Phase 18 - A Promise in Blood

Mobile Suit Gundam SEED TWILIGHT

Phase 18 - A Promise in Blood

March 7th, CE 77 - Lake Ladoga, Republic of Karelia, Russia

The Twilight took off with a roar towards the approaching Aegis Gundam. Left behind, Shinn looked up in surprise.

"Emily, don't lose control of yourself!" he warned.

"She is a force unto herself now," Rau chuckled, as the Legend Gundam took up its position on the portside wing of the Minerva. "There is nothing you can do to stop her."

Shinn glared back and keyed in the frequency for the rest of his team. "Everyone, move forward and attack the enemy mobile suits. Let Emily be."

He glared up ahead at the approaching Windams. You Phantom Pain bastards...

Harris Meyers narrowed his eyes at the charging Twilight Gundam as he weaved around its furious beam blasts. "So, you're the little girl my men keep calling the Angel of Death, hmm?" The Aegis snapped its rifle up and opened fire. "Perhaps I should have thrown you to all those troops in the crew lounge!"

"How could you do it...?!" Emily snarled, firing back with the Barrus and forcing the Aegis on the defensive. "How could you murder her!?"

The Aegis whirled around, beam rifle blazing, but the Twilight ducked around the shots effortlessly and blasted back with a Barrus shot that sent the Aegis spiraling for safety towards the ground. The Twilight followed, beam rifle in its left hand and firing a trail of shots after the Aegis as the two Gundams dropped towards the earth.

"Emily von Oldendorf..." Harris grunted, slamming on the brakes and spitting a beam salvo up at the charging Twilight, forcing the black-armored Gundam to dodge. "I can't understand why you and Kyali got along so well!"

The Twilight charged again with a Barrus blast, and the Aegis darted away, transforming in midair and lunging at the Twilight with open claws. Emily stormed towards it with a scream, sending the Twilight's right leg lancing forward to kick the Aegis just above the barrel of its Scylla cannon, and the mobile armor went spiraling away. She lined up for a killing blast with the Barrus the Aegis fired back with its Scylla cannon, and the explosion between the two shots sent both Gundams reeling. The Aegis lunged up above the smoke, beam rifle in hand Emily fired back with the Barrus again, and the Aegis went back on the defensive.

"She just wanted a friend," Emily murmured the Twilight dodged the Aegis's furious beam rifle shots, squeezing off a return shot with the Barrus that almost took off the Aegis's right arm. "She just wanted a friend! How could you murder her for that!?"

Harris clenched his teeth as the Twilight charged. "Who is this girl?!"

Emily's eyes flashed in fury. "I'll kill you!"

The Aegis swept forward with a scything beam saber-assisted kick with its right leg the Twilight ducked under the blow, and with a crash, sent its own leg shooting up into the Aegis's chest to throw it back. The Twilight leveled off its Barrus for a killing shot, but the Aegis dove out of harm's way.

"Come back here!" Emily screamed, as the Twilight took off again.

"There's that guy again," Auel said grimly as the Abyss and Chaos approached the charging Sword Calamity, flanked by a quartet of Windams. "This time he's not going back home!"

Across the way, Hayden clenched his fists around the Sword Calamity's controls. "I'm a soldier," he murmured to himself. "I...I follow my orders!" The Sword Calamity leveled off its two Windam beam rifles, opening fire with its Windam escorts. "I follow my orders!"

The Abyss and Chaos ducked around the beam blasts, and Sting fired back with his beam rifle. "You get rid of those Windams," he said, "and I'll handle Mr. Swordfighter there!"

The Chaos charged, leveling off its shield and opening fire with a machinegun volley aimed at the Sword Calamity's sub-wing. The enemy machines scattered the Abyss rocketed up towards the Windams, lance pulled back and blade ignited, and fired a beam cannon volley to keep them apart.

Sting squeezed off a rifle shot that nearly took off the Sword Calamity's left leg, but the black Phantom Pain Gundam charged, returning fire with two rifles. Sting charged forward, seizing his chance, and with a crash, cut the rifle in the Sword Calamity's left hand in two.

