Phase 07 - Children at the Cannons

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED - Soldiers of Old

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Phase 07 - Children at the Cannons

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June 29th, CE 73 - Palo, Leyte Gulf, the Philippines

Up ahead, arrayed like the warships that had fought there centuries before, were fifteen surface vessels by Athrun痴 count, there were three Spengler-class carriers, eight Danilov-class destroyers, and four Fraser-class frigates. At least a hundred Strike Daggers stood on the decks of the ships or waded through the surf towards the shore, where the Megami laid waiting, guns deployed. Above the formidable fleet was the intimidating black Mephistopheles and a wing of mobile suits coming from both the fleet and the Mephistopheles.

泥ammit, Athrun heard Yzak mutter. 哲ow we池e really fucked. We can稚 even move!

The Justice Gundam hovered up over the Megami, beam rifle drawn. Athrun glanced over at the Aile Strike Rouge, armed with a bazooka and staring ahead grimly.

溺ost of those are Strike Daggers, Andy said, as the Aegis set down on the shore, 都o if you guys stand your ground and the Murasames handle themselves well in the air, we can pick them off from above. The Aegis痴 eyes flashed pointedly. 的t痴 not hopeless.

On the other side of the Megami, the Buster flamboyantly combined its guns, pointing the high-energy launcher at the oncoming mobile suits. 展ell, they値l be sorry they dragged me out of bed! Dearka shouted.

Across the gulf, aboard the Sukarno, Tapang watched his foes carefully as they lined up their defenses. He had only eight Jet Dagger Ls, four Doppelhorn Dagger Ls, and a hundred Strike Daggers, plus his fifteen warships and his squadrons of Spearhead fighters. He would have to rely on the Mephistopheles to hold off those 敵undam machines.

鄭dmiral, Lee痴 voice said, 努e池e in position.

Tapang nodded grimly. 典hen let痴 begin, he said. He brought his hands down hard on the console in front of him. 鄭ll units, attack!

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The beams lanced out from the Strike Daggers as they marched up the shore, rising out of the water and opening fire. Yzak cursed under his breath, taking cover behind his shield. The Daggers were using the water as a shield, knowing that the returning beam fire would be weakened if it missed, and knowing that they presented a smaller target with only part of the torso above water. He passed the crosshairs for his missile launcher over his foes, opening fire the missiles streaked out and plunged down into their prey, knocking three Daggers back into the surf.

典he bastards are just hiding in the water! Yzak snapped, firing his beam rifle into the water. A cloud of steam rose up around the Daggers. 鉄hit!

Missiles from the Dagger Ls came down around the Duel, forcing it back a step. Yzak looked up an instant later, one of the Dagger Ls went staggering back under a withering machinegun barrage, and the Justice Gundam lunged in close to deliver a punishing kick to its torso.

鏑et us handle the aerial enemies! Athrun shouted. 溺urasame teams, switch to missiles and attack the Strike Daggers! The rest of us will handle the fliers!

Yzak scowled. Damned Zala was always showing off.

The Strike Daggers stamped up the beach, beam rifles drawn. Yzak smirked this he could handle. The Daggers opened fire Yzak ducked aside, firing back and picking two Daggers off with two consecutive shots to the torsos. Another Dagger pulled itself up from the surf Yzak squeezed off another shot that blew off its head, sending it toppling back into the water.

A railgun shell came streaking in from nowhere Yzak sidestepped, letting it slam into the sand behind him, throwing a billowing cloud of dust up into the air. Yzak looked back in surprise, as he caught sight of a Duel Dagger leaping from the deck of one of the Spengler carriers, sailing through the air, beam rifle drawn.

展here the hell did he come from?! Yzak snarled, opening fire with his CIWS guns as the Duel Dagger sent a storm of missiles down towards the Duel. The Duel Dagger landed with a crash, throwing a cloud of sand up into the air, and fired back with its shoulder cannon the Duel dove to the side, defending itself with its shield. The Dagger traced the Duel痴 path with beam rifle fire Yzak ground to a halt in the sand and deflected the shots with his shield, returning fire, but the Dagger deftly leapt aside.

