Phase 38 - What Goes Unsaid

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY

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Phase 38 - What Goes Unsaid

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December 29th, CE 73 - Battlecruiser Kasselheim, en route to Antarctica

By now, it had grown cold enough to keep even Stellar from venturing out onto the deck of the Kasselheim. It was just as well anyway the sky was growing dark and the sea was turning gray, and she could not stand to see the ocean turned into a giant all-consuming field of ink. It was a little depressing, but she knew that the ocean wasn稚 going to be this way forever after they were done with whatever they were doing here, they would go back to where the sea was once again blue.

She stared out the observation deck window instead, looking at the Megami. Shinn didn稚 seem to like the people on that ship Stellar wondered why. They hadn稚 been mean to her, except for that blonde girl. But the blonde girl had gone away Stellar wondered where she had gone. Maybe they had been mean to Shinn. She wondered why they would, but she couldn稚 think of any other reason why Shinn wouldn稚 like them.

Her thoughts found their way back to Sting and Auel. She wondered if they were okay. Of course they were they were smarter than her. They always knew what to do. They wouldn稚 have been defeated. They would survive. Shinn wouldn稚 hurt them. And if she had to, she would protect them.

Stellar glanced to the side as she heard the door open, and Miki waved excitedly at her.

展hat are you doing in here? she asked quickly, bounding up to her. Stellar blinked for a moment and looked back at the Megami.

典he sea she began haltingly. 的t痴 dark

展e値l only be around here for a few days, Miki said reassuringly, 殿nd after we池e done we値l head back up north where the ocean痴 blue.

套space, Stellar said. 套we池e going to space.

Miki blinked in surprise. 展e are?

鉄hinn said, Stellar added quietly. Miki looked over at the Megami for a moment and sighed.

展ell, don稚 worry, she said, putting on a beaming smile. 展e値l still go north to where the ocean is blue.

Stellar smiled.

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Orb Raiders dreadnaught Megami, en route to Antarctica

Lunamaria cast a wary glance down at the end of the hall, as she heard someone coming through. There were multiple footsteps she figured the guards were coming for her again.

They hadn稚 mistreated her, she reflected. They had kept her adequately fed, the conditions weren稚 worthy of complaint, and she had been allowed ten hours of sleep a day. She wondered what these Orb Raiders had to gain by obeying the provisions of the Corsica Treaty, but she certainly wasn稚 going to give them the idea of stopping.

泥earka, an angry voice said, 妬f you池e not going to help me kick his ass, I値l do it myself, but he痴 going insane and I don稚 like it.

Luna peered down the hall the blond man she had seen when she had first encountered Athrun was there again, walking next to a young man with silvery hair and a prominent scar on his face. She recognized him almost instantly Yzak Jule, pilot of the -X102 Duel and son of the disgraced former Councilor Ezaria Jule. She remembered Shiho she had served under his command.

The blond man, evidently called Dearka, sighed heavily. 的f I thought it would do any good, I壇 help you, he said, 澱ut Athrun痴 going crazy and the only way he痴 going to go back to normal is if he takes down the Freedom.

They paused in surprise, glancing at Luna as she listened intently to them.

鄭nd what do you want? Yzak asked brusquely, crossing his arms. Luna glanced between them.

添ou were talking about Athrun, she began. 展hat happened to him?

Dearka glanced at Yzak; he shrugged. 哲o idea, he said, 澱ut if you致e got any information on that FAITH unit in the white Eternal-class, feel free to share it.

釘ut did they really kill Cagalli? Luna pressed on, as they turned to leave. Dearka glanced back at her in surprise.

添eah, he answered. 展hat痴 it to you?

Luna paused the image of Athrun Zala, cold and cruel, flashed back into her mind. 的 want to help him, she said.

Help him? Yzak echoed. 添ou got shot down by DaCosta, what help can you be? Dearka snickered under his breath, despite his better judgment.

