Phase 05 - The End of the World

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY

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Phase 05 - The End of the World

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October 4th, CE 73 - Atlantic Federation battleship Girty Lue, Earth orbit

"Will everyone die?"

The bridge went silent at Stella Loussier's anxious question. She floated near the front of the bridge, staring in wide-eyed terror at the Earth, as the pieces of Junius 7 went streaking over it.

Sting Oakley was near the back of the bridge, arms crossed, unimpressed. Auel Neider was not far from Sting, hands on hips as he looked down at the Earth.

Neo Roanoke drifted towards her, taking her by the shoulders. "Of course not, Stella," he said gently. "Don't worry about it."

"Stella's scared," she murmured, still staring at the Earth.

"There's nothing to be scared of, Stella," Neo said soothingly. "Why don't you go back to the chamber and rest?"

He glanced meaningfully at Sting and Auel, who nodded and came forward to gently take Stella by the shoulders. Auel led her out of the bridge, while Sting stayed behind for a moment.

"What will we do next?" he asked, glancing over at Lee. Neo looked back out at the Earth.

"We'll be entering the atmosphere soon," he answered, "so you'll have to keep Stella under control. I'm sure she'll be scared." He shrugged after that. "We'll get orders once we make contact with Washington. We were successful in getting ZAFT's new mobile suits, after all."

Sting looked at the Earth himself. "They'll be pissed," he said dismissively as he left the bridge.

The doors closed, and Lee shook his head.

"I don't like taking orders and using pilots from Lord Djibril," he said, glaring pointedly at Neo.

Neo smirked back. He could tell Lee was trying to hold back a lot more emotion葉hey'd seen the pieces of Junius 7 going down, and quite a few of them seemed to be heading for North America. Lee was distraught, but he was too professional a soldier to let it show outright. "Do you think I do?" Neo asked quizzically. "Don't worry about it, Lee. Everything will work itself out."

"I enlisted to protect my people and my homeland, and to take orders from superior officers and the Atlantic Federation President," Lee said pointedly, "not a deranged anti-Coordinator industrialist with an agenda."

"The Atlantic Federation President was enlisted to take orders from the people," Neo countered with a shrug, "not a deranged anti-Coordinator industrialist with an agenda." He sat back, smirking. "And yet everyone is taking orders from a deranged anti-Coordinator industrialist."

Lee sighed in irritation.

"Don't worry about it," Neo repeated. "We won't be taking orders from Lord Djibril forever."

Lee glanced at him inquisitively. Neo smirked back.

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ZAFT battleship Minerva, over the Pacific Ocean

"Athrun Zala."

The name felt strange, even to simply say it. Shinn Asuka sat in the locker room, still in his flight suit, staring unfeelingly at the wall opposite of him. He knew who Athrun Zala was葉he famous son of the equally famous or infamous, as it were former Chairman of the PLANTs, Patrick Zala; the Special Forces ace; the slayer of the hated -X105 Strike; the pilot of the -X09A Justice. Even though he had defected to the Three Ships Alliance, he was still a hero among Coordinators. The righteous youth with a passionate pursuit of justice. The boy soldier of the PLANTs.

Shinn closed his eyes and saw it all again. He'd fought alongside the famous Justice, the sort of thing boys his age dreamed about back on the PLANTs.

So that was Athrun Zala.

The door opened, and Shiho Hahnenfuss entered the locker room with all the elegance of a tornado. Her helmet went sailing across the room and Shinn ducked to avoid getting a face full of metal and plastic, as Shiho rampaged towards him.

She noticed his presence at last and stared contemptuously at him.

Shinn decided not to stare back and set to work changing back into his uniform, as Shiho continued to glare at him.

"What is it?" he asked at last, glancing back at her as he pulled his overshirt on.

Shiho kept staring for a moment before she spoke.

展hat happened to your head? she asked tersely. Shinn blinked, and felt his head. He remembered his fight with the Gaia; it had scored a powerful hit that had wound up drawing blood. The blood had dried and matted his hair. Somehow, he had forgotten.

的t痴 nothing, he said shortly. Shiho eyed him carefully for a moment.

添ou池e all bloody, she said. She approached him quickly, and Shinn tensed, sensing another physical blow coming. 展eren稚 you wearing your helmet?

添eah, Shinn answered, looking back at her cautiously. 典he Gaia kicked me into a building."

Shiho studied him for a moment before she turned away and walked back towards her locker.

