Here I Go Again ~Back At It Again~
The Gunpla fired its beam rifle at the debris that the Polypod Ball was caught in. An escape route was created by the swipe of its high output beam.
“That would have been impossible, even if I rapid fired my 180mm cannon!” BALL muttered after his narrow escape. He quickly created distance between him and Shimoda’s Strike Freedom MR-G and gasped at the heroic Gunpla that appeared before him to protect him.
It was a combination of the GM Dominance’s legitimate evolution and the GM Turbulence's hectic tendencies that stood out like a ferocious mane. It was the embodiment of a new possibility that could overcome the former two Gunplas.
“GIMM, what’s with the new Gunpla…?” BALL asked astoundedly as GIMM snorted.
“It’s the Gundam Storm Bringer!” GIMM answered while glaring at Shimoda’s Strike Freedom MR-G in front of him.
“The other day, during our party with the Zeeta Kyanos...” GIMM was referring to the last episode in which he fought a Legendary Gunpla created by the owner Miki-tei, a soba delivery shop.
“We didn’t lose that time, BALL, because you threw Celica out of your Gunpla. But it wasn’t that exciting either...”
“Because we didn’t win?”
“Exactly. So I thought about it. Was it because I was weak? No. That can’t be it. I’m always the best. Then was it because Yoshi was strong? That may be the case. But the true reason might be something else...”
“The true reason?” BALL repeated.
“Yeah. The true reason why I didn’t win was because Yoshi’s Gunpla was a Gundam-type, and mine wasn’t!”
“Well, that’s a simple conclusion!” BALL shouted back as though a lightning bolt had hit his spine, due to the impact of GIMM’s conclusion. It was the exact type of logic expected from him.
However, the heroic presence of GIMM’s Gundam was on the same level as Yoshi’s Zeta Kyanos and Shimoda’s Strike Freedom MR-G.
“Storm Bringer…?” BALL questioned while muttering.
“What? Don’t you know the sword of chaotic storms?”
“How did you come up with a sophisticated name like that...?”
“How did I? Well, I asked Viola, my fiancée...” GIMM stopped mid-sentence, lowered his voice, and cut off his reply.
“Oh, I see… You made such an impressive Gunpla...” BALL’s surprised expression turned into a glare.
“To steal the Golden Poly-cap that I’m fighting for?”
BALL’s logic wasn’t much better than GIMM’s.
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
“You’re trying to take all of the Golden Poly-caps for yourself to party without me, aren’t you?”
“I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about!”
“I’m the one who’s asking questions!”
But it was Shimoda who was confused the most. GIMM’s Gundam Storm Bringer appeared out of nowhere to interrupt his Gunpla Battle and had now gotten into an argument.
Shimoda had already defeated all of his contestants except for BALL.
First, he won against the MG Zaku 06R, which had extraordinary combat capabilities in space, by skillfully using the expanded zero gravity mobility thruster verniers.
Next, he utilized his strengthened anti-aerial capabilities to destroy the MG ReZEL [Commander Type], which lured Shimoda to an abandoned colony nearby, since its pilot thought that it would be advantageous in an atmosphere with gravity.
Shimoda then faced an MG FAZZ, which specialized in heavy artillery, and an MG Gundam NT-1 (with Chobham armor) with rigid armor, both kits having been upgraded with parts from other Gunplas to enhance their capabilities.
After them, he achieved a glamorous victory against an MG Gundam Base Limited Tallgeese Special Edition, which used its shiny plated parts as one of its weapons, with his Strike Freedom MR-G, which was already a sexy Gunpla even before its proportions were further improved.
Shimoda himself was also surprised by his results.
However, Loretta, who was watching from the shuttle cabin, was far from amazed.
Shimoda’s instinct to cram all kinds of parts together was not a drawback; it was uniqueness. It was a manifestation of his intense attitude toward his work. This intensity could be seen through his Gunpla.
Winning or losing wasn’t important. But Shimoda was capable of winning.
That’s what Loretta thought while GIMM and BALL were too busy to notice.
