【第1話: 消えた赤い機体①】

Universal Century 0087, November 16th. The Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG), along with Karaba, occupied the Earth Federation Assembly in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, a country on the west coast of the African continent. Quattro Bajeena, representative of the AEUG, announced that he was once a member of the Principality of Zeon’s military, known as the “Red Comet” Char Aznable and that he was really Casval Rem Deikun, orphaned son of Zeon Zum Deikun, then revealing to the entire world the truth about the atrocities committed by the Titans. Later known as the “Dakar Speech”, this address would dramatically shift public opinion and marked a turning point in the Gryps War.

Based on this situation, following the incident, the Gryps War was expected to unfold into an even more severe conflict, indistinguishable from an all-out war, one which the AEUG and the Titans would throw all of their capabilities at.

The AEUG, along with their sponsor, Anaheim Electronics, put into operation a plan aimed at increasing their military power. While Anaheim managed Project Zeta, a plan for developing next generation mobile suits, alongside the AEUG, they simultaneously developed plans to improve and advance several mobile suits derived from this project.

As the various other mobile suits in the project underwent development, the one shrouded in the most mystery was the MSF-007 Gundam Mk-III.

A machine of the same name was developed on the Titans side, but almost all of these disappeared from public view without ever appearing on the battlefield.

As a result of a disassembly and look into a Gundam Mk-II captured from the Titans, it was proven that this suit was constructed based on the idea of returning to the concept of a “humanoid mobile weapon as an enhanced space suit,” the concept behind the earliest mobile suits. At the same time, it was revealed that the Gundam Mk-II suffered from high structural complexity and low airframe strength, problems that were specific to Earth Federation Forces technology. Anaheim’s development team is led by Chief Engineer Fujita, who focused on the concept of returning to the starting point of the design. He adored the Gundam Mk-II so they set about designing the Mk-III, which would serve as the rough draft for the new world of mobile suits.

First, work was performed to thoroughly inspect the movable frame, which had a highly-efficient yet complex structure, then to simplify that structure while maintaining its functionality. As a result, the airframe structure, now in a form with reduced vulnerability, was reexamined and improvements to the strength of the airframe were planned. Furthermore, considerable improvements were made in order to bring back organic movements to the joints, similar to those of the human body.

What’s more, by using Gundarium alloy in the armor and movable frame, it was made more lightweight and its defensive capabilities and maneuverability were enhanced. As a result of these improvements, the Gundam Mk-III reached perfection and may be said to have been the latest evolution of general purpose mobile suits at the time.

At Anaheim, several Gundam Mk-III’s were manufactured and a few final adjustments were made to utilize the airframe’s special characteristics. Unit 8, which was one of these units, was equipped with a shield to counter standard equipped shot weaponry and the suit was finished off with a low-cost method by adding anti-beam coating which was even used on the MSN-00100 Hyaku Shiki. This resulted in a vivid red coloring. The use of red coloring by the AEUG began with the coating that was applied to the Rick Dias, Quattro Bajeena’s personal favorite suit. It was adopted as the Rick Dias’s official coloring because it had an impact on raising the profile of the suits image and thereafter became a major coloring within the AEUG. However, it is also said that the Gundam Mk-III was given a red coating with the intention of making it Quattro Bajeena’s new suit.

It was decided that the Gundam Mk-III Unit 8, secretly flown out of the lunar city of Granada, would be transported in a small transport ship under the guard of the Boyd Team to a sector in Side 2 where the AEUG’s Collier Fleet awaited. In order to avoid a sector of space monitored by the Titans, a decision was made to transport the cutting-edge unit on a route near treacherous airspace that was once Side 5.

The treacherous airspace is where the Delaz Fleet, once the greatest power of the Zeon remnants, had hidden themselves. It was full of obstacles, so there was a tendency to avoid it as a route for travel, but it could also be said that it was the ideal route for transporting this new secret weapon.

There was, however, a pitfall with this supposedly safe route.

While on the transport route, an alert that there were units of unknown affiliation resounded in the cockpits of the Boyd Team’s mobile suits and within the small transport ship.

There, the appearance of a force reconnaissance unit made up of six units in two teams from Axis, which boasted the greatest power of the Zeon remnants at the time. Their objective was to search out the Garden of Thorns, which was considered to be left behind by the annihilated Delaz Fleet. They were also carrying out a mission to receive a secret message.

To be continued…