seem to be having much luck with that, my friend.”
“That’s because he chose his old machine over the Cosmo-KnightMares,” Gregor scolded Akira as his Type-21Z fired a hail of Kaon blasts into six Sargon-IVs. The beams cut down the enemy mecha in short order. A second Type-21Z flew up from behind Gregor’s and unfolded the Kaon blade of its gunpod.
The Cosmo-KMF zipped down towards the bridge of one of the escort ships that guarded the massive Tiamat class Babylonian battleship at the core of the armada. The machine dodged, swirled, and spun past the volleys of Hades Cannon bolts that spewed out from the cannons of the cylindrical Babylonian warship before the Type-21Z plunged its blade deep down into the top of the bridge tower.
“Now that’s how it’s done,” Heracles laughed heartily over the radio.
“Damn, Tetsuo, that was badass,” Gregor said to his wingman.
“Uh…that wasn’t me, Gregor,” Tetsuo replied as his Type-21Z flew up to the left of Gregor’s machine.
“Well, who was it then?” Gregor asked as the KMF chopped through the hull of the vessel.
“Anya,” he replied sheepishly.
“Oh, yeah!” Mika yelled over the comm. “Go girl! Show these boys how it’s done!”
The Cosmo-KMF unloaded a barrage of Kaon blasts through the hole it had made in the hull, causing the Babylonian escort to erupt in a ball of fire.
“That’s one enemy ship down,” Anya declared over the radio as she dodged a salvo of Hades blasts from an adjacent escort ship.
“Yamato no Orochi,” Orpheus called over the general frequency.
“Yes, Orpheus?” Jason inquired as the new captain of the former Black Knight Special Forces squadron.
“We’re in position,” the Greek officer said with the emotionless discipline of a seasoned warrior.
“Excellent,” Jason smiled. “Alright, people, let’s withdraw and allow the Argos to finish off these dogs.”
“Roger that, Captain,” Akira said as he unleashed a hail of Hadron Cannon blasts into two pursuing Sargon-IVs.
The troop of seven mecha flew through the shower of energy bolts and detonations towards the flotilla of Greek and Commonwealth warships as the Argos moved out to the head of the formation.
From the sides of the mighty Grecian battlecruiser came forth eight torpedoes which flew at mind-numbing speed towards the Babylonian fleet. The eight blue-white stars zipped along to predetermined detonation points within the enemy armada. In the next moment, the eight missiles shone a brilliant pink-white as their FLEIJA warheads annihilated the spacecraft of the Babylonian forces.
“Whew wee,” Tetsuo shouted, “that never gets old.”
“It’s a pity we have to rely on FLEIJA so much,” Anya said solemnly.
“I agree,” Heracles stated flatly. “It’s only a matter of time before the Babylonians develop a countermeasure to your people’s weapon.”
“All right, that’s enough gloom,” Jason warned. “We should be happy that we are victorious,” he said as he lined the Talos up to land on the Argos.
“Jason’s right,” Akira added as he followed in behind Talos. “We won, and we’ve pushed back the Babylonian main force. We should be happy about it.”
Mika snickered, “Uh, Akira, we’ve been pushing back the main force for two years, you knucklehead. How many Tiamat battleships have we destroyed over that time? Fifteen? Twenty? I can’t even keep track anymore.”
“Your point?” Akira inquired sarcastically as the team landed on the interior hangar of the Argos.
“We can’t keep doing this forever, Akira,” Lena barked in defense of Mika as they moved the Kali into its gantry on the side of the hangar. “This is not how any of us envisioned our lives being.”
Akira’s tone became hard as he brought Susano-O to a stop within the scaffolding of its bay. “We don’t determine the destination of our lives, Lena, only the course we take.”
“Oh, spare us the philosophy, Sun Tzu,” Mika guffawed as she helped Lena shut down the main systems of the Kali. “We all know why you can’t stop fighting, Akira. You want revenge.”
“What’s wrong with that, Lady Mika?” Heracles asked as technicians flooded into the hangar and began the post-flight procedures. “A warrior has a right to revenge when someone has wronged them in the way all of you were wronged.”
Mika opened the hatch of Kali and barked over to where Heracles was getting out of Helios, “But that doesn’t mean he has to dedicate the rest of his life to it. We all want revenge on Hel, yah know.”
“Hel is no ordinary opponent…” Akira shouted harshly as the pain of Gino’s death and what Hel had done to them renewed his conviction to kill her. “Her power must be stopped,” he said to Mika as he walked out onto the boarding ramp of his mecha.
“He’s got a point, love,” Gregor called out to Mika.
“Not true,” Anya said as she climbed down onto the deck from her machine. “As far as we know, the Irregulars defeated Hel, or at the very least, destroyed her stolen warship when they hunted her and her minions down. She is effectively powerless and imprisoned on Nibiru.”
“What about the Thought Elevators?” Tetsuo asked innocently. “She might be able to get out through those.”
“Are you still on about that?” Anya asked him in an irritated tone. “Lelouch and the others sealed all of those gateways. There’s no way for Hel to use them to transport herself to Earth. No, she’s trapped on Nibiru.”
“Unless other gateways exist…” Akira started to say before…
“AHEM!” Jason shouted with his hands on his hips amidst the curious looks of the hangar deck personnel. “Perhaps we should continue this conversation over some ale in the lounge?” Jason continued with a forced laugh and a glare at Heracles for encouraging the debate. “We wouldn’t want to burden the flight crew with our troubles.”
Heracles put his hand on the back of his head. “Yes, Captain.”
The Yamato no Orochi disembarked from their mecha and made their way to the private officers’ lounge on the top deck of the Argos.

