Episode 31:
Fiat Justitia, Ruat Cælum

       Meiran has woken up after surgery conducted to remove two bullets after being shot by a woman known as Giva Fiorenza, working under orders received from Josie Selvaggio of the EDO. Sidra's harsh words sting her brother after the attack, who runs off base, and later returns with Duo to face Wufei's unwarranted anger.
    Kwannon and Nimeesha have been alerted to a Venusian extremist threat heading for Earth. A man named Donovan along with several soldiers have stolen an Erinyes cruiser, seeking revenge for the New Year's Massacre. Venus has dispatched troops to intercept them before they arrive in the Earth Sphere, in hopes of preventing another tragic disaster from occurring.

       "This is a one way trip, as I'm sure all of you are aware of. There will be no way we can return to the Venus Sphere after this." A tall man with chocolate colored hair, and dark eyes to match addressed the soldiers before him. "What point is there in living aside from revenge now? Me, I should have been dead. I should have died on that colony." His name was Donovan, and little was known about him.
    "Now, since there is no going back, I'll tell you the extent of the plan. No one can betray us to the government now. We'll pay them back. Take their wives and children, brothers and sisters from them a hundred times over! This has gone beyond the mere, feeble description of war! And now is the time for justice!"
    "What's our target, sir?" One of the other men inquired. "The Earth colonies are trying to not get involved in this..."
    "The Earth colonies are of no consequence to us. Our target is MO-II."
    "MO-II?" The 50 some odd soldiers murmured amidst themselves.
    "We're going to send it crashing into the Earth." An evil grin of a man devoid of sanity crossed Donovan's face. "I've worked out the calculations to inflict maximum damage. Minimum causalities should be in the vicinity of... two-hundred-fifty million."
    "Two-hundred-fifty million!?" Another soldier gasped.
    "Is that a problem?" Donovan raised an eyebrow. "I told you all there was no going back now."
    "No, sir."

       "There's no way we can catch them in time." The captain of another Erinyes cruiser, hot in pursuit, shook his head. "By the time we catch up to them, they'll be right on top of Earth. Earth forces will engage us as soon as they detect us... And I know I'm not willing to die to try and save those Earth cowards."
    "What should we do then, sir?" A comm officer inquired.
    "Get me in touch with the EDO. It's the only thing we can do, it's up to them from there."
    "Yes, sir. Initiating transmission."

       "Uh, Commander Selvaggio?" There was a knock on his office door.
    "Come in." The arrogant man raised his head.
    "Sir, we've received a message from a Venusian military vessel."
    "What?" Selvaggio inquired icily.
    "They claim a group of rogue soldiers have hijacked one of their ships and are heading to Earth, presumably to avenge the colony that was destroyed. The message also says Venusian pursuit forces won't be able to catch up to them before they reach Earth. The only other information they could provide was that there are about 50 soldiers working under a man named Donovan. That's all there is."
    "So, they're going to target one of our colonies..." He mused, stroking his chin. "Station fleets at every LaGrange point."
    "... The colonies aren't going to be happy about that..."
    "I don't care what will or won't make them happy. It's for their own good!" Josie snapped. "Get it done. NOW."
    "Yes, sir!"

       "Bossman, somethin' big is comin'!"
    Noah looked up from the mobile suit he was working on. "Go on."
    "Our informant in the EDO sent word that apparently some whackjob Venusian's got some buddies and a stolen ship headin' for Earth. Guy's name is Donovan, guess he wants t'get some revenge for the colony attack. Selvie's goons are stationing ships at the LaGrange points to protect the colonies."
    Noah sat in thought for a long moment, rubbing his unshaven chin absently. "The New Years Massacre.... Selvaggio thinks they'll try to attack a colony?"
    "Yeah, s'what he seems t'think, Bossman."
    "With one ship and fifty soldiers?"
    "That motherlovin' MORON!" Noah punched the suit he was working on. "Is he THAT bloody stupid?!"
    "Uh.... boss... Wouldn't taking out an Earth colony in retaliation be the perfect revenge for that?"
    "EXACTLY!" Noah whirled around to face his fellow Peacemaker. "Which is why they aren't going to target the colonies!"

