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dherr@triode.net.au (DJ)


GUNDAM 0088: The Side Story of Sentinel

By DJ

Author's Comment:

I first got the idea of the story after reading Side Story of Z Gundam
few years ago.  So one night I started to type it on my notebook while I
was at Melbourn.  Originally the story was called Crying Soul and based
on the Z Gundam story but after first draft I switched to Gundam
Sentinel.  After few draft I got various replies regarding many aspect
of the story and it has been rewritten several times to address many
errors, most of them involving the timeline. I did my best to stick with
the GUNDAM chronology but if you still find some odd bits, please E-mail
me. (Ed: send them to dherr@triode.net.au)

Some of you who read the earlier versions will notice that this
revision is quite different.  Well, at that time of writing, not much
was known about the Gundam Sentinel apart from few articles published in
Model Graphix and Hobby Japan so I based many of facts on my own
imagination.

BTW, at this time I have no idea when this story will be finished, nor
where the story will follow - it's up to nine episodes and barely covers
the beginning of the story.  Anyway, I'll try to keep posting, as I
finished each episode.  And don't forget I welcome any comments or
feedback.  Hope you enjoy the story. (^_^;

Author's Acknowledgments:

Copyright Acknowledgments: Mobile Suit GUNDAM, Zeta GUNDAM, GUNDAM ZZ,
Nu GUNDAM: Shar's Counterattack, 0080: The War In The Pocket and 0083:
Stardust Memory are trademarks of Sunrise, Inc. and other respected
owners.

All other copyrights and trademarks associated with the properties
listed above are hereby acknowledged and respected.

This story is copyrighted (c) 1996 by DJ.

This story is to be in no way intended to infringe on the established
copyrights and trademarks of Sunrise.

This story is to be in no way intended to infringe on the established
timeline by respective owners.

The main plot of this story is not and will not consist with the
original GUNDAM Sentinel. (That's what the side story is about,
right?)

I'd like to thank Robert Whelan for his comment and others who
contacted me regarding errors and suggestions.

I'd also like to thank Yoshiyuki Tomino for his wonderful idea which
gives me the inspiration.

This story may be freely distributed, subject to the following
conditions:

(1) The copyright notices and the author's name must accompany all
copies of the chapter(s).

(2) The chapter(s) may not be modified in any form without the express
written consent of the author.

*       *       *       *       *

---------
Prologue.

The war between AEUG and TITANZ was finally over after a year-long
battle in colonies and space, although the time for peace was yet to
come.

TITANZ, the elite Federation force composed of most radical elements
of the EMF, founded in December 0083 UC by Jamitov Haiman to hunt the
remnants of Jion forces after the Jion's desperate attempt, the
Operation Stardust in 0083 UC, was in fact used to keep both the Earth
Federation and its colonies under the control of Haiman himself. Soon
its Nazi like politics produced number of conflicts, especially with
spacenoids and subsequently it lead to the anti-TITANZ movements and
their supporters within the EMF. These movements resulted, in 0085 UC,
the formation of AEUG by General Blex Fora and Commander Quattro
Bagina who brought the secret of the Gundarium Gamma alloy from AXIS.

However, it wasn't until the 30 Bunch incident in 0087 UC, the AEUG
started negotiations with the Anaheim Electronics about building
mobile suits for their newly formed armed forces. Soon number of small
battles took place between AEUG and TITANZ and the turning point,
where these battles escalated to a full scale war, took place at the
Griffs, TITANZ's base colony, where AEUG stole TITANZ's new
prototypes, RX-178 GUNDAM Mk-II. The war that broke out on February
28, 0087 UC, lasted almost a year before TITANZ collapsed from its
internal power struggles.

However, the peace was yet to come to the earth gravity. After its
return in 0086 UC, the ghost of Jion, AXIS started its campaign to
revive the Jion Empire.  After defeated TITANZ forces were absorbed by
AXIS, the war between AEUG and TITANZ became the war between EMF and
AXIS. It was 0088 UC and still there was no sign of peace.

*       *       *       *       *

On a battle cruiser Madagascar II, Lt.Commander Marc Kircheiss
flexed the tip of his toes and floated up to the bridge. The new
improved Neo Musai-class ships were so quite that when he landed, one
could hardly hear the velcro on the soles of his boots mesh with that
of the floor. But Marindorf, a Lieutenant, had sharp ears. Turning, he
said, "We'll reach Grenada in fourthy minutes, sir." Marc grunted in
acknowledgment and stared out the bridge window at the panorama that
unfolded before them. It was the view he always enjoyed. There, down
to the left, was Luna, an illuminated crescent floating in space and
next to it was the reddish rock of the Gate of Jion, reflecting like a
rusty little hand sickle.

"Laser scope!" At Marc's command, the monitor on the port side of
the bridge displayed an image from the laser system. It showed the
Luna and the Gate of Jion, floating in space. These image were not the
true depiction of reality, however. The system detected what
information it could and the computer analyzed it and then, using
inference and extrapolation techniques, finally output a detailed
computer graphics image. If the computer data base did not yet contain
specific information on a new design ship or mobile suit, however, the
system could only display a silhouette of that object.

The image showed no Feds ships in the vicinity. Satisfied, Marc
called out, "how far are we from Grenada?" In response, an enlisted
man stationed in front of the monitor typed in a command on the
keyboard. Something about the torn seam on the man's left sleeve under
the normal suit - most operators preferred removing normal suit's
glove as it distracted their operation - distracted him, but the data
he wanted nonetheless soon appeared on the lower right corner of the
display, and he pored over it through his normal suit's antiglare face
shield.

---------
Episode.1       Mobile Suits.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for using the Global Transport. Our
shuttle, Temptation 2, will take off in five minutes so please fasten
your seat belt and remaining to your seat during take off. The captain
of this shuttle is Captain Tanabe. If you feel uncomfortable, please
press the red button on your overhead and our attendance will come to
your assistance. All our crew hope you enjoy this flight and once again,
thank you for using the Global Transport."

