The Space Noah-Class Battleship known as the Hagane flew through the early morning skies peacefully and gently as it travelled across the serene sky-scape, truly it was a picturesque moment, an almost perfect morning.
For everyone other then one Lune Zoldark that is.
Lune groaned as she opened her eyes reluctantly and sat up in bed, she felt tired and sore and confused all at once. The confusion mostly came about because she wasn't sure where she was, well no more like she wasn't sure why she was currently in her old cabin aboard the Hagane, when last thing she remembered was getting a package from her father.
A small, sharp pain suddenly appeared in Lune's head, as brief flashes of some kind of storm raging about her apartment, eked out from her aching head.
Lune clutched her scalp and let out a small hiss indicating the pain she was feeling, though for some reason, her head felt....Different. Lune turned her head towards the mirror placed on the desk next to her bed, her head looked normal, but it still felt odd, like it was a size smaller then it was yesterday.
Lune was brought out of her headache by the sound of something clattering to the floor. Leaning over the side of the bed to see what it was, Lune beheld an old looking, dark green mask laying on the cabin floor beside her bed.
Another spike of pain drove itself into Lune's brain as another image flashed in her mind, this time of Valsione charging into battle against some DC remnants....And Shu.
Lune panted as the pain subsided, this was getting weird “Must have been one hell of a dream I had” she thought, trying to make sense of everything, though that didn't explain how she'd got from her current apartment to the Hagane.
“Maybe I dreamt leaving the ship all those months ago?” she questioned, though that seemed extremely improbable to her.
Still though things didn't add up in her mind, which became preoccupied with pain once more as another image flashed into her head, this one making even less sense then the last ones, she saw a strangely green headed Valsione chasing after the R-1 in it's R-Wing form, as it frantically flew through the air away from her.
“Oh no....I must have been brainwashed! I mean it happens so often, law of probability meant it was bound to happen to me” Lune reasoned, after all there was no other possible explanation for Valsione to be chasing the R-1 around, none whatsoever.
Lune quickly moved into the en suite bathroom and took a quick shower, the first thing she had to do once she was dressed was apologise to everyone, she felt ashamed being manipulated by what was undoubtedly a malevolent threat to mankind. As Lune bathed and dressed herself though, she never noticed the mask on the floor gleaming a bright green colour momentarily.
Lune emerged from the bathroom, dressed in her typical attire of a white tank top and a pair of ripped jeans that were missing the left leg, leaving her bare skin exposed from her left thigh to her foot, and to top it all off, her classic blue headband kept her blonde bangs out of her blue eyes.
And so with that she walked out of the automated door, leaving the mask behind, still unaware of it's eerie glow.
As Lune walked down the corridors of the ship, she couldn't help but notice all the awkward stares focused upon her, some of the crew watched her with intrigue, others with fear,but they all avoided her like the plague.
“...Man...I must have done something really horrible while brainwashed” Lune thought, guilt and shame overwhelming her.
It was as she approached a corner in the hallway, that she saw Ryusei Date, pilot of the R-1 round the corner.
He froze mid step as he saw her, standing still as a statue, before turning around and running in the opposite direction, as fast as humanly possible.
“No wait!” Lune called out, wanting to apologise, clearly whatever had happened, she'd almost killed Ryusei. Just then though Lune felt another headache coming on, as images of R-1 landing in the Hagane's hangar flashed through her mind.
She saw Valsione land next to the R-1 as a figure leapt out with strength, speed and agility far beyond ordinary human levels, and bounded off after the terrified pilot, all the while the now pilot-less Valsione inched itself closer to the R-1 somehow.
Lune shook her head, clearing out the images, okay she seriously needed to apologise, things were obviously worse then she thought.
“Ah Lune, back to your old self at last?” a wisdom-filled gravelly voice said behind her.
Lune turned, and saw that Captain Daitetsu standing behind her “What happened?” she asked.
“You don't remember? It was rather amusing” He replied.
“Me being mind controlled was amusing!?” Lune cried.
“Mind controlled?” Daitetsu said quizzically “You weren't mind controlled as far as we know”.