展e池e not going to let you out of here that easily, if that痴 what you池e thinking, he added. 鄭nyways, he went on, looking at Yzak, 斗et痴 go. Athrun痴 probably looking for us and staying in one spot for too long is a bad idea.

溺aybe you can bitch at him for us if he comes by, Yzak said to Luna as he and Dearka turned to leave.

They turned a corner and disappeared, and Luna settled back onto the thin cot at the end of her cell. Someone, the Freedom Gundam, had killed Cagalli Yula Athhaand now Athrun Zala was looking for revenge.

She wondered where Athrun was right now.

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Atlantic Federation battleship Girty Lue, en route to Antarctica

擢ailure.

Lee watched with a hint of pride as Sting flinched in his chair, but did nothing. He had come a long way in a short time the most Neo could do now was inflict a headache on Sting. Auel had come along nicely as well Lee noted with a smile that they had both overcome the one thing that the Alliance had to stop them.

的 suppose, he said, 土ou池e free to go now. Since nobody can stop you.

展e won稚, Sting answered. 哲ot yet. We致e got unfinished business here.

Lee nodded knowingly. Sting glanced at Auel; they both smirked.

展e値l protect you, though, Auel added. 釘ecause you helped us.

Lee arched an eyebrow at them. 滴ow, exactly, will you protect me?

展e値l find a way, Sting said confidently. Lee studied him for a moment they were both determined to have their revenge on Neo, on Lodonia, on the Alliance officers that had turned them into Extended. They were both more dangerous than Neo was giving them credit for. He sat back, sighing quietly.

典he war is almost over, no matter how the space campaign goes, Lee said. 展hat will you do then?

鏑et痴 worry about that when the time comes, Sting answered easily.

展e can take you with us if you want, Auel added.

Lee smiled sadly. 溺y family is dead, he said, 殿nd I have nothing left from what I built for myself back home. The military, it seems, is going to have to be my life now.

釘ut they値l trace us back to you, Sting said, his smile fading.

Lee shook his head. Auel and Sting shared an uneasy glance.

展hy did you help us? Auel asked suddenly.

Lee looked up at him. 釘ecause you are humans, he said.

Sting and Auel shared another confused glance. 展e池e Extended, Sting began awkwardly.

哲o, Lee corrected, 土ou are humans. He sat back. 的 have commanded a ship with an Extended pilot before. He was an unstable soldier, much like Stellar was. He was the pawn of scientists who were willing to go so far with their research as to destroy people, but he had a caretaker who treated him as her little brother, and suffered the scientists and their twisted experiments because it was too late to save him from it. He paused. 的 saw that Extended as nothing but a weapon, like the scientists who experimented on him. I commanded him nonetheless, but the Alliance took increasing interest in him, sending a member of the Special Forces to supervise him. I saw so many people using him as a mere weapon. And I saw his caretaker, and their relationship. When my ship was finally destroyed, that Extended lay dying aboard my ship. His caretaker stayed with him to the end. I watched them die together, not as an Extended and a supervisor, but as two human beings. He looked at Sting and Auel, staring wide-eyed at him and listening intently. I can see that Extended in you two. You are both humans, victims of circumstance and the machinations of your elders. I could not save that Extended from becoming a tool for his superiors, but I can save you two. And save you I shall.

鼎aptain Sting began.

撤romise me this, Lee went on, leaning forward. 的 have lost my family, my life, my reason for fighting. Promise me that you will leave this war behind when your vengeance is complete, and find a life of your own. That will be my reason for fighting. You do not deserve to inherit a world of warfare and hatred. Promise me that you will find something to live for.

Sting and Auel nodded solemnly.

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December 30th CE 73 - ZAFT Antarctic base, Antarctica

As the mechanics unloaded the Destiny Gundam痴 weapons for inspection, Talia had to admit that Gilbert痴 servants had come up with an impressive machine. She was no expert on mobile suits, but she certainly could tell that with the number of hidden verniers, the speed with which the limbs could be moved, and the strange cylindrical machines to be found in every section of every limb, there was something about this mobile suit that set it apart from even its brothers, the Infinite Justice and Legend, standing next to it.
典he -X20A Strike Freedom has been transferred to the Deliverance as requested, Captain, Arthur said at her side, as they both watched from a balcony near the back of the hangar. 典he Alliance痴 attack is expected within the next three days, but these machines will not be ready for combat until January 1st.