"Damn you!" Hayden growled, abandoning the rifle and drawing a sword instead. The Sword Calamity swept in, sword raised Sting deflected the blow with his shield, staggering away from the momentum of the blow.

"That sword has too much mass behind it!" Sting snarled, firing back with his beam rifle and watching in mounting frustration as the Sword Calamity effortlessly dodged his shots. "Dammit! You gonna make me fight with a saber, pal!?"

Athrun Zala bit back a curse as he watched his beam saber slam against the Jet Windam's shield, and the Windam answered with a saber strike of its own that came up against the Infinite Justice's beam shield. The enemy land-ship was running low on mobile suits, but the pilots who were left were clearly the best in the complement.

A torrent of beam blasts came streaking out of the sky, slamming through the Windam from above and blowing it apart. Athrun lunged through the smoke, charging towards the next Windam, and put his saber through its chest, not waiting for it to explode to turn his sights on the third Windam. He glanced over his shoulder, as the Savior Gundam rocketed through the air, transforming into mobile suit mode to shower the Windams with beam rifle fire. Under the Savior's cover, Athrun stormed forward, ripping the third Windam in two with his saber, and sawing the fourth in half with his boomerang blade.

"There's more of them on their way," Athrun said grimly, looking up ahead. "Looks like we've narrowed their mobile suit force down to the best pilots."

The Legend Gundam dropped in next to the Justice, beam rifle in hand. "The weak are always the first to fall," Rau chuckled. "The worlds of man and beast collide most clearly on the battlefield."

"Shut up," Athrun snapped. He glanced at the Windams ahead. "Nine Jet Windams, and three Slaughter Windams..."

"They only give Slaughter Windams to aces..." Viveka started.

"It's the hardest Striker pack to qualify on in training," Athrun answered. "If you can handle it, it means you're probably pretty good." He narrowed his eyes at the black mobile suits on the warpath, drawing his beam rifle. "Whether or not you can win, though, is another matter."

Viveka smiled thinly. "I am the Black Wolf," she said.

The three Gundams charged.

The Destiny rattled as the Windams' CIWS fire pelted the Phase Shift armor harmlessly. Shinn squinted through the flashing lights, charging and drawing his sword back. The Windam before him tried to take cover behind its shield, but Shinn brought the blade crashing down through the shield, tearing the Windam in half. He somersaulted over the dying mobile suit, picking off a second Windam with his long-range cannon, and landed with a crash.

His senses flared the Destiny lunged to the side, as a salvo of shells went ripping across the battlefield, slamming into the snow with a flash of fire. Shinn magnified the image, finding a squad of Lightning Dark Windams standing tall on the land-ship's deck, their electromagnetic cannons extended, supported by a quartet of Doppelhorn Dark Windams.

"Stella, snipers!" he cried, ducking aside as another blast came shrieking in out of nowhere. "Does your rifle still have the long-range function?"

"Stella will shoot them all!" she answered the Gaia took cover behind its shield as a Lightning Windam's shell slammed home against it, driving the Gaia back through the snow. "They aren't scary...!"

Shinn somersaulted into the air, smashing his left-hand palm cannon through the cockpit of a passing Jet Windam, and lunged aside as its comrades. "The ship has more defenses than I thought...Stella, get into position and snipe them! I'll cover you!"

A volley from one of the Doppelhorn Windams slammed into the Destiny's beam shield, driving the Gundam back. Shinn burst through the smoke, leveling off his rifle at another Jet Windam and blowing it out of the sky. Down below, the Gaia ducked beneath a Windam's beam saber slash, impaling its foe through the cockpit with a saber strike of its own. The Gaia switched back to its rifle, somersaulting backwards and driving its shield into the snow; Stella put the Gaia's left foot down on top of the shield, steadying her left arm on the Gaia's raised knee and holding the rifle up. The scope at the rifle's top extended forward in the cockpit, Stella pulled the sniper rifle's scope down in front of her, narrowing her eyes at the distant targets on the land-ship's deck.

