Chapter 3:

Stage 3- Shinkyo

Chikyu No Shugo: Gaojinizer

Drifting around the Earth in the cosmos, was its satellite, known as Luna. The place that had essentially become a forward base for the Garsalan forces in the system. Serving as the jumping-off point for many of their attacks. The place that served as the headquarters, lying within Bygrius crater. Within the very center, a large structure sat, three connected, organically shaped towers, with layers of weaponry both around, and on it. Anti-ship artillery, anti-aircraft guns, and missile launchers. Though, even with its armaments, the castle itself was simply not large in the least. It served as a palace for an otherwise unknown noble family within the Garsalan Empire, bereft of many major military achievements, within the last century or so. The head of this noble family was the Fi’gas, Darzell Zu Meni.
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He sat on a chair at the summit of the tower, a glass in his clawed hands. His outer chitin, the color of sand, showing his origin from one of the Homeworld’s desert regions, shined in the light above him. He sat in silence, staring off into the window panels that covered most of the bedroom’s wall... Something that gave him a direct view of earth, and the space around it… His attention was on the country the primitives knew as “Japan.”. He focused his gaze on it as he prepared to watch the fireworks, and, finally, as a violet ball of light became visible from orbit, he began to raise his hand as it began to expand. Bookmark here

“Beautiful…”Bookmark here

As he watched the destruction, stepping through the doorway, was another Garsalan, the same shade as his superior. Bookmark here

“My lord.”Bookmark here

Darzell turned his head, placing his gaze on the soldier. Bookmark here

“It seems our information was correct, aside from the anti-aircraft we saw… There was a lack of any weaponry in the area.” Bookmark here

Darzell chuckled. Bookmark here

“So, paint a target on the city’s back, have us destroy it, and try to make us lower our guard... Maybe some of these upstarts would have fallen for that. But a member of Zu Meni will not…”Bookmark here

“Sir, are you not worried about how command will react to the forces that were destroyed?” Bookmark here

Now, the man turned his gaze back to the blue orb, as he took a sip from the glass, a yellow liquid entering his maw. Bookmark here

“Green troops and some outdated cruisers, I’m sure they won’t mind... “ Bookmark here

“But, that’s not all sir… We’ve found that a single Orbital Decimator, or, as the humans would call them, Vanguard Armors, has come out of the blast radius intact.”Bookmark here

“Is that so… Peculiar. A single machine surviving an AMP bomb...If it was one of ours, that wouldn’t be far-fetched...But considering those primitives made it, this just got a lot more interesting.”Bookmark here

“Then what shall we do, sir?” Bookmark here

Darzell stood, as he began to step closer toward the viewing window, taking yet another sip from the glass.Bookmark here

“We’ll eliminate it...Take whatever remains away… Have the Iso foundation test their new Biological weapons. It beats wasting troops that won’t do anything to it..” Bookmark here

The Garsalan Saluted. Bookmark here

“Yes!” Bookmark here

Soon, he began dashing out of the room, all the while, the Lord looked over his shoulder, watching the soldier's disappearing form. Though, soon, his gaze went forward. Bookmark here

“Looks like we got a little too lax, huh…” Bookmark here

His thoughts began to drift to any possible plans to destroy the machine. After all, doing something like that could get him in a position fighting opponents that would give him glory. There were numerous species in this galaxy and the one threat to their power was just beyond it. Regardless of which of them he fought, it would be better than this. All things considered, these Terrans were small potatoes at best. Their technology and Military were subpar, and their planet was a complete backwater. As a member of the aristocracy, that simply would not do… Bookmark here

The mentioned Terran Machine, and its pilot, drifted over the verdant forests that dotted the archipelago. None the wiser of the target placed on his back. Though, even if he did know, he had other concerns. The normally go-lucky, headstrong youth, ready to jump into any fight, had seemingly disappeared. The weight of the battle just yesterday still weighed on him... Though those two, and the rest of those he knew were hardly those you could consider “Good”. Or the last people one would consider being friends with, for him, that was not the case. In a matter of a few hours, the invaders he scorned managed to take everything from him once more. This was something that he couldn’t allow, something that he sure as hell wouldn’t. Not as long as he still had the ability to battle them. Though, before all that, he needed to figure out how this machine worked, after that, he would go do what he intended to. But, there was a problem in this, he could not decide on his next course of action. Bookmark here

“...Alright, I shouldn’t be too far from Shinkyo. I’ll stop there, get some supplies or whatever, and we’re off.” Bookmark here

