In the control room of the Luxembourg base, which has now become the OZ headquarters, the Taurus transport operation, as well as the operation to annihilate the Gundams, are entering the stage of their execution.
"The mobile suit deployment on both the air route and the ground route is complete."
At the report from the radio operator, Lady Une issues further commands.
"Enquire with the surveillance satellite whether there are no changes in the route!"
Then she bends over the spherical display upon which the operation's Aries are projected.
"So, soon now...."
"Major Lady Une, please tell me which of the two routes is the real one."
At Noin's question, Lady Une throws her a cold look and answers curtly "Both are important."
Immediately thereafter, the voice from the radio operator is heard.
"We have captured on the ground route, ninety kilometers before Point A, fourty other suits besides a Gundam."
"Okay, dispatch the Aries attack troop number four!"
On the display, a red point is indicated in the mountain district at the coast of the Black Sea. A countless number of triangular points start to move towards it.
Constructed at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains with their 5000 meter high peaks one beside the other, the route there is used for the mobile suit transport wagons, which require rails twice as wide as usual. Additionally, beside the rails, Leos in regular intervals watch the surroundings.
Simultaneous with Lady Une's order, a troop of thirty Aries, which were on standby not far away, start their attack. The target is the fourty-one mobile suits advancing towards the rails.
The battle has begun.
Against the Aries, which come shooting at them from above, the mobile suits of the Maguanac troop return fire resolutely.
The beam rifles fired by the Maguanac troop shoot down two and three Aries. On the other hand, there's hardly any damage on the Maguanac side. The armours of the Maguanacs can hardly be pierced with a rifle.
In the middle of the melee, Rashid, who is ahead of the others, sends a message to Quatre.
"I've found it, Sir Quatre."
Below Rashid, wide rails run from North to South. On both sides, Leos are standing in regular intervals and on alert.
"With this kind of defense, there is no mistake. It's the ground route."
Having caught up with Rahid's machine, Quatre leaps directly over the hill with the intention to suppress them here and now, before the wagons pass through.
Unsheathing the crescent swords, which are called 'heat shotels', Sandrock strikes at the Leos guarding the rails. Hurrying to support him, Rashid's Maguanacs fire their beam rifles.
Within a few moments the four Leos are cut down. When there is no sign anymore of an enemy, Quatre raises the heat shotels. He intends to cut the rails in two, causing the wagons to derail.
At that moment, the wagons' light shines in the distance. No, what shines is the shelling of a trench mortar. A moment too late the roaring sound booms. Sandrock is hit by a shell and thrown away.
The Gundam cockpits have the form of a capsule and are like swimming in the chest part of the suit. This kind of system absorbs shocks and reduces the impact on the pilot. This is also why Heero was unharmed after Zechs made him collide with the surface of the sea.
Nevertheless, Quatre loses consciousness for a moment since the shock is not fully absorbed. It's probably also because his body is not as tough as Heero's.
The huge transport wagons approach Sandrock who is lying on the rails. As solid as the Gundanium made suit may be, if the weight of ten or more transport wagons crash into it with a speed of 120 kilometer per hour, it may end up easily destroyed.
Rashid aims the Maguanac's beam canon at the railcar in front, but something like this cannot stop the force of the wagons.
In that moment, a black mobile suits ignites his Vernier engines in front of Rashid's eyes and flies off. It's a suit he has never seen before.
Throwing itself at the wagon in front, the mobile suit makes the wheels leave the rails with the force of the impact. Then he presses with maximum output of its Vernier engines against the wagons which want to continue running nevertheless.
The shrieking of metal resounds in the mountainous district.
Through the derailment of the lead wagon, the transport wagons, running with high speed, bend in awkward shapes and, pushed by the force of the following wagons, writhe like a snake while they are lifted out of the rails and start gliding along the ground.
Having finally gotten up, Quatre is astonished to see the transport wagons derailing and raising dust.
"Hey, are you okay?"
Together with the voice, Duo's face is reflected in the submonitor. In the main monitor, he can see how the black Deathscythe comes rushing towards him, looking as if it were shrouded in darkness.
"Thank you! So you did come, didn't you!"