“Wait....Then what happened!? And why do I keep remembering weird things?”.
“I think you should come to my office...There's a couple things we need to discuss” Daitetsu said as he walked off, Lune following suit.
A few minutes later.
“Okay, so what you're saying is that somehow, an old Mask turned me into some super powered green face fre-Person” Lune said, stopping herself from saying the F-word, for some reason it felt wrong to say it, but she wasn't sure why. “And that while wearing this Mask, I hit on Masaki, got into a fight with Shu and trashed my apartment? Because I can believe that...The part I'm struggling with is the whole 'Chasing Ryusei all across the ship' part” Lune finished.
“We have video footage from the security camera's if you don't believe me” Daitetsu said as he typed on his computer terminals keypad and twisted the monitor around for Lune to see.
There was static on the screen, before an image of an empty hallway appeared in the statics place.
Suddenly cries of terror filled the once silent corridor as Ryusei ran down it, as fast as he could go, all the while a distinctly green faced Lune was hot on his trails “You're such a tease, you shouldn't say such charming things and then play hard to get!” the other Lune called out as the image shifted to a different hallway.
“I didn't mean it like that!” Ryusei cried out, still maintaining his lead, however the green faced Lune didn't seem to listen to him, and continued her pursuit, laughing all the way.
“...” Lune 'said' staring at the video blankly.
“There's a lot more if you're interested” Daitetsu told her.
“No! Please I've seen enough...Just tell me how it all ends” Lune said.
“Well...You cornered Ryusei in the cafeteria, pinned him to the wall and-”
“What!?” Lune interrupted.
“And then several of the crew members managed to restrain you and drag you away from him, once he was gone you calmed down and explained what had happened, before taking off again to continue the chase, eventually you just went to your cabin and fell asleep, or at least that's what we assume happened.” Daitetsu finished.
Lune's face flushed red with shame as she placed her head in her palms “I can't believe that happened, stupid dad and his stupid Mask” Lune mumbled.
“I have to confess though, explaining what happened wasn't the only reason I wanted to speak with you” Daitetsu said “It seems the DC have a new leader, a real psychopath by the name of Dr. Kain, unfortunately though, the Federation refuses to make a move against him, right now they're still dealing with the aftermath of the battle with the Aerogators, and they're unsure of Dr. Kain's strength, the man is after all a genius weapons designer.”
“Okay...I don't see why you're telling me though.” Lune said uncertainly.
“Well...As you know we can't make a tactical strike without approval from the higher ups, you on the other hand are a free agent, after all you're not a soldier, and official records list you as retired from temporary duty”.
“Wait! You want me to storm a DC fortress all by myself? That's crazy, I'll never be able to do it!” Lune said.
“Quite, It would take seemingly limitless power and borderline insanity to even consider such a task” Daitetsu smirked.
“...You're not serious are you?” Lune said.
“I have no idea what you're implying, I am merely telling you some information you might find interesting, after all the DC have always been a personal problem for you, on a completely unrelated subject though, I would like to point out while there is nothing forcing you to wear the Mask again, I can at least say you won't be penalised for it.”
Lune still looked uncertain as Daitetsu finished “Perhaps you should go and have a rest, you must still be tired from yesterday”.
“Yeah...I guess I am” Lune said as she stood up and headed for the door.
“Do think about what I've said though” Daitetsu called.
“Oh don't worry...I will” Lune replied as she went through the door and returned to her cabin.
A few minutes later, the door to Lune's cabin opened, and in walked the super robot pilot, who sighed loudly and collapsed on the bed, this day had gone from bad to worse, she'd wished she'd never found out what had happened....Actually she wished she'd just never worn the Mask...And then there was what Daitetsu said.
His words whirled around her mind like a tornado, yes she wanted to deal with the DC by herself, they were her fathers troops, they were her problem, but she couldn't possibly wear the Mask again, after all look what she'd done while wearing it, a voice in her head pointed out that it wasn't her, it was the Mask....But that voice was a little too hesitant in it's diagnosis for her liking.
