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Gurren Lagann - Turn the Phase - 5 Cloture

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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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FIVE
Cloture

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Simon had to admit that he had missed them all. He hadn't been back to see his old friends in quite some time, which Dayakka had been reminding him at every opportunity.  It was good for his soul to catch up with nearly all of them over the last day and a half. And he figured Dayakka had been right, after all - he had been long overdue for a hot shower, a clean shave, a home-cooked meal and some fresh clothes. Simon had hoped his friends wouldn't fuss over him too embarrassingly, although Kiyoh herself had personally insured the futility of such a wish.

Simon sat alone at a conference room table located in the Science & Technology wing of the military complex known simply as Central, where Kamina City's militia kept their headquarters and which served as the local outpost of the Terran United Government.  L. T. had arrived in town last night with the crawler, and was spending today getting his welding practice and inventorying the supplies Dayakka's men had begun furnishing them.  Simon had checked in on his apprentice long enough to remind him Kiyoh expected both of them that evening for dinner.  Then he stopped by Dayakka's house on his way to his physical.  He had left Boota with Anne and Dano, who were eager to play hide and seek.  Dayakka and Kiyoh's rambunctious five-year old boy was up and around after his fever had broken that morning in part due to his big sister doting on him the night before.

He set to studying an enormous topographic map which took up an entire wall of the room while he waited for the others. Simon stood up and examined the map closer. He found his interest piqued by the route he and L. T. were taking when their paths crossed with Dayakka's Engineers.   He felt a sense of pride building up within him seeing the map legend for all the solar beam collector sites they had helped construct.  To the people there, he really was just Simon the Digger, the fellow who helped build things and plant flowers before moving on.  That suited him just fine.

Simon silently mulled how his drilling might stay ahead of the anticipated deep frost this winter as he traced a path with his finger southwards from Kamina City.  The villages he saw there had struggled to locate a stable and productive source of sweet water.  He lowered his hand and looked up toward the sound of the door opening.

"Heeeeeeey, good-lookin'. My, my, my, don't *you* clean up well!" the effeminate man with the close cut green hair addressed Simon as he entered the room. "You got yourself a new do and a shave too! Besides, that Beastman look just didn't suit you at all, honey." Simon gasped as the man put his hand on his shoulder and leaned over to examine his chest. "Look at you, all cut and buff from toiling out in the hot sun all this time. Say, sailor, how about you and me have a little fun together while you're in port? Come over to my place tonight and so I can learn more about that big Drill of yours."

The more things change, the more things stay the same, Simon thought, unable to keep himself from laughing at his old friend's lecherous humor.  "Glad to see you too, Leeron. I don't recall that color eye shade on you before. It accents your eyes stunningly."

Leeron giggled as he blinked alluringly. "You think so? Oh, stop it, Simon, you're such a tease!"

Simon could see the other man roll his eyes in disgust. "We're all glad to see Simon, but please remember we are on official business, Science Bureau Chief Leeron Littner."

"Oh, you never let me have any fun, you meanie," Leeron pouted. "Rossiu won't join us until tomorrow, Vice-Chancellor Guinble Kite!"

Simon clasped the other man firmly on the shoulder. "Is that what they're calling you now, Guinble? Or 'Most Honorable Vice-Chancellor'?"

The man adjusted his glasses as he regarded Simon fondly. "'Guinble' is what I would prefer you call me, Simon, regardless of my title. As chancellor, Rossiu realized a few years ago he would need people in the new TUG who could help manage the growth of burgeoning city-states like Kamina City. So he offered me the job to oversee all the bureaus and I accepted." He ran a hand through his shoulder-length purple hair before considering Leeron again with a hardened gaze. "Until Rossiu arrives technically I'm in charge, which some people would do well to remember."

Leeron stuck out his tongue at Guinble while Simon changed the subject. "Either of you heard about Gimmy and Darry?"

"Gimmy is still in a coma.  We're not sure at the moment what his long-term prognosis is.  Darry has regained consciousness now and again but is very weak and has difficulty speaking," Leeron answered him. "She will be off her feet for some time anyway until her leg mends.  As you can imagine, a lot of us are pretty shook up, especially Sitan and Yue. I don't think Hokuto is old enough to understand what's wrong with his papa, but he can tell his mama is terribly upset."

"I was hoping to see them as soon as they can accept visitors."

"We can arrange that, I'm sure, Simon," Guinble replied. "But we do have some matters we should discuss beforehand.  Thank you for agreeing to see us."

"That's right, Simon," Leeron said.  "Dayakka wrote in his report what he had told you at the crash site. That's the bad news.  The good news is we believe we can now prevent the Spiral Nemesis from ever occurring!"

Simon gawked at his old friend, slack-jawed with surprise. "What? I - I don't understand," he stammered. "How is that even possible?"

Guinble motioned for Simon to follow as he and Leeron began walking toward the door. "We want you to see what we've been working on. It may make some of what we're going to tell you easier to comprehend."

