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10:49 pm: Part 1: Bird of Jaburo
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Novel Series
Volume 1: Kamille Bidan



Bright Noa was somewhat uncomfortable, most likely due to the unpleasant nature of the day’s passengers. There was not a soldier at Jaburo who would not understand if that group known as the “Titans” were mentioned. The Titans were famous for being superficially polite, and quickly becoming a synonym for snobbish at Jaburo.

“Wanna shake them up, Captain?” Macmillan Hathan, the co-captain, had asked Bright the moment he sat in the captains’ chair.

Bright understood that this was probably the only opportunity he would have to get some sort of revenge against the Titans, but instead of replying with words, he forced a smile. Macmillan understood exactly what Bright was thinking with just this simple gesture, proving himself as embodying the true meaning of the word “staff.”

Bright sat down in the captain’s chair, fastening his helmet. In front of him, he could see that black sky he had seen so many times before, with the ocean horizon lightly twinkling in the dawn-light. Right above that thin horizon line there lay a thin, shimmering layer of haze, below which tiny clots of symmetrical clouds drifted above the nighttime ocean, flowing slowly past.

However, Bright and Macmillan had a mountain’s worth of checks to perform before lift-off, leaving no time to be entranced by the scenery that they both knew so well. Macmillan counted off the checklist items one by one, and Bright repeated each after him. Even while they were doing so, the control center of the mother-ship, the Garuda, was communicating more than a dozen items of separate checks to the Module JV8 that Bright commanded, known more commonly as the Temptation. While the two carried out all these checks, Bright addressed Macmillan.

“That girl named Ema Sheen? She’s not so bad.” Bright named of one of the members of the Titans.

“Ema…? You think so…?” Macmillan, who was crouched over the control panel, thought about Bright’s statement for a while, then stated, “… You just think so, Captain, ‘cause she’s got some Oriental blood in her, just like your wife.”

Bright was surprised by this statement, and looked at Macmillan to see what he meant, finally remembering that the topic of discussion was Ema Sheen, as so much time had passed.

“You think so?” Bright answered, just as the hatch at the back of the flight deck opened, and Anne Barbara, the Mission Specialist, stuck her head in.

“Shall we let the passengers board?”

“Oh, you’re flying with us today? Thanks for coming out,” Bright stated. “ How are you?”

“Oh, I’m great! How are your children, Captain?”

“They’re just fine. They’re doing a little too well in pre-school, though. It’s causing us a whole lot of grief.”

“You’ve got to let them play outside sometimes, Captain! I’ll bet you’ve got them all cooped up inside the house, right?”

”What? My kid is a champion at canoeing, you know…”

“Anne, the bridge is no place for a kindergarten teacher. Please save the childcare talk for later.” The announcer at the Garuda’s control center interrupted their small talk.

“Roger,” said Anne.

In this respect, the Garuda’s company was a bit rough. They didn’t hold any flight meetings with the crew. Upon boarding the ship, life was like a constant stream of scheduled events over which the crew had no control.

“Anne, the engine isn’t working too well today. Take-off might be a bit rough, but don’t you worry about it,” said Bright, shooting Anne a wink.

“Huh? Will we be OK?”

“He’s just sayin’ because we’re flying the Titans today!”

“Ahh…” Anne forced a small laugh, then continued “My stomach’s kind of off today. Can you please take it a little easy?”

“Gotcha!” Macmillan shot up his thumb, flashed white teeth back at Anne.

“See you later, then!” Anne Barbara’s blonde head disappeared out the hatch. Bright turned on the monitor to view the passenger seats. On the screen he could see Anne, who had just left the cockpit, disappear towards the boarding hatch.

“15 minutes until departure!”

“15 minutes!” Bright called back. On the right-hand monitor, Bright and Macmillan could see the cargo being loaded onto the plane below.

“They’re here,” muttered Bright.

“Ah…” sighed Macmillan, without much interest. Reflecting on this, he then said, “I don’t like her that much.” He was talking about Ema Sheen again.

“You’re picky, aren’t you,” Bright laughed, and watched the very same Ema Sheen they had just been talking about sit down in a seat on the right-hand center of the ship. It must have been the dark lighting inside the ship, but for some reason Ema Sheen’s ash brown hair looked beautiful. But, her overly confident, proud personality was rather off-putting, after all.

