Phase 41 - The Orb Raiders

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED DESTINY

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Phase 41 - The Orb Raiders

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January 3rd, CE 74 - Atlantic Federation Spengler-class aircraft carrier William McKinley, King George Island, South Shetland Islands

The hatch burst open with a crash, and a roaring wave of icy seawater gushed into the tiny access tunnel. A large metal dome smashed its way through the opening, and three figures crawled through the ship痴 hull, climbing to their feet. Three tall figures in Orb flight suits; one in white and black, one in red and gray, and one in black with yellow, stylized tiger patterns.

Andy glanced back at Yzak and Dearka, opening his helmet痴 visor as they did the same. 展e壇 better get going quickly, he said. They took off at a sprint down the tunnel, ducking past a heavy bulkhead as it ponderously swung shut, and took refuge behind a tangle of pipes as they checked their weapons.

典hey値l probably only close one compartment, Andy went on, glancing around the corner. 的f we really need to, Dearka can set the sled off from here and cause a nice distraction, but right now crashing it into the hull should be more than enough.

展e know all that, Yzak hissed. 鏑et痴 go already. We still have to get up to the hangar.

The three Coordinators took off at a sprint, removing the safeties on their weapons.

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Bridgeman Island, South Shetland Islands

的t痴 unescorted, Mwu noted dourly, as the Akatsuki crouched on the eastern side of Bridgeman Island, while the ZAFT Vosgulov glided past on the western side, surfaced.

釘ut why are they surfaced? Luna asked, as the Strike Rouge glanced up over the ridge at the submarine. 典he Alliance could spot them easily from here.

典here are too many underwater hazards, Athrun put in, standing on the ridge between the two mobile suits. 典his isn稚 the open ocean, so sunken ships and underwater geography can get in the way. He shouldered his assault rifle. 展e should get going soon.

摘xactly what I was thinking, Mwu agreed with a smirk. 鏑eave the mobile suits to us. You concentrate on not getting killed in there.

Buckling up his flak jacket, Athrun jogged down to the shore and plunged into the water. Mwu glanced over at Luna.

展ell, Miss Hawke, he began, 的 suppose this is where we値l see what you池e really made of. The Akatsuki glanced back at the submarine and unfolded the wings of its Owashi pack. 鏑eave the really tough enemies to me. Your suit痴 too old to do anything really intense.

Luna nodded dourly, closing the visor of her new red Orb flight suit. 的知 still going to make myself useful, she said.

的 didn稚 say you wouldn稚, Mwu replied with a knowing smile. 鼎ome on, we have some fun to have.

The Akatsuki and the Strike Rouge took off with a flash.

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Penguin Island, South Shetland Islands

Shinn glanced to his left as he heard the far-off sound of an explosion. He stood up, squinting and stretching his extended Coordinator vision as far as it would go, but all he could see was a tiny puff of smoke on the horizon.

鄭 battle? Stella asked quietly.

Shinn ignored it, sitting back down. Whatever it was, it didn稚 concern him, and it couldn稚 possibly involve anyone he had left to protect. The only person he had left now was Stella and she was standing here, right next to him.

He went back to staring resolutely at the horizon.

Stella glanced out towards the tiny cloud of smoke, hearing the faint rumblings of another explosion, and for a moment, she thought she saw the flash of a beam.

A battle?

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Atlantic Federation Spengler-class aircraft carrier William McKinley

Another soldier went down with a scream as Yzak leapt out from behind the cover of a heavy metal crate to squeeze off a shot, sending him backwards with a bleeding bullet hole in his forehead. Yzak ducked back behind the crate as the soldier痴 angry comrades opened fire, and the bullets went bouncing wildly off the rapidly-denting metal surface.

典hey sure have tight security here, Dearka grunted as he hefted his own rifle.

典hey must be learning, Yzak grunted.