       "Good morning! How are you feeling, Meiran?" Yoshino walked into Meiran's hospital room with Tiana behind him. She set down a small vase of flowers.
    "Ah, a bit drugged up." Meiran glanced at the redheaded girl. "What do you want?"
    "I just wanted to apologize for our argument back in the library that one time." Tiana folded her hands in front of her.
    "Do you even know what you're apologizing for?" Meiran snapped.
    "Meiran-" Shino watched his cousin.
    "You were RIGHT. I realize I was being used as a pawn, and sometimes my words were empty." Tiana didn't give Shino a chance to intervene.
    "Good." Meiran snapped. "Now get lost."
    "I'm not finished!" Tiana snapped back, much to the Yuy son's surprise. "How does it feel almost dying? Was anything you've done worth it?"
    "And what the hell does THAT mean!?" Meiran struggled to sit up. "You still don't know what you're talking about!"
    "And neither do you! You never told me why you're fighting!" Her green eyes sparked.
    "Ah, ladies... Meiran needs to rest-" Shino tried helplessly to break up the argument.
    "Doesn't it hurt?" Tiana pressed. "Being so angry all the time!?"
    "Shut up! You don't know anything about it! You don't know what it's like going out there and killing other people, being out on a battlefield! It's scary-"
    "So you ARE afraid!!" Tiana referenced back to their first dispute. Meiran's face flushed with anger.
    "SHUT UP. It isn't your business! It's not that I'm afraid!" Or at least, her pride wouldn't let her admit it, especially not to the Venusian girl in front of her. "You know nothing! Nothing about it at all!"
    "Maybe I don't, but-"
    "Then why don't you go find out!?" Meiran growled viciously. "Before you come in here and start preaching to me!"
    "What do you mean?" Tiana crossed her arms. Yoshino watched the two, eyes traveling back and forth between them, knowing that anything he tried to say now would only get both the girls on his case.
    "Take Seiryuu. I can't use it right now. Go ahead." Her sapphire eyes flashed. "Learn how to fight, go out there on the battlefield. Maybe then we'll understand each other!"
    "Fight?" Tiana was a bit taken back by the suggestion.
    "Or are you afraid?" Meiran challenged.
    "Yes, I am. But I can admit it and face it, unlike you!" A look of determination crossed the younger girl's face. "I'll do it."
    Meiran stared at her for a moment. I didn't think she'd actually do it. Maybe she has more guts than I gave her credit for. Doesn't matter, she won't last a second training.
Shino stared after Tiana who stormed out the door. He glanced back at Meiran, before hurrying after Tiana.
    Meiran waited until the door was closed before letting out a frustrated screech and knocking the vase of flowers down to the floor, shattering it. So what if I'm afraid? She laid back down as her rage subsided, becoming aware of the aches her sudden burst of activity had brought on.

       "Are you out of your mind!?" Yoshino caught up to Tiana halfway to the hangar.
    "Will you help teach me?" Tiana inquired, her tone dead serious.
    "What!? No way! Tiana, you can't be serious!"
    "If you won't, somebody else will! I'm just as serious as she is!"
    "It's dangerous, Tiana, really dangerous." Shino grabbed her arm. "I can't let you!"
    "Oh? But you can let Ariana?" Tiana yanked her arm away.
    "Tiana, that's... that's different! Ari... Ari is..." He fumbled for a way to describe the situation with his little sister. Tiana continued walking. "That was some very unusual circumstances, that I won't let be repeated, by EITHER of you."
    "You know she won't accept that." Tiana flung open the door to the hangar.
    "She'll just have to cope!" Shino followed the shorter girl inside.
    "Hm?" Ariana looked over from FalconWing. She had been working on her suit under the careful watch of Momoko. Tiana strode towards Ariana.
    "How do you learn how to pilot?"
    "Whoa, you wanna learn how to use a mobile suit?? Me, I just sorta winged it, and then Sidra and I went out and I learned a whole lot more!" Ariana chattered away until she meet her brother's gaze. "Ah...Shino?"
    "Will you help me learn how to? I'll take classes at the academy too."
    "Um..." Ariana glanced around the Pembroke girl at Shino. "Why... doesn't Shino?"
    "Because it's dangerous! Neither of you should be out there!" Yoshino raised his voice. Momoko observed silently.
    "That isn't stopping anybody else!" Ariana put her hands on her hips. "Meiran is only a year older than us, and she's out there! And Dad wasn't any older either! He was doing even CRAZIER stuff!"
    "Ari, please don't get involved in this..." Shino twitched. He knew there was no way he could convince either of them. I'll have to talk to Dad about Ari... And Dorothy. Tiana will listen to her...
    "I'll do what I can, Tiana! Come on, we can start right now! You want a Gryphon, or a Taurus, or maybe just a Leo??"
    "Seiyruu." Tiana interrupted.
    "Ah, um... Seiryuu? Did I hear you right? Meiran would kick our asses if we touch it!" Ariana watched the fire flare in Tiana's eyes.
    "She said I could."
    "Ari, Tiana...." Shino started to speak again, but they were already walking away. "... Damnit..." He hung his head.
    "She wasn't delusional or anything, right?"
    "No. She said to take it and learn how to fight. And that's just what I'm going to do." Tiana clenched a fist. Ariana blinked, wondering just what had occurred between the two, but figured she'd find out later.

       Trowa awoke, immediately noticing the absence of Tiffany's presence beside him. Sitting up, he spotted her in the kitchenette of his campus apartment, clad only the white t-shirt he'd lent her. She had spent the night there after Oren's attempted abduction.
    "... You snore."
    She turned indignantly and looked at him.
    "YOU stole all the covers. I woke up freezing!" Tiffany turned her back to him once more. "Do you want some coffee?"
    "Sure." Trowa watched her pour a second cup. She sat down next to him on the edge of the bed and handed him the mug.
    "So..." She crossed her legs and watched him. It had been a long, complicated night... with very satisfying results. (Authors: Depending on who you might ask, anyway.) A learning experience, among other things, and Tiffany felt they better understood each other.
    "How do you feel?" Trowa inquired. Tiffany smiled at him.
    "Me? I feel fine. A bit tired... And I know I'm going to be late to work." She glanced at the clock. "How about you?"
    "... Fine." Trowa cleared his throat and glanced away.
    "You're blushing." Tiffany poked his side and chuckled. "Don't be embarrassed!"
    "Shouldn't you be going to work?"
    "A gentleman at LEAST walks a lady to the door when he says good bye in the morning." She made a face and finished her coffee. "Do you have anything with a high collar I could borrow?"
    "High collar?" Trowa blinked for a moment. Tiffany brushed her hair back and tapped at the bruise on her neck.
    "If the others see this, I'm never going have a moments peace EVER again. And if I don't have a moments peace, neither will you. They will hunt you down and will find you." Tiffany grinned. Trowa paled at the implications. She HAD said last night how dangerous the PMS members were when they were together. Come to think of it, they HAD managed to sweep Duo off in drag that one time.
    "All right."

