This is a fan-fic based on characters created by Yoshiki Takaya and contains violent situations with adult language. All other characters are created by Brian O’Sullivan, et all for the Warrior Guyver fan-fiction website.
|Title||Preparations (Part I)|
August 26, 2007 — Northern Washington DC — A Seemingly Abandoned Industrial Estate
“For crying out loud, Sean, can’t you keep the damage down? These things are a pain to rebuild.”
In the year since Gabe had been reunited with Cori and had gotten to know Sean, the trio had become a common sight together. While Cori watched over the combat tests between Sean and the Red Type battle armors, Gabe was the one fixing the armors before joining Cori to look over the test footage more closely and analyze the results. It had been interesting, to say the least, in what had resulted: Gabe would inevitably try to introduce something new to see how it worked, not only helping to push the limits of the Red Type armors, but also to keep Sean on his toes.
Needless to say, more often than not those tests meant a lot of work for Gabe. Case in point: the wrecked remains of the Red Type battle armor that Gabe had been controlling via remote, which he was now standing over and shaking his head. The torso of the armor, which housed the cockpit, was bisected vertically by Guyver US, courtesy of his vibrational swords — an instant death for the pilot, had there been one. The legs were still standing, in spite of significant damage to the armor and chassis, but the rest of the exo-armor was on the floor, leaving a trail of exposed wiring and littering the area with armor fragments and smaller components.
“It’s not my fault the Red Type armors weren’t meant to fight someone like me,” Guyver US’s mechanically-distorted voice replied. A moment later, there was a sound of displaced air as the bio-armor retracted, and Sean came over to stand beside Gabe. “Still, though, it was a nice workout.”
“Like you even broke a sweat,” Gabe muttered. “Hell, these things were never meant for military application. They’re supposed to be a next-generation space suit for NASA. Repurposing them for combat duty…” His voice trailed off. “I know Carter and Dr. Drake need every bit of firepower they can get, but the hydraulics and armor alone limit the overall effectiveness.” He knelt down to pick up one of the armor fragments. “This is supposed to be good enough for a tank, Sean, and you sliced right through it like a hot knife through butter.”
“The Zoanoids won’t be able to do that. These tests are really unfair for you and the Red armors. We knew that going in.” Sean knelt down beside Gabe, glancing for a moment at the observation control booth where Cori was gathering all the data before looking back at Gabe again. “By the way, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
Sean paused for a moment, then dove right in. “Why do you call Cori ‘Sis’ all the time?”
Gabe glanced over at Sean. “She told you about my parents, right? What happened to them?”
“Drunk driver hit them head-on. Killed them both instantly.”
“Right.” Gabe tossed the armor fragment over towards the still-standing legs of the exo-armor. “When that happened, Marcus and Cori became the closest thing to family I had left. Marcus essentially became a second father.” He looked back at the booth where Cori was hard at work. “Of course, that meant that Cori was adopted as my annoying little sister.”
“I heard that!” came Cori’s voice over the intercom.
“Now you’ve done it,” Sean said wryly, though there was a bit of a grin on his face.
“That’s all right,” Gabe replied. “She’ll forgive me as soon as I make a batch of my lasagna. She knows who makes the best on base, and it ain’t the military cooks here.”
“Very funny. You still owe me that recipe, you know.”
“Not my fault you keep forgetting to ask me about it, Sis. Besides, you kept disappearing for months at a time. You really need to quit doing that. Otherwise I’m not doing my job as your adopted big brother.”
“Save it. Get up here, both of you. We’ve got data to crunch.”
A couple of minutes later, the trio sat in the observation booth while Cori replayed the battle footage for them. The battle was just as lopsided as Sean’s earlier words had proclaimed: forty-two seconds had passed from start to finish, with Guyver US making use of his vibrational swords and infrared laser orb, as well as a few solid kicks and punches that actually put some dents in the Red exo-armor’s armor panels. Finally, the top half of the exo-armor was severed through the cockpit with a solid hit from the vibrational swords, and Guyver US had delivered one last roundhouse kick to knock the torso and arms off the rest of the body.
“Sean does have a point, Gabe,” Cori finally said. “These tests aren’t fair, even with all the effort you’ve put into trying to make it more of a challenge. What we really need is to test these things against some Zoanoids and let the Red Types duke it out with them.”
“Good luck trying to convince Carter of that,” Sean said. “I think he plans to hold tight and stockpile as much as he can before making his move. There’s something to be said for making preparations.”
“There is that,” Gabe finally admitted, leaning back in his chair. “And I know this testing is flawed, at least in gauging the performance of the exo-armor itself. But it does give us some insights into just how powerful the Guyver unit is, when activated.” He frowned a little bit. “It doesn’t mean I have to like it, but there’s only so much that can be done right now, at least with the available technology.”
Cori saw Gabe’s expression suddenly grow thoughtful. “What are you thinking of?”
Gabe glanced up. “Umm, just thinking of possibilities.”
From General Carter’s office, both the general and Dr. Drake were observing the same footage, as well as listening in on the trio’s conversation. “He’s wrecked seven Red Type armors in testing,” Carter commented. “I think we’re going to have to begin with the alternative. We can’t afford to keep rebuilding the exo-armors like this.”
“Agreed.” Dr. Drake leaned back in his chair. “Though I have to admit, Gabriel’s done some things I had never originally considered. His work with these tests are why I’ve already begun drafting a new battle armor design: the Blue Type. Hopefully with some of the engineering advancements I’ve been keeping track of, it will boost the armor’s efficiency in combat.”
