literature

Gurren Lagann - Turn the Phase - 6 Posture

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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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SIX
Posture

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Simon was furious.

He had walked quite some time since being escorted out of Central and still hadn't reached Dayakka's neighborhood. Simon never much cared for city life anyway, with all the noise, traffic and hustling bustle. That was why he had picked a site near the outskirts of the city to carve Kamina's statue before, as he had wanted to live a quiet life there with Nia. But the city had caught up to and surpassed them before long.  The frequent solitary lifestyle, hard work and simple living over the last several years had only made him more unaccommodating of an urban lifestyle. It was okay for a time, but all he wanted now was to be left alone with his thoughts.

All those hours Rossiu had insisted he join them in land use planning meetings did pay off, however, as they helped Simon navigate the myriad of alleyways and tunnels which spread out across the city. From these he could avoid the main streets and most of the traffic, noise and people.  

There was a time when he had been grateful to be with lots of people, airing their grievances resulting from the growing pains of a civilization spreading out to the horizon under bright sun and blue skies.  How much of a welcome change it had been rather than eking out an existence below ground waiting for a slow yet certain death from earthquakes or black lung.  But the passing of years since those joyful days when Nia brought him lunch every day had changed his mind about many things.  The last thing he wanted to see were people right now.

These were the same people Nia and I fought for, Simon thought darkly.  The same people Nia and their friends had *died* for.  Now look at 'em.  All cooped up indulging their hedonisms and excesses like pigmoles in a filthy sty.  

Simon had made up his mind to leave Dayakka's house at daybreak for the Southlands with L. T., Boota, and everything he had arrived with. One thing that he would leave behind, however, was his faith in the human spirit. It had shattered and fallen to pieces all over the floor of that laboratory back at Central, right in front of that Gate thingy or whatever the hell Leeron and Guinble had called it. At least he'd managed to clean up, visit his friends and get a couple hot meals out of the deal. Although he may have looked cleaner, he still felt dirty on the inside. Simon mulled whether the entire exercise had been a colossal waste of time as his thoughts turned angrily back to the meeting he'd stormed out of.

Just who the hell did they think he was? Hadn't he paid his debt to king and country? Hadn't he sacrificed as much or more than any of them? With all their technology, brainpower and military might, why did they need him to keep L'ayn'a Te'ni in check?  Why couldn't the rest of the Spiral Races work together to prevent the Spiral Nemesis?  

Where did they come off asking him to sacrifice the one thing he looked forward to more than anything?

At length Simon arrived at same park where he liked to go to think about things back when he still lived in the city. He walked around the circle, taking some small comfort seeing Kamina's statue being erected again after being toppled during those dark days, which had come to be known as The Tribulation. Major events in his life had taken place right here. This is where he had proposed to Nia, after all, pledging his love to her forever. He couldn't help himself from laughing a moment remembering how she had so completely misunderstood what it all had meant.

Simon stopped and stared up into the night sky, crisp and clear under a full moon. He watched his breath turn to vapor in the chilly air, desperately trying to hold his emotions in check. Simon preferred the solitude the wilderness offered as a venue for dealing with such dark feelings.

He reached beneath his cloak and drew forth the chain looped through Nia's ring. The greenstone he had dug up and given to her shortly after they had been captured by the Beastmen would become the centerpiece for the ring he had placed on her finger when he proposed. The same ring he would use to find her when she was taken from him by Anti-Spiral. The same ring he had placed on her trembling hand on their wedding day. The same ring which had fallen from her hand as she passed.  

Standing on the very spot he had given it to her years before, Simon spent some time turning the ring in the moonlight while watching its stone.  It sparkled blue-green with a trace of pink, just like her eyes.

Simon was still seething about Guinble and the others. Were his people really that different today than during the Tribulation? Were the other Races? To end the fighting once and for all, to free the Races to pursue their dreams and live together peacefully - wasn't that why he and his friends defeated Anti-Spiral?

Isn't that why Nia - an Anti-Spiral lifeform herself - had to die?

