Well, this is a fanfic I’m writing just for fun. I don’t know how long it will be or anything like that but I’ll roll with it and see what happens. What I do know is that it will be focused on the lives of the three Extended Pilots from Gundam Seed after the final battle (yes I kept them from dying).
“Why do you want to die?” said a blond woman in a lab coat. He could vaguely recognize her but her name wasn’t clicking in his head. It probably wasn’t all that important anyway. Everything around her was black and he could not tell if there was ground beneath her but assumed there to be because she seemed to be standing with no difficulty.
“Because… I can’t live. I have no reason to. I just do. I just do.”
“Why do you want to die?” she asked in the exact same tone and manner like a fragment of digital data with an error in it that cause it to catch and replay in an endless loop.
“Because I am tired… because I am weak… because I wish to rest”
“Why do you want to die?” her voice was soft but it seemed not to have any concern for him, merely curiosity. It was like he was but a lab animal to her. Some strange creature to poke with a stick in order to see which way he would scurry.
“Because I have nothing to hold onto… if I can not fight then I have no purpose to exist.”
“Why can’t you have a purpose without fighting?” he was almost taken aback by the fact that her question changed.
“Because… I can do nothing else… I don’t know how to do anything else…”
The world swirled confusingly as the colors of the room meshed strangely with the blinding light in his eye and twisted around a vortex in the center of his vision. Tattered bits of memory floated about his head, blood coming from a knife wound he had inflicted on someone, charging toward an enemy formation in his mobile suit above some great ocean with his scythe poised, sitting bored in a waiting room, back in that same waiting room doubled over in pain as the withdraw symptoms racked him. He knew these memories were not in order nor were they the entirety of his life up to this point but they were all he could remember at this point.
Instinct, however, took over at this point and he jolted upright, he looked around but it was in vain because his eyes were still to out of focus to make out anything but the barest outlines of the objects around him. At least there didn’t seem to be any people. He moved his hand but it refused to budge more then a couple inches in any direction. He knew from feeling that he was bound at the wrist by leather straps but he looked to confirm it anyway. Yep, leather, good quality too, just like home. Now if only his brain would function well enough for him to remember what home was.
Lying back down he decided to remain calm for the time being. There was little he could do out at the moment with his mind as broken up as it currently was so he needed to gather up his thoughts and begin make a concentrated effort to understand the situation.
He lay there for a minute but still his thoughts began to slip quickly and effortlessly between his grasping figures, constantly staying ephemeral and out of touch when he needed them grounded in reality. His mind began to bring up the possibility that he had been drugged. Some sort of depressant that was keeping his mind lazy when he needed it sharp and acute.
Well, his eyes were beginning to focus at least. Just a little bit more now not a whole lot. It was amazing how long this was taking, he wasn’t used to this kind of delay in his senses. The strangest part of not being used to it was that he could not for the life of him bring up a memory where they had come into focus quickly, it was just something he took for granted without a series of events that would justify the assumption.
Strange, but it still backed up the explanation that he had been drugged.
He sat up again and looked around the room. There was a large machine next to him emitting a series of annoying beeps, which he had not consciously noted until now. He wished he never had because now it was being obnoxious. The machine had a large screen and on this was a line. Ever time the machine beeped the line would have a series of sharp peaks and valleys appear on it. Also from the machine was a wire that was attached to his bare chest. He was certain that he could identify the machine but his mind was still abandoning him.
Okay this was starting to growing more tiring as he kept failing to identify the machine. It was there in his head but his mind was completely filled with cotton that kept him from finding the name or purpose of the object in front of him. Tiring of this fruitless search he turned his attention to the rest of the room.
The room was of an intermittent size that seemed far more cramped because of all the instruments and furniture it contained. Against one wall was a desk, which had on it several devices that he knew he could name but was unable to. It was a plain desk of sheet steel and was physically attached to the wall such that it was difficult to place an exact point where the desk began and the wall ended.
He was lying on a bed at the approximate center of the room and from on side of it came a light that craned over him and could be moved. He wanted it the push it aside because it had been shining in his eyes when he had woken up. The bed itself was thinly padded with some cushioning wrapped in a fake leather which he could not name.
Not far away from the bed was a stool, similarly cushioned, and with a large amount of weight put on the bottom. Wait…a desk attached to a wall, a stool that was bottom heavy to prevent it from falling over… there was a connection between the two but for the life of him his head would not make the connection. Suddenly, it hit him.
He was on a space ship.