Once the warning lights were off, Ryo declined the seat and closed his
eyes. As the take off pressure diminished, he felt his body getting
lighter and the effect of the weightlessness that often caused the
unpleasant nausea to Earthnoids. But, to his delight, his body took it
as a pleasant feeling even after almost two years of absent on Earth.
It was like returning home from a long journey. 'Well, that was dame
long journey.' He smiled weakly at that thought.

Ryo Roots was born and grown up at Green Noah 1, Side 7 until his
eighteenth birthday. When his parents moved to Earth at the end of
the Griffs War, he joined the Federal Armed Forces. It was quite
natural path as his father was Feds' ace mobile suit pilot during the
war. Upon the enlistment he came to Earth, for the first time, and
gone through the course at the military academy in New Hong Kong. With
distinction in the mobile suit aeronautics at the graduation, he was
assigned to the Torrington base near the ruins of Sydney in Australia.
The Torrington base had been Feds prototype mobile suit test base
since the One-Year War, hence he had spent next eighteen months as one
of its mobile suit test pilots. He was still wondering why he's been
chosen for the test flight of the Feds new prototype over other test
pilots at the base. After questioning the reason to himself for a
while he soon decided to put aside all questions and asked the sleep.

*       *       *       *       *

"Now, tell me Lieutenant. How could our intelligence has not been
aware of this Ma Kube Colliery's file when it has been at the Grenada
for nearly eight years? Correct me if I'm wrong, the colliery was one
of the Jion base on Earth under Commander Ma Kube during the One Year
War, right?" "That's right, Lt. Commander. But, the base was
destroyed by the Feds forces before the copy of file could be sent to
the Jion Bureau of Intelligence. According to the information, the
file is currently at the Space Naval Research Institute at Grenada.
It's still unclear how it came to that place but it seems Feds hasn't
find out it yet. Its presence was, quite accidently, discovered by a
pre-Jion scientist at the institute and he subsequently contacted us.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have the required security clearance level
to allow him to make a copy, but he told enough of details to plan
this mission, sir."

Marc sneered and added his comment, "and the mission is sneak in and
steal it, like a cat burglar, huh?" Marc's tone was more sarcastic
than usual. Marindorf pretended he didn't hear it although his face
showed off his discomforts. Marindorf, a Lieutenant, was ten years
Marc's senior but still the reply was overly formal. "According to
the agent's report, Grenada's defense is currently at very low level,
so even if our presence is detected, we won't have much trouble to get
out of there, sir." Marc studied the image on display as he asked. "How
many mobile suits are currently assigned there?" Glancing the PAD on his
hand, "according to our source, there are currently two platoons of
RMS-179 GM II, two MSN-00100 TYPE 100, and one MSZ-006C1 ZPLUS C1 as
well as dozens of
mega beam cannons. The Grenada Defense Fleet is currently at Side 6
for the regular military drill, sir," Marindorf replied. Marc smiled
sarcastically. "So, Feds think Grenada isn't that important, hmmm?"

---------
Episode.2       Griffs.

"All passengers, please return your seat and fasten your seat belt.
We'll arrive at Griffs in two minutes. Please remain at your seat
until further announcement and ready your passport and custom paper.
Thank you for using the Global Transport and we look forward to serve
you again. Our crew wish your pleasant staying at Griffs." Ryo woke up
at the
sound of announcement. He slept almost entire trip and, for his
dismay, missed the so called 'Temptaion Meal' people often talked
about. He thought he dreamed something but couldn't remember it as
soon as he woke up. After returning the seat, he turned on the outside
viewer as many of passengers did around him. On the touch of the
button on his right armrest, the small LCD attached to the back of the
front seat came up to life and displayed the dorsal view of the
shuttle as it approached Griffs docking port. The cylindrical colony
looked as bright as a full moon and as the shuttle was getting close,
it glared bright white in the sun to almost uncomfortable level.
Quickly auto-sensing filter reduced the glare to the bearable level,
however.

'So that's the Feds' well known secret military colony.' Ryo sneered
inwardly at the image on the screen. Griffs was the name of the second
colony at Side 7. It was originally constructed as a science colony
but after the One-Year War, had been converted into the military base.
Also this colony was the starting ground of the Griffs War, after the
incident AEUG stole TITANZ's prototype RX-178 GUNDAM Mk-II. Now it
housed thousands of military factories and research centres as well as
workers, researchers and their families.

The instant the docking lock mechanism was activated, the pressure
inside the shuttle started to be neutralised with low hissing sound.
After few minutes, two officers with the Griffs Immigration Department
patch on their shoulder entered the front hatch. They looked around
the passengers with frequent glancing their PADs and when they saw Ryo
they approached him through the passage at the middle of the shuttle.

"Are you an Ensign Ryo Roots from the Torrington Base?" A tall officer
with mustache asked Ryo while a fat officer next to him compared Ryo's
face with the image on his PAD screen. "Yes, that's me." He answered
watching nervously both officers. Turning off his PAD, the fat officer
looked at Ryo, "please come with us, Ensign. Fleet Admiral O'Brian
asked the colony administration to send you directly to the Murasame
Institute when you arrive." Ryo wasn't surprised but got curious
instead.
First he was picked up for the EMF's secret project and now this
special treatment. 'This project must be very important to the EMF',
he thought. Picking up his belongings, Ryo followed two officers to
the custom area. When they approached a custom officer while Ryo
managed with his bags to get out his passport, the fat officer handed
in his PAD to a guy at the counter and the custom officer, after
glancing the screen, returned it and passed them without any further
question. Ryo was mildly amused at the more than special treatment for
his arrival, something he certainly didn't expect. Soon he was riding
to the institute on a luxurious ele-limousine.

*       *       *       *       *

"Dgoss Gear, this is Lt. Commander McVery Kusko. Dgoss Gear, this is
Lt. Commander McVery Kusko. I'm losing the control of bits. Repeat,
I'm losing the control of bits. They're no longer responding to my
command and firing at random. I'm now attempting the manual override."

