SD Gundam Fan Fiction ❯ Zakos 1 through 10 ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

This story and my author’s notes can also be viewed on my fanfiction account here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5257467/1/Angels_of_the_Axis
 
000
 
Two hundred and eighty Zakos were stationed onboard the Dark Axis flagship, the Magna Musai, during its invasion on Neotopia. Their names and misadventures have been mostly unheard… until now. The following writings are their stories finally told.

« For the future of the Dark Axis, Zako soldiers fight, yeah! »

 
i

Red

 
« Zako! I know I saw it around here somewhere… »

It there was anything that could have been learned from the Zakos onboard the Magna Musai, it was that Red who was the most adventurous. A bit silly in regards to his overall demeanor, but adventurous nevertheless. He was immediately stationed to the Magna Musai during his original deployment and, during the little time that same flagship spent in Lacroa throughout the final stretch of the already nearly completed invasion, it was Red who was the first Zako to volunteer holding a perimeter around the area where the Horn of War had been established. He had been told that by at least everyone on the ship two or three times that he was the bravest of all of them, but he had mostly disregarded their comments off without much care for them. Being as outgoing as he was made him a very popular mech among his peers, but it had also garnered Zapper Zaku’s attention multiple times. There was occasions where the colonel took him aside to express how much potential he had at becoming an officer and, possibly, a squad leader just like himself. Red had been fascinated by the thought and he often went into recharge dreaming about the endless possibilities. The thought of someday earning the rank as a squad leader like Zapper Zaku awed him to no end — even the mere thought of someday earning the rank as a commander — and he strove to be the best warrior he could.

That was until he found it.

Being as adventurous as he was, he also had a tendency to go places where he generally should not have. One of those places was the large storage bay deep within the Magna Musai. Useless junk was kept in there for no other purpose besides being in the way, but it was never cleaned out mostly because no one ever remembered it was there. Red remembered though, and he rummaged through the debris sometimes for hours on end looking solely out of curiosity. Another Zako’s trash was another Zako’s treasure however, and Red learned that for an absolute fact when he accidentally stumbled across an odd item that forever changed his outlook on his potential career path. It was a huge stack of paper bound by binding on the front, back, and side. It was able to open at the area that was not attached to the binding and the Zako had been so intrigued that he brought it back with him to his bunk.

He did some minor research on what it was called. The computer files said it was called a « book » which, granted, was an item originally invented by humans. Despite the fact it was a creation invented by organics, the material within the book kept him from throwing it back into the abyss of junk where he found it.

The book was filled with jokes. Jokes, pranks, sit up comedy, witty remarks to use in conversations… there were quotes and humorous lines and tips for aspiring « comedians, » which was another term that Red had to look up. From what he learned, they were individuals who were purposely funny or amusing to entertain audiences. Red decided that he liked the thought of that a lot. The more he read that silly little book late at night in his bunk while the other Zakos were fast asleep, the more he wanted to live it. He made up his own routine and, one night while everyone was in the cafeteria getting their nightly rations, he put on his first show in the corner of the room on top of a table no one sat at. Blue — his bondmate — had been the only one watching at first, but then his humorous air seemed to draw the others in like moths to a single open flame. They laughed at his jokes and broke out into wild laughter at the exact moments he wanted them to. Eventually the commotion got so loud that Zapper Zaku showed up. Red had been worried momentarily about his arrival, but even the squad leader broke out in guffaws several times by Red’s antics. By the time Red’s performance was finished, Zapper pulled the soldier aside.

« That was funny, » he said with a light snigger.

Red grinned and rubbed the back of his head nervously. « Thank you sir. »

Zapper waved him off. « So, can’t make up your mind, huh? What are you planning to be? A humorist or an officer? »

It finally occurred to Red to drastically think about what he wanted more just then. While he had wanted to be an officer, it abruptly occurred to him that he felt so much… So much happier… Making other people laugh. He told Zapper that he wanted to be a comedian more than a warrior. He had to convince Zapper that he was not joking.