“Fair enough.” Carter looked at the screen closely. “Kelso’s deep in thought. Thinking of perhaps the next modification to the Red Type?”
“I don’t think so,” Dr. Drake disagreed, gazing at the screen as well. “He’s not happy about what he’s seen the Guyver to be capable of, and he knows he hasn’t seen everything that Sean’s unit is capable of doing.” He grew quiet for a moment. “I’ll talk with him later, pick his brain and let him know that further Red Type testing against Sean is off-limits for the time being.”
August 26, 2007 – 10:17pm
It’s been a little over a year since Sean and Cori arrived, and I’ve spent the vast majority of the time available with them: learning about Cori’s research in more detail, seeing just what Sean is capable of with the Guyver unit, and generally making up for lost time. In many ways, it’s been fantastic: Cori really is the closest to family I have left now, and I feel a lot better knowing that she’s safe.
I should consider myself fortunate that we were given the go-ahead to try out the Red Type Battle Armor against Sean, just to get an idea of how capable it would be, but I have the feeling that eventually our good fortune will run out. The test earlier today is only adding further confirmation to what I already knew going in: the Red Types will have their hands full with Zoanoids and the occasional Hyper-Zoanoid. They have no chance at all against a Guyver, and try as I might, the technology we currently have on hand isn’t enough.
Cori knows something’s on my mind – as my adopted “kid sister”, she’s been around me long enough to read the signs. But there’s got to be something better than this.
Mobility is a necessity; but mobility means trading away armor and protection, making it more vulnerable to brute force when it gets hit. So mobility also requires speed. If there was a way to heighten response time, and find an alternative means of defense… something to think about.
The next day…
“Dr. Drake wants to see you, Gabe. He said to buzz you right in.”
Gabe stopped, looking back at the lab’s receptionist. Lacey Hamilton had been at the ACTF base from the beginning, and more often than not was the one who made sure the techs didn’t let themselves go for too long without certain necessities like food, drink and the like. She was an absolute dear, and everybody made a point of treating her as best they could. And Gabe was suspicious that Lacey, who was close to his own age, had a bit of a crush on him. “Don’t suppose he told you what this is about, did he?” he asked.
“I’m afraid not.”
“Fair enough. Thanks, Lace. I’ll drop my stuff off at my office. Go ahead and let him know I’ll be there in a second.”
Even as Gabe turned to head towards his office, he saw Lacey blush at the nickname. From what he could tell, he was the only one that Lacey allowed to call her that. Smiling to himself, he unlocked the door to his office with his passcard and left his satchel on his ever-cluttered desk, then headed back out, the door locking behind him as it shut. A moment later, Lacey buzzed him into Dr. Drake’s office, where the good doctor was waiting. “What’s up, doc?”
“Grab a seat, Gabe.” Dr. Drake leaned back in his chair as Gabe moved to sit down across the desk from him. “The general and I watched your latest test.”
“It wasn’t much of a test. Sean’s slicing and dicing the Red Types up like a professional chef.”
“So we noticed.” Dr. Drake sighed. “The general is running with an alternative testing plan, one that should be fairer to the Red Type and its abilities. So, no more Red Type testing with Sean for the time being.”
“Freaking out about the damage, is he?”
“You’ve been through seven exo-armors in the last year, Gabe.”
“One,” Gabe corrected. “I’ve just rebuilt it six times, and was about to start on the seventh.”
“Don’t bother. General Carter already had the remains carted out to be melted down and recycled.” Dr. Drake leaned forward. “As it is, Sean and Cori are getting a new handler to replace Atkins, so they’re going to be pretty busy for the next little while.”
“Anyone I know?”
“Doubtful. Jason O’Connor is his name. FBI affiliation. He lost his new wife and most all of his family on X-Day, and he spent several months recovering. Atkins brought him in, and General Carter has been getting O’Connor up to speed. Today’s the day the general is going to introduce them and get them together.”
“Fun.” Gabe shrugged after a moment. “I hope this isn’t Carter trying to keep me out of helping Cori with her research.”
“That’s up to the general to decide.” Dr. Drake leaned back again, studying Gabe intently. “That said, I want your thoughts on it all: Sean and his capabilities, the armor, all of it.”
“We’d better hope we can develop much bigger guns, and can use them much faster. The Red Types won’t stand a chance against the Guyver unit, so we’d better hope Chronos doesn’t have any of their own, or discover the means to repair the one Crane activated in Utah. The best I’ve been able to do is refine certain elements of the Red Type design.”
“You made them more modular, I noticed. Some of those components you used in previous tests were inspired, even if they didn’t work out quite as expected.”
“Yeah.” Gabe sighed softly. “Doc, the Red Types are just too slow. They might be able to do the job against Chronos and their standard type Zoanoids, but they aren’t going to cut it against the stronger types. They’re too bulky, too slow to react.”
“And that’s what got you flustered yesterday.” Dr. Drake smiled. “I saw the expression on your face. Out with it.”
Gabe frowned. “You can’t compete against Guyvers, flat-out. You’re looking at problems trying to deal with anything stronger than the typical basic Zoanoid types that Chronos has cooked up. The anti-Zoanoid rifles are okay, but it’s still leaving the stronger Zoanoid types to contend with, never mind the Zoalords themselves. We have to look at other options.”
“I’m working on a prototype design for a Blue Type battle armor, but the technology needs to catch up. They’ll be faster and more responsive than the Red Types, if all goes well.”
“That isn’t enough. Making them faster and more mobile is fine and good, but there’s got to be a way to do it without shelling out millions for a battle armor.”