Andy rolled out over his shoulder to open fire again, forcing the soldiers at the other end of the hall to back away. Dearka took the opportunity to leap to his feet, pulling loose the pin from a grenade and hurling it down the hallway. The three Coordinators ducked as a thunderous explosion wiped out the remaining guards. Andy ducked out, and Yzak and Dearka followed him as they advanced down the blasted-out corridor.
Two doors were blown open with relative ease by a bandolier full of charges that Yzak had strapped over his shoulder. The three Coordinators leapt apart as another wave of rifle fire tore down the hallway Dearka sent another grenade clattering to the soldiers feet, and with another blast of fire, they were gone and the invaders continued on their way.

An Alliance soldier came lunging out from behind a corner with bayonet drawn, and before anyone could react, dug the blade deep into Andy痴 left arm. He grunted as the soldier yanked hard to the side, sending the arm clattering aside the soldier stared in disbelief as Andy brought a hidden rifle to bear and cut him down.

Yzak and Dearka stared in disbelief at the smoking gun that was Andy痴 left arm.

添ou have a gun in there? Yzak asked incredulously.

Awesome! Dearka exclaimed with a grin. 的 want one!

Andy picked up his fallen left arm and casually reattached it. 展ell, get your arm blown off and we値l see what we can do, he said easily. 鼎ome on, let痴 go. He took off at a jog down the corridor.

A still-disbelieving Yzak and a crestfallen Dearka were right behind him.

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ZAFT Vosgulov-class submarine Kyrgyzstan

Athrun charged forward like a rhinoceros, perforating a squad of ZAFT guards with assault rifles held in both hands, and lunged past the soldiers before they had even hit the floor. Another group of soldiers opened fire again down the hall Athrun ducked down, rolling over his shoulder and taking down the next four guards out with another double-rifle burst. He keyed open the door and lunged in, before ducking under more bullets and firing back.

鼎ommander, Athrun said into his headset, as he took cover behind in a doorway. 的知 going to need some distraction.

In the sky above the Kyrgyzstan, inside the Akatsuki, Mwu growled as the Akatsuki took another hit to its shield from a GOUF Ignited痴 bazooka. 展ell, you値l have to give me a minute, he grunted. 典he Kyrgyzstan is better equipped than we thought.

Athrun scowled and paused to fire back at the soldiers down the hall. 展hat痴 wrong?

典hey池e packing GOUFs, Mwu answered, pausing himself to duck beneath a flurry of beam bolts and fire back with his beam rifle. The targeted GOUF deflected his shots with its shield, backing away. 鏑una痴 getting swamped and I can稚 take them all by myself.

Athrun cursed under his breath. 笛ust one hit to rock the ship will do, he said. 的知 getting close.

鄭lright, Mwu said, pulling back behind his shield. 徹ne hit it is.

The Akatsuki wheeled around, letting the beam bolts strike its golden armor uselessly, and fired its high energy cannons down at the Kyrgyzstan痴 hull, sending two plumes of fire billowing up off the ship. Deep inside, Athrun lunged forward as the ship quaked, lancing forward and mowing down the ZAFT troops as they struggled to keep their balance.

典hat should do, he said quickly. 滴ang on a little while longer. I might need Luna to launch another attack.

的f you say so, Mwu replied, as the GOUF circled around him, drawing its beam sword.

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ZAFT battleship Minerva, Southern Ocean

As the pilots rushed towards their mobile suits, forgoing flight suits for the sake of urgency, they stopped short inside the hangar, finding Rey痴 white ZAKU Phantom, the Impulse, and the Savior still being repaired, and hardly in any condition to fight. Shiho cursed under her breath.

展e値l have to send someone, she said. 典he Orb Raiders are attacking the Kyrgyzstan.

Rey glanced across the hangar. 的値l take the Legend, he said.

Shiho blinked in surprise. 典he Legend? she echoed. Rey glanced up at the dark mobile suit, glowering ahead soullessly. 釘ut that痴 the new unit!

展e have no other choice, he answered curtly. Before Shiho could protest any further, Rey took off at a sprint for the Legend.

