literature

Gurren Lagann - Turn the Phase - 2 Juncture

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By mjengels

Literature Text

This is a work of fan fiction using characters and situations from the anime series Gurren Lagann, trademarked by Gainax Corporation.

For the most part, characters depicted in this work are characters created and owned by Kazuki Nakashima and Hiroyuki Imaishi. I do not claim any ownership over them or the world of Gurren Lagann. There are several original characters appearing of my own design, however.

The story I tell about the former members of the Gurren Brigade is my own invention, and is neither purported nor believed to be part of Gurren Lagann's story canon. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of the official story line.

I am not profiting financially from the creation and publication of this story. And I am very grateful to Messrs. Nakashima and Imaishi for sharing their wonderful story with the rest of us.  Thank you!

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TWO
Juncture

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"You all right?" came Gimmy's voice over the comm link.

Darry shook her head and blinked several times as the image of her twin brother slowly came into focus on the left side of her heads-up display. "Yeah, I will be."

"Good," Gimmy replied, scratching at his auburn hair nervously. "This teleportation business is going to take some getting used to. Took a moment for me to shake out the cobwebs too."

"That might be a moment too long," Darry snorted, snapping her head back forward. She ran a gloved hand along either side of her face to rid her long lavender locks from her field of vision. Her screen began to light up with the signatures of potential hostiles.

And then there were the asteroids to think about as well. "Are your autothrusters working all right, Darry?"

"Yeah," she replied. "Looks like yours are too, Gimmy. Appears we've matched trajectories with this pile of rocks around us."

"Leeron came through for us again, Sis. If we just sit tight, these things will let us sneak right up to the target unnoticed."

"Then we can do the business so we can get home and on to more important things," she grinned as the tension of the moment faded. "Like my favorite nephew's birthday par - "

A klaxon in her cockpit cut her off, announcing one of the hostiles had acquired her Grapearl mech as a target. "Incoming, Gimmy! Look sharp!"

"On it, Darry! Lagann Drill Pincer Movement, go!"

"Roger that, Gimmy! Let's get 'em!"

Darry grunted as she piloted her Grapearl through a tight barrel roll to come up alongside the foreign mech opposite of where Gimmy had taken up position with his own. She chuckled as her console display made a positive ID on the machine, which bore a curious resemblance to the Ganmen from the Beastman Wars. But it was unlike any they had previously seen up close, appearing to have a muzzle similar to that of a deer or an elk, complete with stylized antlers sprouting out of either side of its head gleaming like polished silver.

"Looks like the target did us a favor by coming to us," she sneered as she flipped the safeties off of her Grapearl's weapons systems and heard its targeting computer annunciate a lock. "Now come to mama!"

In one moment, Darry saw missiles fly from their pods in her Grapearl's shoulders and in the next saw them explode over their target. A cry of victory caught in her throat when she saw several missiles closing in on her. Smashing into the shields before she could react, the impact thrust her mech back with enough force to nearly make her black out. She heard Gimmy grunt too over the comm link as though the wind were knocked out of him. "Where are you, Darry? That last attack knocked me on my ass!"

"A missile strike?"

"Yeah, but my threat computer didn't register them until just before impact."

Darry gasped. "They must have been mine, Gimmy! We were shooting at each other!"

"That can't be, Darry!" Gimmy hollered. "Where'd that goon between us go, then? We had missile lock on 'im! He coulduna gone - AAAAAAAAAAH!"

"Gimmy!" Darry screamed. The hostile mech had flown right up in between the two of them, goring the armor of Gimmy's Grapearl with its antlers like one might spear a hot baked potato wrapped in foil with a fork. With a toss of the mech's head, Gimmy's Grapearl flopped wildly end for end like a child tossing a rag doll. It slammed into Darry's mech, sending both of them careening back into the asteroid field. Darry regained her senses just in time to floor her thrusters, landing them roughly on the back side of an asteroid which spun lazily away from their contact site. Considering a direct impact at this velocity with one of the chunks of rock would certainly have incinerated them both, she figured it was a decent landing nevertheless.

"Hey, Gimmy! Tell me you're OK!"

Darry breathed a sigh of relief hearing Gimmy groan painfully. "Yeah, I'm alive," he croaked, "but at the rate we're going I can't say for how long. Just how tough is this thing, Darry?"

"I don't know, Gimmy. No one told us this would be easy but I didn't think a single mech could get the drop on us like this!"

"Yeah. This guy sure ain't at all chatty either. We should just scrub the first objective and take the second. Cut and run with the battle data we've got on this guy and call it good. Don't feel like playing hero today, do you?"

"Becoming a family man made you soft?" Darry teased him. "Simon would thrash you within an inch of your life hearing you talk like that."

"Even Simon would fall back and regroup if he needed to, Darry," Gimmy snapped back. "And if you get yourself all smacked around out here, Sitan will never let you or me hear the end of - "

The comm link suddenly went dead. "Gimmy?" she said as she blinked at her console. "Gimmy?! Answer me!"