Dr. Drake studied the younger man intently. “Go on.”
Gabe was quiet for a moment. “I’m not ready to say yet, Doc. I don’t know that it’ll even work, to be honest. It’s certainly not going to have the protection of a Red Type. Probably wind up on par with Chronos’ standard Zoanoids in durability, if I can work it right. As it is, I need to figure out just what sort of specific function it should entail.” He looked up at Dr. Drake. “Give me some time to see what I can put together. More than likely, it’s not going to work, but I have some vague ideas I want to test out.”
Dr. Drake nodded. “Fair enough, Gabe. Work on it and see what you can come up with.”
February 19, 2008 – 11:47pm
I’ve been through six different preliminary design sketches for my idea over the last six months, and every time I keep running into the same brick wall. Too many trade-offs to get what I’m aiming for, and lack of the technology to make it functional.
I’ve tried to take what I’ve learned from the Red Type design and Doc’s Blue Type prototype design and use those as benchmarks, but it’s always the same: minimal, if not a complete lack of armor, to give the suit the mobility and speed it needs. Adding any significant armor slows everything down, and the simulations alone don’t justify taking the design sketches from preliminary into any attempt at fabrication. Never mind the fact that what we do have for fabrication is set solely to the Red Type at present, and waiting for the Blue Type prototype to be given the nod before switching over to it.
The crux of the problem is that there’s no way to plan for what Chronos can put into the field. About the only configuration worth a damn is to build towards a stealth-based functionality, but there’s no way to really do that with an exo-armor – at least, not with the technology on hand. That might change if we could regain access to the DARPA or ARL servers and get better fabrication facilities, but even then I don’t know. Granted, even the Red Types are light-years beyond what DARPA and others have put forward for a powered exoskeleton, but it needs to be smaller, more compact.
If Moore’s law holds true, we should be able to see something in the next two to four years that would be closer to what I envision. But right now… back to the drawing board.
Grumbling to himself, Gabe finished writing up his latest journal entry and leaned back in his chair, shaking his head slowly. Dealing with the standard Chronos Zoanoid types weren’t the problem; he knew the Red Types could handle themselves, after hearing about several tests that had been conducted courtesy of Carter’s alternative plan: kidnap known Zoanoids and pit them against the Red Types. Those who did manage to survive the Red Types were quickly dealt with by Guyver US. The problem was the more powerful Zoanoids, and while the ACTF didn’t have much data on them, there was just enough to know that they would be a serious issue.
Standing up, he made his way out of the office and the lab complex, heading for his favorite spot on base aside from his personal quarters: a refurbished warehouse that had been set up for teaching urban combat to ACTF troops. It served a secondary purpose as well: it doubled as the perfect running ground for Gabe to practice his parkour skills. And frankly, a good run was exactly what he needed to clear his head.
He paused halfway there, however, at the sight of one of the bulletin boards, where a new notice had been posted:
TO: All ACTF Personnel
FROM: General Carter
SUBJECT: Training for Personnel
Effective immediately, all ACTF personnel are required to submit a training regimen, including self-defense classes. Preparations for our mobilization are proceeding apace, and everyone should be ready to do their part. Refer to your ACTF accounts for emails regarding specifics.
You’ve gotta be shittin’ me, Gabe thought to himself. Next he’ll want me training the ACTF for parkour. Shaking his head, he made his way on to the warehouse to begin his run.
Nearly an hour later, Gabe returned to his quarters, glancing at the clock: 10:42pm. With a sigh, he plopped down onto his bed, reaching over to get his laptop and flip it open. Logging into his ACTF account, Gabe perused the new message again, this time with an expanded list of self-defense classes. Thankfully, parkour wasn’t on the list for him to teach. The list, however, was interesting: aikido, karate, kickboxing, Krav Maga, tai chi—
He paused for a moment, then clicked on the link for tai chi. It certainly looked interesting. Tai chi (or t’ai chi ch’uan, as he quickly learned the full name) seemed right up his alley: an internalized martial art that focused on defense and benefits to health. He glanced down at the training times, noting them, then closed the laptop. It was time to get some rest before the start of a new day.
April 23, 2008 — Two months later
With a muffled whoosh, Gabe hit the training mat, gasping for breath and inwardly cursing himself. His sparring partner had come at him, and Gabe’s reactions were slow and plodding, as if he wanted to be anywhere but in this room at his moment. It was something that his instructor had noticed for some time now; two months in, and Gabe still appeared to be intimidated by physical force.
“Kelso, you can’t be afraid of what’s coming at you.” David Chang was the forty-two year old tai chi instructor for Gabe’s class, and was now standing over him, offering a hand to the younger man. “Being afraid gives your opponent every advantage over you.” He stepped back. “Get up, and try again.”
“I’m just not used to this,” Gabe admitted, wincing a bit as he stood up. “Normally I just outran the bullies.”
“That speaks for your endurance, if nothing else.” Chang smiled faintly. “No one is an expert at any martial art after their first few practices. It’s going to take time. Just be patient.”
The training continued, and at the end of the ninety-minute session, Chang called a halt, letting the class know the next training session time and what they would be practicing. “Kelso?” he ended, “my office.”
There were the assorted snickers and some heckling from the rest of the class as they filed out, leaving Gabe to grab his towel before heading to Chang’s office. “What’s up?’
“Take a seat, Gabe.” Chang gestured to a nearby chair as he sat down at his desk. “You’re not the only one who’s having difficulties with all of this. The other trainers are having similar concerns as well from some of the base personnel.”