Simon closed his fist around the ring as the memory of seeing her form painted against the evening sky came to his mind.  His heart leapt as he wondered whether it was a sign they would be together again soon.  He had known for years his affections would be shared with no one else, as she was the only woman in the world who could make him as happy as he made her.  But, try as he might, he found himself unable to make sense of the strange events of the last several days.

He looked up wistfully at the incomplete statue of Kamina. Bro had been the lucky one, after all. He had died so long ago, before anyone else. His time in this life had been cut short, but Bro hadn't watched the woman he loved dissolve into nothingness from in between his arms.

"Let me see you grit those teeth, Simon."

He bared his teeth angrily at the sound of the gravelly, raspy voice behind him.

Simon narrowly managed to dodge an enormous, hairy fist as he turned toward where the voice had come from. He managed to grab one of his fists in the other, parrying a second blow as his attacker sprung back up to face him.

"I'm in no mood to play, Viral."

"I honor my Beastman pride, Simon," he replied. Simon noted Viral looked much the same as he always had, which knowing Viral's appointment from Lordgenome during the Battle of Teppelin did not surprise him. The Beastman had taken to pulling his long blond hair back into a ponytail, which he tucked underneath the collar of his uniform tunic. Simon had known Viral long enough now to see past his perpetual scowl and read the emotions in his face. He could tell the Beastman was livid, although he hardly knew what about. With Viral it was hard to tell.

"I didn't lose to you years ago and become your ally only to have you go soft and neglect your duty," Viral said. "There is no honor in that! EEEEEEAUGH!" Viral screamed as he came at Simon again.

Simon spotted a broom handle sticking out of a maintenance cart nearby. He sprinted for it as Viral tried to flank him. He feinted left then darted right, grabbing the broom in time to take up a defensive stance as Viral came at him again. Having become quite adept at using his staff to fend off wild animals in the wilderness, Simon used the broom handle like a lever to hurl Viral sidelong into a nearby litter can, upending it noisily.

"You're pathetic, Simon," Viral spat as he got his feet back under him. "How could a man who had been so strong become so weak? Are you afraid to face me unarmed?"

"Oh, you mean this?" Simon shot back, holding up the broom in one hand before dropping it onto the concrete. Rage flashed across his hardened face.

"Happy, Beastman? I was planning on only using that to parry you until you got whatever bur is bugging you out of your mangy pelt," Simon continued angrily as he threw off his cloak. "But now that you intend to come at me bare-fisted, well, you just might get hurt, Viral!"

"Class is in session, Simon. Allow me to ring your bell!"

Viral sprang at him, feet barely touching the ground between them. He faked left before cutting so close to Simon's right Viral used his elbow to strike. It wasn't a direct hit, but did manage to make Simon fall backwards. He tucked and rolled, springing back up in an alleyway between two rows of concession stands. Simon shook his head, as the stars he saw at the moment certainly weren't all lights in the sky.

"COWARD!" Viral screamed at him, taking a moment to catch his breath. "I hope that was sufficient to knock some sense into you, like your comrade Kamina might have."

"Just who the hell are you calling a coward, Viral?" Simon countered, going on the offensive. In a moment he was in Viral's face, having seen Viral place his back to the wall of one of the stands. Viral's paws were enormous, and certainly capable of inflicting damage on an opponent. But Simon knew they could also be clumsy in close-up fighting, and chose the confines of the alley to counter attack. He came at Viral straight on, managing to get inside of the two fists that swung at him like sides of hippobeef at a meat market.

One. Two. NOW! Simon launched himself upwards, smashing both fists down into on Viral's forehead. Viral dropped to the pavement face first, landing with a heavy thud. He screamed wordlessly as he vaulted himself back to his feet and faced Simon again.

"I'm not accepting the Commission, Viral.  Forget about convincing me otherwise!" Simon panted. An animal which might have attacked him in the wild would have either run off by now, or Simon would have managed to break its neck. He hardly wanted to do that to Viral, who was still his brother-in-arms regardless of his apparent bout of spectacular insanity.