The squad leader looked at Red critically. « Really? It’s too bad then. You’re one of the best Zako soldiers we have… » The maroon warrior shook his head and trailed off. « You know, this gives me an idea. You didn’t hear this from me, but the other soldiers seem like they could use something with some zest to get them riled up for invasions and missions. When we were working on the outskirts of Lacroa, everyone seemed a little unwilling. I bet we could change that. »

Even though it was not a mission to help aid the Dark Axis on the battlefields, Zapper Zaku still gave him a mission regardless and Red was determined to complete it. That mission was to inspire the other Zakos into fighting for their cause. A pep rally so to speak, filled with witty humor and portrayed as a meeting so that Sazabi wouldn’t throw a fit if he ever found out about it. It was a brilliant idea, and Zapper Zaku had entrusted Red with taking care of it. The little Zako had been honored.

« I think I know the perfect place to have it. Remember the storage room? We need to clean it out. »

« For what? » Zapper Zaku had been inquisitive.

« The stage. »

All of this, of course, led Red to where he was now: Back in the piles of junk looking for another item he thought he saw one another one of his explorations. He had remembered seeing a box of something he knew he could put to good use, but it was going to be his last day to search. Zapper had already selected a team of Zakos to clean out and incinerate all the useless junk in the storage room to make space for the ‘pep’ meeting show area, and Red was absolutely hell bent on finding that god damned box before they did. If he didn’t find it…

He tossed part of a broken crate aside and he whooped cheerily when he found exactly what had been was searching for. It was a small black box with a silver clip on the front, and he gingerly lifted it up and shook it. Something rattled inside. He managed to pry it open with delicate fingers and he lifted the lid away to examine the contents resting within on the red velvet interior. The three microphones were antique, but Red was sure he could get them in working order with a little tuning.

He pulled out the one he liked best — the one with the rounded red mouthpiece — and his optic glowed vibrantly with rising triumph. « This will be fun, zako. The Zako Zako Hour will be a smash hit! »


ii

Blue

 
Unlike his bonded, he was a very timid mech.

He had been stationed on the Black Musai during his original deployment, under Commander Nightingale. It was involved in the invasion of Lacroa before it finally established itself as becoming a Horn of War. Whilst the Black Musai was only engaged in minor battles that were always in their favor due to their superior numbers incoming aid from Deathscythe and Talgeese, the thought of being involved in any battle still commonly terrified Blue. It was never his choice to be a soldier — he had been created for the purpose, it was never his conscious decision to be a minion himself — and the mere thought of a fight where someone had the potential to get killed horrified him. Especially if the person who was killed was him. He was generally dismissed as being a coward by the other Zakos he worked with, but it didn’t stop him from desperately trying to apply to being sent to a new ship away from all the conflict. He hadn’t made friends on the Shadow Musai anyways, so it was not as if he was going to miss anyone.

After two weeks of fighting the very few human knights who had not been petrified by the bagubagu, he received a confirmation notice that would be his ticket away from the battles. The Magna Musai — another ship that had come by to help the Black Musai crew conquer the rest of the dimension — was preparing to pull out due to the fact that what few resistance remained was miniscule. Blue already heard that the Magna Musai had single handedly wiped out an entire Gundam knight encampment, and it consequently meant that Commander Nightingale would have little to no problems taking over the rest of the kingdom. There were not many of the human nuisances left anyways. Within a day, Blue found himself on the Magna Musai‘s Komusai being brought to his new station.

He met his bondmate within the first week.

The Magna Musai had long since pulled out of Lacroa, but it didn’t stop him from being so timorous. He would jump if anyone caught him by surprise and he was too shy to really introduce himself to anyone when the times arose. It was not his fault he was so fearful — part of him was positive that it had something to do with faulty programming — but then he met him. By sheer fate alone, he accidentally bumped into his future bondmate when they were going to the cafeteria to get their nightly provisions and he nearly tripped over himself in his startled state. The Zako he smacked into turned around to make sure he was all right, but then their optics made contact and it was love at first sight.

The thought of finding his bondmate made him anxious, but Red was a much braver bot than he was.

Unfortunately for him, Red’s adventurous behavior didn’t rub off on him. Blue hoped that it would for his sake — he wanted very badly to be as outgoing and extroverted as his mate and best friend — but never happened. Red tried to cheer him up by saying that it would come to him eventually, but Blue strongly doubted it. He was just as pessimistic as he was pusillanimous.

In fact, he was very nervous when Red crawled into his bunk one night to make a proposition to him.