Of course, why hadn’t he figured that out earlier? He groaned, his head was aching now. It seemed all that fluff in his head had been softening the blow of a tremendous headache. A headache just now starting to break through.
He heard a distinct metallic airy sound accompanied happily with a loud beeping sound, as if the beep from the machine next to him hadn’t been annoying enough. He immediately looked towards the door to see a doctor looking somewhat astonished at him. He stared back at her lazily, not even bothering to fake interest.
She shook her head for but a moment before walking into the room. She had a motherly feeling about her which he could catch on. It was a vague hint in her movements that made her seem to be older and wiser then she actually was but he wasn’t fooled by it. She was just another annoyance as far as he was concerned. She looked at him askance from behind a tuft of dark brown hair that had a few threads of gray beginning to appear in it. “Your not supposed to be up for another couple of hours. I imagine your still pretty out of it from the sedatives. Isn’t that right…” she looked down at a clipboard that she had in her hands ruffling through the pages until she found the one that she wanted and read was there, “…hmmm… no name”
He his eyes narrowed suspiciously but she could only see one of them as the other was hidden by over hanging hair. She smirked a bit, “But I suppose I shouldn’t be to surprised by you being awake already. There are enough strange things about you and your two comrades as it stands. “ She looked back to the clip board, “Several unidentified antibodies in the blood stream, enhanced muscle mass, unstable brain parameters, unique proteins that your bodies produce. Quite a list even if you were coordinators but your naturals which makes it even more remarkable.”
The young man on the bed continued to look at her lacking any real interest in what she was saying.
“Some drug you had ingested was causing seizures so we had to sedate you until the withdraw was completed.” She read from the clipboard going over the data calmly but with some sympathy in her voice, “ Still your brain seems to have been decomposing badly and it was unable to perform several bodily functions. So we also injected you with a neuron enhancer, which made it easy for your subconscious functions to be performed. Seems a lot of your brain mass had been diverted to other functions such as reactions and cognitive abilities. Quite amazing really. Never would have thought to meet a Natural that could keep pace with a Coordinator” Toward the end she seemed genuinely impressed but that awe was laced with a undercurrent of bemusement that set him on edge. It seemed a bit to… airy for the situation.
He continued eyeing her cautiously.
“Now, have you had any sudden pain…” she then went through a standard check and he answered no to all her questions even the ones where he would lie by saying no. He wanted this woman to leave him alone. He didn’t like people around and preferred to be on his own.
After she had finished she sighed, nodding a bit about how everything seemed to be in order and she then muttered about how she hoped the other two were as calm as him.
He lay back down and waited. There was little else he could do while he waited for the bloody sedative to wear off so he could put some more constructive thinking into his situation. He didn’t know whether or not he was in a bad place or not all he knew he was somewhere loaded with some sort of drug which kept him from thinking and in the control of people who felt the need to tie him to a table with leather bonds. Not good signs.
Eventually, his mind began to clear up and his memories started to put themselves back into a more orderly state. He could now remember everything and he immediately recoiled from the memories. They were ugly and stained with blood. He never wanted to feel them again.
However, he slowly began to recall the situation he was in or at least what had happened before this situation had occurred and from that he might be able to figure a little of what was happening. He had been piloting his gundam into battle and had been absolutely demolishing his pathetic opponents with his arcing beam weapon until he had gotten into a fight with a certain opponent and he had been defeated. He remember both his arms getting sliced off as well as his shields rendering him harmless. The enemy had then gone off to other opponents leaving him to be smashed around by stray arms fire. Eventually after getting beaten around for a few long hours and seeing quite a lot of devastation (quite possibly the only thing that kept him from tearing the inside of his gundam apart in frustration… how he loved the sight of devastation) he was knocked unconscious by a missile to his his mobile suits chest cavity. He was glad his power hadn’t run out by then. Else he would have been dead without the phase shift armor.
Or maybe he wished that he had been killed. It would have put to an end to a pointless cycle off fighting and pain. He was growing tired of going out to fight only to be out for a few hours before that drug of Azrael’s began to fade from his system with incredible pain. He was tired of that life. He didn’t mind the killing but being a puppet was more then he could stand.
Besides, since the war was supposed to end after this battle he had really no reason to come out alive from it. Once the war was over he would be sent back to the lab to hang around until he died of old age or some other cause. Peacetime had no use for murderers. What could a person like him do out in this world of peace. He had no skills, no education that would be taken by an employer. He had practically no ability to earn a salary outside of killing people. So was living really a mercy? Frankly he wasn’t sure.
