Faith on a Posterboard

By Berzerker_prime

Author’s Note/Warning:
     My GOD but this fic is extremely WAFFy!  WAFF for WAFF’s sake is definitely not what I normally write, but a particularly warm and fuzzy plot bunny hopped into my brain and took up residence.
     Anyhow, feel free to R/R anyway.  Fanfic authors love feedback.  ^_^


     Newtypes couldn’t be real.  It was simply impossible.
     In one of those rare calms between battles, Bright Noah allowed himself a moment alone in his quarters aboard White Base.  Presently, he was sprawled out on his bunk, arms folded under his head and legs crossed at the ankles, staring up at the blank ceiling of the dark, little room.  There were no windows and he decided that it was just as well; he didn’t want to have the ship suddenly angle so that he was left with a clear view of the lonely Earth floating among the harsh, uninviting stars.
     It served to accentuate his point.
     Newtypes couldn’t be real.
     He had seen much during the course of this war; things that would forever haunt him and forever affect him in ways he could only imagine for now.  None the least of which were the various instances when Amuro had shown some amazing, almost ethereal-seeming talents in the Gundam.
     Reaction time.  That was all it was.  Just a simple, fast, amazingly accurate, superhuman reaction time that shouldn’t exist.
     Newtypes couldn’t be real.
     Now the war against the Duchy of Zeon had passed a turning point.  Solomon Base had fallen to the Federation onslaught and Giren Zabi was setting up A Bao A Qu as his final line of defense of Side Three.  Granada Base on the Moon was hardly of any consequence.  Giren Zabi would never be allowed to create his master race.
     Besides… the dictator was mistaken.  Newtypes couldn’t be real.
     Inexplicably, Bright felt a headache begin to form behind his eyes.  It felt as though there were a thousand voices in his head shouting conflicting facts at him.  He was about to get up to find the small bottle of aspirin in his desk when there was a rap at his door.
     He had a feeling about who it was.  There weren’t many people aboard White Base who were comfortable with showing up at his quarters after he had made it known that he was off to take a breather.
     “Enter,” he said, sitting up and reaching over to the wall to flick the lights on.  He squinted back the light as he heard his door open and close again.
     Sure enough, Mirai had come to check after him once again.
     “I hope this isn’t a bad time,” she said in her typical non-confrontational way.
     “Not at all, Mirai,” Bright responded, “c’mon in.  Is there something I can do for you?”
     “Actually, I was wondering if you were all right,” she stated, “you seemed like you had a lot on your mind when he left the bridge.  After all that talk about Newtypes, you just seemed kinda… disturbed by something.”
     Amazing!  They had known each other three months and yet she was able to read him like a glowing, orange, neon sign!  Not even his own family had ever been able to do that.
     He sighed.  “I guess it’s just all the propaganda peddling that’s going on,” he said, “all this Newtype stuff.  I can’t seem to bring myself to really believe in it.”
     Mirai looked more than a little confused.  “You, Bright?” she asked.  “After everything we’ve seen here on White Base?”
     “More like in spite of it, I guess,” he responded, flopping back on the bed again as Mirai pulled out his desk chair and planted herself in it.  “I’ve been thinking about it and… I dunno, I just can’t help but think that Newtypes represent just yet another way Earthers are different from Colonists.  Sounds like Zeon propaganda, to me.  And that’s exactly what I signed on to fight.  Giren Zabi can’t be right.  Humanity hasn’t split into two different races, we’re still all one species.  I can’t except anything else.”
     “So you’re just being stubborn.”
     “You betcha.”
     “You’re lying.”
     Bright looked over at her with an expression that asked her to elaborate.
     “You’ve seen too much to truly believe in that weak excuse,” she told him, “and besides; Amuro was born on Earth and he’s the most powerful Newtype the Federation has.  That argument doesn’t hold water.  You’re clinging to something else.  So let’s have it; what’s the real reason?”
     Bright sat up again and studiously looked at his two hands in his lap as if expecting them to do something he might not expect.
     “You’re gonna laugh,” he said.
     “What?” Mirai asked, genuinely confused as to why Bright would say that.  It seemed like such a childish thing for him, of all people, to say.
