On the stage of an opera house built in the 19th century, a soprano and tenor singer are standing and singing an Italian song sonorously before a splendid installation. In the orchestra box, the conductor lets the stick dance like a butterfly. In the auditorium, many elderly ladies and gentlemen are sitting, magnificently dressed in suits and gowns. The atmosphere created is that it would be difficult for a commoner to gain access to the performance.
And that's the way it has to be. Almost all spectators belong to aristocracy.
Inside, on the second floor, there's a box seat that is rumoured to not only costs several times as much as a normal seat, but that also cannot be bought if you are not a noble. It exists as a kind of status symbol.
There's a man in OZ uniform on one of the seats in this box, looking down onto the stage.
The shining golden hair is worn short and a few locks of hair hang down into his broad forehead. Sharp eyes and well shaped nose grace his finely cut face. He carries himself with a noble posture, as if he wants to express his aristocratic upbrining with his whole body.
Treize Khushrenada is one of the managing staff of Romefeller, the "mother" of OZ, which makes him the leader of OZ.
Then Treize's eyebrows, which are graceful like willows, move slightly. He senses that someone has entered the small room and is standing behind him.
"Excellency, a message from Lieutenant Zechs has arrived" says a quiet voice.
"Please transfer it to here" answers Treize with a calm voice, even if his theater visit is disturbed. The way he says it is as if he knew that a message would arrive. He opens the computer terminal on the side table and gets the monitor out. Even if the opera building is old, the furniture is equipped with the most modern things.
Zech's silver mask appears immediately on the screen.
"It seems three mobile suits were shot down?" says Treize before Zechs opens his mouth.
A few minutes earlier, the Alliance's information had been delivered to Treize by a subordinate. The reason that Zech's report was delayed was because of his falling into the sea after the battle, and it took some time to rescue him.
"For a man like you, this is quite careless. To silence the faultfinders of the Alliance will be a pain."
Zechs answers shortly to the sorrowful voice of Treize. "The enemy was a mobile suit made of Gundam."
"Ah yes, I see." Treize nods as if agreeing with everything.
Gundanium is an alloy which can only be refined in space. It has many times the strength and fire resistance of the Titanium alloy used for the mobile suits of OZ. Besides, it does not show the usual reactions of metal and is therefore ideally suited for the use in mobile suits.
"If it is discovered that it has been manufactured in the colonies...."
Treize smiles at Zech's words.
"If you and me had been part of OZ 15 years ago, such a failure would not have happened" murmurs Treize, remembering the records of the past.
15 years ago, there was a team of scientists in OZ which researched and designed the use of mobile suits for war. The team, with experts from every field, soon manufactured one mobile suit by way of experiment. But when the capacity and the accompanying size were considered to be too big, the project was renounced in the experimental status. Then, another form was developed, with the capacity additionally driven up to the uppermost limit. But the here the project was renounced in the design stadium because the scientists had ran away from OZ. It is said that even the design doesn't exist anymore.
Because the second kind of mobile suit was designed based on the assumption that a special Gundanium alloy, which could only be refined in space, was to be used, it was called by a certain code name.
That name was "Gundam".
"So it was a Gundam after all?" asks Zechs.
"I can't think of anything else. It seems the Alliance did not take the check-up on space seriously enough."
Around the corner's of Treize mouth, a bitter smile is weakly visible.
"The Alliance Navy wants to collect that suit, what shall we do?"
"Just leave it to me. After sending you a special troop for deep see investigation, I'll leave the rest to you. I think you know that we have a huge task before us. I don't want to display a behaviour which might annoy the Alliance."
"Additionally, I want to send you something interesting. Please have a look at it."
On the monitor, Zechs suddenly salutes and cuts the connection.
After unfastening the fingers clasped before his chest, Treize closes the monitor and turns his gaze back to the singers on the magnificently decorated stage.
The smaller things before the bigger things..??
Treize remembers the meeting with the Alliance Generals afterwards and just then a slight smile plays around his lips.
A meeting with these people is more entertaining than the opera on this stage. It's a good thing that he can enjoy it.
Such thoughts cross his mind.
Having finished his connection with Treize, Zechs listens to the conversation of the two men in the pilot seats while waiting for the print-out being spit out by the communication system.
"The deep sea investigation troop is not yet here?" asks Lieutenant Otto of Lieutenant Bruno, the man seated beside him.
"It is said that they arrive in two hours."
"What's keeping them!"
At Lieutenant Otto's nervous voice, Zechs smiles bitterly and says soothingly "Don't be in such a hurry. That thing is not going anywhere. Besides, the oceanic trench is very deep here. Even the Navy carriers will need quite some time for their search."
Just then, an electronic "peep" announces the end of the print-out. When Zechs takes the picture sent by Treize into his hand, his eyes below the mask have suddenly a sharp look.
On the picture there's the form of a white mobile suite standing on the deck of a cruiser. It seems to be attacking the bridge. Flames and smoke from the explosions envelop the surroundings.
But it's not only that. This mobile suits is very similar to the one Zechs himself fought just about a hour ago. There are many points of comparison such as the characteristic form of the head and the way the hull is manufactured. But details like the unusually long right arm and the weapon at its tip which looks like a claw makes also clear where the differences are.
"I want to show you something interesting." Zechs shows the picture to them both.
"That is..." Both are immediately at a loss of words. They notice what this means.