Just like that, he continued moving over the high tipped mountains, and the verdant valleys that lie between them. All things considered, the trip was going quite well. Not a single Garsalan attack, so far, and he was advancing toward the city quite quickly. It was about an hour before he reached Mount Ontake, the site of Shinkyo. The city was not visible, save for what looked like hangar doors at the base of the mountain. There as a safeguard for the Emperor, and the other central members of the government, the city was simply a large cavern dug into the mountain’s base, built-in layers as the city was expanded through burrowing further underground. The city was safe, or, relatively, considering the Garsalan seemed to ignore it. Even if they hadn’t, the network of defensive guns, anti-ship, and anti-aircraft, spread throughout the miles of land around it, would prove to at least provide some defense.Bookmark here

Those very same defensive guns soon began to move, following an unidentified machine loomed above. In the command room, tens of eyes fell upon the camera feed, and the room had gone silent. Bookmark here

“Is it another Garsalan Vanguard Armor?” Bookmark here

The gazes of those in the room went to the man who spoke, a man with a balding head, wearing a black suit. A white-haired woman, sitting in front of him, stood, turning on her heel. Bookmark here

“I doubt it, sir, it hasn’t attacked any of our forces…” Bookmark here

“Then do we know who it came from?”Bookmark here

“We’re looking through our databases and trying to find out its origin, but nothing so far.”Bookmark here

Another one of his subordinates stepped forward. Bookmark here

“Sir, I was looking through footage from Neo Tokyo, and this machine was seen battling the Garsalan. So unless anything’s changed, I don’t think it’s hostile…”Bookmark here

Just then, a chime sounded from one of their terminals, catching the attention of those in the room. Bookmark here

“Whoever’s inside is requesting entry. Do we let them in?” Bookmark here

The commander put his hand on his chin, as he debated his course of action. As anybody who’d survived the first war, like him, had learned, one could never take too much caution with a Garsalan. He began to nod as the gears turned in his head. Until he began to lean back into his chair. Bookmark here

“Yes, but I want a squad on the hangar bay in case we have to apprehend the pilot. Make sure General Watanabe hears about this.”Bookmark here

Within the cockpit, a message of acceptance popped up on the display, as well as directions. Simple enough for him to understand. His machine swarved to the right as he took notice of metal doors that began to slide away from each other, revealing a landing pad, surrounded by armored soldiers, their faces covered by the visors from their helmets. Rifles slung over their shoulders. Something he took notice of, but, decidedly ignored. His machine soon landed, as the hum of his engines stopped. And soon, the Gao stood there unmoving, as the pilot within began to rotate his seat, looking around at the area around him. He soon took notice of the skyscraper-laden cavern, as well as the crowd of people that stood just outside of the landing pad, watching the machine from the city's roads. A mix of people military, and civilian alike. Then, he finally looked back at the soldiers at the base of the machine. Bookmark here

“So… This is the welcoming committee, Bit rude, isn’t it?”Bookmark here

His fingers glided over the OS display once more, as he tapped one of the many buttons. Leading to the cockpit popping open. He stood up, walking to the edge, and climbing down a rope ladder that was deployed soon afterward. His appearance, his youthfulness, caught the people around him by surprise, given the change in their expressions.Bookmark here

“Wait, It isn’t a Garsalan..?!” A soldier mumbledBookmark here

Takeshi’s feet touched the ground, and he turned his gaze toward the one to speak. Bookmark here

“I don’t have four arms and a horn, what do you think?” Bookmark here

He went silent at this, as it wasn’t as if he were wrong. Though, from there, nothing was said, as they began to question how to approach the situation. Now, the whole landing pad was silent. Though that was about to change, wading through the crowd of civilians, drawing annoyed grunts and words, which went ignored, was a young woman. Bookmark here

“Well if he isn’t a Garsalan, then what’s the problem with me going to inspect it!”Bookmark here

The soldiers and Takeshi alike did not take notice of the approaching woman, even as her steps clanked on the metal path beneath her. Until, a girl with dark blue, nearly black hair, that was just short of touching her shoulder. Stepped onto the platform where the Gaojinizer stood. She soon grasped the goggles wrapped around her neck, as well as one of the tools that lay on her belt, as she began to step toward the machine. Stopping a few feet away, as her yellow orbs moved with her head, as she began to look up at the machine’s head. Soon after, she began to move around it. Bookmark here

“I’ve never seen this type of thruster before... I’m not detecting any Covalons, And this doesn't look like any type of armor I've seen.” Bookmark here