Well, at least now that the drugs were out of his system he could remember his name. He was Shani Andras. Now he had to figure out where he was. He looked around again, taking note again of the machine which he now knew was taking his pulse though he still didn’t remember what it was called, but he could not determine anything besides that it was similar to his old ship of call, the Dominion, except of a slightly different coloration. This was a bright eye-jarring white while the Dominion had been a drab ignorable gray. However, he had never paid attention to the decorum of these floating hunks of steel and for all he knew a thousand ships could have similar looking sick bays.
Still it was probably an enemy ship otherwise he wouldn’t be strapped down like this or if he was strapped down in a friendly ship he would also be in excruciating pain. He looked at the straps closer to see if there was a way he could work them off but it was obvious these were some quality straps and did not appear to have any exploitable weak point. So that left him the option of lying her pondering his sins until his captors decided to deal with him. There most likely decision would be a dissection of him to determine how he was made and maybe a show execution before hand to show the troops the might of the ZAFT forces that. After all they had taken down him, he supposed they had a right to gloat.
He didn’t seem to be getting anywhere as it stands so he should rest and wait for an opportunity to make a break for it. He didn’t know what he would do once he escape, his Forbidden was probably still out of commission but he could launch an escape pod or maybe swipe some other mobile suit or mobile armor if they had any left in the docking bay.
After waiting for a while longer the door once again open to reveal a rather pretty brown haired woman. She was dressed in an officer’s uniform of the Earth Alliance Forces and from the markings he could tell she was a captain. So, he was back in friendly hands? That didn’t seem right. Something was off. Maybe Azrael had gotten himself killed and was no longer around to make Shani’s life miserable. If he was dead then maybe others with knowledge of the Extendeds were dead as well. That would explain why these people were so surprised with the readings they got from him. Hell, they might just treat him like a normal soldier and let him off.
The woman moved softly to stand next to him, looking down at him from beside the bed. She had a sad look in her eye and her face was puffy and read as though she had been crying but that didn’t concern Shani at all. She probably just let someone important to her get killed. Well, she knew the risks when she started caring about that person, death is always a possibility, even outside of war. Shani could not be moved to sympathy.
Still, she managed to hold her composer and Shani had to respect her a bit for that, people who could repress there emotions when the situation demanded it were always strong. She stood there but a breath and then she bowed slightly to him in a respectful greeting. That was different. They definitely didn’t know anything about the Extended if they treated him with respect. He could get used to this. He could get used to it more if they treated him with enough respect to leave him the hell alone but right now he needed to know some things so her presence was a tragic necessity. Out of habit, moved his head forward sharply to make sure a large tuft of his pale green hair was covering his eye. He liked having a curtain of hair between him and the person he was talking to.
Raise her head from a bow she introduced herself, “I am Captain Murrue Ramius of the Archangel, the ship you are currently onboard. And you are…?” she asked leaving an opening for him to insert his name..
“Shani Andras” he said not bothering to sound like he cared about what she had to say. Though his interest was piqued. The Archangel was the name of one of the “neutral” enemy ships he had been assigned to destroy. So they had decided to pick him up? He couldn’t understand why they would bother.
“You’re the pilot of that Gundam we picked up, are you not? I believe yours was the GATX-252.” She asked him once again.
Shani was growing impatient with these pointless question he put a hasty edge in his answer, “Yes the Forbidden. What do you want?”
Murrue didn’t seemed too bothered by his attitude and continued over him as though he hadn’t spoken. “You were captured in battle and I am hear to tell you that we plan to drop you off at the next port unless you have some specific place you would like to return to. In which case we will try to arrange transport to the location. You may also wish to know that both sides are currently signing a peace treaty and that the war is over.”
The war is over? Well he knew that would be the case but a mutual agreement was not how he had assumed it would pan out. Azrael was indeed dead for he would never have let it come to that. And a place to return to? Ha! He had no such place. The closest place to home he had was Rodnia Laboratory and he sure as hell didn’t want to go back there. But that still left one thing uncertain. “What about my mobile suit?” he asked narrowing his eyes suspiciously.
She seemed to become a bit more cautious as she worded her next sentence, “Your mobile suit has been impounded and will be returned to the Earth Alliance once we finish repairs on it.”
This annoyed Shani greatly. It was his mobile suit why should it be turned over to the EAF? “Can’t you leave it in my care? It is after all the mobile suit I fought in. I should be allowed to retain it after the war.”