The Destiny landed heavily by the Gaia's side, switching back to its beam rifle and pouring firepower after the Windams as they stormed forward. One of the Windams leveled off a bazooka at the Gaia Shinn darted between the two mobile suits, ripping off the Windam's arm with a palm cannon blow and sending its bazooka shell streaking up into the air right through the cockpit of a charging Jet Windam.

"You have to go through me first!" Shinn snapped, finishing the Windam off with a beam rifle blast through the cockpit. He backpedaled behind his beam shield, glancing over his shoulder at the Gaia. "Stella!"

The Gaia fired, sending a pulsing green beam streaking across the battlefield. On the Bonaparte's deck, the beam plowed through one of the Lightning Windams, blowing it apart and sending its compatriots staggering in surprise.

"Sniping the targets," Stella said quietly, as the Gaia shifted its aim. The Windams in front of the Destiny charged again Shinn scowled, drawing his sword. The shells came down around the Destiny, but Shinn deployed his beam shields to protect the Gaia as it adjusted its rifle.

"You're gonna have to beat me if you want to hurt her," Shinn snarled, pointing his sword vindictively at the remaining Windams. "So I'd like to see you try!"


The screams rang throughout the cockpit as the Twilight Gundam charged relentlessly after the Aegis, showering it with pulsing blasts from the Barrus cannon clutched in its right hand. The Aegis whirled around, beam saber shining to life on its right leg the Twilight dove back, firing off another Barrus blast that forced the Aegis on the defensive.

"What kind of Natural can fight like this with no training...?!" Harris snarled. The Aegis swept in again, this time igniting the saber on its left arm, and brought it down with a crash through the Twilight's Barrus cannon. Emily shoved the ruined weapon into the Aegis's face, blowing it apart with a CIWS burst that sent the Aegis reeling towards the ground. "Dammit!"

"She just wanted someone to be nice to her!" Emily screamed, charging after the Aegis and switching her beam rifle to her right hand. "I won't let you get away!"

The Aegis somersaulted over the Twilight's killing beam blows, charging forward and igniting its left-hand saber again. "You're mine!"

The Twilight pounded the Aegis's face with a punishing kick, sending the red mobile suit spiraling down towards the earth. Harris shook his head, firing back with a beam rifle salvo, and scowling in frustration as the Twilight effortlessly slapped the shots aside with its beam shield.

"I promised her I'd save her, but I couldn't," Emily snarled, beam rifle blazing as the Twilight plunged after the Aegis. "So I promised her I'd kill you...and I'll keep that one!"

"She's never been this skilled before," Harris growled, firing the thrusters as he approached the ground. The Aegis leveled off and landed with a crash in the snow, skidding to a halt and bracing as the Twilight came charging forward. "I thought she was just a Natural!"

The Aegis opened fire with its beam rifle, but the Twilight ducked around the shots, returning fire. Harris deflected the blasts with his shield, whirling around as the Twilight circled around him and slammed down into the snow.

"Perhaps I should have just killed you as soon as I saw you," Harris snarled. "But I'll just have to correct that error here!"

Earth Alliance Hannibal-class land battleship Bonaparte

The Bonaparte rattled as a pulsing pair of beam blasts slammed down into the snow nearby. Tupolev gripped his chair's armrests in frustration, as another Doppelhorn Windam on the ship's deck exploded from a beam shot from nowhere.

"Damned Minerva," he growled. "We've hit them twice already and they haven't been scratched! Why?!"

"It looks like they have laminated armor, sir," the sensor officer said. He glanced down at his board. "Missiles incoming!"

"CIWS, intercept!" The Bonaparte's CIWS guns roared to life, cutting the Minerva's missiles out of the sky. "Bring us around so we can get a clear shot! Gottfried One and Three, stand by!"

The smoke parted Tupolev's eyes widened in disbelief as the Minerva soared overhead, and its Isolde cannon thundered. A trio of shells smashed into the Bonaparte's deck, smashing one of the Lightning Windams to pieces.

"Gottfrieds, fire!"

The Bonaparte's four Gottfried cannons fired up into the air the Minerva ponderously swung to the side, letting the blasts sizzle through the sky, and fired off a volley of missiles that came streaking down into the Bonaparte's CIWS screen.