Blue sat up on his berth and he fidgeted with his fingers, twirling them and looking at them instead of Red out of his apprehension alone. « Really? Are you sure it’s a good idea? What if… »

Red sighed and pinched the bridge of the place where his mouthpiece met his helmet. It was the equivalent of a human pinching the bridge of their nose. He looked away and downcast before turning back to face his bonded. His voice was low so that they wouldn’t wake up the other Zakos sleeping around them. « I’m certain it’s a good idea, zako. It’ll boost your confidence up. »

« But… but what if no one likes me, zako? »

Before Blue could find the time to react or brace himself, Red suddenly closed the distance between them and he nuzzled their mouthpieces together. Warm, soothing air was wafted between them. Blue squeaked in surprise and shuddered, but he could not will himself to kiss back. He usually never kissed back, but that was only because he was afraid of Red’s reaction if he did something wrong. Red didn’t seem to care despite this, and the Zako soldier trailed his mouthpiece down the side of his mate’s helmet, vent cable, and down his to his shoulder guard. Blue shuddered and tilted his head back to allow the other mech better access while he clung to Red like lifeline. He was a safeguard to Blue, and he loved him just as the other mech did him.

Red sighed happily and he nuzzled the side of Blue’s small throat before pulling away and pressing their foreheads together. Their optics met and, in the spur of the moment, Blue gingerly leaned forward and pecked the other Zako on the front of his vents. The adventurous Zako’s optic lit up with a grin and he reached beside him to pull something out of the box he wanted to show his mate. Blue kept his optic locked with Red even when his bondmate pushed something into his arms. It was only when Red told him to that he looked down at it, and he saw he had been given a microphone with a blue mouthpiece that was shaped like a square.

Red was beaming even through their bond. No one will not like you, zako. Besides, I’d love it if you were a host on the « Zako Zako Hour » with me.

Blue smiled. He figured he could try to not act so timid for once, and Red would be there to help him.


iii

Yellow

 
He had been suffering from depression.

The Zako soldier remembered very clearly when he had first been shipped onto the Magna Musai from the Lucid Musai. He had been stationed on the latter Dark Axis ship from the very first time he was commissioned into the army, and he had so many friends… of course, that all changed when Gerbera — the General’s personal aide and servant — deemed that commander Z’Gok had too many soldiers on his ship. Twenty-six Zako soldiers were discharged from service onboard the Lucid Musai immediately and, unhappily for him, he had been one of them. Just as unfortunately, all other twenty-five Zakos were sent to the Shadow Musai. By the sheer lack of luck alone, he was sent to the Magna Musai alone without anyone he knew. To say he had been scared out of his little mind when he stepped onboard the new ship he would be forced to call home was an understatement. At least the resident squad leader had been nice to him… Zapper Zaku was the first to welcome him onto the ship, and the maroon warrior even took the Zako on a tour around the huge vessel on his own time. Yellow liked him much better than his old squad leader. Demon Doga was a vicious femme who was both vindictive and cruel. Zapper was her polar opposite, Yellow thought. The older colonel was bright and chipper, even considering his hardened age.

When it came time to bring Yellow to the quartering hall to set up his new bunk though, the other Zakos had completely rejected him.

« He’s from the Lucid Musai? He must be a slob. That ship is filthier than a pile of slag, zako. »

« If they shipped him over here by himself, they must have been really desperate to get rid of him. »

« I hope he’s not anywhere near my bunk, zako. »

Yellow had gone into recharge that night in tears.

His friends had promised to write to him and send him calls. They never did. After his first week on the Magna Musai — a week where no one even bothered to talk to him or sit with him during lunch break — he hadn’t heard as much as a squeak from them. He didn’t bother to try contacting them simply because he accepted that they had abandoned him. The weight of that wretched thought came crashing down when another Zako soldier — a bully named Showdown — tripped him while he was walking by to attend to a monitor. His fall was not heavy but he broke down into sobs anyways. He didn’t even care if all the others would start laughing at him. He bolted from that room faster than he could look up to see all the other Zakos’ reactions. Zapper Zaku had caught onto the fact that something was wrong when he found Yellow in tears out in the hallway and he dismissed the upset Zako from his duties for the rest of the evening without batting an optic. Then he went off marching into the room with the other Zakos with a furious expression. Yellow left to retire to his own bunk thinking that he never wanted to get on the maroon warrior’s bad side. He climbed into his own bed and went to sleep.