“I’ve heard some of the complaints,” Gabe admitted as he sat down. “A lot of them aren’t used to that sort of physical exertion.”
“All the more reason to get everyone in shape,” Chang replied. “But right now, I want to focus on you. Training isn’t meant to hurt you here.”
Gabe paused for a few moments. “When I was a kid, I was pretty much what you see now. I had a fair number of kids that bullied me. The only reason it stopped was because I got very good at outrunning them, and they decided it was a waste of time, so they moved on to other targets: other guys that couldn’t, or wouldn’t, defend themselves. That just made it all the worse, because surviving that bullying wasn’t enough for me. When they started on other people–” He broke off suddenly, then shrugged as he stared off into space. “I don’t like bullies, Dave. I don’t have any use for them.”
“Hence the computer hacking.” Chang nodded slowly. “I read your file.”
“Then that should tell you everything,” Gabe replied. He looked back at Chang. “Dave, I understand wanting people to defend themselves, but I’m worried that it might go too far.”
Chang leaned back in his chair. “Go on.”
“I… I don’t want to lose myself. I’m not a strong man. I understand the value of strength–”
“–and yet you’d prefer not to hurt anyone.” Chang was quiet for a moment before continuing. “You have compassion, Gabe, and that’s a good trait to have. So long as you keep in mind that this training is to defend yourself, rather than go out and try to be a hot-shot like some people have in class, you’ll be fine. You just need to relax. Don’t stress yourself out. Take it slow and steady.”
Gabe nodded. “Fair enough.” He stood up after a moment from the chair. “I need to get back to work. I’ve got a lot to do, between making certain the Red Types are certifiable and working on a potential prototype for Dr. Drake for a second armor.” He headed for the door, but paused, turning back to face Chang. “I’ll be back for the next practice session. Promise.”
The next evening…
Gabe stood at the door to Cori’s and Sean’s quarters, a large casserole dish in hand. It was Lasagna Night, and even though the three of them didn’t get to spend as much time together as before, they still found ways to meet up and hang out together.
“I missed the lasagna more.” Cori snatched the dish out of Gabe’s hands with a smirk. “Come on in. Sean will be here in a few minutes — tonight’s the aikido class, and he’s been teaching it.”
“Yeah, I noticed that when the bulletin came out a couple of months ago.” Gabe stepped inside, moving to sit down in one of the chairs. “I considered it briefly in passing, but opted for something else.”
“Yeah. How’s the tai chi going?”
“I still keep getting hit. I do better with the meditative aspects, at least.”
“You’ll be fine.” Cori set the dish down on the table. “Dave Chang’s a good guy, from what I’ve heard.” She looked up at Gabe. “How’s things going in the lab with Dr. Drake?”
“Busy. The Red Type design is finalized, and it’s in production now. He’s working up a Blue Type design, and I’ve been helping him some with it.”
“And your own work?”
Gabe paused, looking up at Cori. “What work?”
“Come on, Gabe. I knowyou. You’ve been dissatisfied with the entire battle armor concept ever since the testing with Sean’s Guyver unit, and I’m not stupid. How’s your design?”
“Non-existent.” Gabe leaned back. “Eight months, down the proverbial drain. The technology just isn’t here yet. We’ll be lucky for the Red and Blue Types to hold their own against Zoanoids, but I don’t like the idea of thinking we’re the only ones with a Guyver on our side.”
“Chronos doesn’t have one, Gabe.”
“Not after Sean took out Arlen Crane, no. But if Chronos manages to find more, I cringe to think of how quickly the tide might turn.”
At that moment, the door opened up and Sean stepped in. “Hello, beautiful,” he said, moving over to give Cori a kiss before turning towards Gabe. “Hey, Gabe. Chang says you’re working out better than most so far.”
“I’m still getting hit, Sean. Isn’t that supposed to be a cardinal sin?”
Sean chuckled quietly. “Yeah, but David’s still raving over you. He and I talked some earlier today.” He glanced between Cori and Gabe. “Something going on?”
“Gabe’s still frustrated over the Red Type testing.”
“Eight months and you’re still on that?” Sean shook his head. “And here I thought Cori was the only one of us with that sort of persistence.” He winced then, as a well-aimed elbow caught his ribs. “Ow! That was meant as a compliment, Cori.”
“Keep it up, Sean.” Cori sighed theatrically. “What’s a girl to do?”
“I’m staying out of this one,” Gabe said, raising his hands. “Besides, I’m pretty hungry. Let’s eat.”
June 8, 2009 — Nearly fourteen months later
“Okay, let’s talk shop for a moment.”
Dr. Drake sat at the head of the table, with different scientists and engineers seated around the perimeter. Lacey Hamilton was seated off to the side, playing the role of stenographer. It was one of the six-month update meetings, where the technical group got together to assess where they stood and how much additional mobilization was required before General Carter gave the go-ahead for the ACTF to begin retaking America.
Gabe was seated next to Cori, leaning back in his chair as several of the groups gave their reports. He wasn’t exactly happy to be in this meeting, despite understanding the necessity of the updates. Carter was starting to get anxious about how time-consuming the preparations were, given that is was closing in on three years since X-Day. Aside from one incident where the Pillars of Heaven in Washington DC was attacked by some unknown force, things had been quiet, and it was reaching a point where humanity was becoming acclimated to their Chronos overlords.
His musings were interrupted as Dr. Drake looked towards Cori. “Cori, how’s the studies on the Guyver unit proceeding?”