Lune turned over, her back pressed against the mattress, as her eyes looked up at the cold metal ceiling, her legs dangling over the side of the bed lazily, when suddenly her right foot bumped against something on the floor.
Sitting up Lune looked down and saw the same Mask that was causing her all this internal conflict and shame, reaching down she grasped it and picked it up so she could get a closer look at it. As she stared at the wooden object in her hands, once more her conversation with Captain Daitetsu echoed throughout her head.
“...No I can't, who knows what would happen if I put it on...I might not even go attack the DC base...I should just find some volcano on an uninhabited island and throw this thing inside” she told herself. She'd made up her mind, she was going to destroy this thing, no matter what she would never wear it again.
Seconds later the door to Lune's cabin opened, and a small miniature tornado erupted out of it and came to a screeching halt in the corridor outside.
In place of the twister, was the familiar form of Lune, although with a bright green face with exaggerated facial features “It's good to be back” she said with a massive grin.
“Now then where was I? Oh yeah, paying Ryusei back for his sweet words” Lune said as she prepared to run off.
“Hold it!” a voice suddenly yelled out, causing Lune to stop.
Lune turned around, but nobody was there “Huh...I could have sworn that I-”
“That was me genius” the voice said irritably “I'm your conscience, or at least a representation of your conscience as a disembodied voice who tells you to do the morally right thing” it explained.
“Oh that's handy, so what's up?” Lune asked.
“You know very well what's up, you've got a job to do” her conscience said.
“I do? I thought I was unemployed” Lune replied to herself.
“Quit being smart with me missy, you know as well as I do what I'm talking about”.
“Well...I don't think he ever said I should do it” Lune reasoned.
“But it's the right thing to do!” the conscience insisted.
“Yeah but continuing where I left off with Ryusei will be the fun thing to do” Lune countered.
“Don't you know the old saying of 'business before pleasure'?”.
“Nope, I do however know the one about all work and no play making Lune a dull girl” Lune said, confident in her victory over herself.
The conscience was backed into a metaphorical corner “Umm...Umm...Blowing up some DC punks'll be fun though?” it said desperately.
“That's true, but I already did that yesterday, don't want to beat a dead horse or anything”.
“How about a compromise?” the conscience said.
“Hmm...” Lune said, putting her hand on her chin as she thought about it.
“Think of how much better your date will be once you've blown a couple Lions to kingdom come”.
Lune suddenly smirked “Okay you've convinced me, let's wreck some Divine Crusaders!” Lune said pumping the air.
“Glad you saw things my way, now let's go to the hangar-”.
“Not so fast, first things first” Lune said as she zipped away in the blink of an eye before her conscience could argue.
Ryusei Date was having a strange week to say the least, and this was coming from a guy who routinely had to deal with such things as a man from an underground city with two talking cats for friends, gender bent clones of old commanding officers and of course battleships with drills mounted on the bow.
So for him to find something particularly strange, meant it was very strange indeed.
It all started yesterday, when he was taking out his beloved R-1 on a routine test flight, then when he'd got jumped by some DC remnants and called for assistance, which had arrived in the form of a super charged Valsione.
That adorable machine was jam-packed with new weapons and abilities, it made Ryusei starry eyed just remembering the battle yesterday.
Then things got weird after she drove off Shu and his Granzon, he'd calmly and eloquently explained his views on the upgraded Valsione, and then Lune went after him.
Maybe he had been wrong to run away earlier, she seemed back to normal...But still had she caught him yesterday, he wasn't quite sure what she'd have done to him...
Ryusei shuddered as he tried to derail his train of thought, he decided that he would forget the events of the last twenty four hours. Surely the past could not repeat itself.
As soon as he thought that, as if the universe conspired against Ryusei, he suddenly found himself pulled into a hug by a pair of arms so strong, he was having trouble breathing as he was hugged against a very feminine chest.
“Hey there, miss me?” a scarily familiar voice said.
Ryusei gurgled his response, the lack of oxygen making actual speech impossible, this didn't seem to affect his green faced assailant.