Murrue sighed in exasperation, “I was afraid of this. However, the EAF will more then likely want both you and the suit back since you are soldiers. The war is over and we have no right to detain POWs any longer then is necessary. “I’m not going back there!” Shani barked, “ They probably marked me as a casualty already they won’t care if I don’t come back.”
“We can speak of this at another time. You still have time to think. It will be another couple of days before we leave the field of battle as we are currently helping with salvage efforts in the area. You can speak with the other two pilots which we recovered from the battle.”
“What mobile suits were they in?” Shani asked already knowing the answer.
“They are the pilots of the GATX-131 and the GATX-370.”
The other Extendeds survived as well? That’s amusing. Seems that not even a massive space battle with hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides could kill the bioengineered Naturals. Shani nodded and then asked one more question, “Do I have to be strapped down?”
She seemed surprised and her eyes widened in an almost comical fashion. “They haven’t unstrapped you already? I’m so sorry!” she exclaimed as she began to fumble at the bonds at his rest, “You were in seizures while you were sleeping and we had to strap you down to prevent you from hurting yourself. The doctors said it was because of a drug withdraw. I told them to unstrap you but they must have forgotten I am so sorry.” She hastily removed the leather from his wrists and ankles and Shani merely nodded in acknowledgement.
Captain Ramius then excused herself while Shani stood up and stretched, not feeling to good about what was to come.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ “This is both boring and stupid!” yelled Crot in his normal childish fashion. The man was death inside of a mobile suit but outside he was quite immature. Shani had always wonder about how he managed to act like that. Even Oruga had enough pride not to act like a complete idiot.
At the very least Crot could whine quietly that his voice would be drowned out by the loud heavy metal music that was thumping into Shani’s eardrums. However it seemed Crot would not be so polite as that. A pity really.
Crot was probably the shortest of the three of them and was currently sitting on the edge of top bunk with his beloved game system in his hands. His skin was tanned and seemed in fact to be of a darker shade then the bright orange he had combed into a flowing sideways spike that always pointed of to his left. Also he was the youngest of the three by a year under Shani and three years behind Oruga. Crot’s frame was toward the skinny side but he wasn’t quite as lanky as Shani’s. He wore a plain yellow t-shirt and his EAF uniform pants.
“Shut up Crot!” yelled Oruga from lying on the bed reading yet another of his junky novels. Shani wasn’t exactly averse to reading but the books Oruga read were trash. Horrible war stories that just went through the same clichés over and over. Oruga would probably be better off if he just bought one and reread it time and time again, it would have just as much surprise value.
Oruga, the eldest, was lying on the bottom bunk nursing an injured face he had received from the young Captain after a pure attempt to make a joking pass at her. Oruga was never the most perceptive of the three and probably couldn’t tell that Ramius was not in the mood for a man’s attentions. Shani had almost wished he had been there for that as it was probably very amusing. He had heard the slap and the shout of “Pervert!” by Murrue but he really wanted to have seen it. It wasn’t that Oruga wasn’t handsome or anything, with his blonde hair combed back except for two stray hairs he never managed to quite get back. It was just that, when you flirt with woman in morning, a slap is only a for gone conclusion. Oruga was the tallest of the three, barely edging out the younger Shani in height, and he had a similarly leanly muscled build to the other two, save that he was perhaps the strongest of the three.
Shani himself was leaning quietly against one of the bunks in this sleeping quarter area. The Archangel had a few bunks to spare due to casualties and desertions, as he was told, and they had an entire row of bunks to themselves. They had also found their personal affects lying on the bunks and Shani was quite happy to be reunited with his music player. It wasn’t like he attached undue significance to it, but after many months of only having his music as a companion, Crot and Oruga didn’t count, one grew quite attached to these objects of reprieve.
Shani was between the other two Extendeds both in height and in build. He had a lankiness about him that would give one the impression that he was clumsy, that is until someone actually saw him move. He had a viper grace about him, as though when he moved his bones melted into a sinewy motion. He had the strangest color of hair, it was a pale green almost as though one had mixed an olive color with that of cream. Most of this hair hung down in front of his right eye like a curtain and others could only see his left eye. It was his habit to watch people with a lazy disinterest that followed them wherever they went about the room and combined with his almost cyclopean appearance it gave him a very creepy aura to those not used to it. He wore a muted orange t-shirt over, which was, completely unbuttoned, his old EAF jacket. He like the other two extended wore his regulation pants as well since he had naught else to where. He was also the calmest and quietest of the three, rarely loosing control except in battle. Rare were the times when he would say more then he intended. Far more likely was the chance that he would say much less.