“Fair enough, all things considered,” Cori replied. “Gabe’s been helping me with some of the work during his free time, so that’s been a bonus. That said, the technology is honestly well beyond us. Sean’s said that the unit is composed of organic and inorganic components – at least, that was what he learned from his ex-girlfriend after Chronos LA, since that’s what Fulton Balcus’s scientists had told him in her presence. But we think Chronos may have been wrong.”
Dr. Drake leaned back in his chair. “Keep going.”
“Sir, the best we can determine is that the Guyver unit is organic. Even the metallic and crystalline components of the bio-armor have an organic basis. That said, the Guyver unit is the biggest gun we have.”
Dr. Drake glanced over at Gabe. “And you concur with Cori’s analysis?”
“There’s no other way to explain it,” Gabe admitted. “But yes, I agree.”
“And the Red Types? How is that progressing?”
This was another thing that Gabe hated; four months earlier, Dr. Drake had placed Gabe in charge of the Red Type armors while he focused more on the Blue Type armor design. He hadn’t liked dealing with all the logistics, but he also realized that Dr. Drake was leaning on him more, especially with work progressing on the Blue Types. He sighed, pushing the thoughts away to focus on the moment. “We have two hundred Red Types in service, and we’re working on tripling that number within the next year. No more refinements on the design, just getting them built as quickly as possible.” He shrugged after a moment. “We’re averaging five a week, and that’s mostly because of watching our energy consumption so that any Chronos satellites don’t pick us up. There’s talk of finding a way to better insulate the heat and keep it from showing, which is something we’re waiting on right now – once that’s handled, we can ramp up production some more…”
Dr. Drake caught the way Gabe’s voice trailed off. “More logistical problems on your end?”
“What? Oh no.” Gabe shook his head. “I was just thinking, if we can get the production ramped up and you finalize the Blue Type design, perhaps we could shift production over to the Blue Type and get it going as well. I can’t give you an estimate for how many Blue Types we can get ready, though, not without getting the plans and refitting the assembly line for the new production model.”
Dr. Drake nodded after a moment. “Blue Type will be finalized within the next two to three months. The insulation should be done within four weeks, as I’ve been told.” He paused for a moment. “The plans for both the Red and Blue Types will need to be uploaded for dissemination, however. There’s resistance movements in several major cities that are growing, and they have manufacturing capabilities that will allow us to accelerate production on the battle armors. It’ll also save us time trying to transport the armors out of Washington.
“To that end,” he continued, looking around at everyone, “I’m shifting assignments around: Scott Matthew will take over battle armor production. Gabe, I’ll want you to put together the best encryption and decryption protocols you can for the data transfers. You have two weeks to get it done.”
“Understood,” Gabe said, leaning back. The glance he gave Cori caused her to smile and shake her head. She knew just how much of a relief it would be for him to relinquish that headache.
June 8, 2009 – 10:13pm
Free at last!
If there’s one thing I’ve hated, it was dealing with the logistical nightmare that was the Red Type armor production. Being at the head of something so time-consuming was not something I expected when Doc saddled me with it back in February. I know he wanted to push me some and see what I could do, but what it did do was keep me from pursuing the work I’ve spent most of the last three years trying to do — collaborate with Cori on the analysis of Sean’s Guyver unit.
I don’t know why upper management has been so keen to keep me away from that, especially given my previous working relationship with Cori and Marcus both; for that matter, Cori doesn’t understand it either. But she’s made the best of things. So have I, for that matter. Maybe Carter and the rest don’t think my background is enough to warrant continued collaboration. Who knows? This is upper management, after all: for all the talk of how I sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s amazing how rarely they stop to consider the trees that make up their vaunted forest.
Doc gave me two weeks to get the encryption/decryption protocols put together for the Red and Blue Type armor production. Even odds, I’ll be done with it inside ten days. If nothing else, it’ll give me a chance to focus more on the Guyver analysis with Cori, and go from there. I could use some time catching up with Cori’s theoretical work and see if I can ground some of it in practical application.
June 22, 2009 – Two weeks later
“Here you go, Doc.”
Dr. Drake looked up to see Gabe standing in the doorway to his office. “The schematics for the Red and Blue Types?”
“Yeah, and it’s got some of the best encryption I could put together. Probably take a while for the serious computer types to crack it, even with the best computers going brute-force on it.” Gabe approached the desk, setting down several flash drives. “Easy to conceal on your person, for whoever’s getting sent out into the world to do it. I imagine Carter will approve.”
“Yes, I imagine he will. He’s been very busy the last few years, trying to bring in anyone he can that will further help the cause.” Dr. Drake looked up at Gabe. “Definitely not what you had expected to be doing, is it?”
“Building weapons and performing data encryption for the remnants of the military-industrial complex?” Gabe shook his head. “Can’t say it is, no. I’d rather be spending more time trying to work out the specifics of the Guyver unit and Creator technology with Cori.” He paused in mid-movement to sit down, spying out a sketched drawing on Dr. Drake’s desk. “What’s that?”
Dr. Drake managed to look slightly guilty as Gabe leaned forward to look more closely at the illustration. “Just an idle flight of fancy–”
“Wolf Series?” Gabe looked closer at some of the specifics that were outlined in the illustration. “You’re going to need more power than what you had proposed for either the Red or Blue types for this, Doc. How long before you think it’ll be ready to enter production?”
“Probably another six to eight months,” Dr. Drake replied. “General Carter wants to have several different battle armor models ready. There’s another one as well, but I’ve not even put together a preliminary design sketch for it.” He leaned back in his chair, studying the younger man for a moment. “You’ve been getting more fit, I see. Those self-defense classes are paying off.”