"Where did you go?" Shinn asked, and immediately regretted it. Shiho glared back at him.

"You don't need to know," she snapped. "Shut up and get dressed, and go file your report."

Shinn barely stopped himself from giving her the finger and finished dressing with a scowl.

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The bridge was silent. All eyes were focused on the sky. Arthur opened his mouth to speak, but the only sound that came out was a strangled gasp.

The sky was dark, almost black, like a powerful rainstorm was on its way. On the Minerva's main bridge screen, the bridge crew stared in disbelief at the scenes of destruction from around the world. Pieces of Junius 7 were still falling, but by now most of the damage had been done.

Gilbert sat back in his chair, gazing emotionlessly at the screen. "Pieces have hit every continent, I take it," he said quietly.

Out of the corner of her eye, Talia noticed Burt tense as footage played of a piece of Junius 7 demolishing the Vatican. She sighed and looked back out the bridge windows. The Minerva was cruising in over the Pacific Ocean, aiming for Orb; they had already radioed ahead and the Orb government had decided to allow them to dock. The reports were filing in葉he Prime Minister of the Eurasian Federation had died when a large piece of Junius 7 smashed into Moscow. Thousands, if not millions of people around the world were feared dead.

Talia wondered why Gilbert didn't seem to care.

"Arthur," she said quietly, "inform me when we reach the Orb coast. I'll leave the bridge to you until then."

"Y-Yes ma'am," Arthur stuttered, saluting awkwardly as she rose from her seat and left the bridge.

Gilbert slowly stood up himself and followed, smirking.

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Washington DC, Atlantic Federation

The White House, and much of the most historic and tourist-popular areas of Washington DC, had escaped damage from any impacts by Junius 7, but as Joseph Copland emerged from the underground bunker in which he had taken shelter, that hardly seemed like a blessing. While the upscale west side of Washington had escaped damage, the poverty-stricken east side of the city had not been so lucky.

Copland emerged from the dust to tour the wreckage. Armed guards stood in place at least half a mile ahead and behind him, and at his side, surrounded by military officers and soldiers, stood Lord Djibril.

Djibril was smiling.

"Look at what those monsters have done," he said, casting a sweeping gesture over the destruction. "How can you let this slide as some 'accident?' This is no accident! Those abominations in the sky meant for this to happen, and now your people are suffering for it!"

Copland almost didn't hear Djibril. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a man lying in a pool of blood, struggling to move. Copland rushed over, despite the sputtered protest of his entourage and the disgusted look of disapproval from Djibril. Copland sank to his knees, trying to hold the man up. He was already dressed in rags and covered in dirt; he was one of the poor, homeless people who lived on the east side.

The man sputtered and coughed.

"Hold on, sir," Copland said shakily. "I'll send for help at once." He looked over at the soldiers as they rushed towards him, guns leveled. "Get this man a doctor!" he shouted. Two of the soldiers shouldered their rifles and knelt to pick the man up, but one of them stopped suddenly and looked solemnly at the President.

"He's already dead, Mr. President."

Copland stared down at the grimy, bloody face. Hollow, lifeless eyes stared back at him. He turned away, tears stinging his own eyes, and stood up, as one of the soldiers closed the dead man's eyes.

Djibril came up beside Copland. "Would that man have died if you had struck at the PLANTs earlier?" he asked. "Would this city have been destroyed? Would all those cities and places around the world have been destroyed if you had struck at the PLANTs earlier?"

Copland said nothing, still looking around at the destruction.

"Those monsters made this happen," Djibril continued. "The monsters we stole those new units from. The time has come to finish them off once and for all, before they can destroy the rest of us."

Copland motioned for an aide to come closer.

"Get me the Secretary of Defense," he growled. "We're going to make those bastards pay."

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October 5th, CE 73 - ZAFT battleship Minerva, Pacific Ocean

Shinn Asuka stood on the deck of the Minerva, staring blankly at the horizon. Somewhere in front of the Minerva was Orb, but it was in the distance, far away. Shinn liked it that way.

The ship was getting closer to Orb by the second, and it wouldn't be long before the crew was required to take what was commonly known as "docking condition," for which the mobile suit pilots were mostly unnecessary and were usually ensconced in the crew lounge to keep them out of the way. Shinn was not looking forward to that擁t meant more time around Shiho, and that was never good. The door behind him opened, and Shinn turned around in annoyance, wondering who was the moron who was interrupting his peace and quiet.