As she spoke, she caught the gaze of the soldiers there, and, soon after Takeshi. Bookmark here

“...What does she think she’s doing, sniffing around my machine?” Bookmark here

Soon, he turned on his heel and began walking toward her. Bookmark here

“Oi.” Bookmark here

However, his words fell on deaf ears, whether she was ignoring him, or just didn’t notice. A frown came onto his face as he increased his speed. Bookmark here

“OI!”Bookmark here

This snapped her out of her stupor. She stopped walking, and slowly turned her gaze to the young man. The look on her face, however, was unamused at best. There was a clear amount of contempt, not happy about being interrupted. Bookmark here

“What do YOU want?” She asked. Bookmark here

“For you to stop tryin’ to shove your nose where it doesn't belong, that there is my VA!”Bookmark here

She went silent at this. She turned back to the machine and soon glanced back at him. To the machine once again, and then, back to Takeshi. Before, she scoffed. Bookmark here

“You expect me to believe someone like you built this?” Bookmark here

He frowned, stepping toward her once again, stopping a few feet away from her. Bookmark here

“And What is THAT supposed to mean?”Bookmark here

She stepped forward as well, her face eventually drifting closer to his. Bookmark here

“What do you think?”Bookmark here

Now, sparks seemed to fly between them as they stared into each other's eyes. In the end, nobody seemed to care enough to stop them. Even as they began to continue their exchange of words. Bookmark here

“I found it, I piloted it, so it’s mine!”Bookmark here

“That’s not how it works!” She responded.Bookmark here

“Alright, then how does it?!” Bookmark here

The two simply continued, unaware of another walking onto the path that led to the platform. A man with a shaved head, wearing the black officer uniform that was the standard within the Japanese Forces. Though most notable were the few medals that adorned his uniform, and his large stature, towering over those around him. His expression remained blank, even as the view of the two, as he saw it, children arguing.Bookmark here

“Ota, Enough, you can squabble with him later, I have an important message for him.”Bookmark here

Just then, the woman, Ota, went silent, as she turned her gaze to the man who continued his approach, as did Takeshi. Soon after, Ota promptly straightened up, saluting.Bookmark here

“Colonel Ryo!”Bookmark here

He waved her off. Bookmark here

“Calm down with the formalities, it isn’t as if you’re in the forces.”Bookmark here

As Ryo continued his approach, the two stepped away from one another, averting their gazes as well... They were less than willing to continue, it seemed. But, to be assured that they didn’t,/ Ryo stopped between them. Bookmark here

“You, you’re the one who piloted this machine, right?” Bookmark here

Takeshi nodded. Bookmark here

“Yeah.” Bookmark here

“In that case, come with me. General Watanabe wants to speak with you.” Bookmark here

Takeshi raised an eyebrow. Bookmark here

“Who is that?” Bookmark here

Ota’s expression became one of confusion as she turned her gaze toward him once more. Bookmark here

“How do you not know who General Watanabe is? He’s one of the UFE’s highest-ranking officers!”Bookmark here

Takeshi’s gaze went back to her. Bookmark here

“Why should I care… Whoever leads the military ain't on my priority list.”Bookmark here

He turned on his heel, beginning his ascent up the path that led to the landing pad.Bookmark here

“Alright, I’ll take you up on that, show me where I can find this Watanabe guy.” Bookmark here

Ryo wordlessly began following him, all the while Ota stood, watching them leave. Until she took note of something, she was alone, bar the soldiers, and they didn’t seem to care. Meaning…Bookmark here

“I’ll keep studying this thing. Ota Kyouko doesn't let anything stop her research!”Bookmark here

Soon, she began dashing around the machine with vigor, something that was noticed, met with more than a few stares.Bookmark here

“That girl...Certainly has energy to spare.” Bookmark here

“She always was like this, huh..”Bookmark here

Elsewhere, Takeshi and Ryo made their way through the crowd, many of which began to clear a path as Ryo’s gaze moved around. As they cleared the crowd, they began to walk down the sidewalk lining the city’s streets. Though, there was silence between them. After all, a teenager and some colonel in his 40s didn’t have much to talk about. Ryo put his hand on his chin as he glanced at the boy, perhaps he could probe him for information. Hopefully, he wasn’t TOO insistent on keeping things to himself. But given what he saw earlier, one could only think that he was. Bookmark here

“So, you wanna explain to me how a kid like you gets his hands on a vanguard armor?” Bookmark here