About few hundreds kilometers from a partially destroyed colony, in an
area known as the Texas Zone, a huge warship was floating in the
space. The exterior shape was distinctive Jion design. Indeed, it was
the Dgoss Gear which was one of the powerful warships in AXIS fleet
and one of few survived the last war. Not far from the ship, dozens of
bright lights were fluttering around a strange looking red mobile
suit. Although its shape was the humanoid its armours were extremely
big, resulting the mobile suit looked very bulky and there were more
than dozens of vernier rockets throughout the body and with a huge
stabilizer at the back, it looked more like some kind of hybrid
between mobile armour and mobile suit. It was desperately shooting its
beam rifle at small objects that were fluttering around and firing its
mega-particle cannons to various directions. However, as if they were
reading the pilot's mind, they avoided the beam easily.

Suddenly all bits stopped firing and started to drift. The mobile suit
also ceased the motion and the warship, then approached them slowly.
"Lt. Commander Kusko, maintain your position. We're sending two
Marasai to retrieve your mobile suit and bits." When the ship closed
at few kilometers from them, two RMS-108 MARASAI were launched from
the ship's port hatch. One of them grabbed the mobile suit from behind
and pushed it into the ship, while the other collected bits.

---------
Episode.3       New Types.

The security check at the institute was extremely thorough, and Ryo
submitted
reluctantly. Normally when the EMF pursued its secret project it had
tight security around but the check at the front hall was even more
harsh. His passport was spirited into a small back room, and returned
slightly warm few minutes later, and the entry agent at the circular
desk tapped a stilus at his screen, occasionally nodding, and at one
point doing a visual check off, glancing at Ryo and the screen.

Once his DNA and retia pattern had been scanned, and all points of
security apparently satisfied, a group of two green capped GSC escorted
him down through several harshly lit corridors, past rooms with unmarked
doors. While on the way, through an open door he noticed a room where
two kids were wearing helmets with long wires attached to a
unrecognisable machine and engaged in what looked like some kind of
experiment. The whisper of low humming sound from the machine drifted
into the hallway and made the whole scene creepy.

When he was finally ushered into an unmarked door at the far left of a
dead end hallway, he came to face to face with a well known admiral
who sat on the sofa with his legs on the table and was enjoying his
trademark
cigar. Luckily for Ryo, all smoke was sucked by ventilation fan doing
its best just above him. Watching smoke whiled away into the slits on
the ciling from the general's cigar along side of the general's face
and his rather bigger frame made whole thing very amusing. The smoking
habit died in early days of space colonisation as the air in the
colony was very precious. All fossil fuel burning vehicles were banned
in favour of the electric car from the beginning. However, few of old
generations insisted on old habits and luckily or unluckily most of
them were in the powerful positions to allow themselves those
privileges. A Fleet Admiral O'Brian was, after all, the hero of the
Griffs War and as one of the well known public figure of Federal Armed
Forces, he certainly had that privilege.

"Welcome to Griffs, Ensign Ryo Roots." The admiral smiled broadly,
getting up and offering his hand. "Please, sit down and make yourself
comfortable." The admiral then offered him a cup of real green tea which
was very rare in these days. Apparently it was another his privileges.
After a moment of silence, admiral spoke with a loud voice. "I'm sure,
now you're wondering what these VIP treatments are all about. Don't
worry I'll get that point shortly. But first, your father Lt. Commander
J. Roots was the pilot of the MSZ-006C1 ZPLUS C1 during the Griffs War.
Isn't that right, Ensign?" "Yes, that's correct, sir." Ryo's voice
carried a hint of uneasiness. He wondered why the admiral
was talking about his father all of sudden.

The admiral picked up a piece of paper from the table and glanced it
before continued, "your father was the ace pilot during the Griffs
War. I'm sure you're well aware of that. Now, according to this
evaluation report," he then grabbed another pile of papers, "your
father's NTAS (Ed: New Types Ability Score) was the highest ever
recorded.
His score was even higher than Commander Amuro Rei's which is about the
same as your's. In other ward, your parents were among few of the highly
developed New Types we had at that time. When the high command found out
about them, they quickly removed your father from the active duty and
launched the project. The project in which they tried to create a
genetically engineered New
Type infant from their genes. Oviously the chance of a naturally born
baby from the New Type couple to be a fully developed New Type was
very low, so they decided to engineer a baby. The potential of this
experiment was very high. As you can see, with the technology
perfected they can mass produced New Types like producing mobile
suits." General's last comment was rather sarcastic.

He paused to snip his tea, putting down the paper."Nevertheless the
experiment was success. However, it was terminated mysteriously after
the birth of a baby without official explanation. You may now
wondering then how do I know the experiment was success if it was
scrapped nineteen years ago. Well, that's because I'm looking at the
result of that experiment right in front of me. It's you, Ensign." Ryo
was stunned by the admiral's sudden revelation of the secret around
his birth.

---------
Episode.4       Contolism.

Ryo was still in deep state of shock after the admiral reveled the
secret around his birth. The Fleet Admiral O'Brian had been very
quite, just snipping his tea and watching him intensely for a long
time. "I know it won't be pleasant hearing your birth was the result
of calculated experiment, not the result of love between your parents,
Ensign. I hate myself telling you this after nineteen years of
silence. But we're desperate here, Mr Roots. I mean we need you for
our project. And the security of Federation is depends on the success
of this project, Ensign. You see, over a year ago we leant AXIS was
developing the new generation psychommu system which is more advanced
and powerful than before and mobile suits to utilise that technology
for full potential. At the time we got the information, luckily to us
their prototype was having some major technical difficulties but in
recent months there are various activities around Texas Zone which we
suspect their testing of new prototypes. It also means they already
solved or close to solve the problems that drag them for a year. The
danger their new mobile suits possess is at the moment our New Type
mobile suits don't have that kind of advanced psychommu system, which
means to fight against them we need our own. As it was well
demonstrated at the previous war ordinary pilots, even war veteran
pilots, had no chance against New Type pilots and for New Types to
fight effectively they need psychommu controlled weapons. Sure we do
have a New Type Corps but the number of pilots we have is no mach for
them. They're using artificially induced New Types and, although they
have some stability problem, the shire number of them is far greater
danger than we expected." The admiral's face was dead serious and he
was talking at the very laud voice with big gestures as he often did.

