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Gurren Lagann - Turn the Phase - 4 Overture

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By mjengels
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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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FOUR
Overture

==========

Simon woozily groaned as the sensation of bright artificial lights shining in his face caused him to blink back into consciousness.  He felt Boota's soft fur against the side of his face as the little pigmole licked his cheek encouragingly.  "Bui."  

He glanced from side to side as the world came back into focus, realizing he was lying on a cot in a cramped room he concluded was inside a mobile command post.  The low thrumming he heard and felt was easily recognizable as the vehicle's engine idling.

"Good, you're awake, Simon," L. T. yawned after having dozed off in a chair next to the cot.  "I imagine seeing her was quite a shock to your system."

He simply nodded his reply, puzzling over whether that had been the only reason he blacked out.  "Gotta make sure next time through Kamina City Sitan gives me a complete physical," Simon said after a moment, hoping that would explain the bouts of intense pain he had experienced too.

"Well, duh," L. T. chided him.  "You're not getting any younger, old man."  

"I'm young enough to still give *you* a good thrashing, smartass," Simon shot back as he threw the sheet off and sat up, balling his fists up in front of him.  "Just who in the hell do you - "

" - think you are?  I think you're Simon the Digger," a baritone voice interjected from behind them.  "Perhaps I should thrash you myself for being away from us for so long."

"Dayakka?" Simon blinked as he lowered his arms.

"Glad see you just the same, though I wish it could have been under more pleasant circumstances," the man smiled as he entered the room.  Dayakka wore the uniform of the Kamina City militia with a pair of similarly dressed soldiers on either side.  The two on his left pulled out stethoscopes and pressure cuffs from the medical bags they carried in as they went to work examining Simon.

"What are you talking about?" was all he could manage as the medics poked and prodded him.  After a moment one of the medics flashed Dayakka a thumbs up behind Simon's back.  

"I'll explain soon enough," his old friend replied as he ran a hand through his close-cropped and graying dark green hair before motioning to the remaining soldiers behind him in L. T.'s direction.  "Please see to it this young man has a hot meal and an opportunity to clean up before escorting him back to his crawler to wait for us."

"But General, what about Simon?" L. T. retorted.

Dayakka held up a hand disarmingly.  "Simon and I go back a long way, young man.  We have things to discuss I'm not at liberty to share with anyone else right now."

Simon nodded to L. T. as he got up from the cot, silently assuring him things would be all right.  He gave him a look which said he should trust these men and simply do as he was told.  "Go on, Boota," Simon said, prompting the pigmole to jump up onto L. T.'s shoulder.  "Buibuibui!" he squeaked excitedly.  "Yes, I'm sure they can find something for you to eat, too," L. T. replied, following behind the soldiers as they filed out.

"General, huh?" Simon said once he and Dayakka were alone.

"Yeah, go figure.  I'll let you in on a secret, though...I'm pretty sure I'm the only one dumb enough to take the damn job.  I find myself sometimes longing for the simple measures of success we had in our Gurren Brigade days."

"I'll bet," Simon agreed as he pulled his boots on.  "'Did we get 'em all?'  'Did everybody make it?' 'When do we eat?'"

Dayakka chuckled and leaned forward, his uniform crunching uncomfortably.  "And you're still digging, same as you always have.  Sometimes I envy you," he muttered conspiratorially into Simon's ear.

Simon squinted as he glanced up at the insignia adorning the small epaulets on his old friend's combat fatigues.  "So you command all the Engineers now?"

"Well, only those which remained in Kamina City after the rest were redeployed to the Terran United Government.  There was a rumor going around I planned to head off with Rossiu and his people just before my promotion went through."

Simon snickered approvingly at his friend's craftiness.  "That's one way for Kiyoh and the kids to have you home every night and get you a pay raise to boot.  Doesn't sound like you're the dumb one after all."  

"Played 'em like a violin, I suppose," Dayakka laughed, the crows-feet on his old friend's face readily apparent.  "But even with a smaller force the paperwork hasn't been any less."