"Sir, the Minerva is pulling in behind us!" the sensor officer cried.

"Gottfried Three and Four, turn and fire! Don't let them attack!" Tupolev barked. The Bonaparte's Gottfrieds blazed, and the Minerva aborted its attack run to pull up over the shots. "Damn them! I won't let this ship be just another kill for them!"

"You guys think you're tough!?" Auel screamed, spiraling through the air as a quartet of Jet Windams poured beam fire after him. "I can fight too!"

The Abyss whirled around, igniting the beam blade of its lance and slamming on the brakes. The Windams pulled up, but one of them was too late, and Auel smirked as he slammed his lance through the Windam's cockpit. "Gotcha!"

The Abyss turned again to deflect a volley of beam shots as the remaining three Windams came screaming in. He snapped up the Abyss's shoulder shells, pounding off a volley of cannon blasts and forcing the Windams to break formation and with a scream, he charged and put his lance through the second Windam.

"Are you guys really from the Phantom Pain?!" Auel cackled, whirling around again to deflect another volley of beam shots. "Neo would've kicked your asses for performance like this!"

The remaining two Windams unleashed a flurry of missiles Auel sneered and cut them down with a CIWS burst, falling back and lunging over the smoke to squeeze off a Callidus shot. The Windams darted aside to let the blast sear by

"Say goodbye!" Auel laughed the Abyss let loose a beam cannon volley that ripped the left-hand Windam apart, and it vanished in a plume of fire. The remaining Windam turned, bringing its beam rifle to bear, but Auel charged into its face to slash the rifle in two. The Windam backed away, drawing a saber, and brought it down in a powerful overhead hack the Abyss jammed its lance into the saber's path, leaving the two mobile suits locked together.

Auel grinned and angled up the right-hand shoulder shell, pointing the cannons directly at the Windam's face and torso, and blew it out of the sky with a laugh.

"I'm sorry," he chuckled, as the broken Windam exploded below him, "for being so powerful!" He glanced up at the battlefield. "Guess I better go bail Sting's sorry ass out, eh?"

The Abyss hefted its lance and took off.

The Gaia Gundam fired again, picking off a third Doppelhorn Windam on the Bonaparte's deck, and ducked as a Lightning Windam's return shot streaked over its head. Stella glanced up from the rifle's scope, as Shinn did battle with the remaining Windams before them.

"You'll have to do better than that to beat me!" Shinn snapped, as the Destiny Gundam whirled around, sword in hand, and smashed the blade through the waist of a low-flying Jet Dark Windam. Another Windam charged towards the Destiny's exposed back, beam saber in hand Shinn stabbed backwards with his sword, impaling the Windam on his blade, and then used the massive Arondight to hurl the broken Windam at one of its allies, blowing both machines apart in the process.

"Shinn!" Stella called out. "There's only two left!"

Shinn glanced back at the Gaia, as it took up its shield and leapt into the air. "Then I'll attack the ship myself! Will you be okay, Stella?!"

Stella smiled back. "Nothing scary can get Stella now!" she shouted, as the Gaia rained beam fire down on the beleaguered Windams. Shinn flashed a grin and turned towards the Bonaparte.

"Then I'll end these guys myself!"

The seed fell, and the Destiny charged. A squad of Jet Windams rose up to stop him

"You can try!"

The Destiny's beam wings flashed to life, and the Gundam danced around their beam shots, leaving an army of afterimages to catch the blows. With a crash, the Destiny slammed its sword through the first Windam, cleaving through its waist and plowing the blade into the second Windam. As the first two stricken Windams exploded, the Destiny stormed forward, and its beam wings sliced the last two Windams in half.

Somewhere on the battlefield, Shinn could feel a white-hot pinpoint of fury. Emily was still fighting the Aegis

A wave of beam shots reclaimed his attention, and the Destiny charged towards the Bonaparte.