"Fortunately when we approached the Anaheim Electronics for our new
project a group of their engineers were pursuing the project, after
they finished the Project Z, which is very similar to our request. So
to save time as well as keep the cost down, the head quarter decided
to utilise the research they've been done and put more funds to
accelerate it. From beginning of this project we expect the short
supply of New Type pilots who can successfully interface with the new
psychommu system that's going to be developed along with the new
prototype but we never expect all of our existing pilots will fail. It
set back the whole schedule for considerable length of time and cost a
lot more than we anticipated. Engineers told me that the problem was
the on-board AI computer controlling the psychommu system doesn't
response to any of them. Exhausted, when we were almost going to start
from the scarch to develop another AI computer, someone from the New
Type Corps mentioned your father and that's how I accidently came
across the old experiment while searching for your father's
whereabouts." However, Ryo wasn't listening to the admiral.

*       *       *       *       *

"Dad, is it true you're going to join the Federation, not Jion? You
always told me you're in favour of Contolism. Then why did you join
the Feds to fight against them? Why..." Ryo burst into his father's
room. He just heard from his mother that his father would transffered
to Earth for the mobile suit training. He believed that one day his
father would join the Jion forces and fought for Spacenoids, not those
scum on Earth. So the news was quite a shock. He couldn't believed
what he heard. He didn't want to...

"Ryo, take easy. I know you're strong believer of Contolism but at
present it's been polluted and used as the mask by Zavi's followers.
Do you really believe AXIS or other remaining Jion forces have fought
for Spacenoids? No, they've fought because they want the power. The
power to rule the Earth gravity. We cannot allow that happen.
We must prevent it at all cost. They lost their souls to the
earth gravity. They can't fight for us. And that's why I join the
Federation, Ryo. Don't worry, I'm going to join AEUG after the
training to fight against TITANZ and remaining Jion forces. I'm sure I
can beat them both. I'm sure of that." To his word, his father soon
joined AEUG and became their ace pilot. After impressive score at the
first battle, he got the newer version of ZETA GUNDAM, MSZ-006C1 ZPLUS
C1 and later became a hero of the Griffs War.

However, as it proven at the end of the war, the Bio-sensor in two
ZETA GUNDAM prototypes weren't stable and during the last battle, his
father went into the coma after suffering the mass sensory overload.
After one more similar incident with the original prototype MSZ-006's
pilot, Bio-sensors were stripped off from both units, but already the
damage had been done. The AEUG, afraid of the public outbreak, covered
up incidents and both pilots were held in the military hospital for
nearly four months without any reason. When he finally released from
the hospital, Ryo's mother took her husband to Earth. Today, although
still in the belief of Contolism, Ryo now believed he could understand
his father's decision, and how hard it must had been when he shot down
the enemy mobile suit knowing the other pilot was Spacenoid like
himself.

---------
Episode.5       Project Sentinel.

After watching Lieutenant J.G. Marindorf launched a RMS-108 MARASAI
fifty meters behind his MS-110 CHAIKA as he ordered him, from his
cockpit's 360 degree view linear seat, Lt. Commander Marc Kircheiss
detoured around the ship and positioned himself with the sun to his
rear. He then fired the main booster and approached the Grenada. There
was no response from the city. The instrument panel started displaying
the city's periphery and revealed its relative scale. The massive
structure glared bright in the sun, and the vacuum of space skewed his
perspective. Squinting, he could make out the details of the looming
walls, but soon cockpit displayed nothing but wall all around him,
making it even harder to keep a sense of relative distance. He called
up the range finder in on his instrument panel.

Eventually he was so close to the city wall that even the range finder
was of little use. He had to call up the main orthoscopic monitor
wether he wanted or not. Just when it looked like he might smash into
the wall, the details of a giant hatch used for entry and exit became
clear as the on board computer enhanced the image, as did what looked
like human graffiti. He could see "Toilet to the right", "I wanna do
it with Hanes", and worse.

He snorted, "Uh oh ..." But he was not responding to the graffiti. He
had spotted the cargo hatch in the city's outer module and it was
open. It might be a trap. "It's a gamble," he muttered. "The moment I
touch the wall, an alarm might go off. But what can a few Feds clowns
do right away against two mobile suits?"

Marc maneuvered his mobile suit to touch the wall. Nothing happened.
With Marindorf following, he entered through the first door on the
cargo hatch and tried the inner lock hatch. Incredibly, the manual
door was open. 'This proves AXIS doesn't have a monopoly on idiots,'
he thought.

One by one, he opened the four layers of shuttered doors on the inner
hatch. The last one was welded shut, but the laser burner built into
the manipulator took care of that. Through the last hatch, he and
Marindorf emerged onto a deck that overlooked the inside of the city.
After secured their mobile suits, they opened the cockpit hatch and
jumped down to the floor, and using the small vernier booster strapped
to their back pack, flew into the city.

*       *       *       *       *

After almost two hours of meeting with a Fleet Admiral O'Brian, Ryo
was finally led to another room. This time the door did have the sign
on it, Chief of Operation. With two GSC standing outside, he stepped
in and saw a young woman behind a big desk enjoying a coffee
while reading papers. The room was a bit crammed compared to the room
he just visited and the large desk in the middle of the room made it
even worse. He noticed one side of the wall was actually a large
transparent window, but couldn't see as the other side was dark. On
the opposite wall, a large picture frame was hung with a ordinary
water colour painting in it. The woman behind the massive desk was
quite attractive with long dark hair and delicate face. She also
looked quite young. In fact, she didn't look much older than himself.
When
she rose to greet him, much to his dismay, her whole body was hidden
under the white lab coat and didn't show out any hint. He read her
name on the ID card on her chest, Dr Nina Traphalga the chief of
operation, as he approached her.