Rey scowled as he leapt onto the boarding platform, raising himself up towards the Legend痴 cockpit. Shinn had stolen the Destiny already. He had taken Gil痴 finest machine, his greatest work of art. He had power now, power to stop Gil, power to stop fate itself. He could not be allowed to keep that power.

The Destiny was fast, but it could not have gone far.

Rey strapped himself in and activated the Legend. Its Phase Shift came to life, its eyes lighting up a menacing green, and the Legend stepped forward towards the starboard catapult.

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Atlantic Federation Spengler-class aircraft carrier William McKinley, King George Island, South Shetland Islands

It had taken the most powerful charge Yzak was carrying, but the final bulkhead towards the hangar had at last been blown open, and the three yelling Coordinators burst their way into the hangar with a spray of gunfire. The mechanics fled as the guards took cover Dearka sent a smoke grenade hurling into the center of the hangar, and it blew apart into a monstrous cloud of dark gray fog. The soldiers hacked and coughed as Andy, Yzak, and Dearka closed their visors and plunged into the haze, beating their way through any soldiers in their way. The three attackers leapt onto the boarding platform, raising it up to the gantry connected to the three new units.

典hese things are nice, Dearka said with a whistle of approval.

典ime to see just how nice they are, Andy said. 鏑et痴 go!

Yzak, Dearka, and Andy leapt into the three open cockpits, slamming the hatches shut as soldiers came streaming onto the gantry, opening fire. Their bullets ricocheted uselessly as the three Gundams Phase Shift armor came to life.

鼎alypso? Yzak read, as his machine stepped forward, smashing the gantry. He hefted the beam rifle and glanced over his shoulder. Dearka痴 new Judicator and Andy痴 new Mustang came to life with a flash. An array of beam cannons on the Judicator took aim, and with a thunderous roar, Dearka blew open the William McKinley痴 hangar hatches. Yzak and Dearka turned their beam rifles on the Windams parked in the hangar, blowing them apart one by one. At last, Dearka fired a final blast with the Judicator痴 chest cannon, piercing the William McKinley痴 insides. The Earth Alliance troops below fled as the three Gundams took off with a flash of exhaust.

敵otta hand it to the Alliance, Andy said approvingly. 典hese are some nice machines.

鏑et痴 just get the back to the Megami, Yzak said testily. 展e can still beat Zala.

徹h, I知 sure Athrun痴 making his own fun, Dearka chuckled.

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ZAFT Vosgulov-class submarine Kyrgyzstan, Bridgeman Island

Athrun grunted as he hit the floor, discarding the empty assault rifle in his left hand and skidding along the smooth metal, picking off three more ZAFT guards, before vaulting back to his feet and sprinting across the Vosgulov痴 locker room, snaking through the door before it could close. He paused, finding himself in the hangar, and looked up across the way was the imposing form of the Infinite Justice Gundam.

Unfortunately, between him and it were a few dozen less than enthused ZAFT guards and mechanics.

Athrun hid behind a stack of crates as the firing began. He couldn稚 last here forever, not vastly outnumbered. There had to be some way to take out groups of these guards at once.

鏑unamaria! he cried into his headset. 敵ive me some cover! Open fire on the Vosgulov痴 roof!

展hat? Luna痴 garbled voice shouted back. 釘ut where are you?

的知 in the hangar! Athrun growled, as a stray round slammed into the wall a little too close to his head for comfort. 滴urry up! They致e got it fortified!

釘ut you池e in there! Luna exclaimed. 展hat if I miss

的t doesn稚 matter! Athrun cut her off. 的 trust you! Just fire!

Luna was silent for a moment. 鄭lright, she said, 塗ere it goes!

There was nothing but the gunshots of the ZAFT troops for a momentand then came a massive green beam, slamming down through the roof and into the floor. Athrun vaulted over the crates and took off running as another beam came down through the roof nearby. The ZAFT guards, too panicked from the beam shots ripping through the ceiling, could pay him no mind as he sprinted across the hangar. Another beam came down behind him, blowing something up Athrun ignored it, lunging forward towards the boarding platform. He whirled around as it ascended, pumping round after round at the panicking soldiers below, and then leapt backward into the Infinite Justice痴 open cockpit, abandoning his assault rifle. The hatch closed with a slam Athrun strapped himself in.