The following morning, he woke up early and went to get his rations in the cafeteria, but something strange happened.

Two Zakos suddenly sat down in front of him at the table he had been sitting at. Up until that point, he had been completely alone. The both of them were grinning, but their appearance weren’t malevolent in any way at all. Yellow guessed right away that they were bondmates, and the mech on the left held out his hand. « We saw what Showdown did to you yesterday, and we’re all really sorry that we were all so mean to you. No one deserves to be treated like that, zako. I’m Red by the way. The idiot next to me is Blue. » Red’s voice was cheery with a light pitch underlining the sound.

The Zako next to Red turned to look at him. He looked mildly agitated, but there was a look of admiration that shone in his pink optic. Yellow determined that the two mechs were definitely bonded.

« Very funny, zako, » Blue said. His voice was high pitched and scratchy with a grating undertone in stark contrast to Yellow’s tenor.

« Oh. » Yellow rubbed the back of his head bashfully. « What a coincidence. I’m Yellow. » Nervously, he held his hand out.

Red’s optic beamed with friendliness and he shook Yellow’s hand. « Glad to meet you, zako! Are you interested in comedy by any chance? »

By this time, Blue had held his own hand out and Yellow released Red’s to take it. As he shook it, he almost didn’t hear Red offering to let Yellow be a co-host in a show they were going to start. Zako Zako Hour or something like that. Either way, he found that he made two new best friends. The three of them became very close to inseparable after that.

He had been suffering from depression. Had been. From then on, he did not have to deal with it anymore.


iv

Chef

 
To say he was a Talgeese fan boy was an understatement, and a huge one at that.

Ever since the news of the dark knight reached the Dark Axis forces, Chef had originally been neutral towards the exciting gossip. Despite the fact that Talgeese hadn’t been a member of the Dark Axis fleet — he was merely working underneath Deathscythe, who had been part of the Axis as an ally and not necessarily an official member — the hearsay that he was aiding in the conquering of Lacroa excited a large portion of the army. Chef hadn’t minded it at first simply because he wanted to get on with his life as a soldier but, as the news of the dark knight’s exploits spread, Chef had decided to take a look into whom Talgeese actually was. Beyond the fact that he was a knight helping the Dark Axis dominate Lacroa, he didn’t know anything more.

To say he was disappointed with what he found was also an understatement.

What he found didn’t interest him all that much at first. Just like the Dark Axis army, Talgeese had taken into attempting to dispose of the knight Gundams while Deathscythe did all the major work when it came to overpowering the region with his influence alone. As he kept reading about the knight’s actual exploits in his quest to wipe out all the Gundams however, he became more and more intrigued. There were days that his best friend, Cook, had to convince him to get off the computer so that he could go recharge in his own bunk for the night. After all, there were times where Chef fell asleep reading the files on Lord T. at the console. It was not as if the knight’s files were boring him — absolutely not — but constantly reading them exhausted his little Zako memory chips. It was time well spent, however. If you asked him, he could tell the names of every battle he participated in without batting an eye and on a single breath alone.

The nights that Cook managed to convince him to get some recharge, he found that it took him a very, very long time to actually fall offline. Instead of thinking about the duties he was going to perform as a soldier the next day, he found his imagination and admiration drifting off to Talgeese. While he was a little Zako with about just as much importance as a single, individual bagubagu in a flock of millions, Lord Talgeese was an admirable warrior with just as much power as grace.

Chef was just as much envious as he was awed.

The Zako finally deactivated his optic with his hands behind his head while he rested in his bunk, and pasted there was a picture of Talgeese himself. Chef smiled to himself and his deep nasally voice was soft with his whisper. « Lord Talgeese is so cool. »

 
v

Cook

 
He fought alongside Lord Talgeese once.