泥ammit! Yzak shouted. 滴ow can it move so fast with that Fortrestra armor?!

The Duel Dagger squeezed off a returning beam rifle blast, sending a green beam pulsing by inches from the Duel痴 head. Yzak answered with a railgun shell, but the Dagger easily sidestepped, letting the shell sail past, and fired again with its beam rifle, nearly taking off the Duel痴 right leg.

More beams came lancing towards the Duel from the advancing Strike Daggers. Nearby, the Megami痴 CIWS guns opened fire on the Strike Daggers, pummeling them back towards the water and sending one splashing back into the surf, riddled with bullet holes. Yzak leapt up into the air, the Duel groaning in protest, and shot down another Strike Dagger as he somersaulted over the Duel Dagger痴 cannon blast. Coming back down with a crash, Yzak holstered his rifle and charged with a drawn beam saber.

的 have the advantage here! Yzak cried. Here I come!

The Dagger switched to its own beam saber, blocking Yzak痴 saber with a crash.

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Beams sizzled by the Justice as Athrun battled off three Jet Dagger Ls. Their missiles streaked around the Justice, but Athrun paid them no mind, focusing on the mobile suits. One of the missiles veered up towards the Justice痴 torso Athrun jetted backward suddenly, and the missile sailed by, directly into one of the Daggers, blowing it out of the sky with a flash. Athrun jetted backward again, dodging beams from the remaining two Daggers.

Missiles from the Megami came streaking up into the air, knocking out the second Dagger. Athrun somersaulted over the dying Dagger痴 smoldering form, taking off after the remaining Dagger and opening fire with his beam rifle. The Dagger dodged his shots and skirted aside, taking cover behind its shield. Athrun turned to follow, but his instincts cast his eyes to the left, and with a crash that rattled the Justice痴 cockpit, another mobile suit entered the fray.

Athrun looked up angrily at the cold metal face of the Diablo Gundam.

添ou again, he grunted, pushing the Diablo back and firing his beam cannons. As the Diablo took cover, Athrun charged with his beam saber drawn, and before the Diablo could react, he sliced its rifle in two.

Inside the Diablo, Jack scowled viciously. 泥amn you! he screamed. The Diablo charged with its own saber drawn, and the two machines slammed together, sabers locked. Athrun kicked the Diablo in the stomach, forcing it back, and showered it with machinegun fire but the Diablo charged forward anyway, bringing its saber down again, and Athrun barely managed to block the blow with his shield.

的s this guy really a Coordinator or what?! Athrun grunted. 典hese reflexes are too fast!

The Diablo surged forward, throwing the Justice back and showering it with CIWS fire. Athrun returned fire with his beam cannons, but the Diablo batted the shots aside with its shield and charged forward, undeterred.

添ou aren稚 so bad now, are you?! Jack cackled, bringing his saber down with a crash again. 鼎ome on, bastard; let痴 see what you致e got!

Athrun glanced over his shoulder, finding the remaining Dagger L sweeping in from behind, beam carbine leveled off for a killing blow. Up ahead, the Diablo opened fire with its own beam cannons Athrun seized the chance and somersaulted over the shots, letting them plow into the Dagger and blow it apart in a flash of fire.

展hat the ?! Jack screamed. 敵oddamn you!

Athrun narrowed his eyes, charging down at the Diablo and slamming his own saber down onto its shield. Jack ground his teeth.

添ou池e not that good! he cried. 的値l take you down!

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Andy cast a withering glare at the approaching squadron of black Jet Dagger Ls. What were they? They opened fire with bazookas Andy somersaulted over the shots and returned fire with his beam rifle, deciding that he could worry about what they were later.

Inside the leading Dagger, Rico Barbosa grinned at his foe, dodging its return fire with practiced ease.

鼎olonel, Carlos痴 voice spoke up from the Dagger痴 console. Barbosa glanced down at it. 鏑ook at the marking on the shoulder. I think it痴 the Desert Tiger.