"It is your duty, Simon," Viral hissed back, obviously winded himself. "Have you become so weak and stupid you forget yours is the strongest Spiral Power in the known Universe? If there is anyone who can prevent further conflict in the Periphery and the Spiral Nemesis, then it is you."

"That's not it, Viral. You wouldn't understand anyway. I don't want to talk about it!"

"You know how close we came to losing the Commanders Adai, Simon. It had been a very near thing, and I do not intend to have them shoulder this burden by themselves. So if you won't tell me what's going on inside that naked ape head of yours, then I'll just crack your skull open and see for myself!" Viral yelled as he pounced at him.

Viral had managed to duck under the two blows Simon threw at him, springing up to slam his head and one shoulder up against a wall. He grunted through the pain, trying to redirect the force of Viral's body away long enough to get behind him. But Viral had read his intention and continued forcing Simon's body along the wall until he could grab the back of his hair in one paw and his belt in the other.   Grunting as he heaved, Viral launched Simon headlong into an open trash bin. Garbage splattered all over the alley walls as Simon's body came to rest on the bottom just out of Viral's sight.

Viral stood there panting, gnashing his shark-like teeth angrily when he spoke. "It's *her*, isn't it, Simon?"

He paused for a moment before beginning to pace warily back and forth in front of the trash bin trying to peek over the top to see where Simon had landed.

"I was there, you ungrateful bastard!" Viral seethed. "I saw her with my own eyes, heard her with my own ears, remember? To us, the Nia you knew had been completely taken over by Anti-Spiral. The rest of us were certain The Messenger she had become would either destroy us, or we would destroy her.

"But you, Simon:  you never stopped believing in Nia! Though hardly a shred of her spirit remained, it was enough for you. She was coaxed back from the brink of oblivion by your saying so long as the probability of rescuing her was greater than zero, for you and the Gurren Brigade it may well be one hundred percent!"

Viral snorted as he continued. "You even blathered on that ridiculous tripe about how Nia herself had cleverly manipulated The Messenger for her own ends, appearing to you at your darkest hour not to cast you into the depths of despair but to beg for your help. To give you hope that her fighting spirit was still there, Simon. To inspire you by showing you how much she desperately needed you.

"And it worked! Have you forgotten, you stupid fool? Only a true Spiral Warrior, one worthy of The Commission, could have accomplished such a feat," he finished, turning his back to the bin.

Had he managed to knock Simon unconscious? Viral turned around to peer over the edge of the bin, only to be knocked backward by a rotting cantaloupe striking him squarely between the eyes.

"YOU WHERE THERE TOO THE DAY SHE DIED, VIRAL!" roared the reply. Simon was on him in an instant, leaping out of the trash bin and smashing Viral up against the alley wall. He pinned Viral there by punching him in abdomen repeatedly while he spat in his face.

"The day Kamina died, I said we lost something that could never be replaced! THE DAY NIA DIED, I KNEW *I* LOST SOMETHING THAT COULD NEVER BE REPLACED!" Simon screamed. He let Viral fall to the alley floor where he crumpled into an undignified heap.

Simon began sobbing loudly as pent-up emotion poured from him. "My Drill may be my soul, Viral, but Nia was its light! What the hell good is a dark soul, huh? Tell me, Viral! It's no better than a dull drill! Worthless! JUST LIKE ME!"

He walked over to Viral's side and began kicking him savagely. "I had all this damned Spiral Power, and in the end I couldn't save Nia! I had the power to bring her back from the dead in the palm of my hand, but knew I wouldn't because she begged me not to try! Can you understand WHAT THE HELL THAT FEELS LIKE, VIRAL? YOU HAVE NO IDEA!"

His anger spent, Simon turned around and stood there panting while tears streamed down his face.