       "TIFFANY-SAN! You're okaaaay, no da!" Jeanie leapt out. The other lunatics rushed over.
    "We kicked a guy's ass last night! And Momo did The Worst Thing Imaginable!"
    "Oh... dear... I was right when I told that other guy his associate was probably a bloody pulp." Tiffany headed toward her office, carefully avoiding the place where Oren had fallen.
    "Hm." Shannon watched her. "Isn't that the overalls she had on yesterday?"
    "You know, I think you're right." Jenna crossed her arms.
    "HEY! Since when did YOU own any turtlenecks!?" Stephanie shouted suddenly. Leave it to the least likely person to pay attention to fashion to notice these things. Tiffany cringed and froze.
    "Tiiiiiiffaaaanyyy-san." Momoko walked around in front of the Great Albino Leader. "Where did you go last niiight?"
    "Tiffany-san...." Momoko loomed over her. "Where were you?"
    Kiandra began to walk circles around her. "Hm... I smell.... I smell... FLUFF."
    "Um..." The others looked over at Kiandra with wide eyes. Like sharks they all began to circle. Tiffany sweatdropped.
    "Oh, I bet I know where she was!" Jenna grinned. "After all, where else would she have gotten an oversized turtleneck?"
    "She went shopping, no da?" Jeanie tilted her head.
    "NO!" Jenna yelled at Jeanie.
    "She was with Troooooooooooowa!" Stephanie crowed.
    "Can I get a word in here?" Tiffany shook her head at her co-workers.
    "Only if it's a confession, Tiffany!" Shannon snatched Tiffany's purse to examine it for any incriminating evidence. She let out a gasp and held a small package from the base pharmacy.
    "Tiffany Geslacht!" Shannon shrieked in a mother-like tone. "What are THESE doing in your purse, young lady!?"
    "Hey, I'm older than you are." Tiffany sweatdropped. The others clamored around the incriminating evidence.
    "I'm not the one with emergency birth control pills in my purse!" Shannon continued her motherly tirade.
    "Morning after pills!?!" Stephanie stared.
    Kiandra studied the PMS founder for a long moment, before declaring sagely, "My sexy sense is tingling."
    "It just sort of happened, all right!?" Tiffany reclaimed her purse and its contents. The women surrounding her froze.
    "A... a confession?" Jenna blinked. Momoko latched onto her and yanked down the collar of her shirt.
    "A hickey!!" The pink haired woman declared, the others clustering around to see it. Jeanie remained silent for several moments, then finally, the inevitable came to pass.
    Tiffany actually laughed at their antics before heading into her office.

       "I think it's a good idea."
    Shino almost fell over at the older woman's words. He'd sought out Dorothy and brought the matters with Tiana to her attention..
    Dorothy tossed her long blonde hair over her shoulder. "I said I think it's a good idea. There's a lot to be learned from combat, from war. Believe me, I know."
    "It's insane! It's dangerous!" Yoshino protested. "You have to talk to her for me... She won't listen to what I say about it!" He hung his head, bangs shrouding his eyes.
    "Of course it's dangerous." Dorothy shook her head. "But that's something I'm sure she already knows. This will be good for her, it will give her a greater understanding of war. Something Relena never did quite have a chance to grasp."
    "At what price though!? None of it will matter if she dies! She doesn't just want to learn how to pilot a suit, she wants to go into battle! She'll listen to you, if you talk to her."
    "Can't you tell, Yoshino?" She raised an eyebrow. "This is obviously important to her."
    "But.... but she's important to me." The young pilot clenched a fist.
    "You have to let her." Dorothy replied. "There's a lot she needs to learn, and this is the only path for her. Maybe you can't see it, but I can. She'll have a powerful affect on this world one day. Tiana doesn't know it yet, but she's being coming a vital component of our future."
    "... You sound like you're just using her too, like everyone else was." Shino's tone was like ice as he turned and left the room.

       An emergency gathering of delegates from each LaGrange point had come to order, and the five members present were now addressing EDO commander Josie Selvaggio over video communications.
    "You are compromising our neutrality!"
    "What are those fleets doing around all our colonies?"
    "We want no part of this war!"
    "You don't have a choice. Venusian terrorists are heading this way, presumably one of YOUR colonies is the target. If you'd rather we not defend you..."
    "What proof of this threat do you have?" A more rational member, delegate Granger of the L5 point inquired.
    "Venusian military forces attempting to intercept them sent a transmission, warning us of the up coming attack. It is assumed that they're trying to retaliate for the destruction of one of their colonies on New Years."
    "And we're supposed to believe that!?" The only woman present exclaimed. She was the L4 delegate sent to the meeting. Ms. Maigny. "How do we know it isn't some trick? Forgery? A convenient excuse for you to move fleets into our space?"
    "And if no threat approaches, our troops will return to their station on the moon."
    "Which you seized from us."
    "All former Preventer bases have become EDO bases. The moon is a vital defense point, since you all refuse to partake in any sort of conflict. We have to be able to get troops into outer space, and quickly. The moon is a strategic point for this." Selvaggio explained carefully.
    "We want your forces to leave at ONCE." Caleb Ackerman from L1 demanded. "You're endangering our safety by being in our space! Incoming Venusian or Martian forces could consider us a threat, and launch an assault against us."
    "Which we'd protect you from if you'd just allow us-"
    "To station troops on our colonies? No. We don't need or want your protection, Commander." Granger snapped.
    "There isn't any guarantee enemy forces will acknowledge your neutrality, you know." The EDO commander countered.
    "There isn't any guarantee they won't, either."
    "The forces are staying in place. Unless you plan to compromise your neutrality with EARTH and shoot them down." Selvaggio growled and cut the transmission. "Colonies are such fragile environments."