"But we'll be disappointed!"
A shocked Quatre raises his voice.
One Leo after the other shows himself, coming from the overturned wagons. In the time needed to say 'ah', the two mobile suits are surrounded by countless mobile suit troops.
"If that is so, then all we can expect from the guys is to hold out!"
Duo brings his beam scythe in position and extends the scythe-like beam. Then he raises his voice.
Raising the beam scythe, Duo steps onto the pedals.
Elsewhere, on the air route, the radar controller of the Taurus cargo planes catches the reflection of a plane following the transport troop.
"Commander, I've captured an unidentified plane. It seems to be a small cargo plane."
Receiving the controller's report, the commander of the Taurus transport troop immediately issues orders to the radio operator.
"Tell the base that the Gundams have appeared!"
A commercial plane is not supposed to enter the operation's airspace. If that is the case, there is only one possibility.
Leaning against the seat, the commander murmurs "It goes according to Lady Une's plan."
The cargo planes are now supposed to receive supply at the base ahead and lift off again immediately. It is said that, if there is an attack, it will be immediately before landing. It's the time when the planes are most vulnerable.
The information from the supply base comes in that the Aries will move out immediately for an ambush attack.
"Leave the Gundams to the Aries, we here will head towards the base according to the plan."
The Taurus transport troop start their descent towards the base. Following them, the small high speed cargo plane comes closer and also starts to descend.
That's where the Aries troop cuts in. Without any warning, they shoot mercilessly at their target. The fuel tank immediately catches fire and flames rise from the wings while the cargo plane loses speed and starts to fall.
Suddenly, a tremendous bombardment attacks the Aries out of the flames. Some moments later, three suits are shot down.
What is thrust out of the flames is the Gatling canon attached to Heavyarm's left arm.
Heavyarms, with its characteristic armour made in white as the ground shade and parts in red and scarlet, jumps off the burning cargo plane, ignites the Vernier engines and descends towards the supply base which is located still some kilometers ahead.
In the OZ command room, the reports on the present situation are coming in successively. Indicating them on the dome-shaped display, each radio operator is correspondingly kept busy. Already Gundam 02 and 04 have attacked the dummy transport wagons on the ground route and have been surrounded by Leo troops. Then, 03 has attacked the cargo planes on the air route, and is presently advancing towards the base.
"It progresses smoothly" murmurs Lady Une, satisfied.
The three suits have appeared in the positions which Lady Une has intentionally set up as being easy to attack. With the suits' appearance being too open for them to know it's a trap, Lady Une is already convinced of her victory.
After all, a rebel army does not have such a high standard.
As Lady Une is showing a coldhearted smile, another report comes in.
"A flying object is approaching at high speed from the southeast. It's probably 01. It will arrive at the supply base in 300 seconds."
Noin, having heard that, immediately relays the message to Zechs, who is on standby in a cargo plane flying through the vicinity of the base.
"Zechs, 01 has appeared. It approaches the refueling point of the air route, where they are currently fighting with 03."
"So you have to come the air route after all. It will be close, but I can strike at him just before the base."
In Noin's headset, Zechs' answer comes back right away.
"I'm going towards the base."
With these few words, the connection from Zechs is cut off.
Heero, on board the 01 - namely Wing -, has the intention to aim at the Taurus cargo planes immediately after they have landed at the supply base. He judges that this way he can beat them in one attack only.
However, as he sees the base before him, he detects an enemy plane coming from above. From there, one mobile suit descends.
"An Aries? No, too big."
Frowning at the suit which he sees for the first time, Heero lets his fingers run over the computer terminal. Information is called upon the submonitor.
Eyeing the displayed characters, Heero is astonished. The answer has come back that there is no matching type in the newest list of OZ weapons. Clicking his tongue, he searches the data again.
During this time, the enemy mobile suit has rapidly come closer.
Heero unconsciously raises his voice. Judging that fighting in flight form is a disadvantage, he draws back the lever above his head. As soon as he has converted back into mobile suit form, the beam rifle is pointed at his enemy.
But, what is the enemy thinking? He throws away the rifle at his right arm.
Heero narrows his eyes and stares at the pure white mobile suit on the monitor.