“And you’re changing the subject.”
“I’m your immediate superior. I’m allowed.”
Gabe chuckled faintly, moving to sit down. “Fair enough,” he allowed. “Yeah, Chang’s got me on a pretty solid regimen with the tai chi, and my parkour is complementing things pretty well. Why do you ask?”
“Just making certain one of my best technicians is okay.” Dr. Drake thought for a moment. “Between you and me, I think Carter intends to strike within the next year or so. I’m going to be leaning a bit on you, because I want you to help get things ready. You’ll be working with Scott Matthew to get everything ready, make sure the mechanics have everything working properly on the assembly line. After that, I’ll probably have you working up the Wolf Series, if it gets ready enough for production, but we’ll probably still be testing out the bugs on it before Carter decides to strike at Chronos.”
Gabe sighed, but nodded his assent after a moment. “You realize I’m still going to coordinate some with Cori when it comes to the Guyver and the ideas for how that technology works.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less of you, Gabe.”
July 4, 2010 – A year later
The time had finally come.
Moving from one Red Type to the next, Gabe hooked up some diagnostic instruments into a few data ports within the cockpit and paused to collect readings, before unplugging them again and pressing the talk button on his portable radio. “Red Unit 187, cleared,” he said, moving again to the next Red Type.
“Copy that, Gabe,” came Dr. Drake’s voice from the radio a moment later. “You’re almost done.”
It was 5:37am in the morning, but Gabe had made certain to sleep extra the day before. Be prepared, he thought wryly, recalling the Boy Scout motto in spite of the fact that he’d never actually been a Boy Scout. He had known that this was going to be a long night, ever since Dr. Drake had tipped him off three days earlier that General Carter was finally making his move.
Trying to be Bill Pullman’s presidential character from Independence Day, help inspire the troops, he thought to himself as he moved down the final row of Red Types. They certainly are going to need it.
Thankfully, Dr. Drake had let Gabe sleep most of the day away, and as much of a night owl as Gabe was, it worked out quite well. Thankfully, there was no sense hyping himself up on caffeine to try and keep himself awake. The last thing he needed was to be too jittery and misread a diagnostic. The Red Type exo-pilots would have enough to worry about, without a sudden system or mechanical glitch because the technicians missed something.
He heard the pilots coming out from where they’d changed, all suited up, as he hooked up the diagnostics to the last Red Type. He checked the readings, frowned for a moment, then thumbed his radio. “Doc, can you confirm my readings? I don’t like the variance I’m seeing here. I think it’s from the modifications O’Connor wanted.”
“Checking.” Dr. Drake was silent for several moments, then came back on. “Looks like you can fix it with the tools on hand, Gabe. You’ve got ten minutes.”
“Won’t need more than five, Doc. I got this.” Gabe moved over to grab one of the toolkits, and came back, kneeling down and making the needed fix.
“I thought you already had these ready to go.”
Gabe glanced up to see Jason O’Connor standing behind him, suited up and ready to go. “A couple of the readings were off. I think it was something in the modifications you wanted,” he replied, looking back to finish his work. “Nothing I can’t get done in a couple of minutes, though. Don’t worry, you won’t miss the party.”
“I’d better not.”
Gabe chuckled quietly, and finished tightening a couple of bolts within the Red Type armor, then closed up the toolkit and moved back to check the diagnostics again. He thumbed the radio after a moment. “Red Unit 200, cleared. That’s all of ’em, Doc.”
“Bring it on in, Gabe. Good work.”
Gabe closed the toolkit up, and detached the diagnostics from the exo-armor cockpit, then turned around. “All set.” He started to move, then stopped, turning back around as a quartet of techs came up to support Jason as he climbed into Red Unit 200. “Jason?”
“Make sure Sean doesn’t do anything too crazy out there, okay?”
Jason laughed. “Like I can control him.”
“I heard that, Gabe.” Sean came around at that moment, dressed normally. He had no need to change, not with the Guyver unit. “Cori already mothered me most of an hour ago.”
“I’ll be nice and not tell her you said that.” Gabe grinned. “Good luck out there, both of you.”
Gabe headed back to replace the toolkit where he’d gotten it, then made his way upstairs to the control/observation deck, where Dr. Drake was waiting with General Carter. “Everything checks out. They’re ready.”
“T minus fifteen minutes,” came a voice over the loudspeakers.
“You did well, son,” General Carter said after a moment. “We’re sending out five squadrons of twenty-five Red Types, and the rest of the military hardware is prepped and ready.” He paused. “Shame the Blue Types aren’t ready yet.”
“Issues with the assembly line here,” Dr. Drake said. “We couldn’t get everything together in time to begin fabrication of the Blue Types. Scott’s working on another project for me right now, as it is, and once we start freeing up other industrial areas in the United States, we can get the Blue Types up and running, and even start on the Teal Wolf Series. We’ll be in better shape soon.”
“What’s done is done.” General Carter looked over at Dr. Drake. “You and your team should get some rest. We’ll handle things from here.”
Dr. Drake nodded assent, then gestured for Gabe to follow. Once they were outside, he looked over at Gabe. “What are you planning?”
“Gonna sit with Cori. She’s gonna worry non-stop until Sean gets back, so I want to be on hand. If nothing else, she and I can talk some shop and keep our minds busy.” Gabe stretched out his arms. “If everything’s good, I’m gonna head over now and sit with her.”
“Good idea. She could use a means to get her mind off of things.”