"Nice to meet you, Ensign Ryo Roots. I'm Nina Traphalga, the head of
this project but please call me Nina." She stood up and offered her
hand with smiling before he had a chance to speak. "I'm sure you have
many questions. Please seat down, I'll explain as best as I can." Her
voice was very feminine and reminded him a girlfriend in his youth.
"Please doctor, call me Ryo. I'm not used to these rankings." He
smiled, pointing his insignia on his shoulder.

"All right then, Ryo." She snipped her coffee and silenced for a while
as if she was wondering how to start. "Well, to begin with, this
project, codenamed Sentinel, was officially launched ten months ago by
Feds Fleet Admiral O'Brian, but quite coincidentally the core of the
project has been researched long before that. You see, this project is
linked to the Project Z which commissioned by AEUG during Griffs War.
I'm sure you'll already know about the Project Z so I won't go into
details. Officially the Project Z was finished when MSZ-010 ZZ rolled
out, but Anaheim's engineers kept pursuing the goal of ultimate mobile
suits. When Feds approached us for the new mobile suit prototype and
found out about the research, they gave it the official code name and
more fund. The aim of the project was then became the development of
the psychommu system and the new GUNDAM to utilise it with new power
generator. You see, the conventional mobile suits use the ultracompact
magnetic confinement fusion engine which was put to the practical use
after the discovery of Minovski particle. However, more than decade of
advances, we're reaching the limit of current technology in terms of
energy efficiency. What I mean is unless we built mobile suits much
bigger than current size, the power output of present generator is
closed to what we call the theoretical limit. If we develop this new
prototype based on the conventional generator with the psychommu
system, it'll be over thirty meters tall which is unpractical in terms
of cost and other problems as it was well demonstrated by old TITANZ
psycho-GUNDAM line."

She then paused to snip her coffee again before continued. "And that's
why we are developing this new fusion reactor. It's called the EMTOR
and theoretically can yield 280 to 350 percent more power than
conventional nuclear fusion reactor. I won't go in any lengthy detail
about this new reactor which you won't need anyway but as with most
new technologies, there are still many problems to be ironed out. At
the moment, the heating is the main obstacle. In fact, we lost two
early prototypes due to its heating dispersion system failure.
Fortunately, none of them were manned at the time. The prototype
you're going to test is the third unit and has many of new features
derived from the failure of previous two units."

She walked to the desk and tapped a key on the in-built keyboard. With
few key stroke, the picture frame on the opposite side of the
transparent wall suddenly changed its picture. Upon close inspection,
Ryo noticed it wasn't the picture frame but rather well disguised wall
hanged flat screen which doubled as the picture frame while not in
use.

"This is the footage we took during the second prototype's last manned
test. Please note this one has different armour. Also note its
wing-like heat dispersion structures at its back. They're now
incorporated into the stabilizer of the third prototype. The third
unit's recognition number was MSA-0011b3, but after the accident it's
been changed and now officially called MSZ-0011 S-GUNDAM."

---------
Episode.6       ALICE.

Dr Nina Traphalga changed the picture on the flat screen with a key
stroke. The display panel then changed to show four mobile suit blue
prints side by side. "The MSA-0011 was originally planed to be
delivered before the MSZ-010 but only these three Gundam prototypes,
MSZ-006, MSZ-010 and MSZ-006C1 were delivered to the AEUG on schedule.
The MSA-0011 was, at the end of war, still under construction because
of the delay by some technical difficulties. When the Project Sentinel
was commissioned, designers at Anaheim decided to use its frame as the
base to cut the development time. The MSZ-0011 incorporates the
VMsAWrs which first utilised in MSZ-006 as well as the core fighter
concept which used in MSZ-010 but we modified that you can control
subunit without needing another pilot. Also in this unit, there are
several differences you should aware of. Firstly, you will notice its
big shoulder armours. That's because the back-up of main ensigns are
located inside of both shoulder armours. Theoretically you can pilot
it with its main engine damaged as there are several sub-engines
throughout the body. Secondly, this mobile suit can be armed several
different ways. At the moment three variations are on the drawing
board. From those three version, this test unit is the first
variation. The second hasn't been decided but it will be more like
mobile armour with enormous truster power replacing its legs and third
version which is nicknamed EX-S, will be the ultimate Gundam as it'll
have the biggest booster power. The psychommu system on this unit, we
call it Incom System, is basically the modified version of Jion's
psychommu system. On this unit we have the first working prototype. Of
course it need to be tuned for your brain wave to be useful. After the
field test, the Ex-S will get the more advanced version. The Incom
System on-board the prototype is from our AI Department and you know,
it's built by your mother.  She called it ALICE."

"Really? Well, she never told me what she's doing at the company anyway.
By
the way is ALICE meant the Alice from the children's fairy tale?" Ryo
asked with mild amusement. She laughed at his comment, and he thought
the sound of her laughing was very pleasant. "No, its full name is
Advanced Logistic & Inconsequence Cognizing Equipment. It's more
powerful than previous generation AI computers on board mobile suits
and directly linked to Bio-sensors to monitor the pilot and prevent
the sensory overloading that old Bio-sensors often caused during the
last war." Talking with her face turned to the screen, she missed to
notice Ryo's face clouded.

"Well, Ryo, by the schedule we'll be underway to the Texas Zone
tomorrow. The unit will be loaded in the Neo-Agama at 2000 hours today
and the departure will be at 0800 hours tomorrow. Once arrived, you'll
fly the unit along the predefined course. Well, that's the idea
anyway, but when you're out there it's up to you." She held up her
hand before Ryo could open his mouth. "I know you may wonder why we
don't test it here at the Side 7 as it'll be definitely more safe."
Nina smiled teasingly with a side of her lip twisted up. His face
turned to red as she kept to stare him while smiling. "Er... To be
honest, actually I was just wondering that myself." Her smile got
broaden at his comment, "the reason is there is a strong rumour that
the AXIS is testing their new prototype at the same place. That's why
we won't do any mock battle test out there. The prototype will be
loaded with live armo. Admiral O'Brian want to test MSZ-0011's ability
in real situation if it's possible. Also that is the one of the reason
why he chose you over number of other New Type pilots. I noticed you
scored the impressive mark on mobile suit aeronautics at the academy
and on your NTAS." Obviously the admiral didn't tell her the real
reason behind. Ryo sneered inwardly and wondered how she would react
if she learned about it.