“But it’s true! There keeping us cooped up in this crappy ship and there gonna take our mobile suits away and give them back to the EAF! We can’t just let this happen!” Crot barked back in aggravation. Of course, Crot was speaking for all of them. They all were angry about loosing their gundams. Shani was attached to his Forbidden, he had figured out all the little tricks that it could do that not even the manufacturer knew about. He had even mastered a few flashy tricks that, while not the most effective methods of killing his opponents, added a little extra show to his moves and instilled more fear in his opponents. If he ever had to get in another mobile suit he didn’t like the idea of learning it from scratch. Sure, all the basic movements would be the same, but all pilots knew that each mobile suit had small motions and reactions that could only be done with that suit and it is in mastering these to increase one’s own combat ability that true mobile suit dominance is obtained.
“Well, what are we going to do about it? We could swipe our suits easily enough but we’d be attacked by the Archangel as soon as we left the docking bay and I doubt that either the EAF or ZAFT forces would take kindly to three mobiles suits acting independently. They’d blow us out of the sky in moments!” Oruga whispered fiercely, not raising his voice for fear they would be overheard. He was showing higher then usual perceptive ability. Normally, Oruga wasn’t nearly this circumspect.
“We could jump of right before reentry into the earth atmosphere. Our mobile suits are capable of atmospheric reentry according to the speaks.”
Here Shani spoke, “And if we did land somewhere what then? We would first have to make sure it was far enough away from both ZAFT forces and the EAF. Then would have find a place to store them where we would be able to lay low because they will be searching for us. After that we would need to find enough money to pay for maintenance. And even then it would all be moot because there would be no wars to fight in. So, we would just be stuck with expensive souvenirs.” Caustic annoyance dripped from Shani’s words as he slowly cut open the underbelly of Crot’s idea and left it to rot in the open air.
Crot fumed for a while after that but he had no way to respond. Even he could tell that he was beaten. With that finished they were once left to silent meditation and thinking. At one point Crot left to grab a drink from the vending machine in the crew’s break room. Other then that they all stood or sat quietly in there respective places, Oruga lying a bottom bunk, Crot sitting on one of the top bunks playing his obnoxious videogame, and Shani leaning against a wall listening to his music.
Honestly, he wished there was some way that one of Crot’s ideas could pan out and they could live there lives out fighting in their gundams but the world was not in a position to provide that. There was always at least a brief peace after a great war if only so much so the two sides could move back into position. He imagined both ZAFT and the Earth Alliance would be recruiting soldier to buff out their ranks as they waited for the next great war. That’s it!
Shani looked up from staring at the floor as he often did when in a state of deep thought, “Guys, I think I have plan.”
The crew member was walking away now that his work as a guide had come to its conclusion. He didn’t seem to be wasting time in his journey away from the three Extended. Seems that not even people who knew nothing about them could find it in their hearts to trust them.
Shani, since it was his idea, had been selected as leader, much to his chagrin. This meant that he had to do the talking and he despised talking with people. He never really saw any great point in it except when it was absolutely necessary. It was necessary now but that didn’t mean he would enjoy doing it. His duties as leader also included ringing on the door of Captain Ramius.
Shani pressed the ring button on the keypad below a little monitor next to the door. There was a brief pause because a picture of the captain appeared on the monitor, “Yes, what is it?” her voice said thought slight distorted due to being compressed and given a slightly metallic tinge to it.
“This is the three captured pilots, we wish to speak with you regarding our dismissal from this vessal.” Shani replied with his usual disinterest though this time even he would admit he was feigning it.
“Oh? Alright, just give me a moment.” The sound cut off and they watched her turn away on the scream and from the movements of her shoulders they could only assume she was doing some minor organizing. After a few moments she turned back and hitting the mike said, “You may come in.”
Having received permission Shani pressed the button to open the door and entered the room, followed quickly by Crot and Oruga bringing up the rear and bending his knees a bit so he would be less noticeable behind the other two. The last thing they needed was the Captain remembering his previous actions and getting angry when they desire a talk with her.
The three nodded their heads slightly, not as much respect as was do for an officer of her rank but the most they were willing to give to a normal human who they had not fought personally in combat. Back in the EAF the Extendeds showed no respect what so ever to their superior officers and they sure as hell weren’t going to start groveling now.
“Yes? What did you need?” the captain asked after they had stood there for three full seconds without saying anything.