“5 minutes until takeoff!” There was no longer any time to be absorbed in what was going on in the passenger seats. Far off in his headphones, Bright could hear a voice making an announcement. “All personnel, prepare for module launch!” It was the broadcast relaying the departure of the Temptation to the Garuda’s crew. No matter how huge of a ship the Garuda was, it would still likely somewhat shaken at the time of the Temptation’s launch. More importantly, however, it was because no one could guarantee that there would not be some sort of accident at the moment of the module’s liftoff.

“Passenger boarding is completed. Begin air check!”

“Roger. Air checking all systems. Final verification.” Bright pressed a computer key to perform the final checks.

“JV8, blast-off preparation!” came the voice from the control center.

“Roger.”

Just then, a thundering quake rocked the ship. The Garuda had unlatched one of the joints from which the Temptation was hanging. Through the front windshield of the ship, the dawn horizon cut the view into two separate worlds of ocean and sky. Looking up from the cockpit, Bright could see the front edge of the Garuda. The JV8 Temptation’s hyper cold fusion reactor was rapidly gearing up to reach critical energy for take-off. However, this was something that could only be seen on the analog displays of the control panel. There was no rumble of the engine shaking the ship to create any tension among the passengers.

Out the front glass lay the sky, the horizon, and that belt of mist separating the two.
That symbol of atmospheric pollution…

Commander Bright Noah continued staring at that thin line of mist. “How long is it gonna take for that to fog disappear…?”

It had been seven years since that last great war between the Earth Federation government and the Principality of Zeon. In fact, it would soon be eight whole years since the war. Even so, the dust spread throughout the atmosphere had not fully disappeared. Massively destructive actions, such as dropping colonies on the earth, did not have the long-lasting damaging effect that atomic weaponry had, but it did not change the fact that it had caused immense atmospheric pollution. The only blessing in all this was that there was no radioactive pollution in the atmosphere.

In addition, those living in space, known widely as the “Spacenoids,” continued their activities to protect the earth as a singularly irreplaceable entity. However, the Earth Federation was making desperate efforts to rebuild their own facilities on Earth, all while disrupting the natural recovery of the planet. Before the start of the Universal Century, this would have been considered the only obvious plan for reconstruction. However, as it was an age where space colonies had finally been realized, and hundreds of millions of humans had gone to live in space, this plan to rebuild of Earth seemed like nothing more than an attempt to purposely drown the world in pollution.

Bright shared in the opinion of the Spacenoids, that all humans should move into space, and only interfere with the Earth insofar as to help it once again be able to naturally recover on its own. However, these pilots called the Titans that Bright was now flying were soldiers hired to root out the Spacenoids who made this claim as “rebellious elements.”

“It seems this job’s got me letting something troublesome loose into space…”

Bright closed his eyes.

“We’ve reached critical point!” At Macmillan’s exclamation, Bright switched the microphone to the passenger area and stated simply, “One minute to take-off.” Towards normal soldiers, Bright would have usually said something kinder, something more Captain-like, but he held himself back this time. As both soldiers and pilots, these Titans were a more elite group than Bright’s men. Bright didn’t want to say something better left unsaid and inadvertently earn the scorn of these men.

“30 seconds to ignition.” Bright left the countdown to Macmillan. The hyper cold fusion reactor engine had already begun burning quietly. They would at first use the full driving power of the engine, and once that power had reached its limit, a little bit of gunpowder would serve as an afterburner.

“’Seven, six, five…” The last joint holding the Temptation came loose, and the ship began its descent. Light g-forces created by the fall tugged on Bright’s body, as the Garuda’s wings disappeared from sight through the front windshield.

“Two, one!” The bright flash of the JV8 Temptation’s engines reflected lightly in the underside of the Garuda’s wings, stirring up a new whirlpool of light within the light of the dawn. Today’s acceleration was more violent than usual. The body of the craft shook roughly, but as the next flash had consumed the Temptation, the ship had split the light of the dawn in two.

“Ugh!” The passengers in their seats were groaning faintly. “What the…!?” There were a few passengers who complained in this manner, but the Titans did not raise their voices in protest. Even despite the relative bumpiness, this g-force was nothing compared to that of the average rocket launch prior to the start of the Universal Century.

The Temptation danced in the direct light of the sun, making a beeline in it’s ascent towards orbit. The ocean below was welcoming another day within the rays of the morning sun, shining gradually brighter. Though the Garuda was the biggest airplane yet created by human hands, it now appeared as a floating speck no larger a tiny sesame seed.

Upon Bright’s return to Jaburo, the Garuda would be given a temporary respite at the Federation base located deep within the heart of South America.


Comments

[User Picture]
From:_yaddayadda
Date:February 8th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
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You = Awesome!

I'm really looking forward to reading the rest.
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