Shinn jumped to attention as Chairman Dullindal emerged onto the deck.

Gilbert smiled paternally before Shinn could bother trying to button up his collar.

"No need for that, Shinn," he chuckled, coming up to stand next to Shinn, leaning on the railing. "Some leaders are quite taken with the idea of having military personnel salute them. I'm not like that."

Shinn tried to relax, but that was no use in the presence of the Supreme Chairman of the PLANTs.

"So," Gilbert continued, looking at Shinn with a casual smile, "I understand you are from Orb."

"Y-Yes sir," Shinn stuttered. Gilbert looked back out at the horizon.

"We will be docking there," he continued. "Will you be alright with that?"

"I'm not the captain," Shinn said uneasily, after a moment's pause. "I'm not the one to make that decision."

"But you have the power to decide things for yourself, if for no one else," Gilbert countered with a smile. Shinn blinked. "Returning to Orb is surely uncomfortable for you. You can decide for yourself if you like the captain's decision to sail to Orb."

Shinn said nothing.

"People like you, Shinn, young people like you, are a necessity in these troubled times," Gilbert went on, looking back out at the ocean. "The world is a blurry and indecisive place. We need people like you, Shinn, who know what they want and go after it. You don't let anyone stand in your way. Destiny dealt you a bad hand in Orb, so you tried again in the PLANTs, and now look where you are."

"I didn't go there by choice," Shinn blurted out. His eyes widened a moment later, in disbelief at what he had said. "Um, I mean"

"Of course you didn't," Gilbert continued. "If you had had a choice your family would still be alive and you would still be living in Orb, the same as you always were before. But you are a strong person, with strong convictions. You will not let the world decide your fate; you will decide your own. In this world, people must be led by those who are strong...like you."

Shinn did not respond, looking at the floor, lost in thought.

"Well," Gilbert said, standing up and turning towards the door. "We will be docking soon. I suppose we'll just have to see what happens." He smiled. "Right?"

Shinn nodded slowly, and Gilbert disappeared back inside.

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Onogoro Island, United Emirates of Orb

"Jona," spoke the quavering voice of Unato Ema Seiran, "that ZAFT ship is going to get our country burned down again."

Standing on a deck overlooking the dock, the younger Jona Roma Seiran stood with his arms crossed, watching impassively as the Minerva backed into the dock. The ship's hull was pitted and scorched; it had obviously been in combat.

And, of course, there was the unmistakable logo of ZAFT on the port side of the bridge tower. Jona narrowed his eyes at the distinctive hourglass shape. It would get Orb burned down again...if he played his cards wrong.

And Jona Roma Seiran was not going to play his cards wrong.

"I already told you the plan," Jona said, with a touch of exasperation. "We secretly invited the Minerva to dock here, as a 'gesture of goodwill' for their 'gallant service in saving countless lives from the Junius 7 catastrophe.' The Atlantic Federation comes calling, we kick the ZAFT ship out and help blow it up, and we offer to join the Earth Alliance."

"And when the Atlantic Federation asks why the Minerva was here?" Unato asked dubiously. Jona smirked back.

"We say they demanded to be let in and our poor dock workers, fearing for their lives and families, had no choice but to let the barbarians dock." He snorted derisively. "With as psychotically anti-Coordinator as the Atlantic Feds are, they'd believe us if we say that giant Coordinators went loose in Aube, burning our villages, raping our women, and salting our fields."

Unato looked down at the Minerva. "That Dullindal character is on that ship too," he added. "You're messing with the head of a very powerful state, Jona. I have a lot at stake on this scheme of yours."

Unato turned on his heel and disappeared through an adjacent door. Jona remained behind, staring contemptuously at the Minerva.

They say the Orb Raiders were at Junius 7 too, he thought soberly. Maybe I'm one step closer to finding Cagalli after all.

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Watching indifferently, Shiho Hahnenfuss found herself at the edge of a gangway, dressed in an unassuming civilian outfit. She was not sure what had compelled her to disembark, but the captain had permitted it of several crewmembers. Down below, Vino, Yolant, Meyrin, and Lunamaria were already piling into a jeep to take them to the capital city of Aube, across an enormous suspension bridge. Rey was nowhere to be found, though he was probably not going anywhere.

Shinn was making his way cautiously down the gangway, lost in thought. Shiho stared contemptuously at him.