Barbosa magnified the emblem on the Aegis痴 left shoulder, finding a stylized tiger printed on the armor. 的値l be damned, it is the Tiger, Barbosa laughed. 展ell, that just makes it even sweeter! He squeezed off another bazooka shell at the dodging Aegis. 滴e handed the Eurasians their asses at El Alamein! So let痴 return the favor!

Andy cursed as the four Daggers trained their bazookas on him, taking off over their heads. 擢our against one is hardly fair, he grunted. 展hy don稚 you guys fight like men!? The Aegis dropped down suddenly over the Daggers, igniting both beam sabers on its feet and the saber on its left arm. With a harrowing shriek of torn metal, the Aegis took out two of the Daggers bazookas, throwing them back to avoid any further damage.

Barbosa smirked in amusement as he watched Carlos and Kingston toss their ruined bazookas away and draw their beam carbines. The Aegis whirled around, spraying the four Daggers with beam shots the four Daggers broke ranks and dodged, deflecting shots with their shields. 徹liver! Barbosa ordered. 敵et behind him and put a shell in his back! We値l pick him off from there!

迭oger, Oliver answered, his Dagger taking off into the air over the Aegis痴 head. Andy trained his beam rifle on it, but immediately took cover as the remaining Daggers opened fire. He focused his attention on the second Dagger with the bazooka, watching it hang back what was it waiting for?

The alarms went off as Oliver痴 Dagger fired a bazooka shot towards the Aegis痴 back. Andy smirked if these guys were Special Forces pilots, their tactics were obvious. He somersaulted over the shell, slicing Oliver痴 bazooka in two as he did so, and only a timely duck saved the Dagger from further damage. As Andy righted himself in midair, he fired a CIWS burst that picked the bazooka out of Barbosa痴 Dagger痴 hand.

Barbosa cursed as his bazooka went sailing towards the sea. 滴e deserves his reputation, I値l give him that, he snarled. 鉄witch to beam carbines and take his ass down!

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展here the hell did that thing come from?! Dearka snapped.

He ducked in surprise as a railgun shell soared over the Buster Gundam痴 head, plowing into the ground behind him and sending him staggering forward. He looked up angrily, to find a Buster Dagger rising fearsomely out of the surf, armor glistening, gunlauncher deployed.

徹h, real cute, Dearka growled. 的 can do that too, asshole!

To punctuate his point, Dearka took a step back to brace himself, leveling off his high-energy rifle. The Buster Dagger leapt up into the air, firing a salvo of missiles; Dearka snapped the high-energy rifle up and fired, wiping out the missiles and nearly clipping the Dagger. The Dagger came down with a crash and squeezed off a beam shot of its own; Dearka threw the Buster Gundam aside and fired a shot of his own, but the Buster Dagger effortlessly somersaulted over it, and when it came down, it had a beam saber in its left hand.

鉄hit, Dearka grunted, as the Buster scrambled to its feet. He glanced over his shoulder, at the Megami, guns blazing, and drew the Buster Gundam痴 own beam saber from its hidden rack on the machine痴 backpack, silently thanking Murdoch for having the foresight to stash one on the Buster壮 frame. 展ell, two to tango, pal! Come and get me!

The Dagger rose to the challenge, charging and firing another beam shot. Dearka threw himself towards the blast, batting it aside with his beam saber and thanking whoever had discovered that beam sabers could do that to stop the Dagger痴 saber with his own, digging the Buster痴 feet into the sand.

The Dagger pushed off the Buster, sending it staggering back, and backflipped into the air, squeezing off a gunlauncher shot that slammed into the Buster痴 torso. Dearka snarled a curse as smoke billowed up around the Buster, but he hacked through it and fired back with a salvo of missiles. The Dagger desperately gunned them down with another beam shot, but an instant later Dearka was back on his foe with his beam saber.

滴a! he shouted. 撤hase Shift, bitch! The Buster kicked the Dagger痴 left leg out from under it, but the Dagger barely managed to dodge Dearka痴 killing saber stab, rolling out of harm痴 way and retreating to the relative safety of distance.