“I’m no kid… I turn 17 this year.” Bookmark here

Ryo turned forward as he spoke.Bookmark here

“Sounds like a kid to me.”Bookmark here

Though Takeshi opened his mouth to speak, he decided to ignore the man’s words, closing it. Normally, he would’ve returned such an insult, but he had bigger fish to fry. As such, there were no words, as the two gave way to the sounds of the bustling city around them. The scattered conversations, the sound of cars zooming by on the roads. As Takeshi’s gaze flew around, memories began to flow through his head… Though it was rare that he and his friends went outside of the lower districts, the times he did go, he remembered them vividly. As he continued to look around, the similarities to his former home only became more clear to him. Bookmark here

How could he feel as powerless as he did with what he’d uncovered? That was a mystery to him. Bookmark here

However, he was soon snapped out of his stupor, with two words. Bookmark here

“We’re here…” Ryo proclaimed.Bookmark here

Takeshi turned his gaze toward Ryo, and then, to his left, where a skyscraper, constructed of steel and glass that cast its shadow over the streets below. It dwarfed most of the other spires in the city, save for a few on the other side of the cavern. What he took note of after that, was the UFE’s emblem, a golden, flat replica of earth’s globe at the base, seven stars below it, and above the glove was at the base, 5 stars were at the very bottom, and, above the globe, was a phoenix, earth within the grasp of its talons. Bookmark here

“Welcome to the Japan Branch HQ.”Bookmark here

As the man spoke, Takeshi glanced at him. Watching as he began to make his way inside, before following shortly. As they got near, the glass doors parted, Revealing a high-ceiling room. Silently, the colonel began to glance around, searching for the one who’d given him his orders. His gaze went from the reception desk to the enlistment station, and then, to the many chairs that lined the center of the room. It was then that he saw a gray-haired man, with his hair having since retreated from the front of his head. Age clearly hadn’t been so nice to him, given the wrinkles that covered his face. Adorned in the black uniform typical of one of the Japan Branch’s higher officers. Though, the three-star insignia on his chest distinguished him from the rank and file.Bookmark here

“There he is.” Bookmark here

Takeshi glanced at the Colonel as he spoke, and then, he turned his gaze forward as he took note of the General. He began his approach, as did his escort. Bookmark here

“General Watanabe, We’ve got him.” Bookmark here

Watanabe perked up at the mention of his name, his gaze went from the floor to the approaching duo. His expression was neutral at first, but, as he took note of the boy beside it, it became one of confusion. We’ve got him? If that was the case, where was he? He couldn’t possibly mean that one… He was about to question it, until Ryo put his hand on the youth, something that made him recoil, moving away from him. Just as he feared, yet another young pilot. They were already scraping the bottom of the barrel for troops as it was, and now they had to rely on a pilot this young for their prototypes? Where was the original? He sighed at this development, before standing. As they got within a few feet of him, he finally responded. Bookmark here

“So, You’re the one who found the Gaojinizer… Certainly have a lot of questions for you, but it wouldn’t be good to ask them here. Follow me.”Bookmark here

The general turned on his heel and began to walk away from them, and his subordinate soon followed... A frown began to form on Takeshi’s face. Bookmark here

“I came here for a quick stop, and here I am getting dragged across the city... We’d better be through quick”Bookmark here

The three made their way further into the building, with many of those within saluting as the three walked by. Something neither of the officers acknowledged, continuing silently to an elevator at the center of the room. Watanabe was the first to enter, pushing the button for the top floor, as Takeshi and Ryo followed. The elevator began its rapid ascent. Shooting up to the building’s top floors. With a chime, the doors opened, and the three found themselves in a well-lit office, it was lightly decorated, Watanabe never having had much interest in such things. At the opposite end of the room, sat a desk with a holographic terminal on the desktop. And behind it, was a window that gave them a view of the surrounding city. Watanabe began exiting the elevator shortly after, soon followed by the two. Watanabe sat behind the desk, Ryo decidedly sat in one of the chairs, while Takeshi stood in front. Bookmark here

“Alright... I just want to know, why did you need to talk to me?” Takeshi asked. Bookmark here

Watanabe put his elbows on the desk, interlocking his fingers as he slouched forward. Bookmark here

“That machine, What else? That thing you have there is a Classified prototype... Part of what we call the ‘Machina Project’.”Bookmark here