       "In two hours, we'll be arriving at our destination, sir." The pilot of the Erinyes cruiser announced.
    "We'll need to keep alert for any EDO scum. Get the mobile suits ready to launch at a moments notice. We're in enemy territory now, boys." Donovan leaned against a console. "What is the status of the Venusian pursuit force?"
    "They've stopped, but we intercepted a transmission to Earth, and they've notified them of our approach."
    "Hah, they're consorting with the enemy, now, are they?" The dark eyed man sneered in disgust. "It doesn't matter, they won't have time to stop us, once they realize our true agenda."
    "EDO forces detected at La Grange points L4 and L5. It would appear they have fleets stationed at each." The soldier monitoring scanners interrupted.
    "See? They're expecting us to go for a colony... But no. No. That's too kind to them. Besides, the Earth colonies had nothing to do with it, those fools." Donovan laughed to himself. "Increase speed and angle 96 degrees starboard. Get the explosives ready."

       They waited for their prey, outside the campus apartment complex, silent, like 'ninj4', clad in black. They would catch him, he could not hide forever. They would catch him in their trap and and force him to talk.
    "Why am I always the distraction!? You did this to me on Venus!"
    "Because you play the part so well, no da!"
    "Get ready!" The 'ninj4' hid in the bushes and abandoned their lure.
    Trowa made the fatal mistake of exiting the building. Fatal. Mistake.
    "Trowa!" Shannon turned SD and flailed. "Trowa, Trowa!"
    The pilot raised an eyebrow at the panicking PMS member. "Did something happen?"
    Now she had his attention. And now the others leapt out with various heavy objects. Like vipers they struck!
    "-makes your turtlenecks look much better." Shannon finished as Trowa hit the ground with a large comical lump on the back of his head. "Ah, presentation. It's all about presentation."
    "Yeah, enough about your presentation, and help us carry him!" Stephanie growled while sheathing her mighty wrench.
    "Presentation is half the points!" Shannon stuck her tongue out.
    "There won't be any points if we can't confirm things before he wakes up!" Momoko crossed her arms. "Now let's move out!"
    "RYOUKAI!" They cheered

       "Hickeys!! TWO HICKEYS!" Kiandra declared, her analysis complete. "And I smell fluff here too."
    "Do you now?" Keetia inquired, having allowed the 'ninj4' into the back store room. "Oh, dear, I think he's coming to."
    "We can fix that!" Shannon wielded a frying pan menacingly.
    He managed to note the booze cluttering the room before the frying pan hit him in the face.
    "I think you broke his nose, no da..." Jeanie sweatdropped.
    "Tiffany is gonna be pissed at us, I think..." Jenna sweatdropped too.
    "He doesn't know it's us!" Momoko grinned."We are cleverly disguised ninj4!"
    "... Dude, it's not like he doesn't know who I am." Shannon looked over at Momoko.
    "It was nice knowing you, Imouto. Your sacrifice will not be in vain!" The loving sister smiled. Shannon twitched. Keetia walked circles around Trowa.
    "Hm... So, when he wakes up, shall I extract a confession from him for you?"
    "Um... Keetia..." Yancha sweatdropped. "Is this really... ah, necessary?"
    "Nope!" Keetia smiled. "But it's fun!"
    "OF COURSE IT IS!" Jenna interrupted. "What if he got those from another WOMAN!?"
    "Oh, like that would happen." Yancha rolled his eyes and left the room.
    "Well, I think though, that we pretty much have all the proof we need." Kiandra poked at the bruises. "I mean, didn't Quatre call him to let Tiffany know we were okay? She must have been there. With him. All night."
    "The shirt, the hickeys... It has to be." Momoko mused. "I think our work here is done."
    "Da... I think he's waking up again, no da!"
    "Ninj4 vanish!" The PMS members fled the room, and vanished into the.... daylight.
    "Hi!" Keetia waved at Trowa, who was quite aware of the pain in his head and nose.
    "What...? What happened?" Trowa sat up, taking in his surroundings. There was Keetia, and there was bottles lining the walls. The last thing he remembered was seeing Shannon. Something about Tiffany.
    "Ah, well, I suppose I'd have to say you were abducted by ninjas and Yancha and I bravely fought them off!"
    "Like I'm really going to believe that." Trowa scowled.
    "Well, it's the truth." Keetia winked.
    "In a way." Yancha stuck his head back in. "And actually they were 'ninj4.' Not 'ninja'."
    Both Trowa and Keetia looked at Yancha like he was on crack.