* * *

“Do you really have to go?” Euphemia asked over the private monitor of her sister Cornelia’s quarters.
“I’m afraid so,” Cornelia said sadly to her younger sibling.
“It’s just…the thought of you, Lelouch, and the others being so far away…” Euphie wrung her hands. “I wish I could come with you.”
“I’m afraid I couldn’t allow that, Mrs. Kururugi,” Cornelia teased her. “My nephew needs his mom and dad right where they are.”
“I know,” Euphie said with a smile. “Young Clovis asks about you and his uncle Lelouch all the time. It makes me wonder sometimes. He is so much like Clovis.”
“How old is he now?” Cornelia was embarrassed to ask.
“Four years,” Euphie glared at her older sister with a smirk. “You’d know that if you weren’t off fighting all the time.”
“We’re at war, Euphie,” Cornelia said in a soft tone, “and I have only one more tour on the Kaminejima before she’s passed on to a new captain.”
“They’ve promoted you?” Euphie asked with excitement.
“Yes, they have,” Cornelia replied with a warm smile. “I’m going to be transferring to the Renya in a few days as commodore.”
“The Renya?” Euphie inquired. “What kind of name is that for a warship?”
“I dunno,” Cornelia shook her head slightly. “Professor Asplund says that C2 christened the ship with the name for good luck.”
“C2, huh?” Euphie giggled. “So how’s our brother handling his harem?”
Cornelia let out a deep sigh. “He’s an idiot when it comes to love, and especially the ways of women.”
“C’mon, Cornelia, tell me all the juice,” Euphie pressed her with keen interest.
“Kallen has had it with him and is moving into her own quarters on the Renya after this mission. For now she’s still bunking with C2 and Shirley.” Cornelia flipped a few stray curls out of her face as she sat back in her chair. “That’s due to C2 and Shirley kicking Lelouch out of their cabin entirely. This has left our poor brother bunking with Enoch and Rai.”
Euphie tried not to laugh. “Oh, my. So, Lulu is in the dog house right now?”
“More or less,” Cornelia snickered. “Shirley and C2 are still seeing him now and then, but Kallen hasn’t had anything to do with him outside of her duties in nearly eight months.”
“Whoa, what’d he do?” Euphie was surprised at the news.
“I don’t think it’s Lelouch as much as it is Kallen.” Cornelia twirled a lock of her hair as she continued, “She’s starting to feel the motherly urge.”
“And Lelouch can’t perform?” Euphie inquired sheepishly.
“C2 says it’s the price of having a Code.” Cornelia frowned, “He has lost the capacity to reproduce.”
“I guess that means the line of Britannia ends with him,” Euphie said with a sad expression.
“It’s probably for the best,” Cornelia said with a forced smile. “Ours isn’t a line suited to the independent individualism of the new world.”
Euphemia didn’t like the direction the conversation was taking and chose to change the subject. “So, why did Kallen get the urge all of a sudden?”