Dearka smirked as the Dagger came charging back towards him, saber drawn back.

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Biting back a curse, Mwu took cover behind his shield as a volley of beam blasts from a pair of Strike Daggers pounded against it. He cast a wary glance to his right, watching Cagalli痴 Strike Rouge fire off a bazooka shell that erupted into a blaze as a Dagger cut it down with a CIWS burst.

典here痴 too many of these damn things! Cagalli shouted. Megami, what about the Gottfrieds?!

展e don稚 have a clear line of fire at the mobile suits! Milly answered.

展ell, what about the ships?! Can奏 you attack those and distract the mobile suits?! Cagalli shot back, as the Rouge was pummeled by another salvo of beams.

的t痴 best not to piss them off and pull them into the fight if we don稚 have to, Mwu said, pausing just long enough to fire a beam rifle blast, catching a Strike Dagger in the torso and blowing it apart. 典he CIWS guns will do anyways.

典he enemy Archangel-class is approaching! Sai exclaimed. 鼎aptain

泥ivert all energy to the weapons and laminate armor systems! Murrue interrupted. 展e can稚 move, so we値l have to stop his missiles and hope we can absorb his beam shots!

的f he tries to use his Lohengrins, it痴 all over! Mwu warned. 鼎agalli! I値l leave these guys to you!

展ait Cagalli began. Mwu took off, angling up towards the Mephistopheles and spiraling gracefully past three beam shots from three distracted Strike Daggers. Cagalli took the opportunity to blow them away with her bazooka, and cursed as the Aile Strike Gundam roared up into the air. Megami, send a Murasame or two down here to take Commander La Fllaga痴 place!

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Atlantic Federation Archangel-class battleship Mephistopheles

溺obile suit approaching! Eric exclaimed out of the CIC. 鼎aptain, it looks like the -X105 Strike!

In the captain痴 chair, Lee narrowed his eyes. 釘ring in two Dagger Ls to hold him off, he ordered. 展e池e going to sink that ship once and for all! Flank speed, all guns at the ready!

The Mephistopheles slowly arced down towards the Megami, waiting in the sand, CIWS guns blazing at Tapang痴 advancing battalion of Strike Daggers.

敵ottfrieds! Lee roared. Fire!

The Mephistopheles opened fire on the Megami, showering it with four pulsing columns of beam fire. The shots pounded against the Megami痴 armor, but Lee narrowed his eyes angrily, noticing only steam rising off the armor.

鼎aptain! Ronald cried from the weapons station. 徹ur shots didn稚 do anything! Adjust output?

典hey must be diverting power to their laminated armor, Lee growled. 泥ammit, what can稚 this ship do!? Missile tubes, load Sledgehammers! Valiants, activate, all fire on my mark!

Down below, in the Megami痴 bridge, Murrue squinted through the darkened bridge at the dimmed displays. So much power had been diverted that the machinery on the bridge could only operate on auxiliary power supplies but as long as the laminate armor held out against the Mephistopheles attacks, then they had a fighting chance.

鄭re the Gottfrieds ready? she asked. Romero nodded grimly. 敵ood. Target the enemy ship and fire on my mark.

Up above, Lee cast a grave glance at the Strike Gundam as it fought off two Jet Dagger Ls. It wouldn稚 stay distracted for long they would have to hurry this up.

鉄ledgehammers and Valiants ready, sir! Ronald reported.

摘nemy warship is targeting us with its Gottfried cannons! David shouted of the CIC.

Lee looked back down at the Megami, as its guns angled up towards his ship. 摘vasive maneuvers! he ordered. 擢ire the Sledgehammers now!

As the Megami opened fire, the Mephistopheles veered aside, and a volley of anti-ship missiles came streaking out of the Mephistopheles stern section. The Megami痴 withering CIWS fire momentarily turned upwards, cutting the missiles out of the sky.

鄭lign the ship and fire the Valiants! Lee shouted.