Though he had not been standing directly beside the dark Lacroa knight, he had been about ten or so feet away. Cook had been stationed on the Black Musai when it became the Horn of War at Lacroa’s main castle, and since then he had been deployed to be a soldier on the direct battlefront while the rest of the knights were wiped out. He had even seen Lord T. up close and in person during one of those squabbles. The humans that survived the bagubagu had become desperate and they had charged the Dark Axis forces with what little strength they had left. Most of them had been knights, but the sorcerers had been a nuisance to deal with. That was when Lord Talgeese had been called in as backup. As a matter of fact, the white and golden mech had even barked orders at Cook to charge the weakening spell casting organics. Cook obeyed immediately, and all the humans had been wiped out. The powerful knight had been well known at that point but it was only when he was reassigned to a new ship — the Magna Musai — that he became famous. He was a Dark Axis war hero and a legend, but Cook was still an average soldier.

‘The only thing I could ever be famous for is talking to those little mechanical rat… Things… That run around the ship at night. I must be the only one who can understand them, zako,’ he thought to himself sitting on the edge of his bunk looking down at the Zakos below. He had the highest bunk on the far left wall towards the very back. It was late and many of the Zakos were starting to get ready for their recharge cycles.

Directly underneath his bunk, a Zako popped his head out to look at him. It was Chef. « Hey, Cook? »

« Yeah? »

« Can you tell me something cool about Lord Talgeese again? »

Cook laughed lightly and shook his head. Ever since he was reassigned to the Magna Musai, the only friend he made was Chef. Ironically, the mech had converted into a Talgeese fan ever since that same said knight became famous for wiping out the knight Gundams and aiding in the conquering of Lacroa. Cook sometimes wondered if it had been a bad idea to tell him that he had battled alongside Lord Talgeese. He sighed and shook his head. « I’ve told you hundreds of things about Lord T. already, Chef. I can’t think of anything else. »

Chef looked perplexed and almost disappointed. « Oh… » He looked lost for words for a moment. It looked as though he was going to dodge back inside his bunk, but then he stopped short when he saw the disappointment on Cook’s face. Cook hadn’t meant to look disappointed but, when he realized he was letting his dissatisfaction show on his facial plate, he quickly looked away to hide it.

« That’s all he ever wants to talk about,«  the Zako soldier thought drearily.

Out of the corner of his optic, Cook saw Chef’s face twist somewhat. If his features allowed for the movement, Cook supposed that the other mech would have been biting his lip. Chef was speaking again a moment later. « …What about the time you were on the Black Musai, zako? Did you see it turn into the Horn of War? Was that cool? »

Cook smiled and sighed before explaining.

He fought alongside Lord Talgeese, but he liked fighting alongside his friends so much more.


vi

Cyan

 
She was personally beginning to wonder why she even ever wanted to be a medic.

With a deep sigh, the femme Zako sat up at her desk and she glanced around the barren medical lab. Her personal office branched off to the side in what she was almost tempted to call a separate room, but the actual medical wing was huge. In one lifetime it had been a bustling place will with activity, filled with patients and doctors and medics like herself alike, but nowadays is was void of any life aside from her own. Ever since Zapper Zaku took over as the Magna Musai‘s head squad leader, the amounts of casualties they suffered dropped down to zero. No one ever went into the medical lab since then, and all the medical personnel were transferred off the ship. Being as young as she was however, and according to protocols that had to be followed, she remained behind. She had to always be on duty if anything ever happened.

« It’s not like anything IS ever going to happen. Zapper Zaku does his job taking care of us Zakos maybe TOO well…«  she thought dully. « Gods forbid something life threateningly bad ever happens, though. One little medic-bot is not equip to deal with a serious case. The commander should at least send out for another doctor in case something does go wrong. At least I wouldn’t be so lonely all down here by myself. The only ones who ever come down here to see me are Lord Destroyer and Lord Zapper and Red. They’re probably the only reason I haven’t gone insane from boredom down here yet, zako!« 

There was a sudden commotion outside her office in the actual lab and the femme immediately sprung to her feet. « Hello, zako? »

« Is someone hurt? Did I just jinx myself, zako?« 

A thousand scenarios ran through her head. Maybe Zapper Zaku had gone on a mission with some Zakos and maybe one of them had been shot in the shoulder with Captain’s automatic beam rifle. Maybe they were bleeding, possible going into shock from the energy and fuel loss. If that was the case, she had the automatic intake mask and IV already at hand. Then it was a matter of making sure that the soldier’s fuel pump was not strained to the point of a potential failure. She at least had the shock pads, but she didn’t have jumper cables in case their engine stopped.