"Better you than me!" Simon laughed out loud as he stood up and pulled his cloak over his shoulders.  "I don't mind at all leaving that 'Supreme Commander' stuff behind."

"Yeah, but at least I still have access to modern conveniences like shaving *and* showering," Dayakka chided, sniffing the air pointedly in Simon's direction.  "If you weren't such a damn recluse, you might enjoy rediscovering such social graces."

"Whaddya mean?" Simon replied with mock indignance as he pulled his cloak free of his bushy hair.  "I told you all I wanted to explore the Surface, so now that I have the time that's what I'm doing.  Well, whenever I'm not digging, that is.  I suppose I don't *have* to work to support myself but you know I'd lose my mind if I wasn't doing something I love.  Besides, I've made a lot of new friends.  A few even bathe less often than I do!"

"Yeah, well, don't let your old ones forget what you look like, chump," Dayakka said as he punched Simon's shoulder playfully.  "And speaking of old friends, it's about a couple more in dire straits that I need to speak to you, unfortunately."

==========

Minutes after emerging from the mobile command center, Simon and Dayakka stood by the demolished cockpit of Commander Darry Adai's Grapearl.

"Dayakka, are Gimmy and Darry..."

"They're both alive, but in pretty rough shape. They got the snot beat out of them for sure. I've been getting updates on their condition every half hour or so. Their vitals are stable now, although it sounds like they're both still unconscious. Amazingly enough, Darry was talking when we pulled her out of her cockpit but had suffered a compound fracture to her left leg.  She was parroting something like 'I saw her! I saw her!' which we attributed to shock setting in, although we ended up sedating her for her own good."

Dayakka sighed heavily as he continued.  "Poor girl became hysterical when she asked about her brother and we all kept mum.  We didn't want to tell her anything at the time as, well, we weren't altogether sure Gimmy was going to pull through."

Simon shook his head as if to clear it as Dayakka's words sank in.  

"Something the matter, Simon?"

"Er, it's nothing, Dayakka," Simon replied, choosing not to share details about the painful moments earlier when he had felt his own Spiral Power being siphoned away.  "Just my heart aching for those two kids, you know."

"You need to tell me if you feel weak or woozy, alright?" Dayakka implored him.  "We don't need you having a relapse of whatever caused L. T. to come haulin' ass into our compound insisting we treat you.  Besides, they aren't exactly kids anymore, Simon," he continued with a tinge of nostalgia.  "Neither are you."

"Really, D, I'm fine," Simon said as he smiled wryly.  He recalled the day he had sat next to Dayakka and his family several years ago as Gimmy and Darry Adai graduated at the top of their class from the TUG Starfarer Academy.  Then they had accepted their commissions with the Fleet and left the Sol system behind.  Both had married fellow soldiers while on deployment; Gimmy's son was a toddler already.  A few months back, Simon learned that they had both returned to Kamina City with their families for a "special assignment", and figured this certainly must have had to do with it. He took pride in their being two of the best pilots in the joint Terran fleet, as well as their having grown into fine adults and respected officers.

He hadn't been much more than a kid himself that day he and Kamina left their underground village with Yoko what seemed like an eternity ago.

Simon whistled as he inspected the ruined cockpit of Darry's mech up close. The engagement must have been brutal. "Hard believing Darry was talking after taking a blow like that on the lower frontal quadrant," Simon said, knowing full well she must have parried just quick enough to avoid a direct hit by whatever had impaled her mech.  A lesser pilot would certainly have been crushed to death instantly.

"Our Tigress going to catch hell from her husband over this for sure," Dayakka insisted.  "He's told her for a while now to take that promotion and let someone else play stick jockey from now on.  I think Sitan wants a family more than she does, truthfully."

A moment later, the two of them stared up at the smashed hulk of Gimmy's Grapearl. The cockpit had sustained tremendous blunt force impact, requiring the engineers to extract him through a hole cut into the back of the mech. Simon shook his head in disbelief. "I don't understand, Dayakka.  Why would anyone do such a thing to them?"

