No More Lonely Nights ~Say Goodbye to Lonely Nights…!~
Back to a few hours earlier...
“What’s going on over there? It’s so loud. Can you hear me?”
GIMM was calling BALL from the living room of the top floor of a high-rise apartment, overlooking the blue sky and the Upper Side City Park from an open, wall-to-ceiling window. It was about time GIMM arrived at the GUNDAM BASE to login to GBN.
“Sorry, I’m running late. But I can’t party with you without trying something.”
GIMM was about to tell him that he had something he wanted to try, when...
“I’m not finished with you yet!”
The Mobilegear phone of the latest model that had arrived that morning from a dealer was swept away from GIMM’s hand.
“Come on, I’m still on the phone!”
“Are you out of your mind? Why did you cancel your college application without saying a single word?!”
“Why do I have to talk about it with my cousin?”
“Because I’m your fiancée!”
Viola held the Mobilegear phone she took from GIMM with her hands in front of her frilled blouse, as though she was trying to hide it. Her cheeks were puffed with anger.
But even if she told him so, GIMM couldn’t see his father’s younger sister’s daughter, who he had played with every single day since they were little, as his fiancée. He even came to a conclusion that the reason he was never popular among girls was because he had a fiancée. He was sure that was why and resented her for it.
“Didn’t I tell you?”
Now without his phone, GIMM reached for Viola’s homemade mint cookies from the living room table and popped one into his mouth.
“I gave a ‘donation’ using the power of money and they’re going to let me graduate. I’d definitely get more life experience from enjoying awesome parties than from gathering credits for four years to inherit dad’s company!”
“Then invite me to this party of yours.”
“It’s a Gunpla party and you definitely won’t enjoy it.”
“But the girl on the phone seemed to like it?”
GIMM was confused. “That was a guy.”
“Why don’t you check the name on the call history if you think so?”
Viola had seemed to forget that she had taken his Mobilegear phone and said, “I’m not into snooping.”
She placed the phone on the table and plopped onto the sofa.
“But wouldn’t you be able to do that while also going to college?”
“You know I’m not clever enough to wear two hats and enjoy both of them.”
Viola almost agreed, but she still seemed dissatisfied. She was one year younger than GIMM and usually looked her age, but now appeared noticeably younger due to her anger.
GIMM scratched his head, wanting a break, and walked toward an order-made suitcase-sized Gunpla transporting container he had placed in the corner of the room and said, “Well, then, can I ask you to do something for me?”
By the time GIMM arrived at Shimoda’s office, clutching Loretta’s handmade flyer with the address on it, there were already four Divers waiting to be signed up. Loretta had placed one of the office tables at the entrance and was playing the role of receptionist. Shimoda peeked out from a slightly opened door in his office to watch everything happen.
“What is the prize you desire?”
The Divers declared the prizes of their choice from the list in order.
“A first lot production 1/144 RX-78 Gunpla box (without its contents).”
“A halfway-used tube of putty dried that dried up because the cap wasn’t properly closed.”
“A diorama that tried to recreate the Gundam Ez-8 using its beam saber to melt and boil snow to make a bath, but was halfway assembled because its creator ran out of snow powder.”
“An A Baoa Qu-like display stand included in the 1/144 MSN-02 (Zeong Gunpla not included).”
And so forth.
There must have been better things in my house than that junk. Shimoda was drowning in questions. Why did Loretta think they were some kind of precious treasures? And why do those Divers who are signing up want that junk?
But that may have been the reason why there were so few contestants. To come to think of it, there wasn’t even a reason to challenge them to a fight. He wouldn’t mind giving away any of the prizes.
It was then that he saw the prize list on a flyer.
“Any of the prizes…except for “that’.”
BALL also grinned inwardly while listening to the prizes chosen by the other Divers, waiting in the back of the line.
“Everyone else doesn’t seem to realize the true worth of ‘that’ prize, although I don’t even know much about it either. But it did help us log out from GBN when we were trapped in because of the underground model molding mafia...”
A thought came to his mind.
“Do you think it has something else, like powers?” He asked GIMM before recalling that he wasn’t there. A combination of frustration and sadness grew within him.
“I don’t care, but I’m the one who’s definitely gonna get them all, and I’ll make him say uncle…”
This may sound repetitive, but BALL had never said nor hear anyone actually say ‘uncle’ before.
BALL’s turn came around. He told his Diver name and all of the other requirements. Loretta entered them into the entry registration page on her tablet, and gazing into BALL’s eyes, asked her last question.