       "You really do owe Siduri an apology." Sally sat down outside next to Wufei, who nodded.
    "I know... I was just angry. I'm sure it didn't help him any." The Chinese pilot sighed.
    "He was in pretty bad shape last night." She handed him a cup of tea. "Were you actually mad at him, or something else?"
    "You know me quite well." Wufei scoffed, mostly to himself. "But before I answer you, Sally, I have my own question for you."
    "Yes?" Sally looked at her husband, fairly sure what was coming.
    "Why did you support the idea of Meiran fighting?" Wufei stared down at his tea. "... It is not the life I had envisioned for her when she was a child."
    "I'm surprised it took so long for you to ask that." She smiled a little. "She's a lot like you, Wufei, though not all in good ways... But she can make a difference, just like you. Of course it goes against all the motherly instinct in the world, but fighting is the only way it seems, until recently, that you two have been able to communicate. And hey, at least we can say our daughter didn't run away from home to pilot."
    "Heh." Wufei chuckled. "Sidra has her aunt's recklessness and all her mother's audacity."
    "Indeed." Sally sighed. "But back to the matters at hand. Wufei, do you really think you'd have come to fight? If Meiran hadn't gone?"
    "....." The Gundam pilot stared down at his cup again. "It is a matter of circumstance... but... I would have preferred to not... Nataku was supposed to rest in peace finally. Since she went though, I had to go, to protect her. What kind of father lets his child go off to war without following?"
    "You mean like Heero?"
    "Yes." Wufei nodded, light contempt in his voice. "Besides... I'm afraid Meiran will get killed. I have to be here now. She's always doing dangerous things. Stupid dangerous things."
    "Like climbing out of a mobile suit to challenge an enemy general to a sword fight isn't stupid or dangerous?" Sally teased Wufei slightly, aware the issue of Treize was, to this day, still a touchy subject for the pilot.
    "That was a matter of honor! And I'm not the point here." He sighed. "Anyway though... you're right. I don't think I'd have returned to piloting if you and Meiran hadn't decided on her going."
    "Hey, you accepted her duel to decide it for sure. Don't pin it all on me!" Sally laughed. "If you hadn't gone, it would have deprived the Mars forces of an extraordinary pilot."
    "Hmph, flattery."
    "So what were you really mad at?" Sally returned to her earlier question.
    "As if you of all people wouldn't know what I was feeling." Wufei scoffed again. "Myself. I wasn't there to protect her, so blamed Siduri instead. I'll look for him later to apologize."

       "We've located the Venusian vessel!" A sensors technician exclaimed.
    "Well, were is it? Send the nearest ships to engage it!" Selvaggio snarled.
    "Uh... sir... there's a problem."
    Selvaggio whirled to view the screen, leveling the techie with a Not Happy expression. "WHAT problem, lieutenant?"
    "Course calculations indicate that the ship's trajectory is not aimed at any of the colonies."
    Selvaggio swore under his breath, mind racing. Is this a Venusian trap to lure our forces away while they attack somewhere else?
    "Current estimates place it rendezvousing with MO-II in thirty minutes!"
    "MO-II?!" Selvaggio gaped at the monitors. "What are they doing going th-" The EDO commander froze mid-sentence. They wouldn't... would they?
    "Get the fastest, nearest ships to MO-II as soon as possible!" Selvaggio barked. "The only thing they could be going to MO-II for with one ship and fifty men is to storm it and destabilize its orbit!"
    The command room fell deathly silent as the implications sank in. "Like... Operation Meteor?"
    "God forbid, but it looks that way."

       "Engines to maximum! This is it, boys, our moment of glory!" Donovan yelled, pulling on his flight suit and checking his sidearm. "Aim to land this puppy in the aft docking bay of the asteroid!"
    "All mobile suits are standing by for launch!"
    Donovan allowed himself a slow smile. "Launch the mobile suits then! Keep them close until we're almost to the asteroid. They'll have to take out any point defenses or enemy mobile suits that show up. This ship MUST make it into that docking bay if we're to succeed!"

        "Bossman, more news! Our EDO informant says that the Venusian ship is headed for MO-II, not the colonies!"
    Noah raised one eyebrow. "MO-II? What about the EDO forces? Where the hells are they?"
    The Peacemaker officer fidgeted slightly. "Apparently they're sending their nearest guys after it, but the info doesn't look good for them catching the ship before it reaches MO-II."
    The leader of the rogue faction blasphemed most thoroughly and in multiple languages, quickly bypassing Not Happy and going well into Pissed Off. "We are every kind of fucked imaginable if those bastards get to MO-II! Order all our guys underground yesterday! And try to get as many civvies to come with us as possible! I want the base sealed up tight as soon as possible!"
    "What are they gonna do with MO-II, Bossman?" The intimidated lackey asked.
    "With one ship and fifty guys, and out for revenge for the colony disaster?" Noah punched one fist into his other palm. "Most likely try and drop that bloody rock on our heads!"
    "Are you serious!?"
    "Do I look like I'm bloody serious!? Get to work, NOW! This is an emergency!" Noah barked, his voice carrying loudly through the underground base.
    "Yes, sir, Bossman!"

       "... Commander, incoming vessel-" The radar technician aboard MO-II  began when he was interrupted by the communications officer.
    "Incoming transmission from EDO headquarters!" She yelped. "It's a Venusian vessel inbound to this station!"
    "Venus?! Here?" Various cries of surprise went up in the control room.
    "They're not slowing down, sir!" The radar techie stared at his screens with a mounting sense of  dread. "It looks like they intend to ram us!"
    "We can't let them get away with it! Bring all point defense systems to bear! Shoot it down!" The station commander  shouted. "Launch what mobile suits we can, and evacuate all non-essential personnel!"
    "Enemy mobile suits detected!"
    The command room burst into a flurry of frantic activity as the crew scrambled to carry out orders.
    "How many?"
    "Eight counted, sir!"
    Outside, the sky lit up as the station's point defense cannons opened fire, a handful of Leos and Tauruses launching to join the fray. The inbound Venusian ship pressed on despite taking damage, its handful of mobile suits rushing forward to negate the barrage.
    "Transmission from the Eighth Fleet! They're inbound to back us up, but they're still too far out to help."
    "How long until they're in firing range?"
    "Twelve minutes!"
    The commander eyed the monitors showing the incoming ship. "And how long until that ship makes impact?"
    "Ten minutes, sir!"
    "..... We have to hold them off for twelve minutes! Status of the evacuation?"
    The communications techie glanced at a display. "Thirty percent complete. We should have all non-essential personnel evacuated in six more minutes."
    "Point defense arrays one and nine offline!"