“Aww you say the sweetest things...I think...Well okay I assume you said something that was both nice and intelligent” Lune said, still hugging him.
Finally though Ryusei passed out from the asphyxiation, falling limp in Lune's arms, she just now took notice of the SRX pilots predicament.
“Oh...Whoops” she said, finally easing up on her killer hug. Her eyes watched the unconscious pilot, a grin formed on her face, before an irritating inner voice piped up.
“Don't even think about it, we're not crossing that moral threshold” Lune's conscience chided.
“I wasn't going to do anything!” Lune insisted.
“Yeah sure, and I'm not a plot device to keep you focused on the job, now get to work and break things!” the conscience replied.
“Geez fine, never knew I could be such a nag...I'm taking him with me though” Lune said, zipping away with Ryusei in tow, before her moral compass could tell her otherwise.
An undetermined amount of time later, Ryusei groggily opened his eyes, he didn't remember going to bed...Actually for that matter he didn't remember much after thinking about forgetting the events of yesterday, but at least, judging by his surroundings, he was in a cockpit of some kind.
“Oh good, you're up” an upbeat voice said happily “And just in time, we're about to enter their airspace”.
Ryusei looked up, and was greeted with the sight of a young, attractive blond woman's back, clad in a pilot suit that left little to the imagination.
“Like the view?” Lune asked.
Ryusei looked around the cockpit and stared at the images picked up by the mechs camera's.
Before him was an island paradise, so picturesque and beautiful it made most works of art look like a dog's breakfast.
“Yeah...It looks amazing” Ryusei breathed, even someone obsessed with machines could see beauty in nature.
Although Lune seemed to have something else in mind, and punched the air in pride, subconsciously swaying her hips in the process.
Meanwhile, inside of the secret volcano base of Dr. Kain.
One of the DC's many grunts entered the main office of the good doctor “Um...Sir we have a problem” he said nervously, as a large black swivel chair started to move round.
The figure in the chair was dressed in some kind of light purple battle armour, with an angular purple and black helmet that obscured the wearers face from view.
“Yes?” Dr. Kain said with a loud echoing voice, slightly distorted by the helmet.
“Well, we're tracking a single unit, approaching our base at high speeds, what do you think we should do about it?”.
The grunts boss seemed to stare at him, but he couldn't be sure, after all that helmet didn't have pupils, finally though the doctor spoke.
“Send out some Lions, find out what it is, if it's hostile shoot it out of the sky” the grunt nodded and prepared to leave, however his leader spoke up once again “Oh, and just to be on the safe side, tell the engineers to prep the Nero”.
Back in the skies though, Valsione continued it's flight heading straight for the island.
“Oh look, we've got company” Lune said cheerily as Valsione's early warning systems kicked in, detecting the approaching squadron of Lions. “Aww” Lune said disappointedly “They're only small fries, oh well”
Valsione suddenly pulled out it's laser rifle and fired a single shot.
The five Lions flew in a V-Formation heading straight towards the unknown unit, suddenly though the pilots broke formation and scrambled, narrowly avoiding the large energy blast fired at them.
“Target is hostile, repeat target is hostile” the lead pilot said over his radio “Moving to engage” he said as the Lions boosted straight towards the Valsione.
“You missed” Ryusei observed.
“Oh did I?” Lune said teasingly, all the while the island suddenly shook as a secret installation exploded.
“...Okay I stand corrected” Ryusei said as the Lions moved into attack range.
The squadron opened fire with it's autocannons, letting loose with a shower of lead as the machine guns fired.
Valsione however just hovered in the air, letting the bullets hit it. The bright green face let out a loud yawn as it stretched it's mechanical arms into the air, giving the impression it was bored.
“Oh you guys done? Well how about I show you a real attack” Lune said as a maniacal grin spread across her face, which Valsione imitated.
Back at the island base, there was absolute panic, as fire crews tried to contain the damage caused by Valsione's previous attack.
“So this is the modified Valsione?” Dr. Kain said with a small chuckle “Interesting, I wonder who upgraded it, this seems well beyond those fools at Isurugi and Mao”.