In the cockpit of this white mobile suit - of Tallgeese -, Zechs declares to the Gundam on the monitor as if he's challenging him "Stop it, Gundam 01! To us, beam rifles and canons are not necessary."
Then, tilting the control stick, he draws the beam sabre from the back side of the shield, which is attached to the left shoulder of Tallgeese.
"We both recognize each other as the strongest enemy and we will fight. As a Gundam pilot, you cannot pass such an offer!"
Not only from the similarities in the suit design, but also based on the data so far, Zechs has detected the fact that the pilot of Gundam 01, just like himself, can only prove his existence by fighting.
An appearance as a warrior should have it.
And exactly because he thought that this was a point they had in common, he behaves recklessly.
While descending, Tallgeese strikes at the Gundam with the beam sabre.
As if replying to this, the Gundam also throws away his buster rifle and fights back with the beam sabre.
As soon as they have touched down, with their blades crossed, they ignite their Vernier engines together and put some distance between them. The heat blades burn the air and the vicinity is filled with the smell of ions.
Zechs has received in the offense and defense so far a reliable response. Compared to the first time, when he fought with the Leo, he has more time to spare regarding the movements of this opponent and can cope better with them.
This battle will end with my victory. I am not feeling any fear whatsoever. I can beat you even without using all of Tallgeese!
Zechs feels a sure touch in his hand which is gripping the control lever.
On the other side, Heero battles carefully, as if searching for the special characteristics of his enemy.
That's because he judges that, with the buster rifle thrown away, he cannot cope with his enemy's speed. Additionally, a big problem is his own intuition.
"Is that the guy from before!?"
What occurs to Heero is the memory of how the Leo, as he was descending to Earth, had blocked his movements and made him sink into the Pacific Ocean. It's a humiliating memory. Thanks to him, he had to make unnecessary detours. And also unnecessary encounters....
For a moment, light brown, long hair crosses through Heero's mind.
Spitting this out softly, Heero concentrates on the enemy displayed on this main monitor.
In this moment, emitting a 'beep', the submonitor lists information. Because he had it searching up to the unfinished mobile suits for a matching type, the reply from the colony was delayed.
"Prototype Leo! So OZ has finished it!!"
Heero raises his voice while he lets his eyes run over the picture on the monitor. He realizes that this is a very tough enemy.
Now it's only about defeating the enemy before his eyes!
Heero steps onto the pedals and challenges the enemy.
There's a Gundam a bit away who is watching the situation. It's Trowa's Heavyarms.
"The targets are the cargo planes. Sorry, but you'll have to let me go ahead."
Trowa realizes the present conditions more calmly than even Heero. After taking aim on the monitor at the Leos approaching on the ground, he presses the trigger.
In the OZ command room, the calls are are intermingling.
"Half of the Leo troop for the dummy transport has been destroyed by 02 and 04."
"01 is presently fighting with Tallgeese!"
"03 has destroyed the Leo troop. He's approaching the refueling base."
Damages far beyond what was originally estimated have resulted. It can only be counted as luck that 05 did not appear.
"That the Gundams have such power...."
Lady Une utters this in an admiring voice. Certainly the transport plan as such will end in failure under the present conditions.
"The Taurus cargo planes have completed the emergency take-off preparation! I'll let them depart!"
At Noin's call, Lady Une raises a cold voice.
"Who gave the permission? There is no mistake in an operation thought up by me."
Showing a condescending smile to a vehemently arguing Noin, Lady Une gives her order.
"Call the space fortress Barge!"
Despite the astonished Noin, Lady Une turns around to the Barge's commander, who is reflected on the monitor.
"Major Lady Une, the arrangements are complete."
After nodding high-handedly to the saluting and reporting commander, Lady Une takes the microphone.
"This is a message to all Gundam pilots. We are making preparations for attacking the colonies with missiles. The former Alliance missile satellites are all under our control. It's safe to say that the fate of the colonies rests now in our hands."
Lady Une's voice is pouring out on a commonly used frequency. As proof that there is no mistake, a picture is also sent which displays the missile satellites as they change their direction and open their missile pods aimed at the main colony of each Lagrange Point.