"You're disembarking too?" she asked rhetorically. Shinn stopped in front of her, regarded her coldly for a moment, and nodded. "And you know the rules regarding shore leave?" Another nod.

Shiho stared at him for another moment. He refused to be put down or stared into submission. She hated it.

At last, Shiho turned and headed down the gangway into the dock.

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October 6th, CE 73 - Onogoro Island, United Emirates of Orb

展e commemorate those whose lives were tragically lost here on June 15th, CE 71.

The words were hollow. They meant nothing. Shinn Asuka looked up at the towering stone pillar, surrounded in flowers and plaques. It was on a nice spot, overlooking the sea. Behind him was the rest of Onogoro Island. Rising in the sky behind him were the towering girders of the yet-incomplete Kaguya mass driver. Setting amidst those girders was the sun, casting an eerie shadow over everything.

Shinn stared blankly at the memorial. It had been erected by the Seiran family, which had, at the dedication, fiercely denounced the departed Athha family for failing in its promises to protect Orb痴 citizenry from the Atlantic Federation痴 aggression. Shinn hated them, not just the Athhas, but the Seirans as well, who lied between their teeth as they condemned the Atlantic Federation, condemning the very country at whose feet they knelt.

He ran a finger over the weight of a plastic memento of his final days on this island. He pulled the familiar pink cell phone out, flipped it open, and stared blankly at it. It had recorded messages and calls on it, voices that Shinn would never hear again. All it could do now was remind him of that day when all of the Athha family's promises went unfulfilled. They had said they would provide a place free of war...but the missiles and beams and corpses said otherwise.

Shinn turned at the sound of footsteps, and blinked in surprise. Lunamaria was striding towards him, looking around uneasily.

鉄hinn, she called quietly. 的致e been looking all over for you.

Shinn turned away again, back towards the memorial. 展hat for? he asked crossly.

Luna came up next to him. 添olant wanted to see if you壇 come with us into the city, but I guess it痴 a little late for that. She looked up at the memorial. 的 suppose I should致e figured I壇 find you here.

Shinn said nothing, staring out at the sea with a furrowed brow.

溺aybe you shouldn稚 have come back, Luna said uneasily.

的t doesn稚 matter, Shinn said abruptly. 的t痴 not like it changes anything.

Luna looked over at him awkwardly. Shinn was antisocial and temperamental, but he was never like this. Anything to do with his deceased family, however, brought him to a state of angry, solitary pain that his friends would have liked to help alleviate, had Shinn ever let them. But he insisted on carrying this burden and suffering through this pain himself, even if his friends could help him cure it.

泥o you think they池e proud? Luna asked. Shinn blinked and cast a sidelong glance at her.

展hat do you mean? he asked back, a hint of suspicion in his voice. Luna blinked herself and struggled to explain.

展ell, um, I mean of what you池e doing now, she said. When Shinn merely arched an eyebrow in further irritation and puzzlement, she shook her head. 摘rr, I mean, you being a ZAFT soldier. She nodded to herself; that sounded about right. 的 mean, you池e a ZAFT Red, you pilot an important new model, you致e fought in important battles, you池e on an important ship, you池e protecting the Chairman of the PLANTs...would they be proud?

Shinn looked back at the memorial, and then back out at the sea. 哲o, he answered at last.

Luna blinked again. So much for that.

展hat do you mean 'no'? she asked, at a loss.

摘xactly what I said, Shinn answered. 泥ad would say I sold out Orb痴 ideals, Mom would be angry at me for putting myself at risk in battles, and Mayu would be scared I壇 get hurt.

Luna paused. 典hen why did you join ZAFT?

Shinn gave her a sidelong glance again. 展hy does it matter? he asked back.

Luna paused again, annoyed. 釘ecause if your family wouldn稚 have approved, there must be a good reason why you still joined ZAFT.

Shinn looked back out at the sea.

釘ecause they're not here, he answered at last. Luna sighed, resigning that to be the most satisfactory answer she would get from Shinn for the time being. She looked out at the sun as it sank between the mass driver痴 incomplete girders.

添olant won稚 be too happy, she said casually. 滴e wanted to go pick up girls or something.

Shinn snorted dismissively. 滴e doesn't need me around to make a fool of himself.

Luna smiled. Perhaps there was hope for Shinn after all.