“Sir, the Gualion squadron's preparing to launch, what are your orders?” a scientist asked the doctor.
“I'm ordering a full evacuation of the base, tell the Gualrions to escort the Killer Whales to rendezvous point Epsilon” Dr. Kain said sharply.
“But sir! It's just one unit, surely we can deal with it” the grunt insisted.
“Of course we can, but need I remind you that is Commander Bian's daughter, the one who works closely with the Federation, ergo she may have been told the bases location by the higher ups, and what good is a secret island base if everybody knows where it is?”
“I suppose so sir, but will we be able to escape? If the reports are anything to go by, the new Valsione defeated the Granzon in straight combat.”
Dr. Kain chuckled again “Oh don't worry, I'll handle the girl, you just start loading up the Killer Whales, I take it Nero is ready for take off?”
Back in the skies though, Valsione was effortlessly ducking and weaving between the Lions as they dived in to hit the super robot.
Suddenly Valsione pulled out a small metal tube and pressed a button, causing a laser to fire out of it, and form into the shape of a fly swatter.
Valsione laughed evilly as she swung the light-swatter down and destroyed one of the Lions “Man, won't these guys ever learn? You can't use mass-produced suits to destroy unique models” Lune said.
“Yeah, you'd have thought by now they'd have realised that one super prototype is statistically more likely to win a war, then mass produced cannon fodder” Ryusei observed.
It was at that moment, when Valsione was preparing to destroy another Lion, that something large and black came out of nowhere and knocked the green headed machine away.
Valsione spun in the air before managing to right itself “What the hell was that?” Lune wondered as she pointed Valsione's camera at the new arrival.
Hovering in the air was a large humanoid machine, mostly black in colour, but the chest was adorned with a large purple symbol that looked like a letter K. The mech had large shoulder pads, upon which a long royal purple cape was attached.
The mechs arms and legs were decorated with light gold trim, running down the black metal appendages. The head had what looked like a golden crown place onto the jet black metal scalp, topped off with a pair of glowing purple eyes that rested just above a grey mouthplate.
“Ah, Miss Zoldark, pleasure to make you aquaintance” a distorted voice said over the comm system.
“And just who the hell are you supposed to be?” Lune said with an unimpressed tone.
“I am Dr. Kain, the current leader of the Divine Crusaders, and this machine here is my baby, the Catastrophe Unit: Nero Tatsumaki!” Dr. Kain said coolly.
“Pfft, looks like someone's got a swollen head, you think just because you're the leader of a group of imbeciles you're some kind of bad ass king?” Lune chided.
“Oh perish the thought, I'm just here to have a bit of fun is all, now come, show me what Bian's pride and joy is made of!” And with that, the Nero flew straight at Valsione, drawing what looked like a large metal staff in the process.
“Hold on tight Ryusei, looks like we've got ourselves a boss fight” Lune said with a fiery look in her eye.
Ryusei looked around the cylindrical cockpit “Hold on to wha-” Ryusei was cut off mid-sentence by Valsione's jets firing, sending the girlish mech flying towards the charging Nero, inadvertently sending Ryusei falling forwards towards Lune, hands outstretched.
Valsione drew it's divine blade and slashed, while Nero raised it's staff and struck, the two weapons colliding mid-swing, sending a shower of sparks falling towards the sea below.
“...Ryusei, I realise I said hold on, and under other circumstances, I'd be flattered and encourage this kind of thing...” Lune said calmly “But can you please not hold onto my...Ballistics...When I'm in a life and death battle!?”
Ryusei blushed and removed his hands “Sorry, I didn't mean to-” Lune however shushed him before he could speak.
“Just let me deal with this” She said as she continued to hold her ground in the clash between super robots “Then you can grab and feel whatever you want” she said, emphasising the last section with a saucy wink.
Nero and Valsione broke off from the clash and flew away, Valsione drawing it's rifle in the process and firing off three blasts, one after the other.
Nero dodged to the side, however it wasn't fast enough and one of the attacks clipped it's shoulder, making the machine lose it's balance.