的 see, Talia said. 溺ake sure the ship is ready for space combat, and ensure that our atmospheric booster is somewhere where we can safely attach it and get to space at a moment痴 notice.

添es ma誕m, Arthur said, 澱ut, um Talia glanced inquisitively at him. 展hy are we carrying these mobile suits when there are no pilots for them?

Talia looked back at the Destiny, as the mechanics opened its anti-ship sword and inspected it. 典hese mobile suits are ZAFT痴 last hope. The war痴 going to be decided in space that痴 what these machines are for.

釘ut why did we get sent to transport them? Arthur pressed on. 的 mean, we池e a FAITH unit, aren稚 we?

Talia痴 face darkened as she glared down at the Destiny. That thing was supposed to be Gilbert痴 gift to Shinn why had he built it even though Shinn had left? She glanced at the Infinite Justice a near carbon copy of the original Justice, with enough upgrades and design changes to merit a new model number and the Legend a machine in much the same situation as the Infinite Justice. On the Deliverance, slumbering in that pallid warship痴 hangar, was the Strike Freedom, a thinly veiled upgrade of the original Freedom. It was as if the war was turning back now to the final days of the Valentine War, with ZAFT driven off the Earth and standing before its homeland with GENESIS, with the Alliance and their nuclear missiles bearing down on them.

But, she added mentally, someone had yet to come between the warring sides and try to make them put their weapons down.

She paused, turning that thought over in her mind. These machines were power, power for someone who would make a difference in this war, power for someone who could stop these warring sides before they could destroy the world in their wrath.

敵ive priority to preparing the Destiny for combat, she ordered suddenly, startling Arthur. 展e値l worry about who pilots it later. I have a feeling we値l be needing it in the coming battle.

添es ma誕m, Arthur answered quietly, scuffling off to carry out his orders. Talia gazed down stoically at the Destiny as the mechanics activated it, its green eyes illuminating the hangar with a flash.

Your weapon is waiting for you, Shinn, she thought. I hope you arrive to receive it.

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Djibril Manor, Vermont, Atlantic Federation

Lord Djibril cackled with delight as he watched the footage again. ZAFT痴 grand stronghold at Carpentaria had finally fallen after a good threat to use nuclear weapons, of course. They had managed to debut a new model of mobile suit, and a single Vosgulov submarine had managed to break through the blockade, but what did it matter? They had nowhere to go except Antarctica, and right now, the Fifth Combined Surface Fleet was gathering in the icy waters at the edge of the Antarctic Circle for the deathblow that would drive ZAFT off the Earth forever. In addition, the Alliance was ready to carry the momentum of its victory on Earth to space instantly, where ZAFT could not possibly be prepared for the full crushing weight of the Earth Alliance as it brought down the hammer.

的t痴 a glorious day, Admiral Seiran, Djibril said, casting a wicked glance at his companion. To the side in Djibril痴 screening room, Jona Roma Seiran stood numbly in his Orb uniform, staring almost blankly at the screens. It was a shame, Djibril supposed Jona had just had everything taken from him at Orb. Even though ZAFT had been driven off, Orb had not come out well, and had been annexed by the Atlantic Federation for its sudden lack of government. Now Jona stood as a ruler without a country, and a general without any troops. But that could be solved there was still Orb痴 meager space fleet, which could still prove to be useful.

He glanced back at the screen. The Earth Alliance forces were swarming over Carpentaria, like ants over the corpse of a dead bird, triumphantly leading away their ragged ZAFT prisoners. There was nothing more that Jona could do on Earth. But in space

的 have a job for you, Admiral, Djibril said, turning around. 徹ne concerning your old friends, the Orb Raiders.