       "The ship can't take much more damage!"
    "It doesn't HAVE to." Donovan hissed. "What matters is that we make impact at speed!"
    The ship's pilot swallowed uneasily. "Wh-what about us?"
    Donovan eyed the pilot, a mad gleam in his eye. "What about us?"
    "Aren't we going to... uh... y'know.... evacuate?"
    Donovan studied the pilot. "Are you getting cold feet? What about your baby brother who died in the New Years Massacre? Or your mother? Have you forgotten what they-" He gestured in the direction of the battle. "-did?!"
    "N-no sir, but... this is..." The pilot eyed the controls. "This isn't what they would have wanted!"
    With a tearful shout, the pilot pulled hard on the wheel, the ship starting to veer hard away from the asteroid.
    "You fool!" Donovan snarled.
    A single gunshot resounded on the bridge of the ship and the remaining crew fell deadly silent. Donovan shoved the corpse out of his way and took the controls, correcting the ship's trajectory. "Does anyone else want to change their mind about the mission?"

       "Five minutes to impact! Point defenses are all offline!"
    The commander started to fidget. "And our mobile suits?"
    "They're trying, but not faring well. It's a new Venusian model... the Leos and Tauruses just can't keep up!"
    "Damn!" The commander eyed the screens. "What's the status of the Eighth Fleet?"
    "Six minutes until they're in firing range. The Venusian ship's sudden veer bought us a little time, but not much!"
    "Commander, there's no way we can stop them or stall them long enough!"
    Head bowed, the commander of MO-II made a hard decision. "All crew, evacuate MO-II immediately. There should still be enough time for you all to get to the escape ships."
    Incredulous looks were exchanged among the crew, as they quietly and efficiently began to file out of the bridge. "Commander Phetara... aren't you coming?"
    He shook his head. "I've worked on this rock since the Eve Wars. I'm not leaving now."
    In moments, everyone but the radar officer had filed out.
    "Lieutenant Menolimi. You go too." Phetara eyed the woman who seemed resolute to stay behind.
    "I want to stay, sir." She replied in a tone that indicated she was not likely to change her mind. "My husband is out there in a mobile suit right now. He's not leaving, and neither will I."
    Commander Phetara reluctantly nodded his consent. "You realize if you stay you'll die?"
    "Yes, sir. I am aware."

    The damaged Erinyes began to fire its remaining weapons at MO-II and the remaining mobile suits harassing it with no regard for its own suits. Of the eight Venusian mobile suits, three remained. Of the EDO forces that had been stationed on the asteroid, five were left.
    "Two minutes to impact!"
    Donovan sneered. "Are all the explosives ready?"
    The crew exchanged looks. "Y-yes."
    "And those bastards behind us?" Donovan shot a maddened look at his radar technician.
    "Three minutes out."
    Donovan laughed then, a long, loud, depraved cackle. "Three minutes will be too late for them!"

        Selvaggio watched the situation with bated breath on his monitor, safely entrenched in the deep underground bunker below the EDO headquarters at New Edwards. "They're not going to make it-!"
    "Who would have thought they'd go this far?" A lackey commented in a tiny voice.
    "Impact in five-!"
    Selvaggio snarled a wordless curse as he watched the scene unfold. Damn you Nimeesha Pembroke.

        Lieutenant Menolimi read off the impact countdown with a surprising degree of calm. "Four.... three..."
    Commander Phetara sat down and braced for the inevitable impact. So this is it, then.

        "ONE!" Donovan cried triumphantly, the Erinyes plowing into the docking bay of the asteroid, tattered and flaming, one wing sheering off on the edge of the entrance. The ship crumpled against the far end of the hollow bay, a nearly unrecognizable mass of metal.
    The impact shook the entire asteroid, and then for just a moment, there was silence.

        "MO-II's course doesn't look like it was changed into a drop from the impact, Commander Selvaggio!"
    The EDO Commander heaved a sigh of relief and wiped some sweat from his face. "They failed then? The ship's mass wasn't enough to alter its course into a drop?"
    "It doesn't appear to be sir-" The technician slumped with relief, secure in the knowledge that disaster had been averted, if only by luck.
    Then something exploded, and the disaster loomed once more.