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Onogoro Island, United Emirates of Orb

Arthur Trine let out an exasperated sigh as he stared up at the scorched hull of the Minerva. Captain Gladys and Chairman Dullindal had left him here to take care of the repairs while they "dealt with" the Orb government officials that had greeted them. The miserly Chief Representative Unato Ema Seiran had given them all suspicious glares, and Arthur did not like it one bit, but as the Vice Captain, his duty was to sit here and oversee the repairs while the Chairman and the Captain 電ealt with the Orb government.

A jeep pulled up, and Arthur glanced semi-interestedly at it. He jumped to attention as Chairman Dullindal emerged, followed by two armed ZAFT soldiers.

鼎hairman, sir, he greeted with stiff military formality. Gilbert smiled in his usual soothing way.
鄭t ease, Vice Captain Trine, he said calmly. Arthur let his tension melt away a bit. 鼎aptain Gladys has gone off to see our new friends at Morgenroete, so I have returned here. He looked up meaningfully at the Minerva. 典he Orb government is planning on siding with the Atlantic Federation, he said dourly. 典hey didn稚 say so, of course. But they will. Chief Representative Seiran isn't one for angering them. Arthur blinked in surprise.

釘ut that means濫 he began. Gilbert nodded somberly.

的t seems they learned their lesson about standing up to nations more powerful than themselves, he chuckled. 鄭t any rate, I believe we will be leaving soon.

Arthur looked around, at a loss. Suddenly he was very thankful for the armed ZAFT soldiers surrounding the ship.

"Your expertise in fighting the Alliance's surface fleets will probably be needed," Dullindal went on, looking back at Arthur with an almost invisible smile. "I understand that you captained a Vosgulov-class submarine at the Casablanca Sea Battle. Captain Gladys served her tour of duty in space, and has no experience fighting the Alliance's surface forces. We will be requiring your services in that matter more than ever, Mr. Trine."

"Of course," Arthur answered, with something of a stutter.

Gilbert smiled and looked back at the Minerva. "Then I trust you won't let Captain Gladys down."

All attention turned to the loudspeakers an instant later as the intercom flared to life.

"Attention all dock workers," the speakers blared, "an urgent worldwide broadcast on all spectrums from the President of the Atlantic Federation."

Arthur felt his blood run cold, and Gilbert stared up angrily at the speakers.

"Everyone," the distinctive baritone of Joseph Copland intoned. "I am Joseph Copland, President of the Atlantic Federation. I address you tonight from the White House in Washington DC."

A pause. Gilbert narrowed his eyes.

"Yesterday the entire world was devastated by the impact of Junius 7, initiated by the PLANTs."

"What?!" Arthur exclaimed. "But we didn't" He caught himself as he glanced back at the Chairman.

"Tonight I am announcing a state of war with the PLANTs," Copland continued. "A fleet has mobilized from our Arzachel Crater lunar base at once. PLANT has approximately three hours to surrender immediately, or face destruction. The Coordinators will face justice for their impermissible actions; I am calling upon all the nations of the Earth and space to rise up and join arms in a new Earth Alliance, and together we will wipe the treacherous Coordinators off the face of the Earth Sphere!"

Gilbert turned towards Arthur, fire in his eyes. "Get the Captain back here," he snapped, and disappeared across the gangway into the ship.

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ZAFT battleship Minerva, United Emirates of Orb

"Impossible!"

The word reverberated through the crew lounge of the Minerva. Every person in the room was standing with eyes glued to the lounge screen.

A ZAFT fleet, led by the supercarrier Gondwana, was engaging a large fleet from the Atlantic Federation outside PLANT airspace. On the screen, an orange ZAKU Phantom flashed by, shooting down an Alliance Dagger L in the process, and attacked an Alliance Drake-class. On another screen, a Nazca buckled and exploded under fire from Alliance mobile suits.

Shinn stood staring impassively at the screen, wondering why he didn稚 care.

典hose bastards! Yolant snarled from nearby, glowering at the screen. 滴ow can they blame us for dropping Junius 7 after we just tried to stop it?!

"They're just looking to start another war!" Vino added angrily.

Meyrin cast an anxious glance at Shinn. He stood with his arms crossed, his eyes never moving from the screen. Somehow, she found it comforting.

Even Shinn痴 eyes widened, however, when the screen flashed white. Through the blaze, Shinn could barely pick out small cylindrical objects exploding, and a wave of colors splashing over everything.

The camera angle changed, showing a Nazca with some kind of huge machine attached to it, emanating a multicolored wave of energy in front of the PLANTs. Explosions flared up in the distance, and with a sinking feeling, Shinn realized that they were nuclear missiles.