"I'm just Simon the Digger," he cried. "I don't want any Commission, and I don't want to be immortal. Not like Lordgenome had been, and not like you either, Viral.  I look forward to the end of this life so I can begin the next one with Nia. And Kamina. And all the others. If anyone could understand that, I thought you could, Viral. It's bad enough to go through the rest of this life without Nia by my side. Don't ask me to sacrifice the next one with her simply out of 'duty'. I've already done more than my fair - "

Viral cut Simon off by sweeping his legs out from under him.  Catching Simon before he fell to the ground, Viral let out a guttural growl as he hurled Simon into an old overstuffed chair behind one of the concessions booths. He hit with enough force to tip the chair over on its back and snap off two legs, leaving Simon staring straight up at the sky as he writhed painfully. Even with the ringing in his ears, Simon could hear Viral limping towards him.

"Do the names 'Tsuuma' and 'Memesu' mean anything to you, Simon?" Viral said quietly as he came into Simon's view a moment later.

"Of course they don't," Viral continued without waiting for Simon to answer. Tears began to roll down Viral's face as he glanced upward toward the sky. "To you, they were nobody. But to me, they were everything."

"Huh? I don't under - OW!"

"SHUT UP AND LET ME FINISH, YOU NAKED APE!" Viral yelled as he ground his boot heel into Simon's shoulder. "Tsuuma was *my* wife, Simon, and Memesu was our - our daughter. Or, at least they were in Anti-Spiral's Labyrinth. I'll tell you how they trapped all those Spiral Warriors there, Simon. Those feelings of love I had for them were *real*!  I was completely ignorant of my past life and why we were there in the first place, which had more to do with the woman *you* loved than anything else. I would have been happy to stay there for eternity, growing old and dying with them beside me, never knowing none of it was real. Just like the Spiral Warriors before us.

"But no, *I* had a mission, you see. We were there to save the Universe, and by doing so save Nia. Or, perhaps you, Simon, were there to save Nia, and by doing so save the Universe. Then, as now, it makes little difference to me. But the point is I left to join you and the others, to finish the work we had started together."

Simon groaned as Viral stomped his foot on his shoulder while he spoke. "I chose to leave the Labyrinth for you and the rest of the team, including Nia, as well as every member the Spiral Races alive today and yet to be born. I left knowing I would never see Tsuuma or Memesu again. I did it anyway, Simon, knowing full well Lordgenome cursed me with immortality. I don't even have death's sweet release available to me to end the dull throbbing ache in *my* soul. I get to go on existing until the end of all time with the memory of their faces haunting me every waking moment.

"You're pathetic, Simon," Viral sneered. "The greatest Spiral Warrior in history isn't capable of shouldering a burden similar to that of a lowly Beastman like me. JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU - uh?"

Viral landed with a thud on the concrete before he could finish his rant. Simon had swept his feet out from under him with one of the broken chair legs he had managed to grab hold of. He dropped his makeshift weapon onto the concrete, where it rolled in a wobbly semicircle before coming to rest near where Viral lay dazed.

"Others are better suited to go down the tunnels I've dug, Viral," Simon said as he stood up slowly and began walking lamely toward the alley entrance opposite them.

==========

"You there, no sudden moves. Let me see your hands and turn toward my voice nice and easy," Viral heard the police officer shout as he approached with his weapon drawn.

He could hear the officer gasp as he recognized him. "Commander Viral!" he shouted, holstering his sidearm. "Are you all right? What happened here?"

Viral came to his feet groggily, not knowing how long he had been lying there. He reveled in the wonderful feeling of having so many parts of his body hurt all at once. Truly, he felt like a genuine Beastman once again. He would certainly have to repay Simon the favor sometime.

"An old friend of mine and I had some differences of opinion we needed to discuss like gentlemen," he said as he rubbed his aching side. "Didn't we, Simon?"

"Simon?" Viral repeated, looking behind him when he received no answer save for the chirping of crickets. Anger welling up inside him once more, Viral's voice pierced the still night air as it reverberated off the alleyway walls.

"SIMON!"
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 27 February 2015:  Enjoy some most excellent artwork by :iconredundantthoughts:  related to this chapter.   


Turn The Phase - Chapter 6 - Posture

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