"Do you have any more questions, Ryo?" When no reply came, "then I
think you should get some rest before the psychommu tuning session.
You need to report to the psychommu lab two hours from now." Dr
Traphalga called in two GSC who escorted him from the main gate,
continuously talking, "they'll show you a place to stay. Oh, by the
way, if you have some time to spare I'm strongly recommend you to try
our cafeteria. You know, our cafeteria has one of the best cappucinno
in Griffs." She smiled and waved her hand as Ryo was escorted to
outside.

*       *       *       *       *

In a laboratory, one of the agency's younger scientists gave Ryo a
formal presentation on the process of to interface the psychommu
system with his brain wave. There were some machinery very similar he
saw on the way to see Fleet Admiral O'Brian and, somewhat distanced
from it, a chair with a bunch of wires running from its back to the
nearest wall mounted panel. After short boring speech, Ryo was lead to
the chair. "Ryo, please sit down. This process won't hurt a bit. All
you have to do is just concentrating and the rest of it is done by
this machine over there," Dr Nina Traphalga pointed the machinery with
her finger as she continued, "and the ALICE on board MSZ-0011. From
previous experience, when you're rejected by the system, you won't
suffer any danger apart some uncomfortable feeling or nausea."

A young scientist who gave him early lecture told Ryo while preparing
the process. "First of all," he said, pointing, "this mechanism, which
we called the Incom System, is used to conduct brain wave. The
extremely weak electrical signals emitted by a human brain are
detected by this receiver, amplified, and then transmitted to the
controls that operate Bits. We say transmitted, but in reality the
brain waves themselves become an integral part of the electrical
oscillation that drives the whole thing." He then lifted a big helmet
with wires hanging from its back and handed it to Ryo. The helmet,
strangely enough, covered almost entire his face except mouth and
nose. Once sat down on the chair and wore the helmet, technicians
attached wires and other gizmos on his arms, necks and fingers.
Through the helmet, the muffled scientist's voice kept telling, "when
I activated the system, you'll feel something although it's vary
from person to person. You just keep concentrate on it and try to
intensify it if you can. If you feel nausea or something amiss tell me
straight away. We don't won't to risk anything here. Remember, this
system is still quite rudimentary compared to Jion's in my opinion,
however, the efficiency will be roughly equal to them. Now, let's
start." And Ryo lost all stimulations from out side completely.

---------
Episode.7       Secret File (1).

After the mobile suit had been secured to the maintenance platform,
Lt. Commander McVery pushed the control panel aside and opened the
cockpit hatch. As the hanger was usually kept at the low gravity, he
jumped to the main deck almost sixteen meters below without hesitation
whiling removing his helmet and as soon as touched the deck floor,
threw it hard to the floor. "Shit, what fucked up this time? Couldn't
you idiots find out before I have to do in hard way? Bits suppose to
shoot enemy, not its pilot! I was almost killed by my own Bits!" He
pointed his finger to a short man in his early thirties as he
continued to shout. "You, Mr Monsha. I don't care what you do I expect
the problem is fixed before my next scheduled test. Before the launch,
I'll personally see to it, you got that?" The short man with dirty
greased jump suit saluted, yelling, "yes, sir." After glancing angry
look at technicians once more, McVery half jumped to the lift-grips
and carried away from the hanger deck.

"Whew. He sure has his face turned into grey when he climbed out,
mate. Did you see that?" One of the technician among the crowd, after
McVery was disappeared, talked to the guy next to him. "Yea! I wish I
saw it when the Bits kicked his ass." "Watching his face turning white
will make me feel reeeal good, man." Monsha Medso turned to their
direction, lifting his face from the PAD in his hand on which he was
tapping something. "Hey! You two, get back to work, will ya? I don't
want to that asshole shout at me again."

"Lt. Commander McVery Kusko reporting, sir." McVery saluted as he
entered the operation briefing room. There were already four people
seating at the conference table. At the top, Captain Hannibal was
reading the monitor screen and on his right Dr Flanagan and his
assistance, and on his left a Commander Kara McPherson who was a
leader of New Type mobile suit corps at Dgoss Gear, were seated.
Commander McPherson was apparently engaged in an argument with Dr
Flanagan but stopped when he entered the room.

"Oh, Lt. Commander, have a seat." After turning off the screen,
Captain Hannibal offered him a seat next to Commander McPherson. "I'm
sure you're as much furustrated as we are about this delay which is
apparently occurring every week or so." He paused, twisting his lip
and watching Dr Flanagan on his right, "as you probably well aware,
the PMX-005 THE-O Mk-II is our second prototype unit and we simply
can't afford the third one at the current situation. If we can't make
this one work then this whole project will be scrapped. This is an
order from the high command." At that comment, Dr Flanagan, glancing
the captain's face, interrupted in. "Er... Captain. I can assure you
that this minor glitch won't delay the schedule of the project. Also
let me remind you again that the design of the PMX-003 THE-O, which
our prototype is based on, required almost constant concentration from
its pilot and didn't suit to most New Types but selective few. That's
why it took us more than a year to modify the psychommu system to be
less demanding on a pilot. I can assure you this prototype will be the
most powerful mobile suit ever built from either Jion or Federation
when ..."

His speech was cut short by the Commander Kara McPherson's
interruption. "Dr Flanagan, I'll bet your theory sounds impressive on
the paper to those beaurocrat assholes but let me remind you the real
situation here. The problem with this unit is the psychommu system
supposed to be modified for easy control but still damn too hard to
control. With that sucker enganed MS becomes real bastard to do
anything else, even maneuvering, doctor. As you know I tested it
myself few times before Lt. Commander Kusko take over, and I can tell
you that it sucks!  It's one of helluva living nightmare for any New
Type pilot. The input from that sucker was overwhelming and drove me
almost to the limit. It's no wonder we still have problems with it."
Dr Flanagan who kept frowning while listening, interrupted in as soon
as she paused, "but, please commander ..."