In the Megami, Murrue watched the ship overhead carefully.

典hey致e deployed their Valiant cannons! Sai exclaimed.

展e can稚 stand up to railgun shells, Murrue said, glaring at her foe overhead. 迭omero, fire at will! Keep them on the defensive!

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Equatorial Union Spengler-class aircraft carrier Sukarno

Tapang watched with crossed arms as the Mephistopheles twisted through the air to dodge the Megami痴 desperate beam cannon blasts. He did have to admit that they weren稚 going to go down without a fight.

鄭dmiral, the captain said, 鍍he fleet is in position and ready to move forward.

Tapang watched the battlefield carefully for a moment. 溺ove the Bangkok, Hanoi, and Manila forward and have them begin shelling the coast. Keep the rest of our Danilov destroyers back with the carriers.

The order went out, and a few moments later, Tapang watched the three warships edge forward in the water. He glanced up at the shore, at his advancing Strike Daggers, and found them being held off by only three Gundams.

典hese Gundams of theirs are formidable indeed, he commented. 徹rder the destroyers to target those mobile suits first.

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Hold still! Jack shrieked, as the Diablo roared in after the Justice. Athrun narrowed his eyes at the charging Diablo, beam saber in hand, and brought it down as his foe came shrieking in close. Jack plowed through the blow with his shield, throwing the Justice back. Damn you! You池e not going to beat me!

典his guy is insane! Athrun grunted, firing the Justice痴 booster and rocketing over the Diablo痴 head. The Diablo came tearing up through the sky after him Athrun jetted backwards, hurling both of his beam boomerangs, but the Diablo swatted them aside with its shield, returning fire with its beam cannons. Athrun ducked the searing blasts and went plummeting down towards the ocean.

Come back here! Jack screamed, dropping down after the Justice. Athrun narrowed his eyes, firing the booster and halting his descent. Jack痴 eyes widened in surprise, but before he could react, the Justice rammed its knee up into the Diablo痴 stomach, jarring it out of its free-fall, and with a crash that rattled the Diablo痴 cockpit, Athrun kicked the Diablo down towards the ocean.

Jack痴 eyes flashed furiously as the Diablo fell. He fired the booster, skimming backward along the ocean痴 surface, as Athrun leveled off his own beam cannons and opened fire. The shots plowed harmlessly into the water Athrun snarled a curse and took off after the retreating Diablo. Jack flung both of his beam boomerangs towards his charging foe, but Athrun dodged them expertly and brought his saber down with a crash on the Diablo痴 shield.

The Diablo surged forward again with a blast of exhaust from its backpack, and Jack drove his own saber forward with a scream. Athrun desperately parried the blow, leaving the two Gundams locked together, glowering into each other痴 blazing green eyes. Athrun narrowed his eyes at his persistent foe he壇 have to fall sometime.

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Missiles came down around the Duel Gundam as Yzak took a cautionary step back, beam shots pelting his shield. The Duel Dagger still stood before him, beam saber drawn, but a squad of Strike Daggers was tramping up behind it, beam rifles raised, glowering at the Duel Gundam murderously. If he went for any one of them, the others would tear him apart.

溺illy! he shouted suddenly. 典urn the CIWS on the Daggers!

On the screen, Milly blinked in surprise. 展ha I don稚 have any control over those!

展ell, tell someone else to do it, then! A shell from the Duel Dagger slammed against Yzak痴 shield he took another step back, bracing himself on his left leg. 滴urry it up!

Milly said something that Yzak couldn稚 hear, and a moment later a hurricane of bullets came tearing across the battlefield over the Duel痴 shoulders. Yzak threw the Duel forward, laying it prone on the beach and drawing his own rifle. The Strike Daggers staggered back, while the Duel Dagger let the bullets bounce harmlessly off its Fortrestra armor, plowing forward determinedly. Yzak seized his chance to pick off two of the Daggers with his beam rifle, as the CIWS guns punched the other three back into the surf. The Duel Dagger charged, beam saber raised.