« Then again, » she thought, « I could just rewire the shock pads so that they act as jumper cables. You have to think of all the possibilities when you’re the only medic.« 

That was a thought that frightened her. She was the only medic, and because of that there was so much pressure on her to do her job well. She was not trained as a doctor per say, but her presence on the ship meant that she was the only thing keeping a Zako from dropping dead if the occasion ever arose. Even if her place was not on the battlefield…

« My role here is just as important. Soldiers go onto the battlefield and the battlefield’s spoils come to me, » she muttered.

« It’s my job to protect everyone I can, even if I can’t save them. That won’t stop me from tying, though.« 

She quickly stood and darted out of her office. « All right, what happened?! What’s the damage?! »

The medical wing was still empty, but a single Zako soldier stood at the center of it glancing around like he had no idea where he was. At the sound of her voice, he whipped around to face her and his optic fixated on her as if he was a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. The Zako gulped and shuddered. « Uh… This isn’t the storage closet, is it? » His voice was pitched and scratchy with an obnoxious sounding undertone. Was Cook his name? That was probably it.

Either way, Cyan stood there for a very long time simply staring at the Zako. Her shoulders dropped and her optic twitched. « …You were looking for the storage closet?« 

« Erm… yeah. »

« That’s further down the hall, » she said. The artificial adrenaline running through her valves calmed and she sighed. « You’re in the medical wing. »

Cook blinked almost stupidly at her. « …We have a medical wing? »

Cyan facepalmed.


vii

Showdown
 
He had a stuttering problem. He covered it up by being a bully.

Ever since he was created for the war, there was something wrong with his voice. Vocal deformities were not considered serious enough to euthanize Zakos for — it would have been a different story if he was presently mute, or if the vocal glitch had been the product of a faulty processor — so Showdown and his stuttering were left alone and completely disregarded by the Doga Bombers at the production factory. Even though he tried to hide it at first, it still didn’t stop the glitch from showing through. When he was originally assigned to the Magna Musai, within the first week, everyone laughed at him for it. It was not as if he could originally help it of course. Whenever he wanted to say something, he just could not force his vocalizer to spit the god damned thing out. He felt absolutely awful about it, true, but there was no fixing it. Whenever he tried to practice speaking correctly, someone usually heard him and made fun of him for it.

He could not make friends. Since no one liked him, he bitterly decided to make sure that they at least feared him.

Many of the Zakos on the ship were sensitive, so he used their shortcomings to his advantage. If he found out a Zako was afraid of heights, he would taunt and tease that Zako to the point where the poor mech would either run off in tears or avoid him completely. Showdown eventually rose in the social ranks as being the ship’s number one tormenter, and his reputation earned him immediate respect among his peers. No one made fun of his stuttering after that.

Aside from his vocalizer malfunctioning, Red, a well renowned Zako who hosted the Zako Zako Hour, took him aside to have him join a mission he had been assigned to by Lord Zapper Zaku and Lord Grappler Gouf. « You’re a good fighter, Showdown. Would you mind accompanying Blue on a special mission in eight megacycles, zako? »

Showdown nodded. « S-s-sure t-thing, Red. What’re we d-d-doing? » His voice was nasally and light, like the sound of an organic speaking with a light cold. He personally liked the sound of his voice — whereas all the Zakos had the same exact look, the only thing that made them different from one another were their individual voices — but he would have loved to completely kill his stammer. Stab it, kick it while it was down, axe it, kick it again for good measure, and then throw it of the side of the Magna Musai into a boiling acid pit.

Red nodded. « You and the others are going to plant a bomb underneath Neotopia’s main city. Pipe went ahead on a scouting patrol and reported back that there are two digging robots building a tunnel. The smaller of the two is useless, but the bigger one could get you underneath the city without detection in under ten cycles. Blue already has a control horn ready and Pipe and Boomer volunteered as well. You guys are going to be The Special Team Neotopia Execution Force, for whatever ungodly reason. Boomer came up with that. He also has this weird idea that the team « quote » should be Quadra Power! Boomer can be a little odd sometimes, zako. Pipe is going along with it. »

Boomer and Pipe were best friends who trailed one another around like lovesick puppies. If Showdown didn’t know better, he’d say they were mates. They also bullied him about his stuttering, once upon a time. They didn’t bother him about it nowadays though. Showdown was more than certain that they were intimidated by him. He was not the ship’s unofficial tough guy for no reason. Not only was he a physiological harasser, but he was also a physical one too.