The three men made their way down the corridor with Guinble in the lead. Leeron offered Simon something from the cafeteria as they passed by, but he politely declined.  He joked Kiyoh had made certain he was eating well.

"We stumbled across it quite by accident while we were attempting to decipher the ancient text Rossiu had been given by his village elder Father Magin some time ago now. We were all quite surprised we could glean anything helpful from it, as Rossiu was told just before you defeated Anti-Spiral the book was all gibberish," Guinble explained. "He even thought it might have been some ancestral race's idea of a practical joke, as our first pass through matched none of the contemporary or ancient languages known to us at the time.  We still committed some time and effort into cracking the linguistic codes, if for no other reason than to be certain whether it did or did not contain useful information."

"It took us much longer than we had expected, though.  We might have never had broken through if we hadn't been helped by recently discovered native speakers of a language we had thought had gone extinct ages ago," Leeron added.  "Over the last couple years, we've also refined much of the technology necessary to set the process in motion using details we learned from Lordgenome before and during our battle against Anti-Spiral."

"In light of recent events, we felt we needed to discuss this with you, Simon," Guinble finished.  "We also believe L'ayn'a Te'ni will fall into line when presented with a show of superior force."

"I don't understand," Simon replied. "If that's something you can do with a Grapearl, or even Gurren Lagann, then why do you need me? You have Gimmy, Darry, and your other capable pilots.  Besides, it's been years since I've been in a cockpit.  Gimmy and Darry made it back despite being the worse for wear. A fossil like me may not have come back at all," he harrumphed.

"Actually, Simon, we weren't at all sure Gimmy and Darry would make it back," Leeron replied solemnly.  "We'd already lost contact with Gimmy when Darry began initiating the self-destruct sequence on her Grapearl.  The power conduits to their prototype teleportation equipment were destroyed and we despaired they were as good as lost.  But then our instruments indicated a massive buildup of some strange energy we have never seen before but appeared strangely similar to Spiral Power.  The next thing we knew, they were making planetfall.  We're not at all sure if it was due to something done *by* them or something done *to* them.  We still don't have an answer, as neither of them has been in any shape to correlate our data since we extracted them."

"Don't misunderstand us, Simon," Guinble interjected. "What the ancient text lays out are mathematical theorems which go far beyond simply enabling a core machine like Lagann to combine with other machines.  It applies these to a final solution to prevent the Spiral Nemesis."

"Apparently, sweetie, the Anti-Spirals had cooked up this scheme when they were still a Spiral Race themselves.  By then they had already developed Alternative Probability Theory, which still gives me a headache trying to wrap my poor brain around!" Leeron whined as he brought his hands to either side of his head. "They believed they could use them to combine a Spiral Warrior's present and future, creating one who could manipulate probability to not only keep his or her own Spiral Power in check, but do the same for all the Spiral Races then and into the future. It's a process they'd termed 'The Commissioning,' or as I like to call it, 'Crush the Crunch!"

Simon snorted in jest, quite sure Kamina would have approved of such a flamboyant turn of phrase.  The Spiral Nemesis had come to be known in a darkly jovial manner as the corollary of the theory used to describe the beginning of the Universe.  The Big Crunch.

Yet Simon was not at all sure he liked where this was going. "Sounds like risky business to me," he replied guardedly. "I mean, I saw how that pilot had torn up Gimmy and Darry's Grapearls.  Do you think that advertising you've gone through with this 'Commissioning' thing will make L'ayn'a Te'ni back down?"

"That's what we're betting on," Guinble replied.  "We don't have much else available to us by way of 'gunboat diplomacy'.  If we could have teleported a fleet large enough to lay siege to L'ayn'a Te'ni, we likely would have done so already."

Simon rubbed his forehead in exasperation.  "I'm still not liking this one bit.  Besides, I recall an old book which said something like 'absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Isn't this too much power to give to one person?"

"Yes, you're right, Simon," Guinble agreed. "There was a lot of very heated debate referred to in the text between members of the various Spiral Races about that very thing. From what we can tell, that's why nothing ever came of it. The Spiral Race who had thought of the idea eventually became Anti-Spiral, perhaps in part because they never received the support from the other Races to set their plan into motion."

Simon cast a suspicious glance at the pair of them. "So that's why these are only theories, right?"

"All right, I'll bite," he continued, having evoked no answer to his unintended yet seemingly rhetorical question. "Just what is this 'Commissioning' all about then?"

"Near as we can tell, the process began while the candidate was in young or early middle adulthood. Their Spiral Power had to be sufficiently advanced to enable them to complete the process," Leeron explained. "Not completing the process was said to be, well, a leeeeeettle bit fatal."

"Gee, this just keeps getting better all the time, doesn't it?" Simon spat sarcastically as he crossed his arms over his chest.

"The warrior would need to spend the rest of his or her life developing their own Spiral Power while practicing its responsible use," said Guinble. "In turn, they would teach others to channel their Spiral Power in a similar manner. But only the strongest Spiral Warriors were even considered for the Commissioning, due to the expectation that potential recalcitrant abusers of Spiral Power might have to, well, let's just say, 'persuaded to make better choices.'