哲o you don稚! Yzak shouted, firing his railgun at the sand in front of the charging Dagger. A titanic cloud of sand and dust billowed up from the around the blast the Duel Dagger stopped short.

Screaming, Yzak brought the Duel blasting out of the cloud with its own saber upturned, and before the Dagger could react, stabbed his own saber deep into the Dagger痴 torso. The Dagger slumped backward Yzak forced it back into the water with a thunderous kick to the torso, where it died a fiery death.

Yzak glanced back at the Megami, still blasting away into the air and at the Daggers. Another beam shot seized his attention, and he went charging back to war.

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Orb Raiders dreadnaught Megami

典he enemy ship is coming around! Sai reported. 天aliants are still deployed!

Murrue glared up at the black-painted foe soaring over her head. Without any kind of mobility, the most they could do was throw as much firepower as possible into the air and hope that the Mephistopheles crew wasn稚 good enough to compensate.

的致e got the Gottfrieds synced! Romero added.

典hat should buy us a little time, Murrue said, 澱ut we need to knock that thing out of the air. She glanced back up at the Mephistopheles. 的f they decide to just take a few hits on one of their passes, we池e doomed. Load up the Valiants.

釘ut captain, they池e blocked by the sand! Romero protested.

溺issiles incoming! Chandra interrupted. Murrue looked back sharply at the skies, as the CIWS fired again, cutting down the Sledgehammers streaking from the sky.

In the Mephistopheles, Lee scowled down at his immobile but still fierce foe.

鼎aptain, they致e synchronized their Gottfrieds, Murphy reported from the CIC.

徹ur laminate armor can稚 withstand a direct hit from one of those things, Lee muttered. 鄭nd I don稚 want to get bogged down repairing damage like they are. He glanced over at Ronald, the weapons officer. 迭onald, prepare to fire the Valiants on the next pass! We can稚 keep dodging them forever!

The Mephistopheles swung around through the air, Valiants at the ready, and came roaring in from behind the Megami. Aboard the grounded ship, Murrue痴 eyes narrowed darkly at the incoming enemy.

鼎aptain, they池e coming in too fast! Chandra exclaimed. The Mephistopheles tilted to the side, dodging another Gottfried blast.

鄭ll engines, activate! Murrue shouted.

The Megami rumbled as the engines sputtered to life; the Mephistopheles fired its Valiants with a roar, but the Megami edged forward in the sand, and the shells pounded into the ground harmlessly.

泥ammit! Lee growled. 鼎ome around for another pass and we値l try again!

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Barbosa痴 Dagger slammed its saber down onto the Aegis痴 shield. Inside, Barbosa grinned like an animal, eyes wide.

徹liver, Carlos, get around him! he shouted. Oliver and Carlos sent their Daggers into a tailspin, beam carbines leveled, but the Aegis somersaulted over Barbosa痴 head before they could fire. 泥ammit!

Andy whirled around, firing a token beam blast that sent the two Daggers jetting apart. 添ou guys are kind of disappointing! he chuckled. 鄭re you Special Forces or what?!

The Daggers took off after the Aegis as it climbed into the air. Andy smirked and transformed his Gundam, coming streaking back down with his beam sabers active. The Daggers jetted apart, but not before Andy managed to slice off the left arm of Kingston痴 Dagger L.

適ingston, go back to the ship! Barbosa barked. 添ou池e no good without a shield!

Kingston痴 smoking Dagger pulled back with a beam carbine shot, as Carlos and Oliver charged and Barbosa squeezed off two more blasts to cover them. Andy transformed the Aegis again, batting the shots aside with his shield and fending off both Daggers with beam saber-assisted kicks. Carlos痴 beam carbine went sailing away in pieces he seized a Stiletto from his Dagger痴 hip armor and hurled it at the Aegis.

添ou値l have to do better than that! Andy laughed, throwing the Aegis back and letting the Stiletto soar over its head. Oliver痴 Dagger leapt into view, beam carbine leveled off Andy let fly a vicious CIWS burst that picked the carbine out of the Dagger痴 hands. Oliver angrily flung the sparking weapon at the Aegis, but Andy swatted the carbine out of the sky with his shield and fired back with his beam rifle.