Jona looked up with burning eyes at Djibril.

鼎agalli is dead, Djibril continued, 澱ut Lacus Clyne is still traveling with them, and will likely step up to replace her. She will more than likely try to play a similar role in this war as she and her followers did in the last. That, of course, cannot be allowed to happen. His visage soured as he remembered the images of Lacus and her servants stopping Azrael. 典hey cannot be allowed to meddle in our affairs again. You are to go to Daedalus Crater and marshal the Orb Space Fleet there. We will then give you word when to set out and destroy them. Until then, await my command. Is that understood?

徹f course, Jona said, his voice quiet and tremulous.

Djibril smiled. 哲o one will stand between us and the door of destiny.

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Orb Raiders dreadnaught Megami, en route to Antarctica

Mwu squinted in annoyance as he stood on a gantry overlooking the patch of hangar floor directly in front of the Akatsuki. A team of mechanics were building something down there an elongated backpack colored in the Akatsuki痴 familiar gold, with three long vaguely cylindrical objects stretching off, and several mechanics constructing a fourth.

徹kay, Mwu said, glancing at Murdoch at his side as he flipped through a ream of papers on a clipboard, 的値l bite. What the hell is this?

鉄hiranui pack, Murdoch answered. 鉄pace combat attachment for the Akatsuki. Since the war is bound to be moving to space soon, so will we, and the Oowashi pack isn稚 going to be all that useful up there. And since you池e going to be the Akatsuki痴 pilot now, we池e installing a remote weapon system to take advantage of those spatial awareness powers of yours. There were some partial blueprints in the Akatsuki痴 computer anyways, so we just filled them out.

Mwu looked back down at the Shiranui pack. 添ou池e going all-out, huh?

的t痴 the most we can really do, Murdoch said with a sigh. 鄭ll our upgrades and maintenance couldn稚 stop Cagalli from dying. The most we can do is try to bring everyone else home safe.

Mwu glanced up across the hangar, at a red ZAKU Warrior standing silently in a corner.

展hat about the ZAKU? he asked. Murdoch looked up at it as well and shrugged.

展e did a bit of polishing up but it was in pretty good shape when we brought it in, all things considered, he said. 展e値l probably sell it to the Junk Guild next time we meet up with them.

展hat about the pilot? Mwu asked.

Murdoch shrugged again. 的 heard the Captain was going to turn her over to the first ZAFT ship we saw, he said. 鄭n insurance policy against future attacks or something, I guess.

展e池e still running around with Shinn, Mwu pointed out, 殿nd he痴 pretty much Public Enemy Number One in the PLANTs.

添eah, well, ZAFT痴 got better things to do now than chase around an emo kid with a stolen Gundam, Murdoch said with a shrug. He blinked in surprise as he looked down at the workers around the Shiranui pack. 滴ey! What are you idiots doing? he shouted. 添ou install the receptor before you connect the lines!

A garbled string of curses that neither Mwu nor Murdoch could understand was the response. Murdoch sighed and edged past Mwu, storming towards the ladder down to the floor. Mwu looked back at the ZAKU and sighed himself.

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December 31st, CE 73 - Battlecruiser Kasselheim, en route to Antarctica

Shinn wiped the sweat from his brow in annoyance as he stepped out of the Impulse痴 cockpit. One of the mechanics had been just careless enough to reset all of the Impulse痴 internal specifications to their default settings, leaving Shinn with an operating system that was not terribly different from when he had first been assigned the machine. This therefore meant spending hours on end resetting the Impulse back to his custom settings, which meant hours on end sitting in the cockpit, which was getting stuffier and muggier by the minute.

Grumbling about idiotic mechanics and resolving to check the Impulse痴 meager cockpit A/C unit, Shinn moved to step back into the Impulse and continue working when he felt a familiar presence approaching. He looked up and once again blinked in shock as he saw Lacus Clyne approaching. What did she want?