Landing hard on the snow, the Aegis Gundam raised its beam rifle towards the Twilight, firing wildly. Harris ground his teeth as the unstoppable black Gundam charged straight at him, deflecting his shots with its beam shield, and thrust his own shield forward to block the Twilight's inevitable beam rifle blast. The Twilight darted up into the Aegis's face, tearing the rifle from its hand and hurling it away.

"Two can play at that game!" Harris roared the Aegis surged forward, activating its right-hand saber, and swiped furiously at the Twilight. It backflipped out of harm's way, landing with a crash on the snow and snapping its beam rifle up to fire. The Aegis leapt away as the Twilight continued firing

Harris yelped in surprise as the Aegis lost its footing. He looked down in disbelief, finding the snow below him melting and the Twilight was firing its shots down into the snow, melting it.

"She's trying to trap me!" he snarled. The Twilight leveled off its rifle for a killing blow. "Try again, little girl!"

The Aegis thrust itself into the air with a blast from its waist binders, backflipping over the Twilight's finishing shot and igniting its saber again. The Twilight stashed its rifle and drew a saber of its own from its shoulder, taking off after the Aegis.

"It's like she can see the future...!" Harris growled. "What the hell are you!?"

The Chaos rattled as the Sword Calamity brought its sword down Sting snarled, gunning the booster and charging forward. With a crash, he severed the Sword Calamity's right arm at the elbow with his left-hand beam claw, shoving the black Phantom Pain machine back.

"I'm not gonna be beaten!" Hayden cried, firing forward his left-hand anchor and seizing the Chaos's beam rifle. Sting clenched his teeth as the Sword Calamity yanked his rifle from his grasp and hurled it towards the ground. "I'm a good soldier!"

"Okay, we'll fight with sabers!" Sting shot back, drawing his beam saber and backing away to shower the Sword Calamity with missiles. Hayden fired back with a Scylla shot that set off a chain reaction, before lunging up above the explosions and storming down towards the Chaos.

"You can't beat me!" Hayden shrieked, raising its sword over his head and bringing it down with a crash onto the Chaos's shield. Sting grunted as the Chaos went reeling towards the ground.

"My shield isn't gonna hold out much longer against that sword," he growled. "Dammit!"

The Sword Calamity came charging in as the Chaos landed. It raised its sword again only to see a flurry of beam shots lance down from the heavens, blasting its sub-wing apart and sending the Sword Calamity grinding to a halt in the snow. With a crash, the Abyss Gundam landed hard next to the Chaos, twirling its lance by its side.

"You always need me to save your ass," Auel chuckled.

"I could say the same for you," Sting shot back. "Look out!"

The Abyss opened fire with a beam cannon barrage that picked the Sword Calamity's beam boomerangs out of the air. The mobile suit itself came sprinting towards the two Gundams, sword raised.
"I'm not a monster!" Hayden screamed. "I'm not a monster!"

Another Jet Windam went down in flames before the unstoppable Legend Gundam. Inside, Rau Le Creuset flashed a feral grin humans weren't good at very many things, but when it came to creating efficient implements with which to kill each other, they were unrivaled.

He glanced back at the Minerva as it swung through the air, trading fire with the Bonaparte. That ship was doing surprisingly well.

"Legend," Roxy's voice started, "Shinn is attacking the land-ship already. Can you get over there and assist?"

"If Athrun does not mind a hole in the ship's defense," Rau responded. "Captain, I suggest you be bolder in your attacks."

The Minerva quaked as it shot down a volley of missiles. "Exactly how much bolder can we be, Commander Le Creuset?" Meyrin asked testily.
The Legend turned towards the Bonaparte. "Move in over the snow, level with the enemy, and fire the Tannhäuser," Rau said. "They won't be able to evade and it will immobilize them, if not destroy them."

"But we'd risk damaging the ship!" Abbey protested.

"Then Malik will just have to not let the ship get damaged," Rau answered with a shrug.

"Yeah, thanks, no pressure or anything," Malik snapped.

"The radiation would ruin Karelia," Meyrin said. "We're not trying that. Rau, move in and support Shinn. Minerva, continue attacking from the air."

Rau smiled as the Legend descended down towards the beleaguered Bonaparte. Captain Hawke was finally finding her backbone.