       The explosives that had been loaded on board the ship detonated with massive force. While far from enough to damage the asteroid severely, they finished off the ship. The docking bay acted to channel most of the explosion's force, a brilliant blast of white-hot debris and gas visible shooting out of the gaping hole- a makeshift rocket thruster. The entire asteroid shuddered violently as the force of the blast altered its trajectory.
    "Was that it-?" Lieutenant Menolimi dared to ask after the commotion settled down.
    "... MO-II is still intact?" Commander Phetara looked around the now-cluttered control room.
    "... For now, sir." Menolimi said quietly, staring at her displays. "Communications are offline, main power is offline, course correction engines were destroyed in the fighting.... Sir, we're falling."
    The commander stared at the displays as well. "How much longer will the backup power sustain the life support systems?"
    "Who can say? We can't call for help, sir, or change course. We'll be entering Earth's gravity well in forty-five minutes. After that, there's no chance of altering our course." Menolimi read off the status in the odd sort of tone of someone who knows they are dead, who just hasn't chosen to lie down yet.
    "Well..." Phetara began. "You can still evacuate, Lieutenant."
    "No, sir, I can't." Menolimi pointed to her display. "All the escape ships are either already launched, or destroyed by the blasts. And all our mobile suits have been destroyed as well. I'd like to see my husband again."
    "I see." Phetara frowned. "This was not how I envisioned ever going back to Earth."

       The underground bunker was dead silent momentarily, save for the electronic hum of computers. Then several technicians began swearing colorfully.
    "Commander Selvaggio, explosions detected on MO-II!"
    "What?!" Selvaggio snapped, jumping out of his chair. "Status report!"
    ".... Forty-five minutes until MO-II enters Earth's gravity well."
    "Order the Eighth Fleet to destroy it! If  we don't destroy it or change its course in forty five minutes, it will be too late!" Selvaggion shouted.
    "Yes sir!"
    "What's the estimated impact zone?"
    "... Brussels, sir."
    "Then order an evacuation! We can't get everyone out of the impact zone, but we have to try!" Selvaggio could feel a fresh layer of sweat trickling down his spine and face. "Get everyone within a hundred miles of Brussels out of there! How long until the impact if we can't stop it?"
    "Little over five hours, sir."

       "We have new orders! Stop MO-II at any cost!"
    The ships of the Eighth Fleet, just moments too late to stop the Venusian ship turned every weapon they had on the asteroid, lighting the sky in a brilliant barrage of particle cannons and explosive firepower. Bits and pieces of the asteroid broke away at each shot, but far too little to make a difference. MO-II had been heavily reinforced during the Eve Wars, and the fleet was intended for dealing with mobile suit forces, not asteroid fortresses.

       "They're firing at us, Commander." Menolimi listened to the resounding din of explosions and impacts. "Probably the entire fleet."
    "They need to break it up into small enough pieces. The consequences will be immeasurable if they fail." Phetara sat, his head bowed. "I wish them all the luck in the world."
    "Sir..." Menolimi began, deciding to do the only thing she could do now while she waited for the inevitable. "Do you think this is Venus' revenge for the colony disaster?"
    "Possibly." Phetara glanced at the woman. "Probably. But I doubt Venus itself sanctioned this. This is the work of fanatics. A suicide mission. A group of men so desperate to retaliate in some way for their losses."
    "... It won't change what happened New Years." Menolimi looked down. "Revenge doesn't make the dead return. It just makes more victims."
    "Yes... Hopefully no one will go to such lengths to avenge us. It dishonors those of us who died." Phetara sighed.
    "Relena Yuy must be weeping in Heaven, watching this. We shouldn't have had this war..."
    "She is only part of the cause... It was inevitable. People go to war because they believe it will make things better. The people of Venus have been poorly treated and feel that their only recourse is violence. The people of Earth are hurting as well, and not knowing how to deal with it, they've turned to war."
    "What do you think of Mars, sir?" Menolimi inquired. "Aren't they part of the cause too? Building Gundams and all..."
    "It was foolish of the Earth to alienate Mars for that... We could have used their military support. But I don't think they ever intended to, or ever will, attack Earth. They would have done it awhile ago."
    "Now that I think about it, it seems foolish to have expected three planets, so far away, to stay unified as one nation. The distance is just too great, and the problems each planet faces too diverse." Menolimi sighed.
    "Yes, it's a shame we've had this insight now, here at the end of us."
    "Indeed, sir."
    The wall exploded.

       "Twenty minutes to the no return point!"
    "What's the status?"
    "Ma'am, we're just not doing enough damage. Our weapons aren't enough!"
    "Damnit!" The commander of the Eighth Fleet made a hard choice. "We'll have to fight fire with fire!"
    The bridge crew looked at their commander uncomprehendingly. "What?"
    "Have all crew evacuate the Laurasia and send it at full speed into MO-II!"
    "A kamikaze attack?!"
    "You heard me!" The commander barked. "Target all guns onto the ship's fuel tanks. If that Venus ship could alter MO-II's course with a ramming and explosion attack, then we can, too! What else CAN we do? We have twenty minutes and our weapons aren't working! We have to do SOMETHING!"
    "Yes ma'am!"