With a flash from its eyes and Phase Shift, the Infinite Justice came to life and tore its way out of its brace.

鼎ommander, I致e secured the new model, Athrun said. 纏GMF-X19A Infinite Justice. Open one of the vertical launch tubes.

As Athrun secured the hangar with murderous bursts of CIWS fire, a beam saber came tearing through the central catapult痴 door. As the door slammed down onto the hangar floor, Athrun positioned himself in the catapult. He scowled and took off with a flash.

There was a burst of exhaust, and a moment later, the Infinite Justice burst out of the Kyrgyzstan. Up ahead, the three remaining GOUFs stopped in disbelief, staring at the Infinite Justice Mwu took the opportunity to shoot down two of them with the Akatsuki痴 high energy cannons, while Luna swept in to flank and destroy the third. Athrun turned, activating the Infinite Justice痴 subflight lifter, and fired a full burst from the lifter痴 beam cannons and the Infinite Justice痴 beam rifle into the Kyrgyzstan痴 battered hull. With a thunderous explosion, the ship broke in two and began to sink.

典hat痴 a hell of a machine ZAFT built, Mwu remarked. 鄭m I glad we got a hold of it.

鏑et痴 go, Athrun said quickly, 澱efore any reinforcements arrive.

The three Gundams turned to leave, but the beep of the Infinite Justice痴 sensors stopped them. A wave of beam fire flashed through the air in front of the three mobile suits Athrun snapped his attention in the direction of the attackers.

徹ne mobile suit! Luna exclaimed, consulting the Strike Rouge痴 sensors. 釘ut thisI宋e never seen it before

展hat is it? Athrun asked quickly. Another wave of green beam shots came streaking in Athrun growled and swung the Infinite Justice痴 shield into position, activating the beam shield. The shots slammed against the translucent energy field harmlessly.

典hat must be a new unit too! Luna exclaimed.

Athrun looked up ahead, magnifying the image. The approaching machine was different it resembled the Providence, but with a redesigned backpack, a new beam rifle, and strange blue armor plates over its hands.

Across the way, inside the Legend Gundam, Rey scowled, feeling the presence of the man who could only be Athrun Zala. He narrowed his eyes at the Infinite Justice.

鉄plit up! Mwu shouted. 的t壮 three on one! We can handle this!

The Infinite Justice took off backwards, firing its beam cannons. Rey snorted in disgust, smacking the shots aside with his beam shield and firing back with a beam cannon barrage from his DRAGOONs. Athrun grunted in surprise, deflecting the shots with his own beam shield, and pulled back. The Legend took off after him with a beam rifle volley; Athrun skirted aside, firing back with his own rifle.

泥ammit, Athrun grunted, 電oesn稚 this thing have any specialty weapons?

添ou have lurked on the edges of the world for too long, Rey growled. 添ou have no place in Gil痴 new world!

The Legend vaulted up into the air, showering the Infinite Justice with beam shots. Athrun growled and took off along the ocean, the Legend in hot pursuit.

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Orb Raiders dreadnaught Megami, King George Island

The Calypso, Judicator, and Mustang landed with a crash next to the Megami, as it shed its Mirage Colloid and opened its hangar doors.

展e got here before Zala did, Yzak remarked with a smirk.

哲ot that it matters, Dearka said quickly. 滴e痴 probably having more fun.

的t痴 about time you three got back, Murrue cut in. 敵et those things locked down already. Some new ZAFT model is attacking Athrun痴 group.

展hat? Andy exclaimed. 鄭nother new unit? He cursed under his breath. 添zak, Dearka, let痴 go!

The Calypso, Judicator, and Mustang rushed into the Megami痴 hangar, and the black warship slowly rose off the surface of the water, the engines coming to life with a flash.