"You know that everything you've seen and heard here is sensitive and can under no circumstances be talked about outside our circle, right?"

Simon nodded as Dayakka sighed remorsefully. "We've been working on a new super teleportation system to conduct reconnaissance missions to The Periphery," he continued.

"And knowing those two like I do I'll just bet they insisted on being its test pilots."

Dayakka simply grunted.  "Leeron tried to explain how it worked to me.  All I managed to take away was it's a refined version of the process you yourself used to transport us to Nia during our final battle with Anti-Spiral but which requires much less Spiral Power.  However, it does use massive amounts of electricity, which is the main reason TUG has spared no expense building out our infrastructure of solar beam collectors and concentrators."

Simon nodded, silently reflecting how busy he and L. T. had been working with the Beam Wranglers for several seasons now.  "Where did Darry and Gimmy end up?  Did they teleport into an asteroid field?"

"Actually, that was the intent," Dayakka shrugged.  "But we didn't expect the hostile reception they got."

Simon stared at his friend dumbfounded.  "Out on the Periphery? Who could have attacked them out there?" he replied, waving his hand around him. "It's as much a backwater as, well, here...where ever 'here' is."

"We needed to see ourselves whether fighters from L'ayn'a Te'ni were as aggressive as the other Races told us."

Simon tugged at his beard as he shook his head.  "Guess we got our answer loud and clear, hm?"

"And that's only from one mech."

Simon's eyes went wide.  "One mech couldn't have done all this!" he spluttered.

"That's what the Beastmen used to say about Gurren Lagann, remember?"

Simon closed his eyes as he grunted, conceding his old friend spoke the truth.  "Is this some extraordinary pilot then?"

"Well, that's what we were hoping to find out.  Gimmy and Darry's secondary mission was to collect intel on this guy's mech and his fighting style if they couldn't subdue him outright.  Our allies in the quadrant told us all kinds of fantastic stories how he'd laid waste to their defenses over the last couple months almost singlehandedly.  We wanted to find out for ourselves whether our allies were being straight with us.  Well, the proof is in the pudding, I guess," Dayakka replied, nodding toward Gimmy's ruined mech.  "The young man is the only child of the former leader of L'ayn'a Te'ni.  His father was assassinated recently, so he assumed the mantle of leadership in his stead just before their first big battle."

"Gee, that's a familiar story, isn't it?" Simon deadpanned.

"Yeah, I figured you'd think as much," Dayakka snorted.  "In their case, it looks as though these disputes with their neighbors about exploiting their world's resources touched off some sort of turf war.  Certainly we're inclined to intervene, if only to force a cease-fire on behalf of our allies.  What bothers us more is this has the telltale signs of runaway evolution."

Simon gasped as his mind finished putting the pieces into place.  Evolution spiraling wildly out of control would certainly invoke the very Spiral Nemesis they had all sacrificed so much to avert:  something *she* had understood all along.  

"That's the view from here, Simon, or at least my assessment of it," Dayakka concluded as he walked away from the ruined mech toward a small hovercraft parked near his mobile command post.  Simon followed him as he continued.  "We've teleported some of our fleet to the nearer systems before, but at the moment we couldn't handle a full-scale mobilization at such a great distance.  If things there get out of hand, we need to ensure we can prevent them from bringing the fight here to us."

"So I suppose you're going to order me back to Kamina City for deployment?" Simon huffed as his brow knit angrily.

"Simon, I'm not in a position to order you to do anything," Dayakka said gently as he placed one enormous hand on his friend's shoulder.  "But I am asking you as my friend and fellow warrior:  listen to what Guinble and Leeron have to say.  I'll give you a lift if you want to send your apprentice on ahead with the machine.  My people there will see to it he gets the supplies you'll both need to head south this winter after we're done with this business."

Simon nodded his assent despite the strange sense of foreboding welling up within him.
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 15 June 2014:  Enjoy some most excellent artwork by :iconredundantthoughts:  related to this chapter.   Then go show Sid some love.  Thanks Sid!  MJE
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