"This is not a bluff. The pilots are to surrender immediately and hand over their Gundams to us."
Fighting the Leo troop, Duo and Quatre turn pale at the suddenly incoming message.
"They're aiming at the colonies...."
Dumbfounded, Quatre becomes deadly pale and weakly releases the control lever.
"That we are to hand over the Gundams!?"
Duo calls out while his face becomes red with anger.
"That's a trick worthy of OZ."
Trowa takes away his thumb from the Gatling button, then looks at the scene on his right submonitor.
Heero's Wing and Zechs' Tallgeese, these two mobile suits still want to fight.
"What a tasteless behaviour!"
It's Zechs spitting out these words.
"I have to fight with this Gundam!"
Calling out, Zechs bends twists the control lever strongly and, at the same time, switches the pedals to reverse and steps on them. Tallgeese jumps back and evades the beam sabre which the Gundam swings downward.
The reaction comes a bit too late and the beam grazes the left ellbow joint. A transmission cable is cut and the arm's response becomes sluggish.
"You guys can't fight anymore, can you!?"
Yelling at the Gundam who still wants to strike with the sabre, Zechs openly shows also his irritation.
"As it is, I guess I cannot fight either...."
Flicking a switch on the radio, he shouts as soon as Noin's face appears "Noin! Get me Lady Une!"
As the image is switched over, Zechs fires off in an even more harsh voice.
"The Gundams have stopped moving, but none of them shows any sign of surrendering."
At the radio operator's report, Lady Une shouts "I don't care where! Fire a missile!"
In the moment Lady Une yells this, Zechs' mask is displayed on the monitor. Noin has transferred Zechs' call.
"Major, stop this stupid behaviour!"
"What is a stupid behaviour?" says Lady Une, turning cold eyes towards the monitor.
"This is not what His Excellency Sir Treize would wish for!"
"I want to have His Excellency's ideal realized" spits Lady Une out, snorting at Zechs' words.
"You, Major, do not understand the thinking of His Excellency!"
"It's you, Zechs, who doesn't understand him!" states Lady Une with conviction.
That's how it is, in order to make OZ strong, they must continue to win by using whatever they have and employing whatever means necessary.
Behind Lady Une, Noin stands up and calls out "No, it's you, Major Lady Une. The target of this operation is to eliminate an element of the rebellion. His Excellency would not have wished for a fight in which civilians are involved."
As soon as Noin's shout is over, Lady Une, turning around, slaps Noin's cheek with the palm of her hand. A sharp sound bursts into the command room.
"Being executed by shooting is nothing funny, Lieutenant Noin."
Spitting this out with cruel eyes, Lady Une turns around to the monitor.
"Something like the colonies is completely blown away in a small attack, they're a world where pathetic people live after all! What's a rebellion! I'll root it out with this now!"
Noin still raises a pleading call. Ignoring it, Lady Une gives her order to the space fortress Barge.
"Fire the missile!"
In that moment, all monitors in the command room white out.
The monitors have now only a screen full of sandstorms and statics. Suddenly, an old man with white hair, white beard and round glasses appears on the monitors. It's Dr. J, who has been giving instructions to Heero.
"Who is that guy?"
While everybody in the command room is shocked, Dr. J starts talking calmly while making clacking noises with his strange arm prosthesis.
"This is a message to OZ. I did not expect you people to be such a crowd of idiots. The colonies do not wish for something like a battle with OZ. Me as an individual is challenging you."
"So he has shown up, this element of the rebellion!"
Lady Une spits out these words together with a cold laughter. Then the radio operator has succeeded in locating the origin of the radio waves and raises his voice "It is sent through a normal circuit. The transmission's source is C0103 in the L1 colony cluster."
"A tactic which consists of developing dangerous mobile suits and attacking colonies is lacking all humanity. And when you do that without regard to the costs, I guess there is no way to beat you. We don't want to be victorious by going that far. That's why I declare here our capitulation."
"Fine, capitulation accepted. Let the Gundams surrender immediately."
At Lady Une's word, Dr. J shows faintly a derisive smile in the shape of his mouth.
"We surrender. We do however not hand over the Gundams."