Darry gaped at her cockpit's screen in horror as the deer-like Ganmen rammed itself straight into the cockpit of Gimmy's mech.

"GIMMY!" she screamed, launching herself at the enemy mech with all her might. Using its thrusters, it had set to ramming Gimmy's Grapearl over and over again as if it intended to kill him by squashing the cockpit flat. With one smooth motion, the enemy mech leapt up as Darry's Grapearl attempted to grab it in a flying tackle and swung out its leg as Darry passed underneath. A massive hoof ripped the armor on the port side of her cockpit clean off, shorting out most of her cockpit displays and indicators. Her mech landed flat on its back at the base of a craggy outcrop of rock on the asteroid's surface as she gasped and grit her teeth from the incredible pain which shot up and down the length of her left leg.

Darry could only imagine the terrible scene playing out outside her cockpit. She could feel the rock underneath her Grapearl tremble with every blow the enemy Ganman dealt to her brother's ruined mech. "This is bad, Gimmy, very bad!" she cried, although she knew he couldn't hear her. What displays she had left indicated the power conduits to her Grapearl's prototype teleportation units were destroyed and she figured Gimmy's mech was faring no better. Retreating to Earth was no longer an option. And the beating her own mech had taken had disabled all of its propulsion systems and most of its life support. They would float around among the asteroids until their air gave out, that is, if the strange and powerful Ganman didn't rip them limb from limb first.

She felt a single tear trace a warm trail down her cold cheek. The temperature had already begun plummet in her cockpit, which certainly must have been breached. Her heart sank, knowing in mere minutes she would be sucking hard vacuum. As Darry fingered the controls on console to initiate the Grapearl's self-destruct sequence, the faces of those dear to her passed before her eyes.

"Sitan, Gimmy, Yue, Hokuto," she whispered quietly, reverently. "I'm sorry...so sorry..."

/PLEASE, STOP THIS!/

Darry started at the female voice which seemed to echo inside her head. She glanced down at her console; Gimmy's comm link was still offline and no other channels were open.

/It is not yet time, my friends. You needs must wait a little longer./

She blinked as her mind raced, trying desperately to remember how she *knew* this voice. It was odd. And oddly familiar.

/He will come. He always has. I have reached out to him even now. And now to him, you both must return!/

The breath caught in her throat as she came to an inescapable realization, though her mind struggled to believe what her senses were telling her.

/He will take care of this. You will see. You will all see!/

Darry's eyes went wide with equal parts terror and awe as she beheld the apparition before her.

"Is...is it possible?" she squeaked. "How could you - "

/Have faith in him, as I do. Farewell until whence we are again well met, dear friends./

"No, wait! Don't go! Aren't you..."

Darry's voice trailed off as every light in the sky became a luminescent streamer, tearing the very fabric of space-time asunder. The thought of seeing her loved ones once more brought a weak smile to her face just a moment before she blacked out.

==========

Simon and L. T. nibbled at the biscuits and dried meat representing the last of their provisions, although it was more than enough to tide them over until morning. L. T. was glad to hear Simon's plan for them to make a detour into New Littner to refuel and resupply. If his luck held, his mentor would set off do those things by himself, leaving the equipment maintenance chores to him. L. T. didn't like stick welding to begin with; he liked it less whenever Simon insisted on breathing down his neck telling him every little thing he was doing wrong. He knew Simon had friends in New Littner, and looked forward to Simon taking his time running his errands to catch up with them. They were on a tight schedule to finish up before winter, though surely he could convince the old man to spare a day for the two of them to goof off after the drilling finished here. Then they would make the final sprint to Kamina City to cap off another successful season.

The sun had just begun to set when L. T. noticed Simon hadn't eaten one of his biscuits. "Say, boss, that biscuit gone beggin'?"

Simon chuckled as he tossed the biscuit across the cab to his famished apprentice who caught it in his teeth without letting go of the machine's control sticks. "If you would work as much as you eat, we might have sewn up this year already. Then we could have gone spearing at my favorite stream just over - "

The words caught in Simon's throat as he grabbed at his chest. He gurgled in agony through tightly grit teeth as he pounded on the console in front of him. "What the hell, Simon?" L. T. cried worriedly as green light emanated eerily from underneath Simon's tunic, illuminating the cab in an unearthly glow. "Are you all right?!"

"D-dunno, L. T.," Simon panted when he could finally bring himself to speak again. "Dunno what's going on! Never felt anythin' like - "

"BUI!" Boota squealed as he started from his nap and leapt up onto Simon's shoulder. Simon grabbed at his chest once more as he doubled over, screaming loudly in response to pain that had overtaken again him. "Power...being drained...from me..." he managed to stammer as the green light grew brighter.