“You can’t get in my way like this!” BALL screamed desperately, trying to resist the ferocity of the Gundam Storm Bringer.
“I can’t let Loretta see me like this!”
“Wait, who’s Loretta?” GIMM asked out of pure curiosity.
“Is she cute?”
The situation was suddenly reversed. BALL answered triumphantly, “While you were busy putting together your Storm Bringer, I’ve successfully found a marvelous relationship of my own!”
Loretta was in the shuttle and felt a shiver climb up her back, despite being unable to hear the two on their Force commlink.
“Well, look who’s talking, BALL! Looks like you’re the one who was trying to enjoy your happy little love life!”
The Gundam Storm Bringer lunged at the Polypod Ball as though it was trying to grab BALL’s collar.
“No, you’re the one who tried to hog everything!”
The Polypod Ball clung onto a piece of debris with all four legs to keep itself from flying off.
The two were about to collide when Shimoda’s Strike Freedom MR-G jumped in front of the Gundam Storm Bringer. The Gundam Storm Bringer instantly used all of its verniers to come to a stop.
BALL, who had also forgotten about Shimoda, was surprised.
“What are you doing here?” GIMM directed his momentum toward Shimoda.
“What are YOU doing here?” Shimoda wasn’t backing down. He had already defeated four Gunplas.
“I’m in the middle of a fight with him over my Golden Poly-cap! It’s a precious opportunity that Loretta gave me...”
“Well, I’m also having an important conversation about a girl with my friend here, so get lost!” GIMM snapped back, but Shimoda didn’t budge.
“No, you get lost!” BALL agreed…
“Yeah, that’s right! Get out of here, Shimoda!”
“What…?” Shimoda and even Loretta let out a pathetic gasp of surprise.
“This is an opportunity for me, too, you know?” BALL said to Shimoda. “It’s something that Loretta gave me, and I’m never gonna let GIMM take it away!”
“No no no no no, I didn’t give you any opportunity! What opportunity did I ever give you?” Loretta shouted, but BALL couldn’t hear her. She didn’t have a transmitter.
GIMM scowled at Shimoda’s Strike Freedom MR-G.
“I always fight back when someone picks a fight with me! Now get out of the way!” He aimed his beam rifle and pulled the trigger.
The Strike Freedom MR-G sprung up a moment earlier to create distance. The beam fired from the Gundam Storm Bringer's rifle followed the Gunpla, but the Strike Freedom MR-G’s quick maneuvers were faster and missed.
“He’s too fast!” GIMM clicked his tongue.
Shimoda tried to retaliate, but the legs of the Polypod Ball gripped the piece of debris it was clinging on with all of its legs.
BALL shouted, “I’m the one who’s gonna beat GIMM!” and threw it toward the Strike Freedom MR-G. Shimoda unconsciously switched his target from the Gundam Storm Bringer to the debris heading his way.
GIMM didn’t miss the opportunity and fired the Gundam Storm Bringer’s rifle. The Strike Freedom MR-G’s thrusters roared and the Gunpla managed to narrowly dodge the attack.
A sudden two-on-one Gunpla Battle with Shimoda against GIMM and BALL had begun.
“The Polypod Ball was my original contestant, so first, I have to get rid of that Gundam to set things right!”
Shimoda thought about conquering the Gundam Storm Bringer first. Should he focus the Super Dragoon’s multi-lock on the Gunpla and fry it with a full burst? Was it even possible for him, a Diver without Coordinator settings, to use them? He didn’t care.
“I'll give it a try!”
The next moment, the Strike Freedom MR-G opened up its gleaming blue wings and launched eight spears of light that seemed to be fired out of eight dragons, which headed toward the Gundam Storm Bringer.
But the Gundam Storm Bringer dodged every single one.
This may have been because Shimoda wasn’t able to use the system at its full potential, or simply because the Gundam Storm Bringer's mobility had the capabilities to do so. Whichever the case...
“I won’t make it out alive if I’m hit with that! That Strike Freedom's crazy!”