Red patted Showdown on his upper back. « You know, I almost convinced Yellow to go along with you guys. He’s still afraid of you for the time you tripped him, zako. It’s a shame. You’re a nice really nice guy when you’re not being a jerk. » Red held his hand out and he braced it against Showdown’s shoulder. Red was more of an acquaintance than anything else — they didn’t see each other enough to be considered friends — but it was still a comforting gesture.

At hearing what he said, Showdown slunk his shoulders miserably. He was the ship’s head tormenter, but that did not necessarily mean that he liked it. He was awfully lonely.


viii

Storm

 
The weather in the Dark Axis was frightening.

Back when the humans had populated the Axis — what they had originally called their dimension before they lost it to their robotic creations — they had cared very little for their environment. While they created huge factories to mass produce the robots that would inevitably someday conquer and destroy them, the pollution had become so bad that the skies had turned sunset gold with the smog levels. The Dark Axis had treated the environment no better when they took over, but there was not much reason for them to. Unlike the organics, they were unaffected by the negative impact of pollution. Acid rain hadn’t been a problem due to the fact the landscape below was void of water to be absorbed into the clouds for showers.

Eventually, the skies went from golden to the purple that was Dark Axis trademark. The freak weather had gotten much worse.

While all the other Zakos were generally frightened senseless of the terrible tempests, Storm received her name solely for her almost unnatural interest in them. While all the other soldiers on the Magna Musai hid within their bunks in the quartering hall, she personally saw to it that she got to witness the squalls first hand. She admired them not just for their sheer destructive power, but for all their poise as well. She was not a poetic Zako per say — her bondmate said she was sometimes, though she didn’t think so — but she found that it was easier to admire something than fear it.

As the swirling clouds of the storm lumbered closer and closer to the Magna Musai, lightning streaked through the air and Storm smiled to herself.


ix

Sightsee

 
She was sighing at him through their bondlink. Do you have to always live up to your namesake?

Sightsee was snapped out of his thoughts by Storm’s statement. He turned his head to look for her, but he saw she was already halfway across the field of flowers. She was following behind Zapper Zaku as he led their party towards the human populated city of Neotopia. The colony’s skyscraping landmark tower seemed to touch the light clouds hovering above its steel construct. It was an otherwise stunning piece of artwork in the Zako’s opinion. He was not an architect or an engineer, but he understood fully that it had to have taken months — maybe even years — to build. He could not help but to admire it when their scouting party stepped out of the Zakorello gate.

Despite the fact she was not turned to face him, Storm called out to him through their bond again. She was demanding, but her tone was light and caring with a humorous undertone.

Sightsee shook his head and laughed dully to himself. He addressed his mate through their bond as he looked away from Neotopia Tower and chased after the group. It’s too bad we’re probably going to end up destroying the city, zako. I would have liked to do some sightseeing…


x

Wing

 
He always longed to fly.

The olive green mech watched intently with his pink optic fixated on the Dogas that suddenly soared overhead in the darkening sky. A squadron of them lead by Doga Grey suddenly pivoted to the right and several of the mechs outside the formation performed a somersault as they fell back in formation behind their squad leader. All of them moved with the grace that the Zako knew damn well he lacked, but that was not what he longed to have. All he wanted was their ability to take to the skies. He envied their freedom.

The squadron suddenly pivoted again so that they flew over the Horn of War that had formed on Neotopia’s landmark tower. Their flying forms disappeared behind the massive metallic monstrosity and the Zako minion sighed before turning away to follow after his comrades as they advanced on the tower’s base. Their footfalls echoed on the abandoned city street and their shadows were cast out ahead of them like long black towers when a firefight between the Gundams and the Dogas broke out.

« Maybe someday, » he muttered out loud to himself. His voice was pinched and low when he said it, but he almost could not hear himself over the sounds of the Doga Bombers’ firing engines. « Just maybe… »

Zakos 11 through 20