He paused as he realized that he was feeling a distinct pressure coming from her. That pressure could only be coming from one thing he stopped in his tracks, watching her in disbelief, as he realized that Lacus was a Newtype.

徹h my, Lacus said as she came closer, stopping and blinking in surprise. 添ou致e been working hard.

Shinn shrugged and looked down at his sweat-soaked clothes. 鉄omething like that. He looked back at her. 泥o you want something?

展ell, I didn稚 mean to interrupt you, she said apologetically.

的 can work and talk at the same time, Shinn said, taking a step back into the cockpit. He wondered why he was in effect inviting Lacus to talk to him he had no reason to. But that calming aura of hers was underlining the typical pressure he felt from a Newtype, and he had to know if it was real.

She almost hesitantly followed him to the edge of the Impulse痴 cockpit, watching him for a moment as he settled back into the cockpit seat and got to work. 的 do have a question for you, she said. 的 know it will seem strange and I apologize for being so straightforward, but She trailed off, as if trying to choose words. Shinn looked up at her in surprise. 鄭m I a Newtype?

Shinn regarded her carefully she seemed surprised that his face betrayed no shock, but inside, he felt sure of it at last. Lacus Clyne was indeed a Newtype.

展hy do you ask? he inquired carefully.

的 ask because I could feel Cagalli痴 death, she said. 的 felt her presence vanish. I felt presences during the battle, all around me, vanishing. And when we buried Cagalli at sea, I could sense you. She took another step forward, leaning into the Impulse痴 cockpit to lend them some degree of privacy. 的知 asking you above all others because you are a Newtype, and you would know better than anyone else I can ask whether or not these powers are true or if I知 just going mad.

添ou池e not going mad, Shinn said guardedly. 徹r else I am too. He studied her for a moment her face betrayed no emotion, but her presence was that same strange cocktail of inner feelings. She was calming and soothing, but firm with purpose, all laced with the familiar pressure of a Newtypeand it was all faintly tinted by sadness. 釘ut I think you池e a Newtype, he said.

Lacus did not seem surprised, either in her facial features or her emotions. 典hen what should I do with these powers? she asked.

展hat do you mean? Shinn asked back. 鉄ince when are we supposed to do something special with our powers?

Lacus turned that over in her mind for a moment and then smiled. 典hat is true, she said. 釘ut without purpose, power is meaningless. Even your power has purpose you use your power to protect what is important to you.

典hat痴 no reason to go sticking my neck out for some higher ideal, replied Shinn.

釘ut you already are putting yourself at risk for the crew of this ship, Lacus pointed out.

Shinn looked down resolutely at the Impulse痴 cockpit panels. 典hat痴 different, he said.

的s it? Lacus asked. 展e both want to do something with our power. Your strength comes in piloting mobile suits there are few pilots in the Earth Sphere that can match you now. And you have used that strength to protect this ship.

Shinn looked back up at her. 典hat痴 because I can, he said flatly. 展hat I can稚 do is run out onto the battlefield and change everyone痴 minds and make them stop fighting.

Lacus took a step back, seeming satisfied with that answer, although Shinn could sense she was still troubled.

展ell, she said, 的 appreciate your answer to my question. She smiled warmly at him, and Shinn couldn稚 help but smile back thinly as she excused herself.

His smile vanished and he stared down angrily at the Impulse痴 control panel.

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添ou致e changed.

It seemed like a stupid thing for Lunamaria to say she had never known this man, Athrun Zala, as anything more than a distant personality in newspapers and fragmented television clips. But now, standing before her, Athrun Zala was not the humble, dutiful hero of the PLANTs that she had thought he was. Right now, Athrun Zala was a shell, from which the human feelings of happiness and companionship had been removed, and into which a horrifying poison of revenge had been poured. Athrun Zala was hardly a human being anymore.

添ou will be released to the first ZAFT ship we come across after the battle, Athrun said flatly. 的n exchange, your mobile suit will be sold to the Junk Guild. Cause us no problems and we will cause you no problems.

