Jon: *Stepping slowly into the room, and then bowing low to all.* Well, after a ~very~ long absence, Garion's introduction is starting again. *Grins.* And due to various...feedback, it's being chopped into three parts.

 

Garion: *A slight smile forming.* At least this part's short.

 

Jon: *Glares at his character for a moment and then shrugs with a chuckle.* He's right, so without further adieu, here's the fic.

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When the Changewinds Blow - Part 1

~ indicates thoughts.

* indicate a time break.

^ indicates the start and end of the story.

Kourei, Kida. (And I apologize if that is the wrong syntax - hopefully I'll find out before posting and fix it...)

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The shuttle ride to Yggdrasil had been very long - about a week, which meant plenty of time to think on the events that had lead up to it. Though the why or where this had been going was still a bit murky, as Garion's father - the General - hadn't really gotten into details. Well, perhaps reviewing the last few months might help...

******

Four months ago Garion had joined the "Silver Panthers" MS simulation squad, part of the Perseus colony's MS simulator league - which, in turn, was part of the Colonies-wide league. For the first few days it had been rough, trying to fit into their well-knit group, but his military training - there was NO way his father would let him get out of at least a few years of that - had resurfaced and things had smoothed out. In his first battle with the squad their mission had been to seek out some "pirate" MSs, track them back to base, then destroy them. Simple enough, right? Wrong.

The pirates "intercepted" a transmission between his squad and Home Base just before reaching their well-hidden base. Luckily, one was a newbie, so turned and fled the rest of the way back to the base before any of the other pirates could stop him. The rest of the Enemy quickly turned back and settled in for a fire-fight behind some rather rocky cover. Casualties to the Silver Panthers were high, but they won in the end - in no small part due to Garion suddenly sneaking up behind the enemy through a ravine they'd missed, and blowing a few of them to bits before they could respond. That first battle was quickly followed by more. Garion used tactics and strategy, somehow managing to either pull the squad's ass out of the fire or making their victory a bit better several times. Oh, they still lost, but not as much or as badly as most of the others in the same situations.

He rose in the ranks as the "officers" were promoted, died in the simulations, or moved to other things - besides, his record was impressive. By the middle of the third month he was leading the Silver Panthers, where his tactics and strategies became more apparent and effective. The squad's casualty average dropped while their victory totals rose a bit more. Throughout the Colonies, there was perhaps six other squads that matched them. He'd even received offers to become a field commander in the larger battles - responsible for several squads.

However, before that could happen, his father suddenly summoned Garion to his office to discuss something. After taking the offered seat, the General had smiled and then leaned forward a little. "Son, I've got something to tell you...due to some efforts on my part, the military has requested you join a Preventeer squad. It's headquarters on Yggdrasil, and I've heard that it's filled with the some very good people from several different fields due to being a bit of an R&D place...."

Sapphire blue eyes had stared at his father in shock, the first sentence alone he'd never expected, let alone prepared for. "But, sir, why me?" The words cut off the General mid-sentence, which earned Garion a small glare from eyes just as blue as the General's one hand pulled off his cap - brown hair being close-cropped, of course, - and put it on the desk.

A faint smile curved the lips as the General replied calmly, "I sent your Silver Panther simulation records to someone fairly high in Recruitment, and somehow they went from there to the leader of this squad. He liked what he saw, and requested your immediate recruitment and assignment to his base - assuming you can pass their requirements." He paused, looking to Garion expectantly while waiting for the 27 yr. old to come to grips with all of this.

"Okay...", Garion's right hand had run through his shoulder-length, raven black, hair. As it did, a brief flash of a phoenix tattoo rising from it's ashes - done in various shades of blue - on the forearm, was seen. "I suppose I can accept that. Not a lot of information to work with, but...", a smile quirked at the lips. "When do I leave?"

"In two days." The General returned the smile, and rose to come around the desk, motioning for Garion to stand for a big hug. "I'm proud of you, son. I know you can make it in this squad, whatever it is...after all, I raised you." He chuckled, then let Garion go for a handshake and beaming smile. "Anything you need, just ask - I'll even toss in whatever MS type you want to have."