However, his attempted reply was cut short by Captain Hannibal,
raising his hand to silence all in the room. "Gentlemen, please. Look,
we can't afford wasting valuable time on an arguing wether it'll work
or not. We got a deadline to meet otherwise those beaurocrats will
scrape this project for good.  If I have to remind you all, we're
already slightly behind the schedule and unless figure out this new
MINOR GLITCH, I doubt we can finish on time. Now get moving. You are
all dismissed."

*       *       *       *       *

Lt. Commander Marc and Lieutenant J.G. Marindorf maneuvered into the
vast space inside the Grenada. The Grenada was built in one of the
largest crest on Luna and its huge space is covered by giant
transparent doom structures. The area they're flying was rather
deserted since they were few kilometers away from any residence area.
Marc felt luck was on his side.

Maneuvering to close to Marindorf, Marc grabbed his arm while
maintaining the balance, and spoke using the contact transmission that
often used to avoid the detection of radio wave transmission.
"Marindorf, how far do we have to go?" The Marindorf's helmet glanced
to his side. "According to the data I got, we're about five hundreds
meters from the research centre, sir. Over that way, you'll see a
white building inside the bush area soon." Marc was about to
separate himself when Marindorf grabbed his arm. "Wait, Lt. Commander!
We need to proceed from north. The scientist informed us he's going to
disable the motion detector in that area for a short time. We must
proceed from that direction on time to avoid detection." They both
flew away from the target building and widely circled around, to
proceed from the north.

About two hundreds meters from the building, they landed in the bush
area and Marc and Marindorf took off their normal suits and vernier
boosters to change into Feds uniforms they brought with them. "I hate
these uniform, Marindorf. Whoever did the design he had absolutely no
sense of fashion. Look at this colour, it's so boring and looks like
street worker's uniform." Marc complained to his lieutenant J.G.
while changing into Feds lt. commander uniform. "But sir, TITANZ did
have pretty good uniforms. I personally think it's pity Feds didn't
adapt its uniform as official." Marindorf added to Marc's comment as
he took on the lieutenant uniform. "Leutenant, oh? I should've ask
them to make mine a commander, then." Marc sneered at Marindorf's
rank on his sleeve.

It seemed the scientist kept his word since they saw no suspicious
activity around the area. After few minutes of walking they arrived at
the north side emergency exit gate. It was already opened for them.
They stepped in and soon found themselves in the corridors which led
them to the main entrance. A guard at the main entrance saluted to
Marc when he saw his rank insignia. Marc grunted to him as he and
Marindorf walked pass.

After turning the corner, they found this side of corridors was rather
deserted. While walking slowly between window and Marc, Marindorf
checked the layout of the building on his PAD. "This way, sir." After
few minutes of walking and steps, they were soon standing in front of
the door with the sign, Computer Operating Room. Authorized personnel
only. The door was locked and the only way to open it was through the
digital keypad on the right side of the wall next to the door. With
Marc as a guard, Marindorf attached a small device to the keypad.
"Hurry up, Lieutenant! We don't have much time." Marc was tensed as
the door was on the middle of the corridor and at any moment Feds
soldiers could come from either corners.

The device, after few failed attempts, finally unlocked the door.
"Sir!" Marindorf whispered to Marc who was standing few meters away
from him to watch out for anyone coming this way. "Please, get inside
quickly." They stepped in and closed the door behind them just in time
as two soldiers turned the corner to the area where they were few
moments ago. They hold their breath and listened behind the door as
two soldiers passed. After the sound of their foot steps disappeared,
Marc let out breath he hold. "That was close, Marindorf." "Yes, sir.
If we didn't open at the fourth attempt we could be in trouble now,
sir." "All right, we haven't got much time. Let's get to work,
Leutenant."

---------
Episode.8       Confrontation (1).

"Sir, we arrived at the designated position." Operator Oscar called
out. "All right. Prepare to spreay Minovski particles and maintain the
red allert. Watch out for any object moving in this vicinity." Captain
Miles T. Riker ordered while watching the tactical 3D display of the
space around the Texas Zone. All operators at the Neo-Ahgama's main
bridge wore the standard issued normal suits which was a lot bulkier
than mobile suit pilots' one but then pilots need a lot more freedom
in their movements in order to pilot the mobile suits.

"Decks One, open launch hatch! S-GUNDAM stand by for take off!" A
Petty Officer Tracy Noreuf announced shipwide. Before she could get
all words out, a response came from Ryo. "All systems green on
S-GUNDAM!" he yelled. "Beam rifle ready! Catapult set!" He was ready
in position when Tracy relayed the information on the second monitor
popped up on the next to the screen she was talking. "S-GUNDAM, you're
cleared to go. Good luck, Ryo." She smiled and winked as she cut off
the communication. Ryo whispered in his linear seat after the screen
was disappeared, "thanks, Tracy."

'Here we go.' Ryo pushed hard the accelerator pedal and at the same
time squeezed both joypads towards the vast space in front of him.
With the sudden g-force, his body was pushed hard into the linear seat
and the mobile suit was thrown out like an arrow from the bow with
tremendous acceleration from the Neo-Ahgama's main catapult deck and
within seconds disappeared into the darkness of space.

True to the tradition of previous Gundam pilots, he also wore the
white normal suit but instead of white helmet he opted for the red one
with white star mark on the left side. It was the present from Tracy
when she was assigned at Torrington Base.  He raised his helmet's
anti-glare visor and looked around the cockpit. In front of him, a
instrument panel was displaying tactical details about the route he
would take for the test flight. Ryo always felt relaxed and calmed
inside mobile suit's cockpit as if he was sitting in front of TV at
his lounge couch. With its 360 degree view screen displaying
surrounding he felt like he was floating in space. He knew it was
dangerous perception when one was piloting in space, however. In fact,
it was easy to lost the feeling of orientation and often it resulted
fatal mistake.