"Tupolev, you're getting too close to the lake!" Harris growled as the Aegis spiraled through the air, dodging the Twilight's furious saber swipes. "Move east along the coast! If you get stuck against the shore, you're done for!"

The Twilight cut him off with a long-range cannon blast that sizzled by the Aegis, missing its armor by inches. "Stop running!" Emily snapped. "I'm not letting you go!"

"Who is this kid!?" Harris exclaimed, as the Twilight brought its saber down with a crash against the Aegis's blade. "Dammit, she's dominating me...!"

"I won't let you get away with what you did to her!" Emily snarled. "Come on, Twilight! We'll kill him! We'll kill him!"

The Twilight surged forward, throwing the Aegis back, and roared up towards the flailing Gundam with saber pulled back for a killing blow.

"I don't think so!" Harris roared, punching his shield forward to spoil the Twilight's finishing stab and swinging forward with his own saber. The Twilight blocked the blow with its beam shield, leaving the two Gundams locked together in midair. "Dammit, you weren't like this before!"

"For everything you did to her," Emily said, her hands trembling as she fixed the Aegis with a smoldering glare, "for everything you put her through when she saved my life..."

The Twilight's eyes flashed.


The Twilight pounded the Aegis in the stomach with a devastating kick, sending the red Gundam staggering out of the sky. Emily swept down like a hawk, saber raised, and only a desperate parry from the Aegis saved Harris.

"I can't believe this!" he cried. "I was trained by Rena Imelia! How you be beating me when you're just a little girl?!"

The Infinite Justice charged forward, deflecting desperate beam shots with its beam shield. It lunged forward, detaching its Fatum-01 and slamming its boomerang blade into the first Jet Windam's cockpit. Even as the Windam began to fall from the sky and explode, Athrun leapt off his dying foe, guiding the Fatum down through the sky and sawing the second Windam in two. It arced around as the Justice began to fall, slamming back onto the Gundam's back, and Athrun looked up at the final Windam, storming forward

The Savior dropped in to put its saber through the Windam's cockpit and turn, deflecting beam shots from the two Slaughter Windams.

"Viveka!" Athrun shouted. He leveled off his beam rifle to fire back, but the Slaughter Windams dodged the shots effortlessly. One of them broke off to come screaming down towards the Justice Athrun darted aside, but the Slaughter Windam whirled around as it passed, showering the Justice with beam rifle fire.

"Dammit, these guys aren't like the others!" Athrun growled, firing back. "Such mobility...!"

Up above, the Savior rattled as the Windam came down with a devastating kick to its shield. Viveka grunted and struggled to maintain control, but the Windam charged again, spewing beam rifle blasts. "Dammit, he's good...!"

Down below, the first Slaughter Windam came charging in for another attack, drawing a beam saber with its left hand and firing wildly with the rifle in its right. Athrun narrowed his eyes as the seed burst and the Windam approached

The Justice ducked down below the Windam's saber swipe, drawing a beam saber in the process and sawing the Windam in two in one fluid motion. He returned the saber to its rack and glanced up at the Savior.

Up above, Savior shook as the Windam kicked its shield arm out of the way, knocking the shield wide and exposing the body. Viveka looked up in disbelief as the Windam leveled off its rifle for a killing shot

"I won't let you!"

A beam rifle blast went drilling through the Windam's rifle, blowing it apart. The Windam turned in disbelief and with a furious scream, the Infinite Justice rammed it bodily, throwing the Phantom Pain mobile suit back and leaving it wide open for Athrun to viciously cut it in half with his boomerang blade.

The Justice backed away, beam blade shimmering, as the Windam exploded. Athrun glanced back at the Savior.

"Um, thanks for that," Viveka said sheepishly.

"I'm not letting another teammate of mine die," Athrun answered. "Let's go."

Stella couldn't help but grin as the latest challenger, an IWSP Windam with both swords drawn, came charging at her. These guys thought they were so scary, but she would show them.