Looking through the file sent by Treize together with the picture, Zechs adds "It seems this is a picture taken by OZ scout planes near the Yangtze river-mouth."
"So, there are two of this kind of machine?"
"No, there's more. There are messages that a mobile suit factory and a space port, both in the possession of OZ, and also a troop investigating a crashed capsule, just like us, have been eliminated."
"Does this mean that all five mobile suits fallen down with Operation M are Gundams?"
Zechs nods at Otto's words and crosses his arms.
"It seems that not the Alliance, but OZ is the target of the enemy. We were lucky because we're still alive after witnessing a Gundam" murmurs Zechs while watching the sea of clouds spread out outside of the cockpit.
An official Alliance shuttle has landed at the space port. As soon as Vice Foreign Minister Darlian shows himself in the lobby of the airport, a group of reporters which have been waiting start advancing on him. The flashes of cameras go off incessantly and he is showered with questions.
"What kind of talks did you have at the Colony Summit this time?"
"What are the demands of the colonies' self-governing body towards the Alliance?"
"When will the colonies attack? This subject has been on everybody's mind here on Earth."
"Vice Foreign Minister Darlian, some comments please."
But Darlian doesn't say a word and Relena, following behind him and doing the same, is almost squashed by the reporters.
Then, the reporters suddenly give up. It becomes clear that this is because of moss green uniform which has appeared in Darlian's way.
"We have been expecting you, Mister Darlian."
The soldier points to the exterior of the space port.
"An army car is waiting for us. Please get in immediately."
"Right now? This is inconvenient. I have to start preparing the birthday of my daughter."
Does he think so with all his heart or is this a pretext to defer unwanted work? It seems both is in Darlian's facial expression.
"A car to carry your daughter has also been prepared."
It seems the soldier has the intention to take Darlian with him at all costs. Understanding this, Relena decides to cut in first.
"No, don't worry about me. I can also go back by myself."
As if insinuating the rude soldier, she lifts her skirt a bit and does an elegant greeting. The father inclines his head towards his daughter as if apologizing.
"Then let us go. General Septem is waiting."
The black army limousine driving Darlian moves away, leaving Relena behind.
Looking after her father, Relena wants to leave before the reporters notice her and decides to call a taxi. But maybe she changed her mind on the way, because she walks down the way along the beach after exiting the space port.
Because the military machines starting and landing take up most of the movements in the space port, there's very little traffic on the road. The shuttle with Relena on board was probably the last one for today. Nothing should come through here anymore for some time after the military cars and the reporters' cars have left.
Relena walks along the coast road all alone during dusk. The evening sun shines on her white dress and colours it orange. The wind from the sea makes her hair flutter, while bringing the scent of the sea.
But the tranquillity is blown away by a suddenly emerging anger.
"Father! My birthday is the day after tomorrow!" calls Relena with a loud voice towards the sea, where nobody is. It's as if the strong feelings, which she cannot show before other people as the daughter of the Vice Foreign Minister and a member of the aristocracy, finally break free.
"If I were a normal daughter, this would be the place to stray from the right path."
This murmuring, which sounds like a sigh, is drowned out by a thundering noise over her head.
"A military plane... If such a thing didn't exist, there should have been here a space port a long time ago."
Relena looks up into the sky without hiding her hate. Then, as if having said all this had calmed her down, she goes back the way she originally came. She plans to call a car in the space port.
Then, she notices something at the periphery of her visual field, something she has just overlooked before. Unconsciously, she turns around and looks towards the beach.
At the edge of the water a person has fallen down. When she sees him, he seems to wear a military suit for use in space.
"A soldier? I have to call somebody!"
Relena takes out a mobile phone from the pochette that she always carries around with her and calls an ambulance. She's a very well educated lady, but one wouldn't think so based on the speed of her actions. Without hesitating, she runs down to the beach and towards the fallen person. With some difficulty she turns the figure over onto its back and opens the locks on both sides of the suit's neck, pulling off the helmet.
"It's still a child...."
Relena is surprised when she sees that face appearing below the helmet.
It's a boy, probably 15 or 16 years old, just like her. Greenish black hair. He has rough features, a bit oriental. It's a face you could call handsome, but Relena feels a kind of strong will which none of her schoolmates possesses.
Maybe he comes round because of the fresh air, but the boy's eyes flutter, then snap open.
"Please stay still."
As if shaking off Relena's words, the boy jumps up quickly and hides his face with his left hand.
"Did you see it?"
"Uh? See what?"
Not understanding the boy's words, Relena unconsciously looks around at their surroundings. She can't imagine that there's anything around which could get her into trouble if she saw it. She doesn't even think in the least that it's the boy's face.
In that moment, the sound of the siren of the ambulance comes from the street, getting closer. As if reacting to the noise, the boy opens a panel in the space suite, situated on the left of his chest, and presses a red button.
A sharp sound is heard and the boy's body is thrown backward while a column of smoke rises from the suit's chest panel.
After spitting out this word, the boy throws a glance at Relena and then runs away in direction of the street. The ambulance has already arrived and the first aid men are about to get out. The boy runs into them, knocks them to the floor in no time at all and steals the ambulance, driving away.
Relena can only watch all this with consternation. But something about that boy has moved her heart.
"I am... I am Relena Darlian. And you?"
Relena poses this question to the wind, a question which cannot be answered. Then she pulls herself up to her full height in the dusk at the beach.