Shani, as he was assigned, took the reigns and addressed her, “Ramius, we have come to ask that we and our mobile suits be handed over to the ZAFT military as deserters. We would then join the ZAFT military if they will have us. We sever all bounds with the EAF and maintain control of our mobile suits as well. You can say that we had already deserted and had gone to PLANT. We need never have been in your control as far as the records are concerned.”
Murrue looked thoughtful. She then nodded, “I suppose that would be possible. I will contact PLANT headquarters immediately but with the Chairman dead it may take a while to get the necessary authorization for them to receive you. So you may be here for a while or not very long I all depends on the current state of the chain of command. But you are aware that since you are Naturals there is the danger of prejudice against you within PLANT because of the war. Your lives will probably be much more difficult then they would be on Earth.”
“We are aware of that.” Shani responded simply. Anything was better then going back to Rodnia Laboratory. He would die before he went back there.
“…Alright.. I suppose that there is nothing I can really do to stop you, that wouldn’t be hypocritical being an EAF deserter myself. I’ll contact PLANT and inform them of your decision. Afterwards, I’ll inform you of the arrangements if PLANT does decide to take you in which is, of course, not guaranteed.” Murrue spoke with a bothered sigh on her breath that betrayed her low hopes for getting acquiescence from the ZAFT forces.
The three pilots once more nodded there heads forward with a mumbled “thank you” and turned to leave her office.
Once they were once more in the hallway they all let out the breath they had been holding in the entire time. “Looks like one of your stupid ideas finally worked Shani. Its about freaking time.” Shani rolled his eyes in response to Oruga’s ever-sharp criticism.
“Shut up. We still have to wait and see if ZAFT will even accept us.” Shani muttered as he walk toward the ships break room in order to get something to drink.
Shani flipped a switch as he checked to make sure the seal of his space suit was air tight. Forbidden hummed to life and he was glad to see the configurations were just how he had left them. Not for a second had he trusted the mechanics of this accursed ship with his precious mobile suit. A calming sense of inner peace began to float through him as he warmed up the grears and started up all the booster systems, it was like returning to the womb. He was testing out the thrusters when he realized the left still had a bit of a lag from the shrapnel it had taken during the last battle. Recalibrating it was simple enough and once more Forbidden was in top shape.
Oruga and Crot’s faces appeared on the screen in quick succession and they both acknowledged that they were ready for take off. The head repairman, a large muscular man with orange-red skin had said that their order of departure via the catapult would be Oruga first, followed by Crot, and Shani last of all. Crot had complained slightly about wanting to go first but Oruga had said that Crot would need to pick him up since his suit was much slower then the other two. Crot of course hated this but it had become such a part of routine that he didn’t complain out loud.
“I still can’t believe we got a response from them this quickly… we only talked to that woman about this a few hours ago. ZAFT must be pretty desperate.” Crot commented for the twentieth time that hour. In all honesty Shani was a bit surprised himself but he refrained from commenting on it seeing as there was no point in doing so. Crot however was not so withdrawn.
“Oruga Sabnak, Lauching!”
Shani leaned back in the cockpit as he silently waited for Crot to launch so that he could begin heading toward the catapault. They had received word from Captain Ramius that they would be guided in by a squad of Jinns to one of the equatorial docking bays of PLANT colony NC-17. ZAFT didn’t completely trust the three Extended it seemed, since they deemed it necessary to give them an escort, but the fact they were even taking Naturals in after this bitter war spoke volumes of their desperation. Apparently, the Captain had also sent over the basic schematics of the three gundams that would be turned over with as much detail as the mechanics had been able to put together in such a short time and Shani assumed that had been part of the reason for their quick acceptance. He had been planning to hold the gundam information a bit longer into the negotiations and hopefully catch them unprepared in order to secure a better deal but it appeared to no longer be necessary.
“Crot Buer, launching!”
It was now Shani’s turn. He walked his gundam easily toward the catapault and made a few last minute checks of his flight systems before getting confirmations from the Captain to launch. “Shani, Gone” he half yawned out of boredom. His suit was shot out of the belly of the Archangel and as per the conditions of the transfer he kept his Phase Shift armor off. Andras felt that ZAFT was being a bit paranoid if they felt that three gundams were that much of a threat. He chuckled, maybe they were right on the money.