“Oh.” Happy to oblige her sister’s change in direction, Cornelia explained the situation as she saw it. “Colonel Kozuki took three months of leave last year to help Villetta with Ohgi and their children. As you may have heard, Ohgi has some brain damage due to the attempt on his life. The doctors did the best they could, but he is still somewhat slow and has spotted memory loss.”
“Ah, so Kallen spent a lot of time with their five children.”
“Yes,” Cornelia pulled at her lock of hair, “and considering Kallen is nearly thirty-two years old, she’s probably wishing she had a family.”
“Poor thing,” Euphie said with a frown. “I feel for her.”
“I know what you mean,” Cornelia replied in a distant tone.
“Did you want a family?” Euphemia questioned her with a curious smile.
“I thought about it years ago,” Cornelia admitted, “but I highly doubt I would have made a good mother. It’s not who I am.”
“I understand,” Euphie told her in a comforting tone. “Still, I would have liked some nieces and nephews.”
“Hah,” Cornelia laughed, “I’m sure you would have. You may still get them if I read Nunnally’s attraction to Jason right.”
“Isn’t he a bit old for her?” Euphemia asked with a snobbish smirk. “I saw them dancing together at last year’s Christmas gala. He looks young on the outside, but the man is, what…ten thousand years old?”
Both women laughed heartily.
“That’s better than Enoch,” Cornelia giggled.
“Still got the hots for him, huh?” Euphie teased her.
“No, not really, he’s far too old for me.” Cornelia paused for a moment. “Besides, the thought of being with an immortal is somewhat repulsive to me now. I want someone I can grow old with. Guilford is a wonderful man and a great husband.”
“That’s right, you’re on your fifth anniversary this year, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” Cornelia replied with a look of recognition, “five years already.”
“Goes by fast,” Euphie tittered.
“Indeed it does,” Cornelia said. “So how’s my brother-in-law?”
“Suzaku is doing fine. He’s now a general in the planetary guard of Earth and is currently assigned to the 8th Guard Unit out of Okinawa. We’re happy here since I get to see him every day, although recent events have got me working quite a bit.”
“Still working as a combat instructor?” Cornelia asked.
“For now.” Euphie stuck her tongue out at her sister. “You military types aren’t getting me full-time. I’ve got a child to think about.”
Cornelia chortled, “I know. I was just thinking of how accomplished a KnightMare pilot you’ve become and how proud of you I am.”
“Thank you, Cornelia,” Euphie said. “It means a great deal to me to hear you say that.”
A buzzer sounded over the speaker in Cornelia’s room then Guilford’s voice came over the speaker. “Captain Britannia, you are needed on the bridge immediately.”
“Duty calls,” Cornelia said to her sister.
“I’ll talk to you later?” Euphie asked.
“As soon as I get my new command,” Cornelia reassured her.
The sisters said their goodbyes then reluctantly broke communication.