The Windam brought its swords down with a crash onto the Gaia's shield Stella thrust her shield skyward and stabbed into the Windam's exposed chest with her saber, blowing it apart. The Gaia lunged through the smoke, charging at a Jet Windam and cutting its beam rifle in half. She whirled around as the Windam turned, trying to draw its saber, and tore the Windam in two along its waist.

"I can be scary too!" she snapped the remaining four Jet Windams backed away with a beam rifle volley that pummeled the Gaia's shield. "Come back!"

The Windam at the lead charged forward, beam rifle blazing Stella narrowed her eyes, finding a tiny seed bursting before her, and cut the Windam in two as it passed by. Switching back to her beam rifle, she somersaulted up into the air and fired back at the desperate Windams, scattering them around her. One of the Windams came streaking in from her left the Gaia flipped over its head and shot it in the back as it passed by. The remaining two Windams came in together, spewing beam shots.

Stella charged forward, drawing a saber and tearing one of the Windams in half at the waist. The remaining one whirled around, bringing its rifle to bear with a scream, Stella planted the saber in the Windam's cockpit, and then kicked it away.

"None of you are scary," she said, switching back to the rifle and taking off towards the Bonaparte.

Shrieking in low over the waters of Lake Ladoga, Harris bit back a curse as he dodged the saber strokes of the Twilight Gundam. "She's unstoppable...!" He whirled around, slamming on the brakes and bringing his saber down onto the Twilight's beam shield. It stabbed back with its own saber, and Harris barely deflected the blow with his shield.

"I'll tear you apart!" Emily cried. The Twilight roared forward, pushing the Aegis with it, and kicked it in the face. Harris growled as his mobile suit shook, and transformed it into its mobile armor mode to swipe furiously at the Twilight. Emily threw her Gundam back as the Aegis snapped at her with its claws. "You...!"

The Aegis charged towards her, claws spread open

"I'll kill you!"

The seed burst, and with a scream, the Twilight lunged forward and slashed the Aegis's Scylla cannon out, diving out of the reach of its claws. Harris's eyes bulged as he saw the smoke rising from his mobile suit's main weapon.

"She slipped out of it? How!?" He whirled around, transforming again and reactivating his beam saber just in time to block a downward hack from the Twilight. "And she took out my Scylla! Are you some kind of monster?!"

"I'll finish you off!" Emily shouted, her dull and lightless eyes flashing with fury. "Give me the power to kill him, Twilight! I won't break this promise!"

Battleship Minerva

"Captain, I'm getting another signal!" Burt exclaimed, glancing over at Meyrin even as the Minerva roared through battle.

"The Charlemagne?" Abbey asked, her face tense.

"No, it's something different," Burt said. "The heat source is smaller!"

"Let's hope it's on our side," Meyrin said, narrowing her eyes at the Bonaparte down below. "Or at least not on theirs. Isolde, target the enemy's aft port beam cannon! Fire!"

The Isolde fired with a thunderclap, and the three shells slammed into the tower housing the Bonaparte's Gottfried Three, blowing it off the ship and sending it smashing into the snow.

"Yes! First blood is ours!" Roxy exclaimed, pumping her fist in the air.

"It's not finished yet," Meyrin said, struggling to draw on every ounce of authority she had ever heard Talia use. "Chen, angle the weapons to force it off course! Push it against the lake and it'll have nowhere to go!"

The last trio of Jet Windams, with a Slaughter Windam at their head, came streaking through the sky towards the Destiny. Shinn scowled at them all, drawing his beam rifle and charging forward with a blur of afterimages on his flanks.

"I've beaten Kira Yamato!" Shinn snapped. "You guys don't stand a chance!"

The Jet Windams spread out, opening fire Shinn darted through their blasts effortlessly, dancing around the beams and flinging an army of afterimages across the battlefield. With a crash, he crushed the cockpit of the first Windam with a palm cannon blow. The Windam died in a cloud of fire the Destiny burst through with a beam rifle shot and a long cannon shot to blow the remaining Jet Windams out of the sky. The Slaughter Windam charged Shinn brought his palm cannon down to tear its rifle from its hand, and as the Slaughter Windam drew a saber, he responded with his sword to smash the Windam down by its shield.