The transference flight was uineventful and left Shani with little else to do but stare out among the shining torches of starlight that swam in the darkening sea. He often wondered what normal people saw in things like this, they would often say how beautiful or moving it was but Shani did not see that. He was too practical, all it was to him were stars annoying him with a pointless glow. Was it better to be silly and pointless like normal people or practical and punctual as himself? He often thought of that. He shook his head. Pointless thoughts. He should be focusing on more important things before he turned all-soft.
They landed easily on the equatorial docking bay and were guided down a series of transportation corridors until they arrived at what appeared to be a military installation. The section of the base they were in at the moment contained several large warehouses made of reinforced concrete and high tension steel. In the distance was a runway for military aircraft and shuttles with adjoining control tower. Finally, there was a large homogenous installation with several barracks surrounding it.
The three pilots were herded into one of the warehouses where their gundams were locked into place against the wall. A bridge came down in front of their cockpits so they could disembark but they were told to wait until instructed to do so. They were also instructed not to speak with one another so Shani was left to stare at the cockpit screen until finally the face of a middle aged, platinum haired woman appeared on the screen. “I would like to be the first to welcome you all to PLANT” she said with a slightly aristocratic nuance to her voice, a subtle inflection that gave Shani the impression she was among the leaders of PLANT, “This past war has caused great pains on both sides, for Naturals and Coordinators, and it is good to see that at least three former soldiers have been able to put past rivalry behind them.” Crap. Political speak. He hoped this blew over quickly because he didn’t have the patience at this moment. “We would like to use this as part of an announcement of our goodwill toward the Naturals of the Earth Alliance if that is alright with you three.”
Shani knew well enough that they would do it whether he approved or not but he would first need to change one minor detail to avoid complication. “That is alright, however, could you put out no information on the mobile suits involved in the defection and only a minimalist coverage of our personal data. They have probably already marked us as casualties of war and complications would arise if they felt we were still alive. More so if we were in the ZAFT forces.”
Complications was an understatement. It could spark a huge political scandal if not a new war as the EAF would do all in its power to prevent information on Rodnia Laboratory from leaking to PLANT. If PLANT found out they could attack the Alliance for war crimes and unethical treatment of humans. Any sort of support the EAF might have from the people of Earth would soon dissipate except for perhaps the most extreme of the Blue Cosmos movement. Shani didn’t care about any of the Extended still in Rodnia, they could suffer for all he cared, but it didn’t seem worth all the complications. He, Crot, and Oruga would all be dragged out in front of a bunch of cameras, paraded around like some sort of great heroic survivors, and then be asked a bunch of annoying questions. Not only that but he also figured more then a couple Blue Cosmos sycophants would be gunning for their heads and he didn’t feel like putting up with that. All in all, better if Rodnia stayed buried in the shadows.
“That seems reasonable enough.” The woman said but her tone indicated a vague suspicion. Not surprising, she was a politician, she lived to figure out motivations. “Well, you three will be station here with the students of the academy until we have a clearer idea of your capabilities. We will have some exams for you over the next couple weeks but they won’t start till the day after tomorrow so rest up.” Shani nodded. The academy must have been that nondescript building surrounded by barracks. “You are dismissed. There should be a sergeant waiting for you after you disembark from your gundams who will assign you your barrack.”
This plan had started while they had been sitting and killing time amidst a row of bunk beds and they were now at yet another group of bunk beds in a different barrack. This was somewhat depressing. Crot was rolled over on his bed trying to get some sleep and Oruga was reading his book by lamplight. Shani was standing alone listening to music as usual. Gradually a pang of hunger began to creep up on him. He hadn’t eaten anything since they were on the Archangel so he decided to step out of their room and find something to eat.
The room they had been assigned to wasn’t bad it had enough beds for eight people though there were currently only three assigned there, which was of course the Extendeds. The entire installation appeared to be undermanned due to casualties from the war, especially the academy barracks because many of the pilots who were ready to see combat had been taken out of the academy prematurely in order to fight in the final battle. Shani supposed that this was a good thing because having other pilots in the same room as them would have only caused complications. Before leaving he took off his EAF jacket just to be on the safe side. That article of clothing would also cause complications.
As he stepped out of the barracks there was, of course, the omnipresent slight wind of the PLANT facility. It was a synthetic breeze that was used to maintain climate control throughout the colony and allow air circulation. It was not a strong gust but was noticeable as it blew hair that normally covered his left eye so that is it bent back around the side of his head. He wasn’t paying a great deal of attention to where he was walking though, preferring to amble around in search of a place to eat while becoming acquainted with the terrain.