Before Dr. Kain could regain complete control, Valsione flew in and kicked the mech in the torso, sending it crashing into the ocean below.
Valsione hovered victoriously in the air “Well that was easy, that jerk didn't even have HP Regen” Lune said happily.
“Maybe it was too easy” Ryusei volunteered, earning an annoyed look from Lune.
“Oh you just had to say that...Didn't you? You're lucky you're cute”
Suddenly a barrage of laser fire erupted from the ocean, forcing Valsione to dodge this way and that to avoid the attacks.
While Valsione was dodging though, something big and fast leapt out of the sea and flew up to the green faced mech, which didn't have time to react as the metal staff smashed it in the face.
Valsione's eyes turned into spirals as it staggered in the air “Oh look Ryusei” Lune mumbled dazedly “Such pretty stars” she slurred.
Valsione violently shook her head and glared at Nero “Okay, maybe he doesn't suck as much as we thought” Lune admitted, doesn't matter, I'm gonna kick his ass!”
Valsione drew it's Divine Blade once more and charged at Nero, who once more raised it's staff.
Rather then enter a power struggled again though, the two mechs began to rapidly swing their weapons, their arms moving faster then one would think possible as the two metal weapons continuously clashed against one another.
“Not bad young lady” Dr. Kain said over the comm “I'm almost working up a sweat”.
“Oh yeah? Well...You're a stupid face!” Lune said, running out of witty banter as a surprise kick from Nero knocked Valsione, causing it to hover just above the island.
“I've had enough of this” Lune grumbled as pink and blue energy began to surround Valsione's arms “Take this!” She yelled as Valsione placed it's hands together and gathered the two coloured energies started to mix and form into an orb.
“Here little girl, a present, just for you!” Dr. Kain sneered as Nero pointed it's staff at Valsione, and began to glow a majestic purple colour. The energy then began to concentrate into Nero's staff, turning from it's black and gold colour, into pure purple.
“CROSS SMASHER!” Lune yelled as a blast of pink and blue fired from Valsione's outstretched arms straight at Nero.
“CEASER'S JUDGMENT!” Dr. Kain yelled in response as the energy gathered in the staff was released in the form of a massive energy blast.
The two super attacks collided in the air, followed by an earth-shattering kaboom.
It felt like the planet was being torn apart by the force of the two attacks attempting to overpower one another, the very ocean itself was being parted by the struggle.
There was an even louder explosion as the world in front of Valsione was consumed by a bright light. It took mere seconds for the light to vanish, and once Lune and Ryusei could see again, they saw empty skies.
Nero was gone nowhere to be found “Did you...Did you obliterate him?” Ryusei wondered.
“Nah, there was no death monologue, he's still out there somewhere, and if these readings are right, then this place is now totally abandoned...Can't fault a commander willing to buy time for his subordinates to escape I guess” Lune said.
“Are you going to give chase?” Ryusei asked.
Lune smirked and ordered Valsione to touch down on the island “Nope, the deal was I kick some ass at this secret island base, my side of the bargain is completed” she said as Valsione knelt down in the sand and opened it's cockpit hatch.
“What deal?” Ryusei asked nervously as Lune started to unzip her pilot suit.
“Oh you know, I made a deal with my conscience, I take part in a fight scene and break some things in a cool battle, and then you and I get to have some alone time..I'm thinking picnic on the beach, followed by some swimming” she said as she fully unzipped the suit, revealing the fact that she was wearing a bikini beneath.
“I...I didn't bring a swimsuit?” Ryusei ventured.
However Lune just got a mischevious look in her eyes as she moved in close “Oh I won't mind...After all we're all alone, who's going to see?”
“Well you will” Ryusei pointed out, immediately regretting saying that.
Lune licked her lips “That's the idea” she said as she gripped his belt “Now come on, off with them” she said forcefully.
If anyone had been on the island, they might have seen the half naked Ryusei running across the sand, fleeing from the whooping green faced Lune, who was trying to rip off the other half of his outfit.