"Don't run!" Shinn cried, dropping down with sword raised high. The Slaughter Windam raised its saber Shinn sent the whole mobile suit reeling with a punishing sword blow. The Slaughter Windam struggled to escape, firing the thrusters in its Aile Striker pack. The Destiny lunged into its face with another sword blow slamming against its saber, afterimages flashing and dancing around the two machines.

The Slaughter Windam desperately tried to kick the Destiny with its right leg Shinn seized the Windam by its ankle, and with a scream, swung the Windam around his back. With his right hand, he twirled the sword around and slammed it through the Windam's cockpit behind his back.

The Destiny dropped the dead Windam, letting it slide off the sword blade, and took off.

"He just won't die!" Auel screamed, dodging the Sword Calamity's furious Scylla shots and firing back with his Callidus gun. The Sword Calamity somersaulted up over the blast and brought its sword down with a crash onto the Chaos's shield.

"My shield's gonna break at this rate!" Sting growled. "Shit!"

The Chaos lunged forward, pushing the Sword Calamity back. It fired another Scylla shot the Chaos dove aside, and Sting seized his change, swiping forward with his saber and severing both of the Sword Calamity's legs at the knees. The Phantom Pain toppled over face-first into the snow, and struggled to right itself with its remaining arm.

"Auel, now!" Sting shouted.

The Abyss lunged forward, twirling its lance overhead.

"I'm not gonna die a monster!" Hayden screamed.

Auel and Sting both watched in disbelief as the Sword Calamity exploded before their eyes.

"He self-destructed?!" Auel exclaimed, putting himself between the blast and the Chaos and deflecting debris with his shoulder shells. "What the hell was that for?!"

The Chaos got back to its feet, picking up its nearby beam rifle. "Let's find that land-ship," Sting growled. "We're gonna finish them off for good this time!"

The Bonaparte was on course for the lake now, driving towards the shore as the Minerva tore apart the ground around it. Emily narrowed her eyes at the Aegis as the two dueling Gundams battled their way over the Bonaparte, bringing her saber down onto the Aegis's shield. "You're not getting away!"

The Aegis surged forward the Twilight stopped it with a punishing kick to the chest. It followed up with another saber stroke that the Aegis's shield barely blocked. Emily scowled and kicked the shield off the Aegis's arm with a crash Harris backed away, igniting his left-hand beam saber in its place.

"She's just a little girl," he breathed. "She can't beat me! I'm an officer in the Phantom Pain!"

The Aegis charged, swinging forward with its right-hand saber. Emily screamed back and stopped the blow with her beam shield, before slicing off the Aegis's left arm at the shoulder with a bone-jarring shriek of twisting metal. The Aegis rocked as the Twilight sent it staggering back with a punishing kick to the stomach.

"Damn you!" Harris roared, eyes flashing. "I won't be beaten by a little girl!"

The Aegis charged forward again, drawing back its saber for one more blow.

Emily clenched her teeth as time slowed and the Aegis came storming towards her. She felt Kyali's hands on her own, reassuring her, showing her the way


The Twilight smacked the Aegis's beam saber aside with a crash from its beam shield an instant later, Emily screamed in rage as she drove her saber into the Aegis's chest. Harris screamed as the armor of his machine buckled and a broken end of the Aegis's cockpit plowed through his stomach, impaling his body with a gruesome spray of blood. The Twilight reared back and kicked the Aegis, sending it spiraling out of the sky.

Down below, on the bridge of the Bonaparte, Tupolev leapt from his seat and looked up in horror.

"Evade! Evade!" he cried and screamed as the Aegis's ruined body slammed into the bridge.

Inside the cockpit, Harris coughed up a mouthful of blood and looked up blearily at the Twilight, hovering above him with shimmering wings of light.

"F-Forgive me...father..."

The Aegis vanished in a dazzling fireball.

The Bonaparte continued forward under its own power, even as its bridge tower disappeared in a flash of fire and smoke. It staggered forward, down the shore of the lake, plowing through the water before it finally sank into deeper waters.

Emily watched it all with tears in her burning, lightless eyes.

To be continued...