“Machina Project?” Bookmark here

Watanabe nodded. Bookmark here

“The only way we’re going to recover from the invasion is if we get those roaches off of Earth… As we’ve seen already, our conventional weapons aren’t enough. That is why machines like your Gaojinizer were made. Powered by the force of the mind, Aether, its discoverer named it… At the least, that’s what we believe it is, it’s been unclear.” Bookmark here

Takeshi raised an eyebrow as he heard this statement. Force of the mind, what the hell was this guy talking about? Had he gone off the deep end? Watanabe took notice of the skeptical expression on the boy’s face but decided to continue regardless. Bookmark here

“Either way, we Haven’t seen that Machine since Professor Okita disappeared... How did you find it.” Bookmark here

Takeshi soon began pacing around the room, looking out of the floor’s window as he did. Bookmark here

“I was on the street when the Garsalan dropped in. Had to escape into the sewers, found it in a chamber down there.” Bookmark here

“A sewer, huh… How did we lose it when it was right under our noses the whole time.” Bookmark here

Takeshi began to turn to the source, the Colonel, and soon, with those words, he began to frown… Now, some confusion, if not, a bit of anger began to brew in his mind. Just how DID they manage to lose it, was this force so ineffective that they couldn’t find that much? A bunch of roaches manage to hit a city that large with no defense battling them?Bookmark here

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Now, his visage twisted into a grimace. Bookmark here

“I’d like to ask that question myself… How do you military guys keep letting the Garsalan jump onto the earth, stay in orbit?” Bookmark here

A frown grew on Ryo’s face, a result of his words. Bookmark here

“I don’t see you trying to keep the globe safe, as WELL as whatever colonies of ours haven’t been knocked out of orbit or turned into scrap... I don’t believe you should be criticizing people on matters you know nothing about.” Bookmark here

“The only reason I don’t know is because I haven’t started yet. And that’s changin’ real soon… I’m going to go take them on myself.”Bookmark here

With his proclamation made, he turned on his heel, beginning to make his way out of the room... And, as he did, the annoyance of another within the room began to grow, who did this kid think he was? Now, he began to step forward. Bookmark here

“You’re a rookie pilot fighting by yourself... You didn’t even know that machine of yours had an Intertial Canceller… You think you’re some Hawk of Ceres just because you took out three ships?!”Bookmark here

This made him stop in his tracks… For some time he went silent, considering his words. But, even then, he began walking away once more.Bookmark here

“Either way, I have the power of the Gaojinizer… I will win.” Bookmark here

Watanabe stood soon after, parting his lips to speak. Bookmark here

“Hold it right there. If you want to fight so much, then why not do it with a better chance of victory. That machine you have there is one of the most advanced weapons we have, our best chance at victory. In the end, we can’t remove you. If it works like the other’s, it can only work with its recognized pilot.”Bookmark here

Takeshi stopped once again. He began to mull over his plans again. He wasn’t fond of either of the two, but at the least, Watanabe spoke his language. Enough that he began to consider his suggestion. While getting tacked onto the military wasn’t his preferred choice, it could end up helping him in the future. For a few more minutes, he stood still, as the room fell into silence. Eventually, however, he finally spoke. Bookmark here

“Alright... I’ll join.”Bookmark here

Watanabe Nodded. Bookmark here

“Alright, Good… At Least now we won’t have a rogue pilot on our hands. Didn’t even have to detain him.”Bookmark here

“Then we’ll have you on a ship to Wonj-” Bookmark here

Watanabe’s words were cut off, as a shrill alarm sound began to reverberate through the room. And soon, through the city around them. A familiar sound, no doubt, one that made Takeshi begin a dash out of the office. After all, it was clear to him what the alarm meant.Bookmark here

“That can only mean the Garsalan have found this place…”Bookmark here

He clenched his fists, his blood boiling, as his seething anger began to surface, even more so than before. As it came back to him once more, the memories of what happened... and the thoughts of what could very well happen if they broke through. Bookmark here

“No… This won’t be like Neo-Tokyo!”Bookmark here

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Background Dossier- Bookmark here

James Jackson- Hawk of Ceres.Bookmark here

With the Existence of Vanguard Armors having been a reality for over 150 years, there is no doubt that with them came legendary pilots. James Jackson was one of said pilots. A United States pilot Fighting in the war before First contact. Gaining Notoriety in the war between the Global Defense League, and the United Workers Alliance from 2006-2012. He was notable for his high speed maneuvers, and physical resistance. He most commonly fought in space, but occasionally came earthside. Had a total of 230 VA kills, as well as destroying 20 warships throughout the whole of his career. Bookmark here

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