A few minutes later, Gabe was at the door to Cori’s and Sean’s room, knocking on the door.
The door opened and Cori peeked out. “I thought you’d be in bed by now,” she said as she stepped back, opening the door to allow Gabe inside.
“Nah, can’t sleep. Besides, I was asleep all day yesterday and then up all night getting the Red Types ready. I’ve still got a few hours left before I revert back to my original pumpkin form.” Gabe stepped inside. “Besides, I figured perhaps I should stick close by.”
Cori smiled faintly. “You really are like a big brother sometimes, Gabe.” She gave him a hug, then moved to sit down in one of the chairs. “Take a load off. If you’ve been up all night, I can imagine you want to relax.”
“Thanks.” Gabe sat down in another chair, leaning back and relaxing for the first time since he’d woken up the previous evening. “If nothing else, I thought I could try and give you another dose in grounding your theories with more practicality.”
Cori laughed. “Some of your theories are just as outlandish at times, Gabe, so don’t start with that.” She leaned back in her chair. “Okay, let’s talk shop…”
A little more than three hours later, the news came in to a number of cheers throughout the base: Washington, DC was officially liberated, and Chronos had fled.
July 4, 2010 – 12:29pm
The news came through about three hours ago: Washington DC is now a free zone, the first in the nation. The Zoanoids have fled, most of them heading west towards Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The last few hours have been one big party here on base, and once Sean got back from the battle, I knew my job as “big brother” was done. Sean and Cori will certainly want their alone time, and I’m not about to begrudge them that.
Already, Carter’s sent out scouts throughout the city: checking out the lay of the land and wanting to move things out to a more visible locale. I heard mention of repurposing the Pentagon for a new headquarters, but nothing official on that front. Let them take all the time they need. Once they’re back and sound the all-clear, those of us who have been lacking in seeing the sun for the last several years will finally get a taste of fresh air and sunlight. That will be a welcome change for most everyone – myself included.
Today’s victory is that first, small step for man; the giant leap for mankind will only happen the moment we end the Chronos threat once and for all. For all those we’ve lost – friends, family, loved ones – this is a war to make sure those who have died did not do so in vain.
Washington DC is only the beginning. For all we’ve managed to do, we still have a country to liberate, and a world beyond that. Time to get my nose back to the proverbial grindstone.
July 18, 2010 – Two weeks later
After a few days of cleaning up the Pentagon, Dr. Drake’s research and development center began moving over to the new facilities. Gabe spent nearly a week moving everything over with the rest of the technicians, and got his new office assigned to him. It had been interesting to get a few new plants up and running to start production on the Red and Blue Type armors in the area surrounding Washington, DC, and the first convoys had already been prepared for more Red Types to move to the Pennsylvania-West Virginia state line, where a Chronos Zoanoid army was massing to prepare for an attack on Washington.
A faint tremor shook the ground, and Gabe looked up, curious. Washington, DC wasn’t exactly known for any seismic events, and it felt like it hadn’t come from too far away. He stood up, leaving his office and heading towards the main entrance.
Several people were running towards the entrance as well, and Gabe caught sight of Lacey Hamilton among them. “Lacey! What’s going on?”
“Gabe!” Lacey turned back, eyes wide. “Come on, you have to see this! It’s another Guyver, but… huge!”
Gabe recalled hearing something mentioned by Sean about other Guyvers, apparently from Japan. It reminded him of the conversation Dr. Drake had with him, back when X-Day had occurred, nearly five years previously. Doc said something about Japan… the Japanese branches of Chronos was operating at heightened levels because of something. Maybe this is what he was talking about?
He broke into a run, stopping at the doors to see the Gigantic Guyver standing outside, with General Carter standing before him and a number of ACTF troops massed around the figure, their weapons pointed at the much larger Guyver. “Holy shit,” he breathed, his own eyes widening at the sight. Not like Sean’s unit… upgrade, perhaps? How is it possible?
Then he saw Guyver US arrive, and a few moments passed before the troops lowered their weapons. Whatever was going on, it seemed peaceful enough. Guyver US’s armor deactivated a few moments later to reveal Sean. Then the Gigantic armor detached, disappearing into its cocoon to reveal a normal, human-sized Guyver, who then disengaged his armor to reveal his human form.
For fuck’s sake, he’s just a kid!
Gabe shook his head, then backed away as General Carter led the group back towards the entrance. He started heading back to his office, still pondering over what he’d seen. If nothing else, the ACTF’s odds had just jumped upwards in dealing with Chronos, assuming that the Japanese Guyver that had just arrived would be willing to ally with the ACTF.
An hour or so later, Dr. Drake stopped by. “You saw the Japanese Guyver?”
“Big one, I saw. I admit, I’m curious about how that happened. Some sort of upgrade, I imagine, but how it happened is beyond me.”
“He apparently bonded with the control medal of a Relic in Japan while he and another Japanese Guyver battled several Chronos Zoalords, and the Relic wound up destroyed. The bonding, however, allowed the control medal to cocoon around Mr. Fukamachi and protect him, and it subsequently created a bio-armor upgrade.”
“Mr. Fukamachi…” Gabe paused for a moment, frowning. “You mean the Japanese kid?”
“Yes, and just like everyone else, you’ll extend Sho every courtesy. He speaks good English, thankfully.”
“That won’t be a problem, Doc. Just…” Gabe shook his head. “Just really young to be carrying that sort of burden.”