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Bridgeman Island

Mwu痴 Akatsuki opened fire with a beam rifle volley, but the Legend easily skirted aside and returned fire with a withering beam cannon barrage. The Akatsuki staggered backwards under a hail of beam blasts. Athrun swept in from behind, beam boomerang blade activated, but the Legend effortlessly somersaulted over the Infinite Justice痴 head. Athrun whipped around to face Rey, but the Legend drew a beam javelin with its left hand and activated it with a flash. Athrun scowled, drawing his own saber, and charged.

鼎ommander! Luna! Flank him! Athrun shouted. The two Gundams came together with a shower of sparks, beam sabers clashing. Mwu and Luna moved in from behind, beam rifles raised.

典hat won稚 stop me! Rey snapped, angling the DRAGOONs to open fire at the two attackers. Mwu yelped in surprise as the shots drove the Akatsuki back; Luna screamed as the shots slammed against the Strike Rouge痴 shield.

鏑una! Athrun cried. He fired the Infinite Justice痴 thrusters, screaming; Rey痴 eyes flashed, and with a punishing kick to the stomach, he knocked the Infinite Justice backward. A white bolt split the air; Rey whirled around, beam javelin at the ready, and deflected a downward beam saber hack from the Strike Rouge.

Rey narrowed his eyes at the feeling of a familiar presence. 添ou池eLunamaria! He scowled. 添ou survived after allbut I値l correct this error! The Legend fired its thrusters, pushing the Strike Rouge back. 添ou don稚 belong in this world!

The Legend came streaking forward, beam javelin pulled back for a killing blow. Luna struggled to regain her balance; she looked with wide, terrified eyes at the approaching Legend, and squeezed her eyes shut.

Someonehelp me!

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Penguin Island

There were more tiny slivers of green light on the horizon now. The battle at Bridgeman Island had intensified. Shinn watched it emotionlessly, feeling nothing to invest in it. Everything was gone there was no reason to care any longer.

鉄tella wants to help Shinn痴 friends, Stella said quietly.

Shinn slowly looked up at Stella. 展edon稚 have anymore friends, he said quietly.

Stella looked out towards the horizon, looking unsatisfied.

Shinn stared soullessly at the faint scenes of battle. There was nothing

Someonehelp me!

Shinn痴 eyes widened in disbelief as a white bolt of energy crackled before him and he heard a voice he swore he recognized. It was Luna but how? The feeling returned Luna was there, fighting, struggling, scared. Shinn leapt to his feet. She was out there she needed him, or else she would die. He had to go to her; he had to protect her.

鉄tella, he said, 努e池e going.

Shinn whirled around and sprinted towards the Destiny, pulling himself up into the cockpit and activating the Destiny in a flash. The Destiny and Gaia leapt into the air, taking off.

鄭re we going to help Shinn痴 friend? Stella asked quietly.

Shinn narrowed his eyes at the horizon. 添eah, he answered, 努e are.

He clenched his fists around the Destiny痴 controls.

Hang on, Luna, he thought. I知 coming.

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Bridgeman Island

The beam javelin came down, but never found its mark Rey scowled in anger as the Akatsuki floated between him and the floundering Strike Rouge, blocking Rey壮 javelin with its shield.

添ouyou perversion of Rau! Rey snarled, jetting backward to attack again. His senses flared he fired the DRAGOON cannons backward, slamming their shots against the charging Infinite Justice痴 beam shield and sending it staggering back.

泥amn you, Mwu grunted, scowling at a feeling similar to Rau. 添ou池e not Rau! What are you?! The Akatsuki charged, drawing one end of its double beam saber, and brought it down on the Legend痴 beam javelin with a crash. 添ou aren稚 killing anymore of us, you goddamned Rau wannabe!

The Legend surged back towards the Akatsuki, trying to stab forward with its javelin. Mwu deflected the blow with his shield Rey slammed the Akatsuki with a devastating kick to the stomach, sending the Akatsuki flying. The Infinite Justice came streaking in from behind Rey cut the engine, lunging into the Infinite Justice痴 face and slamming it head on, sending Athrun careening backward. Rey whirled around, deflecting a volley of beam shots from Luna痴 Strike Rouge.