"That's when apparently the trouble started," Guinble continued as he poked his glasses back up to the bridge of his nose.  "There were a lot of egos in play, as we read in the text descriptions of the squabbling that broke out among the Spiral Warriors. Appears they were arguing over which of them was the most powerful, and hence, whom should receive The Commission. So the Spiral race that became Anti-Spiral took matters into their own hands in an attempt to prevent the Spiral Nemesis. And we all know what happened then."

"Sounds like a lifetime tour-of-duty, if you ask me."

"Weeeeell, not exactly", Leeron chimed in. "See, the Spiral Warrior would still be mortal until their body finally succumbed to time. That marked the end of what they called the 'First Phase'. And while we haven't quite figured out how this works yet, they would live on indeterminately into the 'Next Phase'. We think it has something to do with the probability manipulation Anti-Spiral had mastered."

"Huh?" Simon sputtered, stopping in his tracks. "You mean this 'Commissioning' creates an *immortal* being?  But that would bring about the Spiral Nemesis!"

"We don't know that for certain, Simon," Guinble shrugged. "It didn't seem to when Lordgenome appointed Viral observer of the ages, after all."

Simon whistled and ran his hand over his face in disbelief. "If I hadn't seen all sorts of crazy things together with you guys before, I would think you all were nuts spouting off a story like this. So why are we worrying about this now?"

Leeron and Guinble said nothing, turning together before they continued walking. Simon caught them up a moment later.

"Think about what Dayakka said, Simon," Leeron implored him. "Our own Spiral brethren have motives to harm others and us, without any regard whether they may bring about the Big Crunch!"

The three men stopped in front of a door while Guinble placed his hand on the biometric reader pad next to it. "But we believe we now have the means to stop them," he said as the door slid open.

Simon gaped as he took in the sight. Various types of gauges, meters and other instruments covered the entire wall of the high-bay area opposite them. The techs hardly noticed their entry as they continued their flurried work. Near the center sat a series of control consoles laid out in a semicircle. At their focal point was an archway rigged with power conduits top and bottom.

"The one trump card we have, Simon, is the data and information we and we only possess," Guinble said, waving his arms around the room to indicate everything within. "After battling Anti-Spiral years ago, we finally understand the basic theories behind their probability manipulation. Coupled to what we learned from Lordgenome's brain and the writings from the Chancellor's ancient text, we believe we can now invoke The Commissioning ourselves."

Simon wandered through the labyrinth of equipment and instrumentation until he stood near the arch, noting it was only slightly taller than he was. "That, sweetie, is Heaven's Gate," Leeron purred.

Guinble put a hand up to one side of the arch. "This device should enable you to manipulate your Spiral Power in such a way as to invoke The Commissioning," he explained. "You would walk through it once we've powered it up, but we only have a very vague idea of the rest of what's involved. We believe we can extract you as necessary to try again should it become - "

"No."

Guinble and Leeron stood staring at Simon with their mouths open. "Excuse me?" Guinble said after a long moment.

"I said 'no', Guinble. I'm not doing it!" Simon snapped, the irritation in his voice clear.

"But Simon, Leeron and I, we - "

"Vice-Chancellor Guinble Kite, you would do well to remember that though I may wander where my spirit leads me, I am still a citizen of this city," Simon seethed as he turned around and walked towards the door. "You will not force me to do this against my will. And 'no' means 'no', period. I won't do it. I - I have my reasons."

"We need your help to prevent a war as well as the Spiral Nemesis, Simon," Guinble implored him.  "What is happening on The Periphery has forced our hand.  We're running out of time!"

"Just who in the hell do you think I am, anyway?" Simon shouted as he turned around, glaring at Guinble angrily. Several of the techs stopped what they were doing and looked at him after his outburst. "Look, everybody, I'm just Simon! Simon the Digger!" he exclaimed, pointing at himself. "Others are better suited to go down the tunnels I've dug, Guinble. Find them and stop wasting everyone else's time. Especially mine!"

Guinble and Leeron watched dumbfounded as Simon left the room without another word.

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"Why are you just standing there?" Guinble asked at length angrily.

"I've known Simon a lot longer than you," Leeron sighed, regarding Guinble like a craftsman might a dim-witted apprentice failing to grasp an elementary concept. "I'm pretty sure I know what he's thinking right now. Nothing we could say or do now will change his mind about anything, so I guess we'll just have to let him sort this out himself."

Leeron hoped Simon would do just that as he ran his fingers across the age marks starting to show on his face. All those sleepless nights working on this contraption had been hell on his complexion, after all.
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 17 October 2014:  Enjoy some most excellent artwork by :iconredundantthoughts:  related to this chapter.   

Turn The Phase - Chapter 5 - Cloture

Then go show Sid some love.  Thanks Sid!  MJE
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© 2013 - 2021 mjengels
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