“So is Sean, when you come right down to it. The thing is, they’ve both had several years to adjust to it.” Dr. Drake smiled. “I think you’ll find him remarkably well-adjusted.” He started to slip out, then turned back. “Almost forgot: Sho defeated the Chronos army massing in Pennsylvania. General Carter wants the convoys prepped again, this time for New York. It’s time we started liberating the rest of America.”
Gabe sighed quietly. “I’ll get on it,” he muttered. “God, I hate the logistics.”
July 28, 2010 – A week and a half later
For the first time in a little more than five years, Gabe was finally able to walk under the sun freely, without too much concern. No more pasty white skin, he thought to himself as he made his way towards a view of the Washington Monument. I’ll be able to get all the sun I could ever want. Not that I could right now, with the leathers on.
At that moment, the flip-phone he was carrying went off, the ringtone a signature communicator chirping from the original Star Trek TV series from the 1960s.
Cori had laughed so hard when she first heard Gabe’s ringtone. “Just like you,” she’d teased a couple of days before. “You’re such a geek.”
Don’t I know it? Gabe thought to himself as he pulled out the phone and flipped it open. “Kelso.”
“Thirty minutes to curfew, Gabe,” came Dr. Drake’s voice.
“Yes, Dad,” Gabe muttered sarcastically as he took one final look at the Washington Monument before turning and heading back towards a black Ducati 1198 with red and white trim that he’d gotten just a couple of weeks before. The helmet was hanging on the left handgrip, right where he’d left it just a couple of minutes before. “I’ll be in shortly – just taking a quick look at the monuments before coming in.”
“And I imagine you’re having too much fun with that motorcycle of yours, no doubt.”
“Damn straight!” Gabe laughed. “I’ve driven SUVs and the like long enough, Doc. The bike is my way of being a rebel. Don’t worry, though. I’ll be back inside twenty minutes. Kelso out.”
Snapping the phone shut, he replaced it to his waistband and climbed onto the Ducati. He grabbed the helmet, sliding it over his head, and then produced the keys, revving the motor as he turned it on. Lowering the visor, he checked his mirrors before pulling out onto the street, headlights coming on as he started off. Thankfully, Dr. Drake had given him the day off for this little excursion, but the day was almost over. Dusk was coming on, the reds and purples blending into the growing night sky.
He’d have invited Cori and Sean to come along, but they’d wanted the day to themselves. Gabe didn’t blame them. Having time away from base, even if only for a little while, was a refreshing change of pace after five years of hiding in a subterranean Cold War-era base.
Fifteen minutes later, he was pulling into parking lot at the ACTF base at the Pentagon, flashing his ID for the guards so he could come in, and parked the Ducati before heading into the base proper.
July 28, 2010 – 8:06pm
New York’s been officially free of Chronos control for a week now. Not only were we able to slip in the Red Types and the first batch of the Blue Types without being detected, but then to launch another sneak attack on Chronos and get the help of New York’s own resistance movement the way we did… we’ve been damned fortunate that they didn’t think to expect the same tactic a second time. With the ACTF now having a presence in New York City, many of the resistance fighters are up and volunteering to join the ACTF and swell the ranks. Already, Baxter Enterprises has volunteered their fabrication plants to get the Red and Blue Types more quickly mass-produced, as well as working on helping speed up Doc’s timetable on the Wolf Series.
It’s nice to see a semblance of the old American spirit finally rearing its head again. This is one sleeping giant who slept for far longer than it should have.
Between liberating Washington and New York, not to mention the Fukamachi kid wiping the floor with the Chronos forces that had massed at the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border, the ACTF seems to be on a roll. Two and a half weeks since going live, and it’s hard to imagine we haven’t galvanized people’s hopes for the first time in nearly four years. We’ve given people something to believe in again.
All we can do is hope that we can keep the ball rolling, and keep Chronos on the defensive.
July 29, 2010
A sudden klaxon alarm blared throughout the base, jolting Gabe awake several hours later. He looked over at his clock, reading the time. 3:48am. What the fuck?
He got up, grabbing clothes and getting himself dressed while powering up his laptop and waiting for it to sync up with the base’s computer network. Whatever it was, it was enough to scramble all the military personnel, that much was certain. Finally, he sat down, picking up his laptop and setting it on his lap as the main screen came up, and he typed in his login and password.
At that moment, he heard a thunderous explosion, and looked up as dust rained down in different spots around his room. “What the hell…”
He set the laptop on his bedside table, standing up again to head for the door. He opened it to look outside, and then stepped out. The civilians were supposed to stay in their rooms – for their protection, General Carter had said – but someone had to make sure the R&D labs were still safe.
He started heading down the hall, and heard another, smaller explosion a few moments later. It wasn’t as violent, but it did sound like someone punching a hole through the concrete-reinforced floor, and it was closer.
He began to run at that point, rounding the corner into another corridor. He was heading towards Sean and Cori’s room, he knew, and that bothered him for some reason. It bothered him even more that now he could hear laser fire and more coming from ahead. A telltale whine, and suddenly he heard multiple pressure cannon blasts.
Please don’t tell me that Japanese kid turned on us!
He was running faster now, around another bend – just in time to see a flash of red pound on the door to Cori’s and Sean’s room and enter. Then the screams, and another blast – from within the room!
Goddamn it, no!
He hit the wall, using it to make himself turn more quickly as he dashed into the room, only to look up and see a red four-armed figure that looked eerily like a Guyver rising up and quickly fleeing the scene through the air. Horrified, he could only look up, and suddenly he had to give voice to a rage he’d not felt in years, not since Utah and the sight of Marcus Edwards’ cairn.