的 can稚 believe this! Luna exclaimed. 典hey池e using nuclear missiles! Those bastards! How could they?!

Shinn watched the missiles explode, and the Alliance fleet retreat as their trump card failed. He wondered why he didn稚 care. He had no home on the PLANTs; his family was already dead, buried in an Orb cemetery; he wasn稚 fighting to protect the PLANTs or avenge those who had died in the Bloody Valentine or anything like that. All he wanted was to survive.

Why, he still didn稚 know.

Shinn turned on his heel and left the room. Meyrin noticed him leave, cast one more nervous glance at the lounge screen, and followed him out.

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ZAFT Carpentaria Base, Australia, Oceania Union

Kira Yamato cracked an eye open, finding mostly darkness, with a few even darker shapes scattered around his field of vision. He blinked, rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and sat up.

The first thing he noticed was a distinctive draft fluttering through his room. He grunted again, started to rise and close the window, and then shook his head and sat back down. He laid back, staring up at the ceiling. Athrun was there again葉he Justice痴 beam rifle fired again, slashed through the Dominion痴 escape shuttle again

適ira, what are you doing awake?

Kira blinked in surprise and looked over to his right. Valentine was sitting up, the covers drawn around her bare shoulders, staring with sleepy eyes at him.

的知 sorry I woke you, he apologized awkwardly, 的 just濫

Valentine cut him off with a kiss. 的t痴 okay, she whispered. 展hat痴 wrong?

Kira laid back down and closed his eyes. 的t痴 nothing, he lied.

Valentine laid her head on his chest affectionately. 哲o, she murmured, 妬t痴 something. Now tell me.

Kira awkwardly sat up again. 的t痴 Athrun, he admitted quietly. 滴e... Kira trailed off, unwilling to finish.

泥on稚 worry about that, Kira, Valentine whispered in his ear, gently pushing him back down. 的 know it痴 painful that Athrun is back in the picture, but you can稚 let that consume you. She narrowed her eyes as she whispered seductively in his ear. 泥on稚 leave me alone, Kira.

Kira blushed as Valentine ran her hands suggestively over his chest. 天alentine, he started uneasily, 土ou know I wouldn稚濫

She silenced him with another kiss. 鉄hh, she whispered, 電on稚 say anything.

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October 7th, CE 73 - ZAFT battleship Minerva, United Emirates of Orb

The ship was in a frenzy, but Meyrin had not been ordered back to her post yet. She still had time, and until someone called for her, she was going to make the most of it.

Shinn Asuka had almost made it back to his room when Meyrin caught up with him.

"Shinn!" she called out, louder than she had wanted to. She blushed as he turned around, arching an eyebrow at her. "Um..."

"What?" he asked, regarding her with a steady gaze.

"Are...are you okay?" she asked meekly, feeling like backing away but unable to make her legs work.

Shinn stared back at her, not saying anything. His mind struggled to figure out why she was so worried, but every time he thought he had the answer, it would slip out of his grasp again.

"What made you think I'm not?" he asked back, turning around to face her fully. Meyrin struggled for an answer.

"You just seem really upset lately," she said, and immediately kicked herself for it. He always seemed really upset.

Shinn stared at her again, still unable to figure out what she wanted. "I'm no different now than how I always am," he said carefully.

Meyrin opened her mouth to speak, but a voice over the intercom cut her off. "Meyrin Hawke," the intercom blared, "report to the bridge at once. All hands, Condition Red has been issued. Pilots stand by in your units."

Meyrin turned and ran in the other direction, squeezing tears of disappointment out of her eyes, without saying anything. Shinn watched her go in confusion, and at last turned and made for the locker room.

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Orb National Defense Headquarters, Onogoro Island, United Emirates of Orb

The Defense Headquarters was ablaze with excitement, but Jona Roma Seiran stood above it all calmly, staring intently at the screen. Through the screen, he could see the borders of Orb's territorial waters, and the detachment of the Atlantic Federation's 12th Pacific Surface Fleet waiting there, guns pointed at Onogoro, spoiling for something to shoot.

Jona would sure as hell give them something.

"The Minerva has been ordered to depart," an officer reported. "They will leave at once."

"Good," Jona said with a smirk. He looked back at the Atlantic Federation fleet. "Intelligence says that fleet's got some new mobile armor. Zamzazar or something." He smiled. "I guess we'll see just how powerful it is."

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To be continued...