     “You’re gonna laugh,” Bright repeated, “you’re going to think it’s ridiculous.”
     “Any more ridiculous than a group of teenagers crewing a warship?  I’ve reached the point where nothing phases me any more.”
     “You don’t know how lucky you are.”
     “You’re stalling.”
     “Promise you won’t laugh?”
     He fidgeted under her gaze, shifting uncomfortably.  Finally, he decided the best – and only – way out was to just come out and say it.
     “They… they say that the war is what did it and that everyone aboard White Base has changed because of all the fighting.  They say that it’s because everyone has been forced to push their senses to the limits and… and everyone’s changed.”
     There was a pause.  “And?” Mirai prompted.
     Bright’s voice dropped to a whisper and he spit it out quickly as if trying to squeeze it in without her noticing.  “And I haven’t.”
     Mirai blinked and studied Bright for a moment.  Then, she fought down an amused grin.  “You’re feeling left out!?”  Unfortunately, she hadn’t quite managed to keep her grin from seeping into her voice.
     “You see?  I knew you’d laugh.”
     “I’m not laughing!”
     “Yes you are!”
     “Do you see me laughing?”
     “Your eyes are laughing!  I mean… uh…”  Bright stumbled over his own words as soon as he had said it.  He hadn’t meant to say it, but it had popped out of his mouth before he had had a chance to stop it.  Now he wished he was back on Earth for the simple reason that there he could dig a hole, climb in, and pull the dirt in over himself.  Hard to do that on a space faring warship.
     Mercifully, Mirai didn’t ask what he had meant.  Instead, she carefully returned her tone to a serious one.  “Bright, what makes you think you haven’t changed?” she asked.
     “I just don’t feel the things everyone else says they feel.”
     “That doesn’t mean anything.  The Bright Noah I met three months ago wouldn’t ever have sat here and had this talk.  He would have considered it fraternization or something.”
     Bright grunted in agreement, allowing himself a slight laugh.  He certainly couldn’t dispute that.  He had very nearly had a stroke when Captain Paolo had handed over ships operations to a bunch of civilians.
     “Anyway,” Mirai continued, “you had something going into this that the rest of us didn’t.”
     “What do you mean?”
     “Military training.  Unlike the rest of us, you were prepared for what this war brought, to some degree, at least.  We were just…” and here she made a tossing gesture with one hand.  “… thrown in.  With us it was sink or swim, but you at least had an idea of what you were doing.”
     “You’re kidding, right?”
     “No, I am not kidding.  Whether you realize it or not, you were light years more prepared for this war than the rest of us.  So, obviously the fighting wouldn’t have had the same effect on you as it has on the rest of us.”
     Bright sighed once more.  “Maybe you’re right.  Maybe I am just thinking about it too much.”
     “You are,” Mirai agreed, then got up out of the chair she had been sitting on, “now then, I should get back to the bridge.  I can’t remember if I left Marker or Oscar in charge.”
     “Rozencrantz and gentle Guildenstern or Guildenstern and gentle Rozencrantz?”
     “Which one do you think has been flipping the coin all this time?”  Bright asked, getting to his feet.
     “They do seem to have stepped out of a Stoppard play, don’t they?”
     Bright laughed his agreement as Mirai made her way to the door.  “Anyway, uh… thanks for checking in on me, Mirai.”
     “No problem,” she responded, opening the door, “and don’t be so hard on yourself; it took an extraordinary person to get us where we are right now before getting us killed.”
     Bright rolled his eyes.  “Don’t jinx it,” he said.
     She smiled an encouraging smile at him and exited through the door.  Bright pushed it closed after her.
     He stood there for a moment, studying his hand as he slowly pulled it away from the door, wondering if he had just done the right thing, said the right thing.  It seemed as though he had managed to dodge the final detail, like he had managed to make her skip over it by glancing off of it in a roundabout way.  But there was something in him that said he hadn’t heard the last of Mirai’s words on this topic.
     What he had said was true; the war hadn’t changed him.
     It hadn’t needed to.
     Why had it skipped him over?  If the war was making people into people who could fight a war then…
     Newtypes couldn’t exist.  It was impossible.