Faint shadows dance in the wavering firelight of an enclosed quarters, deep within the crew decks of the monsterous command carrier Fitzgerald. A shallow sense of warmth lingers as the flame dies, but it does not seem to take away the numbness of truth.
"Recording." Fleet Admiral Phillip Kingsley gives his glass a subtle turn, letting two ice cubes collide in a tiny sea of brandy. His military greatcoat, worn with the dust of Frontier 4-3's artificial plains, is cast over a nearby chair, the dying light drawing a shadowy image of it on the wall.
"Retreating from the field is the hardest thing for any commander to do. Not for the mark it leaves on some battle record, or the shame of losing face. It is the regret of wasting lives; throwing away good men and women with no gain. How many people did I send to die today? The casualty reports say 14."
"I can only hope that, by at least showing enough strength to draw such a devestating stalemate, we have warded off any future aggression by these colonies." A faint laugh echos. "Look at me, treating them like the villians, when I'm the one who took from them."
"I suppose that, in our pursuit for a home, we have taken up old ways. I could rationalise it; the people of Frontier 4-1 are living better under us than they ever have. In a few years, we'll be able to give the civilian government back its control. We just need to keep reconstruction on track. But war intervenes."
"Damn that blasted company... Thanks to Tresdemo Terra, we're committed to fight. Holding food and water over our heads, demanding payment for their weapons... it's barbaric. No matter how much we give, we'll still be their puppets, always one step away from freedom."
"I blame myself. Thanks to my impatience, we've binded ourselves to that band of corporate thugs. Even if we negotiate a peace with the Frontier colonies, they'll still demand that we seize something else for them. And if we try to inform the public..." A long sigh. "We're all dead."
"This war cannot go on forever. Already, we've depleted much of our resources. Thirty-nine of our original fifty-two Ahzi are fully operational, leaving us with about seventy mobile suits. One of our ships was crippled yesterday, and will likely be weeks in a shipyard before Tresdemo returns it."
"Desperate times are calling for radical measures. As it stands, I'm prepared to try anything... we just need to get away from that company. Perhaps the answer is right in front of us... we just need to know where to look."
"Troop reviews begin in five minutes. I'll finish this later." The recorder clicks, and the light finally fades, swallowed in total darkness.