       "Holy crap, Bossman, lookit this!"
    Noah stared at the newscast, the brash man stunned uncharacteristically silent as the report unfolded on screen.
    "Since the EDO issued an evacuation order twenty minutes ago, the area around Brussels has erupted into mass panic. Reports state that a Venusian ship crashed into the resource satellite MO-II and then exploded, sending it on a crash course with the Earth. Officials warn everyone to remain calm and evacuate in an orderly manner. EDO forces are trying to divert MO-II as we speak, but we have no information available at this time as to their efforts. I repeat, everyone within one hundred miles of Brussels is to evacuate immediately, in an orderly man-"
    "Fuck that!" Noah hissed, pounding the power switch and cutting the report off. "Those bastards went and did it! That pansy EDO fleet upstairs isn't going to be able to stop a motherlovin' asteroid like that!"
    "Are we going to be alright here, Bossman?"
    "How the hell should I know?!" Noah shouted, in a most thorough fury. "If they stop that rock, great. But there's no way in hell they're gonna. At most, they might break it up. Meaning it'll hit more places and do MORE damage than if they let the effing thing hit god-damned Brussels intact!"
    One of the other Peacemakers popped open a can of beer and handed it to the rough man. "Bossman, take a drink. We can't do a damn thing from here but sit it out and hope for the best. Goin' all ballistic isn't going to change a thing."
    Noah took the offered booze and chugged half of it down, slumping slightly. "I know. Damnit, I know that!"
    "Hey, Bossman, what if they break it into small enough bits that it burns up in the atmosphere? Like Libra did back in the day?" One of the others suggested.
    "They don't have the goddamn Wing Zero and its oversized penile compensation to blow it up this time." Noah replied in a dark tone. "There ain't no way they can pull it off in twenty minutes."
    "Well, even after MO-II has passed the no return point, the smaller ships and suits can keep shooting it...."
    "But even then, they'll only be able to keep it up for... hell, an hour, maybe two, tops. We're so massively screwed right now I can't even describe it."
    "Uh, okay." The Peacemakers exchanged glances. "Hey, Bossman, on a scale of one to ten, ten being worst, how boned are we?"
    "Well... shit." The guys laughed weakly at the bad joke. "Guess it's time for more beer. LOTS more beer."

        The Laurasia, one of the EDO's new Trinity class carriers was stripped and ready for her first and final mission of great import. The crew had been ferried to the other ships in the Eighth Fleet, and everything that could be rigged to explode violently was.

    "Five minutes to the no return point!"
    "The Laurasia is ready to commence ramming attack!"
    The commander of the fleet eyed the displays. "Do it! All ships, target the Laurasia and prepare to fire on my mark!"
    The crewless Trinity lurched forward, gaining speed as it made its way toward the crippled asteroid. The rest of the Eighth Fleet wheeled as many guns as they could onto the ship, everyone on board knowing this was their last and best chance. The ship was too large to fit into the docking bay that had been only meant for small mobile suit carriers and shuttles, and it impacted against the edges of the ruined bay.
    "One minute to the no return point!"
    The sky lit up again as several dozen beam cannons lanced the kamikaze ship, making it explode in a brilliant fireball. Clouds of debris shot out along hidden faults in the rock, minuscule cracks that had already formed in the Erinyes explosion. In seemingly slow motion, the single giant rock began to slide apart, sections of stone and metal pulling away from each other.
    The asteroid passed quietly beyond the no return point, now five large sections drifting gradually apart instead of a single asteroid.
    "Ma'am.... I don't think it worked..."
    The Eighth Fleet commander looked on, her face pale. "Can we get the trajectory of those pieces?"
    "Current calculations estimate all five will reach the ground intact with enough force to do considerable damage over a much more widespread area than before. It doesn't look like Brussels will be hit."
    "And how much farther can the fleet pursue to try and destroy those pieces?"
    "Most of our ships can pursue for another fifty minutes before being unable to pull out of Earth's gravity well. It's unlikely that we'll be able to try another ramming attack on the remaining pieces and our weapons aren't likely to do enough damage."
    "Chase it down! We have to try!" The commander barked, gesturing the fleet to go forward. "Contact EDO headquarters! If we can't catch it Upstairs, maybe they can use ballistic missiles on it from the surface!"

       "One of those pieces is heading for our area!"
    The Lake Victoria base had long since been reconstructed, but now looked to be on the eve of a destruction far worse than anything the Gundams could have wrought.
    "New Edwards in California reports launching missiles to intercept!"
    "Issue evacuation orders! How long until impact?"
    "One hour!"
    The base erupted into activity as the piece of MO-II loomed visible in the sky overhead, a shooting star visible in daylight, a portent of disaster to come.

       "Now whatcha think that bright thing is?" A fisherman on board a trawler in the north Atlantic squinted and peered up at the misshapen white light competing with the sun in the sky.
    "Radio says it's MO-II crashin'."
    "That big asteroid, right?"
    "Where y'reckon it'll hit?"
    The two fishermen looked up again. "Looks like it's comin' down right on top of us."
    "We should probably move the boat then."
    "Gee, you think?"
    The two men hurried to return to shore.

       "Momma, what's that? It's so pretty!" A little girl in the town of Minsk in what was formerly Russia tugged at her mother's skirt and pointed excitedly at the sky.
    The woman looked down at her daughter and then upward at the sky, wondering at the bright white thing looming in the sky, nearly as bright as the sun, though not where the sun should be. "What is that?"
    A man ran by in the heights of panic. "Run! Run away while you can! It's falling! MO-II is falling! They say it's going to hit near here! Run!"
    Realization dawned and the woman scooped her confused daughter into her arms and ran after the man. Within a half hour they had reached a rise two miles outside the town, the asteroid chunk rapidly changing from looming overhead to looming over the town like an aircraft that had no business being in the air.
    Almost silently, the chunk made impact, a moment of silence before the shockwave spread out from the forming crater. The little girl cried out and clung to her mother desperately, the woman holding on to the child for dear life as they were both lifted and thrown dozens of feet by a wall of air expanding outward from the impact.
    Seconds later,  the dazed pair looked up from where they had landed, badly injured though alive, only to see the sun blocked out by a thick rain of superheated debris falling inexorably toward them
    The little girl cried out, but none heard her.

Continued in Gundam Wing: A New Era, Episode 32:
"Even the Dead Cry"