鄭thrun and this mockery of Rau are as dangerous as you, he said with a scowl, 澱ut you are the weakest link The Legend charged towards the Strike Rouge, firing its beam cannons. 鉄o I will destroy you first! Luna took cover behind her shield, but the Legend kicked it aside and raised its beam javelin. Luna squeezed her eyes shut in terror

A red beam cannon blast tore between the Legend and the Strike Rouge, forcing the Legend back. Rey and Luna looked in disbelief at the source, with a familiar sensation pricking Rey痴 senses.

Up ahead, with its long-range beam cannon deployed, flanked by the Gaia, floated the Destiny Gundam.

Rey痴 eyes widened in anger. 鉄hinn!

Inside the Destiny, Shinn scowled as he felt Rey痴 presence. The seed burst before him, and he glanced at the Gaia.

的値l handle him, Stella, he said quickly. 添ou protect the others.

Stella nodded; the Destiny took off, folding its cannon and taking aim with its beam rifle.

添ou致e finally shown your face, Shinn! Rey shouted, taking off towards the Destiny, drawing his second javelin and clamping them together into a single double-bladed javelin. 添our world has been destroyed! Now you will go with it!

The Destiny drew its anti-ship sword and activated its beam wings; Shinn痴 eyes flashed angrily.

的 won稚 let you kill them, Rey! he screamed. 的 won稚 let you destroy what I have left!

The Destiny brought its sword down with a crash onto the Legend痴 javelin blade. Rey grunted angrily under the force of the blow, struggling to hold the sword痴 shimmering beam away from his machine. The Destiny fired its thrusters, Shinn screaming, and surged forward, shoving the Legend down towards the water痴 surface. Rey scowled, charging back up, and the two Gundams crashed together again, sparks flying.

鉄hinn! Rey shouted. 的 will not let you run free in this world with that kind of power! His eyes flashed. 添ou betrayed us all! Your place in Gil痴 new world is lost! Now DIE!

The Legend surged forward, firing a torrent of beam shots from its DRAGOONs Shinn痴 eyes narrowed angrily, as batted the beam salvo aside with his beam shield, charging back and bringing his anti-ship sword down with a crash.

的 gave you my dream for a new world! Rey cried. 的 gave you my hope for the future, and you betrayed it! I will not let you get away!

The Legend broke off from the Destiny with another beam volley, slamming against the Destiny痴 beam shields and driving it back. Rey swept in from above, twirling his double javelin and bringing it slicing down towards the Destiny. Shinn screamed back, stabbing forward with his sword, and stopped the spinning javelin blade痴 on the sword痴 beam blade edge. Rey blinked in disbelief as the Destiny charged up at him, ramming him with its shoulder.

的 don稚 want to hear that 惣ou betrayed me shit! Shinn snapped. 添ou were using me! The Destiny surged forward, kicking the Legend backward, and deployed its long range cannon, firing a blast at the Legend痴 chest. Rey growled, skirting aside, firing back with his beam rifle. Shinn ducked underneath the shot, streaking across the sky Rey followed it with a beam cannon barrage from the Legend痴 DRAGOONs, but his shots passed harmlessly through afterimages.

滴ow many are there?! Rey snarled. 泥amn you, Shinn

The Destiny charged back towards the Legend Rey deflected Shinn痴 anti-ship sword blow with his javelin, backing away with another beam volley. Shinn jetted aside, letting the shots sail through another blur of afterimages, and fired another long range cannon shot, nearly clipping the Legend痴 shoulder.

的 don稚 know what you did to Luna, Shinn cried, 澱ut I won稚 let you hurt her!

The Legend came down with another javelin swing Shinn screamed as he charged up towards the Legend, deflecting its swing with his sword and kicking the Legend in the stomach. Rey growled as the Legend rattled, and fired another beam volley as he pulled back.

