Chapter 20 - Now There Are Two

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GEA Special Forces Submarine Nemo, North Atlantic Ocean

"Capt. Doran, we're not picking up anything on radar."

"Not surprised," Rex replied from the center of the cramped submarine's bridge. "Our preliminary reports indicate none of our scanners can detect these new mobile suits. However, the suit would have landed close to mine. See if we can lock onto its tracking beacon."

"Yes, sir," the sonar technician replied.

Rex stepped back and stared at the live video feed of the ocean floor. The calm blue-tinged images contrasted with the urgency of his search. Theo wanted that suit, preferably from him instead of whatever they could get after the Alliance Navy had picked through it. He owed his life to Theo, and he didn't want to disappoint his commanding officer and friend. And if by some chance, Theo's master plan came to fruition, the ensuing chaos would allow him to make his own move.

"Sir, we have a call coming in from Capt. Esteban of the Alliance Navy."

Rex cursed under his breath before nodding to put the call through. He'd barely greeted the captain before the naval officer tore into him.

"Capt. Doran, you are interfering with an Alliance Navy training exercise."

A training exercise? Is that what he's calling this retrieval mission? "I'm terribly sorry, captain, and I'll gladly leave once my engine has been repaired."

His sonar technician looked up at him in confusion, and Rex suppressed the urge to grin.

"I'm afraid I can't have you interrupting my mission," Capt. Esteban replied.

"I, too, have my own mission, and I'd hate to report your lack of assistance to Col. Alexandrov, especially when I believe you're up for admiral soon."

The second he dropped Theo's name, the naval officer's eyes widened. As both leader of the Special Forces and stepson of Duke Carrara, Theo's opinion carried considerable weight. "Let's not be too hasty."

"Please allow my submarine to dock in your repair bay so we can fix the engine and be on our way. I'll even allow you to inspect the new Bedivere suits we have on board."

The captain's eyes shifted to the side as though he were thinking it through before he nodded. "You have my permission to come on board and see to your repairs, Capt. Doran, but after that, I want you gone."

"Thank you." Rex ended the call and chuckled.

"Sir, there's nothing wrong with our engines," the sonar technician said.

"I know that. It's just an excuse to stay in the area long enough to complete our mission without accidentally getting torpedoed." He'd witnessed enough pettiness from Alliance Military officers to know they had it out for any member of the Special Forces, especially him.

And if any of them found out who he truly was, he'd probably be executed on the spot. The son of a fallen opposition leader would instantly be viewed as a traitor, no matter now long he'd served the Alliance. Some names, people never forgot.

As they approached the carrier, a blip appeared on the rim of the sonar screen. "Sir, we've located your suit."

But as they got closer, they detected half a dozen other blips around it.

Rex rubbed his chin. "It seems Capt. Esteban is utilizing the underwater adapted Lancelot suits."

"Think he's looking for that rebel suit, too?"

"Absolutely. That's why we need to find it first."

Rex left the control room and crossed the small submarine to the forward chutes holding the Bedivere prototype suits. Unlike the Galahad's, which were loosely based on the existing Lancelot suits, the Bediveres were one man attack submarines. They were small and quick, able to engage in underwater battles at speeds much faster than any ship in the military. They could evade torpedoes, slip around mines, and fire specially designed underwater laser cannons that could destroy an aircraft carrier like the one they were approaching with just a few blasts. It was just the technology he'd need if he wanted to defeat those rebel suits.

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