“What is the prize you desire?”
“I’d like to tell the truth and say you but I’ll settle on the Golden Poly-cap for today,” answered BALL.
The next moment, Shimoda busted out from inside the office. He slammed both hands on the office table next to Loretta and leaned forward toward BALL.
“Do you know what ‘that’ is?!”
Shimoda told BALL and Loretta about his first encounter with the Golden Poly-cap in the cabin of a chartered shuttle that headed toward the battlefield. He told them how one day, he had been surrounded by a blinding light. He told them that he heard an unrecognizable voice in the glimmering light, which told him that “it” would guide him. There had been a Golden Poly-cap in his hand when he had come to after the light had disappeared.
“I completely forgot about that incident until Ms. Loretta found that Golden Poly-cap. Now Mr. BALL wants it and is challenging me to a Gunpla Battle.”
Shimoda looked straight at BALL and Loretta.
“I don’t have any self-confidence. Nor do I have confidence in my work or with my skills with Gunplas. I may lose this fight instantly, but I somehow have an urge to follow through on this fight. I feel that the Golden Poly-cap is telling me to confront it.”
Loretta warmly gazed toward Shimoda who clenched his fist with determination while BALL looked at Loretta with the most attractive expression he could make.
“So you’re Loretta. What a nice name.”
The battlefield was a certified debris gathering area that looked over the blue glimmering earth and was a special district outside of the atmosphere where construction waste created due to Force Nests in colonies could be exceptionally disposed. The Shimoda stepped out and appeared in the field from a take-off/landing dock for industrial Mobile Suits to face his first challenger, a Zaku 06R.
Seeing his overwhelming eminence, BALL, Loretta and the other waiting contestant Divers all gasped in awe in the cabin of the charted shuttle, which was used as a waiting room/spectator’s seats.
“A Strike Freedom!”
was the base for the Gunpla.
“Its zero-gravity-maneuvering thrusters have been enhanced!” The second Diver in line shouted!
“Its atmospheric maneuvering measures have been upgraded!” The third Diver in line was amazed!
“Heavy firepower!” The fourth Diver in line was intimidated!
“Heavily armored!” The fifth Diver in line was impressed!
“It’s shiny!” Loretta’s cheeks flushed!
It was truly a Gunpla that had everything it could imagine.
In its cockpit, Shimoda took a deep breath and snapped open his eyes with determination.
“Strike Freedom MR-G...taking on this battle!”
Back to the beginning of the episode...
The Strike Freedom MR-G’s powers were devastating. The first four Gunplas that challenged it were literally instantly destroyed, and the final and current challenger, the Polypod Ball, was frantically scurrying through the battlefield for a chance to attack.
The Ball, the Gunpla that became the base kit for the Polypod Ball, was not originally designed as a melee-based mobility weapon. Adding to this, its size resulted in a limited amount of propellant, making it overwhelmingly disadvantaged in battles based on maneuverability using thruster set in microgravity.
However, the Polypod Ball had legs. Many legs.
BALL felt the presence of the Strike Freedom MR-G slicing through the vacuum of space and closing in. He involuntarily changed his position using the floating objects around his legs as a step. He wondered if the thing that one of his right legs had just kicked was a piece of debris or the remains of a Gunpla that was destroyed long ago.
“I don’t care what it was,” BALL muttered, focusing on his fighting spirit. “but I’m the one who’s definitely gonna win this fight. I’ll make him say uncle, even if I’ve never said nor seen anyone actually say ‘uncle’ before!”
But there was an undeniable gap between the capabilities of the Polypod Ball and the Strike Freedom MR-G.
And the gap wasn’t one that could be filled in with vigor or guts.
Every time BALL fled, the Strike Freedom MR-G would be there first. He would fire his canon to be easily dodged. He used construction waste debris as a shield to have it pulverized by the firepower of the Strike Freedom MR-G.
And before he knew it, he was in a desperate situation.
BALL thought that he felt Shimoda looking at him apologetically for a brief moment.
“I don’t care about making GIMM ‘say uncle’…I…I…”
BALL clenched his teeth with shame.
“I don’t want Ms. Loretta to see me look pathetic!”
It was then that BALL saw something gleam in the distance. Shimoda also noticed it, and Loretta squinted to see what it was.
The gleaming object closed in from beyond everyone’s line of sight, revealing itself to be a Gunpla that had never been seen before, and descended into the battlefield.
“Who’s saying ‘uncle’?”
The voice was transmitted through the Force communication line and into the cockpit of the Polypod Ball.