Across the battlefield, inside the Infinite Justice, Athrun watched the Destiny and Legend in disbelief. The Gaia floated in front of them, keeping them back. Athrun glanced over at it the pilot was saying nothing, watching impassively the Destiny and Legend dueled.

The Legend skirted around the Destiny, brining its javelin to bear. Shinn scowled, activating his left-hand palm cannon, and spread his hand, blocking the Legend痴 javelin with his palm cannon. Rey痴 eyes widened in disbelief a moment later, another kick to the chest sent the Legend reeling backward again. Rey scowled, deploying the DRAGOONs again to fire another beam volley Shinn boosted aside, leaving an afterimage in his wake, and charged again, shoving the Legend down towards the water痴 surface.

滴ow fast is this he?! Rey growled. He tried to fire again at point-blank range the Destiny sent him careening towards the ocean again with another kick to the stomach. Shinn came down with another devastating sword swing that sent the Legend staggering back, its entire body rattling under the blow. Rey scowled at the Destiny as it floated before him, a vicious avenging angel with shimmering wings, holding its long sword before it combatively.

典urn back, Rey, Shinn said, eyes flashing. 的 don稚 want to kill you.

The Legend charged, brandishing its javelins. 鄭nd that is your weakness! Rey shouted. Shinn痴 eyes narrowed in anger he swung back with his anti-ship sword, stopping the Legend cold in midair and forcing back again.

的 don稚 want to kill you, Shinn repeated, 澱ut I WILL IF YOU MAKE ME!

The Destiny charged again, bringing its sword to bear Rey deflected the blow with his javelins, only to see a split-second too late as the Destiny kicked the Legend in the face, sending it tumbling backward. Shinn charged with a scream, slamming his sword down onto the Legend痴 javelins. Rey growled, activating the DRAGOONs to open fire again

A blaze of beam cannon fire and missiles flashed in between the two combatants the Destiny pulled back as the wall of firepower pushed the Legend further and further away. Snarling in anger, Rey cast a vicious glare at the rising shape of the Megami as it cruised onto the battlefield.

典he Megami! Shinn exclaimed. He looked back at the Legend as it took cover behind its beam shields. Rey glowered up at the Destiny and took off behind his beam shield, firing attack flares behind him. Shinn squeezed his eyes shut as the Legend made its escape over Bridgeman Island.

As the light faded, Shinn glanced at the Gaia. He looked at the three Gundams behind it and then he looked back at the Megami.

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Orb Raiders dreadnaught Megami, Bridgeman Island

The Destiny came to a rest in an empty hangar brace next to the Gaia. On the boarding gantry, Athrun stood by, still wearing his flight suit, the collar open, holding his helmet loosely in his left hand. He watched carefully as the Destiny痴 hatch opened. Stella was already there waiting for him, glancing apprehensively at Athrun, and at Lacus standing behind him.

Shinn Asuka emerged, his dark blue bridge coat slung over his shoulder. He said something to Stella and then cast a wary look at Athrun. The hangar was silent, all eyes on Shinn, as he slowly approached Athrun.

添ou saved us, Athrun remarked tonelessly. Shinn nodded wordlessly, glancing at Lacus. She smiled back helpfully. Shinn returned his attention to Athrun.

展e want to join the Orb Raiders, he said.

Athrun glanced in surprise at Lacus; she looked at him knowingly. 展hat about the Mad Typhoon Gang? he asked. 展hat happened to them?

Shinn痴 face darkened at bitter and all too recent memories. 典he Kasselheim was destroyed, he said flatly. Athrun blinked in disbelief; Lacus痴 kind smile vanished.

泥estroyed? Athrun echoed. 鄭ll of them?

鉄tella and I no longer have a home, Shinn went on. 釘ut we want to make one here.

Lacus stepped up next to Athrun. 展e can give you a home, Shinn, she said. She looked at Athrun. 的sn稚 that right, Athrun?

Athrun looked at Shinn for a moment, regarding the dark-dressed youth with the burning red eyes and the three scars on his cheek. At last, he took a step forward and extended a hand.

展elcome home, Shinn, he said.

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To be continued