"Thank-you, sir, but I think I'll leave the MS type open for the moment - until after I've seen what they have and what they need. After all, since I can pretty much pilot any MS - or anything else - quickly, that shouldn't be a problem." With another smile, Garion broke the handshake....

*****

A short while later Garion returned to his apartment to be greeted by the impatient ringing of his vid-phone. Leaving the groceries he'd picked up at the door the call was quickly picked up, and the sight of his small but beautiful mother, with her jade green eyes and long black hair the same hue as his, replaced the blankness on the screen. However, she didn't look all that happy at the moment about something, and features some had compared to the ancient stories of the fey were troubled. ~Oh, boy...~ He'd been somewhat expecting this moment since the meeting, and it wasn't with anticipation.

Her first words confimed the feelings. "Garion Leduke, I was just called by a friend at the base that told me you had a meeting with your father." A long pause ensued while jade green eyes studied him. "Are you going back into the military?" Both dread and resignation float upon the tones of her voice after all she'd never wanted him to go into the military in the first place.

A soft sigh escaped his lips and then his sapphire eyes met hers through the vid-screen without flinching and with strong resolution. "Yes, mother. I've been invited to join a group of Preventers on Yggdrasil. It sounds like they may be trying something new."

Slowly she nodded, and then brushed away a single tear from her left eye. A small smile formed dispite her obvious pain at the situation. "Well I did raise you to make your own decisions, so I can't very well be angry when you go and make one." A moment her jade eyes light up with amusement before she continues. "However, I hope they've good cooks on that base, because you can barely peel a potato sometimes let alone cook it."

Her right hand raised as if she might reach out to stroke the fingers through his shoulder-length, raven-black hair. "Now you pack up all that you need to begin with, and then I'll head over there a few days after you leave to be sure everythings alright plus pick up whatever you're likely going to forget. Be careful, and I fully expect you to write to your father and I regularily."

Grinning softly he saluted her. "Yes, Ma'am!!!" A moment later he saw the amusement float into her eyes and smile, letting it sink in a bit more before continuing: "I'll be alright, mom. It's not like I'll be a complete rookie there, and you helped raise me to be a very careful person. I'll write as often as I can, but with the distance they'll be a bit outdated even via e-mail."

"I love you, Garion."

"I love you too, mom."

And with that the vid-phone screen went blank again as she cut the connection. Garion turned back to the bags of food while swallowing a lump of emotions that had caught in his throat. Still he got things tucked away, and dispite her comments made a passable dinner of boneless chicken breasts maranated in a zesty italian salad dressing plus some fettucini alfredo. Finally he went to bed exhausted in many ways.

The next two days had passed in a blur, as Garion informed the Panthers, and received many congratulations from them. Then he'd packed up what was figured best to take, said good-bye to close friends and his family, and finally headed off to the spaceport on a bright, sunny, morning. It hadn't taken all that much to weave through the crowds to the proper gate, and from there onto the shuttle to Yggdrasil.

The first few days passed by as he read a bit of Aristotle's, Sun Tzu's, and a couple others' works, but then curiosity and anxiety about where he was going and why began to nibble at him. What squad was it? Why him? He was 27, in great shape due to Kendo and Kempo, but still... The thoughts became rather circular at that point, and for several hours remained so. It took a fair amount of willpower before he'd shoved the mess out of mind and just resolved to wait and see...when a ping sounded and the captain announced the shuttle's arrival to Yggdrasil.

~Already?~ A look of puzzlement fluttered over his suntanned features as the sapphire-blue eyes glanced at a time display just overhead. Somehow in his memory wanderings and sleep the last few hours had passed, a small chuckle escaped, as shoulders were rolled to stretch them out after sitting for so long. Reaching beneath the seat he pulled out the pair of daisho that were so much a part of him before heading to the shuttle exit to meet his next adventure.