GIMM was astounded by the devastating power of Shimoda’s Gunpla.
“That Strike Freedom isn’t some ordinary Gunpla! ”
Shimoda was surprised by GIMM’s Gundam Storm Bringer’s capabilities, while BALL complained.
“Hey, what are you two doing? Having fun without me?”
The Polypod Ball fired its 180mm Cannon in vain.
Shimoda may have been unconsciously underestimating the Polypod Ball’s abilities. The cannon’s rounds hit the shoulder armor from a Striker GN-X that was applied to the Strike Freedom MR-G to add detail.
The armor of GN-Xs are made of E Carbon according to its settings and it usually wouldn’t budge from a round from a cannon. However...
“The armor broke off?”
BALL noticed something and recalled his experience with Air-Gunplas to look for a reason, and came to a specific conclusion.
“GIMM! That Gunpla, the Strike Freedom might have a poor surface finish!”
Shimoda was also surprised that the piece of armor had fallen off.
“I did put it together with the little time I had between work, so maybe the surface was left unfinished…!”
He looked closely at the armor piece and found that there were a few scars from removing the runner gates which had been left unattended.
“The Gunpla’s abilities are going to be weaker than their estimated specifications at this rate!” Shimoda said to himself.
He would lose if he resumed with the battle without being able to get closure for anything… Should he forfeit?
“...No, I’ll do what I can!”
Shimoda re-focused his eyes and glared at the Gundam Storm Bringer and the Polypod Ball.
“I’ll end this fight before they peck at the scars!”
He decided to take the chance and lunged forward at full speed with every thruster on maximum power. GIMM and BALL performed a saturation attack with their arsenal of beam rifle and cannon rounds. Additional armor pieces on the Strike Freedom MR-G which came from different kits and had small scars on them peeled off one by one following every attack. The Gunpla that crammed together all kinds of parts fell off-balance and lost control.
The battle was over.
The Divers who had lost had already left, and Shimoda, Loretta, BALL, and GIMM returned to Shimoda's office.
“Really? We can have the Golden Poly-cap? Even though we ganged up on you?” BALL hesitantly said, despite greedily reaching for the prize with both hands.
Shimoda had a wry smile but handed BALL the Golden Poly-cap and remarked, “Even if I fought Mr. BALL alone, it would have been a defeat for me once he found my poor surface finish.”
“Yeah! Now we have two Golden Poly-caps! Though I have no idea what they’re for!”
BALL victoriously clenched his fist while GIMM pitilessly declared, “Then I’ll take Loretta as my special prize.”
Loretta shot a cold glance at him.
“I am NOT a prize.”
Shimoda walked towards Loretta.
“Was I able to find something through all this?”
“I don’t know. But you didn’t run from it.”
Something clicked in Shimoda. That was true. He didn’t win… But he didn’t run from the battle either.
“I think I’m in love.”
Loretta was surprised and her cheeks flushed while Shimoda looked her straight in the eyes.
“With Gunplas… and work.”
“Oh, oh, I see.”
She blushed and replied, “Come back whenever you want to.”
Shimoda cheerfully nodded and turned to BALL and GIMM.
“This is embarrassing, but you two are the only people who I came to know through Gunplas after logging on to GBN. There’s something I want you guys to see in the storage behind my office.”
He said while heading toward the door, and turned back at them again.
“You two really make a well-coordinated Force.”
BALL and GIMM blinked with surprise from the sudden praise.
“What’s your Force name?” Shimoda asked.
BALL hesitated while GIMM smirked and answered, “We’re the V’cards.”
He made a V sign for victory with his hand.
“Victory cards?” Loretta asked.
“I didn’t know you had an idea!” BALL said in surprise.
“Not a bad name, right? We’ll enjoy awesome parties… together.” GIMM said, smiling.
“Did your fiancée come up with that too?” BALL asked.
“No way! I did!”
“Oh… Well, I guess it isn’t a bad name!” BALL smirked, revealing his white teeth.