In the cockpit, Zechs listens to the message of the mysterious old man - of Dr. J.
"This old man is supposed to be the leader of the rebellion?"
Looking at the face which says rather 'scientist' than 'rebel', Zechs murmurs this as if he were suprised. However, he discovers the face inside his memory.
This face was surely among those of the five Gundam engineers shown to him by Treize.
Five men? That is....
Noting that this figure has a meaning somewhere else, Zechs agrees in his mind.
Namely that the five Gundams which have descended to Earth were maybe constructed by these scientists.
Then, the hatch in the chest of Gundam 01 opens and from inside, the pilot appears. At the figure displayed on his main monitor, Zechs opens his eyes wide. No matter how he looks at it, what is displayed there is the figure of a boy, about fifteen years old.
"A boy? This boy is the Gundam's pilot??"
If that is so, does that mean he was fighting an evenly matched battle with a boy?
The thought that he can't believe this arises in Zechs' mind. However, it's a fact.
Zechs sets out to leave the cockpit himself to look directly at the figure.
At that moment, Dr. J's voice sounds again, as if making a public statement.
"I repeat. We cannot hand over the Gundams."
He can see how the boy's lips move accordingly.
Right before Zechs, the boy pushes a switch he has been holding in his hand with a jerk.
In an instant, the Gundam's hull swells up.
Emitting flashes, the Gundam explodes in the next moment with a loud sound. The cockpit inside the chest part is destroyed and fragments are scattered.
Heero's body is blown away by the explosion's shock wave, dances through the air and is thrown onto the ground.
In this moment, Quatre, being quite far away, throws his head back, totally as if he had taken a hit.
Other people's feelings flow into Quatre's consciousness.
That this boy could go this far!
Zechs' shout, mingled with a soldier's praise....
Has he self-destructed in exchange for the colonies?
Lady Une's doubts which reveal that she has difficulties believing it....
He has thrown away his life without hesitation!
Noin's astonishment at the enemy's action, which opposes her beliefs.
Clutching his chest, Quatre falls forward in the cockpit.
"The body... the soul...."
Heero's pain, and the pain given to everybody by Heero's deed comes crashing into Quatre's whole body.
The space heart....
It's the expression for the power through which Quatre can sense the feelings of other people as if they were his own. And exactly because Quatre is too pure he has this power. However, a sensible heart can, exactly like glassware, easily get a scratch.
What saves him is the calm voice reaching his ears from the speakers.
"Do you hear me? We have to get out of here at once."
"Trowa? Is that you?"
While writhing with pain, Quatre responds to Trowa's voice.
"If there is no resolution, we cannot fight. This guy has accepted everything."
Quatre nods at Trowa's words.
"Because they have taken the colonies as a shield...."
"We cannot fight anymore."
Having heard the same communication, Duo raises a regretful voice "Let's retreat!"
While shouting this, Duo operates the console. Chaff is being scattered from Deathscythe's shoulder and disables the use of the enemy radar. Then, Duo starts retreating together with Quatre.
Having sent the message to them both, Trowa grabs and lifts Heero with Heavyarm's hand from the blood soaked ground where he has fallen. Then he turns towards the enemy mobile suit.
"Go quickly! As if I could attack any further!!"
Shouting at the Gundam 03 with its red body, Zechs watches the suit leave with his teeth gritted. The intense feelings boiling in his heart are not only resentment against Lady Une. As a warrior, it's also the feeling of deep regret that he could not win.
"All Gundams are retreating from their battle points!"
"So you're thinking it's over, Gundams, and you too, Lieutenant Noin!"
Raising a snarling voice at the report of the radio operator, Lady Une turns sharp looking eyes on Noin.
However, after listening calmly to the voice coming from the headset, Noin quietly informs Lady Une "Major, a messages from His Excellency has come in."
"Give me that!"
Holding back Lady Une's outstretched hand, which wants to grab the headset, Noin gazes directly into her superior officer's eyes.
"Major, it says that you should carry on with things more elegantly."
Lady Une's eyes flicker with shock.
"More elegantly it says."
While showing another smile in the corners of her mouth, Noin repeats herself.