The music he was listening to had just pasted the middle eight and was moving quickly towards a crescendo. The words played inside his head as he walk along the sidewalk towards the central academy building, hoping to find a cafeteria of some kind where he could get some food.
Two-headed Boy The music cut off as he passed a park. It was dark within it and it seemed that the only street light within was shining on a bench where an old man was curled up inside a coat many sizes to large for his body. Shani looked at the man for a moment before going back to surveying the rest of the park in boredom.
All floating in glass
The sun it has past
Now its blacker then black
I can see as you tap on your jar
I am listening to hear where you are
I am listening to hear where you are
He stumbled backwards when he impacted something and immediately extended his hands to steady himself. However, what he gripped was falling in the opposite direction but fortunately he was able to maintain his balance well enough to prevent any further disasters from occurring. He could instantly tell from his touch that what he had bumped into was a person for he could feel the fabric of the persons cloths. He immediately turned to see who it was and was mildly surprised to see a girl about his age with the strangest shade of short burgundy hair. She had gripped his arms at the elbow to steady herself and now that she was once more in control of her body she let go of him with an nervous grin. “I’m s-so s-sorry!” she half stuttered.
“Tch… whatever its nothing…” Shani said with his usual disinterest.
“No, no, no I really am sorry I just sort of zoned out looking at the park over there… its so beautiful this time of night.” She insisted before slowly letting her voice fade to a sigh.
Shani knew of course that fault would have to have been assigned to both parties as he was also not paying attention but he didn’t want to spend the time necessary to convince this woman of that. That’s when she noticed her green ZAFT soldiers uniform as well as her cadets stripe. She was probably stationed here and she would know where to get food. “Hn… Do you know where to get food at this hour?” Shani asked.
She smiled a bit, happy, it seemed, to be away from the topic of their unfortunate collision. “Oh you can just go through that door” she said pointing to the front door of the academy building “then you just take your first left and your in the cafeteria. They’ll give you food free of charge until 10 when it closes. However its not the best so if you have the money I suggest going off of base.” His head moved in a nodding motion and though he understood one would think it more an automatic gesture to speed up the conversation then an actual indication of comprehension.
“But where’s your uniform!” she suddenly exclaimed, “You should know you can’t get any food unless your wearing your uniform. Even walking around the base without a uniform on could get you written up.”
“I’m new. I haven’t received a uniform yet” Shani explained simply.
“A new recruit! And they haven’t give you a uniform yet! That battle must have really pushed the administration because normally that’s the first thing you get! Here you wait here and I’ll run in and get you something.” The girl said herding him into the park where he wouldn’t be seen.
“This isn’t necessary. I’ll just go back to my room.” Shani choked out as he was pushed along.
“No you won’t. Not empty handed. It’s the administration’s fault you can’t get any food and as a member of ZAFT its my responsibility to make sure you get some food.” She smiled. Damn, this woman was obnoxious. This was far more effort then he had ever wanted to spend. “ I’ll be back in a minute, don’t go anywhere.”
He did consider ditching her and walking back to his room but it didn’t seem logical to make enemies this early in his military career especially when he was getting food out of the deal. So he decided to go back to watching the old man in the park. He wondered how that old man had gotten in because he didn’t look like a soldier. He just looked like a drunk. But then the man stood up and beneath the brown khaki trench coat he could see a red ZAFT uniform. That drunk was a red shirt! ZAFT must have very low standards. Well that was fine with him. He’d show these people what real talent was. Not pain given by a genetic code but talent born of pain, hardship, and agonizing surgical procedures.
It wasn’t much longer till the girl came back. She found him into brush of the park and handed him what appeared to be a burger. “It’s a cheese burger, nothing on it. I didn’t know what you liked so I played it safe.” She whispered as he began to unwrap it.
He looked at the pathetic thing. It was of a medium size, easily held in his two hand but it looked like it had been completely drained of juices. “Its sufficient” he said with ambivalence. He took a bite out of it and it was just as dry as anticipated but the taste wasn’t too bad. A drink. He should have asked for a drink.
She stood up and walked back out into the sidewalk. He followed her and turned to head back to his dorm. “I didn’t catch your name!” he heard her voice say from over his shoulder.
“Shani Andras” he said evenly after he had swallowed the bite he had been chewing. He once more turned away from her and began to walk away.
“I’m Lunamaria!” she called after him, “Maybe I’ll see you around sometimes!”
Shani merely waved his left hand over his shoulder in a dismissive gesture.
Song: Two-Headed Boy by Neutral Milk Hotel