Suddenly a warning flashed at the corner of the instrument panel,
indicating an object approaching to him. Laser sensors could be
accurate on their own terms even with heavy Minovski interference, but
as Lieutenant Ralv had often said, until one confirmed something
visually, it was not confirmed. That aside, the monitor indicated
something approaching at high speed.

On the bridge of the Neo-Ahgama, operator Mark read the same signal
and yelled at Captain Riker. "Sir, this one's closing on us faster
than I've ever heard of!" "It's not matching any of data on our data
bank, sir," chimed in Oscar, the other operator. Captain Miles T.
Riker lined his face at the report, yelled as he stood up. "Ready
mega-beam cannons and missiles!"

Out in space on the S-GUNDAM's 360 degree view linear seat, Ryo saw a
reddish point of light wove through stars toward him at high speed,
and felt a chill ran down his spine. For a second he thought he was
looking at the ghost of legenday red comet, but then cockpit's wall
showed a close-up of a red mobile suit he hadn't seen before. In fact
it didn't even look like a mobile suit but rather oversized humanoid
shape mobile armour. In it's head, behind a panel that looked like the
windshield of a helmet, a green coloured mono-eye flashed. It was
sighting down the barrel of its beam rifle. Ryo twisted joypads at
both side of his linear seat toward each other and felt the sudden
g-force as the entire mobile suit spun sharply to the right just
moment before the red mobile suit fired, and a beam from its rifle
sliced through the darkness of space where S-GUNDAM had been a moment
ago, leaving a trail of long red light. But Ryo knew that a single
long line meant his opponent had actually fired several shots rapidly.

With a horrible sinking feeling, he remembered the lieutenant's
lectures: "You gotta watch out for guys who fire long burst with beam
rifles, 'cause one of rounds might hit you. But as
long as you can still see the barrel of the gun, you're okay, 'cause
it means you're still alive. It's the guy who never wastes a shot you
really should be scared of. He'll really makes you stay on your toes.
You wanna know how to spot him? Lemme tell ya. In real combat, you'll
just know. And when you know, you'll probably be dead anyway. The
first thing to do when you sight an enemy is to pray he's an idiot
like you. That's your only hope."

Ryo felt lucky. He managed to dodge the red mobile suit's blast. Small
monitors appeared on left and right sides of his cockpit's view screen
and began to display the data, but he was too busy to look at them. It
was all he could do to track the red mobile suit streaking across the
monitor. When the red machine seemed to hesitate, he pulled the
trigger for his mega-beam rifle.

The blast from the S-GUNDAM's mega-beam rifle sliced through the
space, leaving a trail of white light, but the red mobile suit was
already bearing down from another direction. If Ryo had kept his eye
on the light, he would have completely overlooked the enemy's suit.
But the moment he pulled the trigger, he knew he had missed, so he
deliberately broadened his focus. Like a red comet, the red mobile
suit bore down on him, and its mono-eye again flashed. Ryo fired the
all four vulcan cannons built into the S-GUNDAM's head, knowing it
could not destroy it but hoping to at least knocking its camera eye
out of action.

The red mobile suit swooped left, executing an almost perfect
ninety-degree turn. Ryo maneuvered his suit to square off against it
and saw his instrument panel flash a warning. He jammed the joypads to
put the S-GUNDAM into an evasive maneuver and saw two bands of red
beam passed at very close range. The enemy mobile suit was trying a
death blow, but Ryo had managed to dodge it again. Ryo's reflexes were
far better than average, but the prototype was responding to them
instantly without any hesitation.

*       *       *       *       *

As he was about to leave the briefing room, Commander McPherson
grabbed his arm and pulled him to the corner of the corridor. "Lt.
Commander, I think we should talk." Her voice was low but carried
enough hints that she was very upset. McVery looked at her
questionably but didn't say anything. As to satisfy his expectation,
she looked straight at his eyes and talked. "Mac, I told you don't
rush to things 'cause it'll cost your life one day. It scared hell out
of me watching you out there with those crazy Bits." She paused and
turned her face, closing eyes and struggling to keep her temper.

"Er ... Kara. I didn't mean ..." His reply was cut short, however. "I
told you do not sign on this project. I personally don't think it'll
do any good on your service record. Besides, the prototype you're
testing is only the back-up unit. There are actually two PMX-005 in
the test at the moment." McVery's eyes widened at her comment. "What?
You mean there are two The-O Mk-II instead of one I'm testing now? But
I heard the first unit was blown off two months ago." "Yes, yes. I
know that, too. But it seems it was a cover up to extract more fund
from those beaurocrats. According to the source, the first unit has
been in test over two months now. In fact, I believe it's out there in
the Texas Zone at this moment."

----------
Episode.10      Secret Files (2).

The room they were in was quite large. Surprisingly, there weren't any
big computers nor many terminals. Only thing they could see were a
flat screen panel, the size of a wall, and a row of desk with built in
keyboards and memory slots. Overall, the interior of the room was very
spartan and functional. Marindorf sat on one of the seat, and typed
few commands. "Leutenant, can you penetrate the security system? I
heard Feds use quite peculiar system on their computer." Marc asked
his leutenant while glancing the room. "Don't worry, Lt. Commander. I
learned long before how to crack their system and this particular
system here hasn't been upgraded for nearly a year now, sir. We'll be
out of here in no time." Marindorf answered while typing.

Suddenly the main screen came up alive and started to display various
data. Some of them looked like a kind of blue print of new mobile suit
prototype, while others listing the new strategy of the battlecruiser
formations. They could be very valuable to Jion but they were not here
for them. The data they were after, however, didn't come up easily.
After several minutes of trials, Marindorf shaked his head and numbbled.
"What do you say, Leutenant?" Marc turned to him from the door. "Oh,
nothing, sir. Just that it seems somebody moved it to other place. I
can't find it from this archive." "Then try another archive" Marc
snapped at his comment. Marindorf lifted up his face to see Marc's
face, "sir, that's not that easy. It'll take another few more minutes
to penetrate another archive and by that time, they'll know something
is amiss here."

--------
CONTINUE