L. T. quickly glanced back and forth between his boss and the route ahead of the machine, unsure whether to stop the machine or press on ahead to find help for him. Simon's cloak had fluttered open, revealing the dazzling brilliance of the green light coming from the ring which hung around his neck on a simple silver chain. His hands clenched the controls tightly as L. T. observed Simon was close to blacking out, but relaxed slightly seeing him begin to get his breathing under control a moment later.

Hearing Simon gasp, L. T. turned and followed his mentor's gaze towards the sun dipping beneath the distant horizon. The machine came to an abrupt halt as L. T. let go of the control sticks and rubbed his eyes in disbelief as the green glow faded. The young man's heart pounded in his chest as his mind struggled to comprehend what his eyes were seeing. He saw what, he knew, could only be a manifestation of spirit. But Simon must have thought he was beholding an angel.

"Nia?" Simon breathed, his voice barely louder than a whisper.

L. T. blinked astonishedly seeing the very clouds in the sky had formed themselves into the likeness of a slender yet curvy woman in silhouette, backlit by the setting sun. He could even see what looked like the tips of her long hair glinting with the colors of the rainbow. From the pictures he'd seen in history books and the photographs Simon kept among his personal effects, there was no doubt in his mind what the elder man thought he saw: nothing less than the visage of his late wife.

"NIA!" Simon shouted as he grabbed at the latch and threw open the cab door. Boota jumped clear as Simon disappeared from sight, bounding to the ground in one leap. When L. T. could see him again, Simon was sprinting across the rough terrain, holding out both arms in front of him toward the setting sun. He felt his heart skip a beat a moment later as Simon cried out in pain and collapsed to the ground.

"SIMON!" L. T. cried. "C'mon, Boota!" The pigmole jumped up on the young man's shoulder as he scrambled down the side of the machine and ran to where Simon lay face down in the dirt.

L. T. came to kneel at Simon's side just as the older man raised his head skyward again. "Huh?" Simon grunted confusedly as the gamine figure appeared to wag a finger at the two of them.

The image gestured gracefully toward the eastern sky where the Evening Star shone brightly against the twilight. Both men strained their eyes as they turned their heads but closed them quickly as an eerie light flashed brightly. They started from the deafening noise that followed, but both knew instantly the familiar sound wasn't thunder.

It was a sonic boom.

L. T. slung an arm over Simon's back, helping the older man get to his feet as he glanced over his shoulder toward the setting sun. The colors of the sky had rearranged themselves back into their brilliant yet random tapestry. Whatever he believed he had seen a moment ago, he saw nothing but the last vestiges of an early autumn sunset now.

"Is that...is that a Grapearl, Simon?" L. T. said as he looked back toward the spot in the sky from where the noise had come.

"Two of 'em," Simon muttered, straining to get the words out. The pair of fighting mecha trailed smoke and flames in a lazy arc across the sky back to where a ring of mist indicated where a teleportation halo had slammed shut. "Lost...nearly all...control surfaces," he managed to point out as one of the damaged mechs tried valiantly yet vainly to guide them both down safely. "Hope...they activated...radiobeacons..."

L. T. could taste bile in the back of his throat as Simon went limp in his arms. His mind raced as he struggled to fight off the panic which threatened to overwhelm him. "Simon? Simon! Talk to me, dammit!" he cried as tears began streaming down his cheeks. The younger man cursed loudly, giving voice to the desperation and helplessness he felt neither knowing what was wrong with his friend and mentor nor how to help him.

Gritting his teeth with determination, L. T. jabbed a finger into the side of Simon's neck. He smiled, feeling a weak yet steady pulse. He placed his ear and cheek in front of Simon's nose and mouth, grateful to hear and feel his shallow yet sporadic breathing. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he knew for certain he needed to find Simon help.

L. T. looked up toward where the trail of smoke from the wounded Grapearls ducked into the hilly country to the south. He turned back to see the harvest moon begin its ascent in the eastern sky.  Kamina City lay somewhere beyond, he knew; New Littner lie to the west past where the sun had slipped beneath the horizon. Militia troops from either or both cities would certainly be converging on the Grapearl's position soon. And they were certain to bring their medics with them.

"Right then, Simon," L. T. said resolutely as he hefted Simon's unconscious form upon his back. "Let's go!" the young man cried as he trudged back toward the idling drill rig. Boota followed behind, squealing the whole way.
This is the story of a man who had resigned himself to his Destiny. Using his talent to build things and mentor others, he lived a hardscrabble yet comfortingly familiar existence. However, Destiny had other plans for the man and his loved ones which none of them would fully comprehend. Destiny would assert Itself in his life once more, leaving no one untouched by its wake. A story by M. J. Engels.

EDIT 3 Mar 2014:  Enjoy some most excellent artwork by :iconredundantthoughts:  related to this chapter.  Thanks Sid!  MJE

EDIT 11 Apr 2014:  Now with even more outstanding artwork by :iconredundantthoughts:  Glad to have you all reading, make sure to go share the love with Sid.  Thanks again, my dear!  MJE


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