典his guy痴 unreal! Carlos protested. 鼎olonel

的値l handle this motherfucker! Barbosa barked, opening fire with his own carbine. 添ou two pull back and get some weapons!

Carlos and Oliver vanished into the fray as Barbosa soared forward, beam carbine blazing. Andy grinned back, deflecting Barbosa痴 shots and charging. 笛ust you and me, pal!

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Another anti-air missile nearly blew the beam rifle out of the Strike Gundam痴 hand, but Mwu kept going, picking it out of the air with a CIWS burst and returning the angry fire of two Jet Dagger Ls. The first launched a bevy of its own missiles Mwu narrowed his eyes.

添ou値l have to do better than that! he shot back, somersaulting over the horde of missiles and blowing them apart with another CIWS burst. He went streaking up into the sky, letting the Daggers follow, and arced down lazily towards the Mephistopheles.

Mwu cocked an eyebrow as he noticed the Mephistopheles moving up over the Megami, weaving around Gottfried blasts from the grounded ship. The Megami had managed to nudge itself forward with a short-lived burst of engine power, dodging some kind of attack. Mwu grinned time to return the favor.

Cutting the thrusters, he went sailing down towards the Mephistopheles. The Daggers followed, switching to beam sabers so as not to damage the ship with stray blasts. The Mephistopheles turned one of its Gottfrieds towards the Strike and fired Mwu laughed and ducked aside, letting the blast blow one of the Daggers out of the sky.

哲ice shot, assholes! he cried, firing through the smoke and picking off the second Dagger before it could react. 添ou池e doing my work for me!

Missiles and CIWS rounds from the Mephistopheles lanced up in answer as the ship slowly arced around for another pass at the Megami. The Strike took after the ship, dodging missiles and letting CIWS rounds ricochet off its Phase Shift armor.

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A pulsing yellow beam nearly took the Buster痴 head off as Dearka ducked underneath his opponent痴 blast. The Buster Dagger fired its hyper impulse cannon again, but again, Dearka dove aside, sliding out of harm痴 way. The Dagger switched instantly to its gunlauncher, firing a molten spray of red-hot shrapnel at the Buster, but the glowing pellets bounced harmlessly off the Buster痴 Phase Shift armor.

泥on稚 make me laugh! Dearka shot back, returning fire with a storm of missiles. The Buster Dagger somersaulted over them, rifles drawn, and pounded another gunlauncher shot down onto the Buster. The Gundam fell to one knee under the attack Dearka glared up at the Dagger as gravity reclaimed it and it began to fall.

敵otcha! he shouted the Buster squeezed off a shot from its high energy rifle, and with a blood-curdling shriek of shredded metal, the Dagger痴 right arm and its own high energy rifle vanished in a blaze. The Dagger landed with a crash on its knees and an instant later, Dearka leveled off his rifle and fired. The Dagger went up in a cloud of smoke and vanished within a thundering explosion.

Dearka smiled with satisfaction and turned towards the sea, where another squad of Strike Daggers was marching up towards him.

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Jack痴 eyes blazed as he felt the familiar, terrible feeling of the Psyco System rushing through him. The world turned red as he felt his consciousness narrow down to the enemy in front of him the Diablo leapt through the air with the grace of an acrobat as the machine痴 cooling fins sprung open. The Diablo raged forward toward the Justice, beam saber drawn Athrun fired his beam cannons, but the Diablo expertly slalomed between the shots and sent the Justice staggering back with a rattling blow.

The sun vanished for a moment Athrun looked up in surprise as the Justice reeled, and found the Diablo pitching down towards him. He struggled to swing his shield into the Diablo痴 path in time, but the beam saber came down

and landed against another saber. Athrun turned in surprise, Jack in rage, and both blinked in disbelief.

With its saber thrust between the Diablo痴 saber and the Justice Gundam, the Strike Rouge turned its eyes on the Diablo.

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To be continued