Luna said nothing, staring in disbelief at the pale, angry face. He turned to leave she reached through the bars of her cell door to grab his sleeve.

Athrun looked back at her in surprise. She paused, staring into his blank, burning eyes for a moment, before she summoned up the courage to speak.

展hat happened? she asked.

Athrun stared at her in annoyance for a moment. 展hat do you mean?

添ou致eyou致e changed, Luna repeated. 的 know you can稚 have always been like this. Did Cagalli?

添es, Athrun said with a scowl, 鼎agalli died. He turned away angrily. 鄭nd I will not let her death be in vain. He clenched his fists angrily. 的値l take him downno matter what.

Luna looked on incredulously as Athrun trembled in rage. He looked back at Luna.

的t is my duty, he said, 鍍o Cagallito destroy him. He pulled away from her. 的 will not let her death be vain.

He turned and stormed away. Luna watched him go in disbelief.

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Atlantic Federation battleship Girty Lue, en route to Antarctica

The three new Gundams seemed to tower over the bridge tower of the William McKinley as it steamed steadily towards Antarctica, with the Girty Lue hovering overhead nearby. Neo Roanoke crossed his arms as he looked them over approvingly.

展e値l finally see them in action, he said with a smile. He glanced at the screen, with Rau Le Creuset痴 amused face on it. 鄭nd as for you?

纏AFT痴 got its own new models, Rau answered easily, leaning back in his chair. 典omorrow should give us quite the slaughter.

徹f course, Neo remarked. 典hen the war will move to space and we値l finally have our revenge.

笛ust make sure to continue playing your part, Rau said. 的t will all be over soon.

ZAFT would certainly pay for all it had done to him the terror at Endiymon, the year of the hazy sleep of a coma, and the months of genetic restructuring to turn him into a Newtype. He had endured it all so that he could have his revenge on ZAFT, on the Coordinators, on those who tried to have his power without his burden.

His smirk flashed feral. His wait was almost complete.

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Battlecruiser Kasselheim, en route to Antarctica

Night had fallen and the Kasselheim and Megami were nearing Antarctica when Shinn made his way onto the Kasselheim痴 observation deck, staring out the windows at the night sky. It was dark and overcast, the moon tinted behind a veil of black clouds. Antarctica lay up ahead, while somewhere to the west, the Earth Alliance fleet was gathering for its final blow against ZAFT on Earth. After that, the only answer was to go to space.

Shinn looked up at a familiar presence, and found Kika rounding a corner with a smile. Before he knew it, she swept up next to him and pressed a kiss against his lips.

展ha Shinn began to sputter. Kika put a finger to his lips to silence him.

的t痴 midnight, you dope, she said with a smile. 滴appy new year痴.

Shinn blinked and consulted his watch, only to find that it was in fact midnight and it was now CE 74.

典he traditional thing to do on the stroke of midnight, New Year痴 Eve, is to kiss someone, Kika went on, grinning knowingly at Shinn. 泥id you not have girls in ZAFT or what?

Shinn blushed in surprise and looked away. 的 didn稚 know that, he said quietly. Kika giggled and hugged him tightly.

的t痴 a good thing we didn稚 have a party, she said. 添ou need to learn to have fun, Shinn. You池e too serious all the time.

Shinn shook his head. 的 want to protect the ship, he answered.

的t痴 not about protecting people, Kika replied. 的t痴 about having friends, making friends, caring about people. You can稚 be some superhero who defends us all from harm. That痴 not what we want you to be. You池e one of us, and you always will be. She touched his cheek and pulled his attention back to her. 的 know you池e always careful and you always know you have to come back in order to protect us, but just promise me you値l remember all that when you池e out there fighting tomorrow, okay?

Shinn blinked at her. 的 promised you before I壇 come back, he said. 的値l come back. I値l protect you. I promise.

Kika smiled and kissed him again before he could protest. 的値l be waiting for you, Shinn.

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To be continued