* * *

“Look, Lelouch, this is what happens when you’re an immortal. It’s part of the curse of living forever,” Enoch told him nonchalantly as he lay upon his bunk reading a book.
“I suppose it is a curse to some,” Lelouch lamented whilst sitting at his small reading desk in their cabin.
“To some?” Enoch sat up and closed his book. “My friend, allow me to share what these past 500,000 years of life have taught me.”
Lelouch grimaced, “I doubt we have the time for that, old man.”
“Oh, so now you’re a comedian.” Enoch spun on his hind to sit on the edge of the bed. “In a nutshell, I’ve learned that it never gets easier.”
“What do mean?” Lelouch inquired with genuine interest.
“I mean that even though the world around you changes constantly, you remain the same.” Enoch sighed, “It’s hell to watch all of your friends, loved ones, even the countries you serve from time to time wither and die right before your eyes. Yet you go on.”
“You make it sound like punishment,” Lelouch replied, a bit unnerved by Enoch’s dark look.
“It is,” the amber-eyed man said sadly.
“I guess that’s what drove Kallen away,” Lelouch said in a pitiful tone.
“Better to let her live while she still can,” Enoch smiled at him. “If you really love her, you’ll let her go.”
“Is that why you cater to C2?” Lelouch asked.
“Yeah…I know what the Green Goddess of Gorgeous has gone through,” Enoch told him softly. “I’ve been through it more times than I care to recount. I think she needs you as much as you need her, Lelouch.”
“What about Shirley?” Lelouch wasn’t sure where Enoch was leading the conversation.
“Let her go,” Enoch stated flatly. “She will only get hurt by you in the long run.”
“Now you sound like C2,” Lelouch tittered.
“I suppose I do,” Enoch said in a distant tone, “but where our paths are headed…it will too dangerous for her.”
“What’s with you lately,” Lelouch grumbled. “Ever since the incident with Hel you’ve been so serious and moody.”
“Hel’s power isn’t Geass,” Enoch said in a stern tone. “Her abilities reek of Klipot energy. She’s an enhanced being who’s no longer human, and vastly more dangerous.”
“But we’ve defeated her thrice now,” Lelouch smirked devilishly. “No matter what powers she may have gained from Nibiru, she’s still Nina Einstein in mind. I can outwit her, of that you can be sure.”
“I’ve no doubt of your ability to outmaneuver Nina, Lelouch,” Enoch reassured him, “but Nibiru didn’t just rebuild Nina, and I know Nina didn’t have the skill or knowledge to acquire Klipot-enhanced powers on her own.”
“You think it was the thing Nunnally told us about?” Lelouch already knew the answer to the question, but he felt it polite to ask.
“Yes,” Enoch stated flatly. “That thing in the bowels of Nibiru may be a being I’ve crossed swords with before.”
Lelouch was shocked. “You know this thing?”
Enoch eyed him cautiously. “There’s a distinct possibility. Based on what Nunnally told us, I’d say that this Nemo character is my old nemesis. A being so evil he’d make the devil blush with embarrassment.”
“Sounds like an interesting fellow,” Lelouch said, intrigued. “Care to share the details?”
Enoch smiled wickedly, “Sure, provided you give me your word that this stays between us for now.”
Lelouch nodded, “You have my word of honor, Sensei.”

* * *

Rai stood alone in the main observation lounge of the Kaminejima as the ship cruised along around the slowly greening world of Mars far below.
He looked down at the myriad of dome cities that dotted the planet and breathed in deeply. “Oh, Kallen. If I could only tell you how I feel.”
Rai put his head upon the cool glass of the large window as he activated his Geass. (Music emanated from his body as the air around it vibrated to the necessary tones.)

Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It's not that I want you
Not to say it, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
'Cause I'd already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you

More than words

Now I've tried to talk to you and make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don't ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
'Cause I'd already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you
More than words
More than words
More than words
More than words, ooh
More than words

“Wow, that was beautiful, Rai,” a woman said from behind him.
Rai spun on his heel and jumped a little. “KALLEN…um, Colonel Kozuki.”
“What’s with you?” Kallen put her hand on her hip.
“You just startled me,” Rai recovered. “I didn’t realize anybody was in here.”
“Oh…uh, I just came in for a drink,” Kallen stammered. “So who is she?”
“Who’s who?” Rai asked in a befuddled tone.
“The woman who has your heart,” Kallen said with a sly smile.
Rai turned beet red. “Uh…well, she’s…she’s a friend, but I don’t know how to tell her.”
“That song sounded like a pretty good start to me,” Kallen said with a soft smile. “Maybe you should sing it to her some time.”
“I can’t,” Rai said in a dejected tone.
“Why?” Kallen asked with a curious expression.
“Because she belongs to someone else.” Rai hung his head. “It would be wrong of me to do that to either of them.”
“Oh,” Kallen replied as she walked up to him. She lifted his chin and looked deep into his eyes as she caressed his face softly. “You’re a good friend, Rai. We’ve been through a lot together over these past six years.”
“Yes…we have.” Rai shook slightly under her caress as she leaned in towards him.
“I’ve grown up a great deal during that time, and my tastes have matured.” Kallen closed her eyes as her lips moved towards his.
“I should be getting back,” Rai said as he slipped out from her grasp. “Bye, Colonel, I’ll see you later.”
Kallen didn’t pursue him; she just stood and watched him go. “Bye, Rai,” she said softly. “Maybe you’ll gain the courage next time.” She had lied to him about not being in the room. Kallen heard all that he had said, and her heart hurt because of it.

The song “More Than Words” was written by Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt of the band Extreme. Great band BTW, hope some of you check out their music.

Next Stage: Beta Centauri

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