Soldiers Rise and Fall
Deona Lindholm


Any number of things could have been the first sign of trouble, and the kind that would make everything that Shion and her friends had gone through seem like child’s play. It could have been the strange quiet that had descended upon the analysis room once everyone had emerged from the Encephalon dive. Everyone had tried to hard to recover the Y-Data after Albedo had tried to hack into MOMO during the analysis and she had destroyed her mind to protect it. That madman had manipulated everyone, especially Jr, and had gained the Y-Data, even though MOMO was restored. It could have also been the trepidation that everyone felt, wondering what the U.R.T.V would do now that he had gained what had been sought, as well as if there was any way to get it back for the second Miltian government. However, none of those things was the first sign, and it was the least expected.

The sign came in the form of sharp, piercing pain in Junior as the heart in his right chest, the one that had once belonged to Albedo when they were joined at the back, seized and stopped beating. At the time he didn’t know if his brother had died, or simply become a being on a higher plane, like he had talked about as of late. Most looked at him with expressions of sharp concern, although chaos’ eyes narrowed in worry, especially when the ruby-haired lad explained what was going on while trying to breathe. As the platinum-haired boy moved and helped Jr. up, he had a strong feeling that their real troubles had just begun, and that even the Song of Nephilim would pale in consideration.

At Fifth Jerusalem, that set of “real troubles” took on the form of a report, one that instantly stunned the Parliament. The Abyss, a nickname that everyone had for a region of space occupied by two black holes, side-by-side, had suddenly reappeared. A charted area of space that was unreadable was abruptly visible as well. The Parliament knew that it meant only one thing: after fourteen years, the path to Old Miltia had been unsealed. Almost instantaneously, something rather unthinkable happened, first reported by a small patrol of ships that were nearby.

I'm a soldier, znachit ya
I otvyetchik i sud'ya
Ya stoyu na dvukh kontsakh ognya
Ogibaya virazhi, obgonyaya smyert' i zhizn'
Ya byegu srazit'sya s tyen'yu lzhi

The ship that first saw the unthinkable was the Garude. It was assigned to go to the UMN column that had been sealed and check out the situation, as well as confirm that Old Miltia had indeed become accessible again. On the way over, the vessel had a…little encounter. Strange ships that the captain, Barstow, had never seen before had come up alongside them. Ships that were small and thin, some with spines all across a circular saucer…as well as larger ones that resembled A.M.W.S, but using a design that none were familiar with.

“Check the records for anything that matches,” he had ordered. Only seconds later, he got his reply, first in his mind, confirmed by the navigator.

“Captain, you’re not going to believe this…but these guys are from the Immigrant Fleet!” a young man in his mid-twenties, exclaimed in disbelief.

A moment later, as Barstow ordered to open a communications line, the ship promptly shook under a barrage of laser fire. The question on the minds of everyone as the captain ordered to engage the apparent enemy was this: Had the Immigrant Fleet been lying to everyone all this time? What was going on?

The battle continued, and Barstow had a strong, sickly feeling that he would fall here. “Send a message to Fifth Jerusalem at once. Let them know what these bastards are doing.”

skol'ko b nityey nye plyol obman
pokazhyet lik svyeta istina

At Fifth Jerusalem, reports began to flow in, most panicked, some seeming resigned in nature, and all of them rather confused. The Immigrant Fleet, lead by the Pope, had begun attacking Federation ships almost the moment that Miltia became accessible. Most of the ships that were coming under fire were destroyed within minutes, with only minute losses. Another thing that confused everyone was the technology of the enemy. They had not known just how much the Immigrant Fleet had been withholding…and now humans were paying for it.

Amidst the chaos caused by the loss of ships, a single, clear message came through, which caused everyone, even the Contact Subcommitee, to convene: The fleet’s destination was Old Miltia. Those higher-up in the chain of command knew just what lay there, namely the Original Zohar that had been sealed with it. Lately, the now-enemies had tried to lay claim to it, under the grounds that they had rights as its caretakers. Just how much of it was true and how much was false, few knew.

One of the children, a redhead girl named Celia, was playing with a neighbor’s child in sector two of the city, on Second Miltia. A short distance away, Shion and chaos were at Moby Dick’s cafe, having some lunch. The group had gotten some time to breathe after the failed analysis and debriefings thereafter, so most were taking time to relax in different parts of the city. The young woman had to admit, she was rather surprised when the mysterious engineer had asked her and was certainly glad to accept.

Shion chided quietly when the young-looking man had ordered seconds on the curry, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you’re becoming addicted to that.”

chaos looked up and replied with a little smile, “Maybe I am. If so, I’d say it’s your fault for introducing it to me on the Elsa.”

Both laughed at this. The Vector engineer saw that he was looking at her with a soft expression and was puzzled by it. She certainly was starting to feel…something for the Elsa’s engineer, but wasn’t sure what…not yet.

“chaos, you’re certainly acting a bit different lately,” she asked at one point, “Is something wrong?”

“Not really anything wrong…more like I realized, maybe realized them again… a few things from the events a short time ago, like when KOS-MOS saved us when we landed…as well as when we saw Sakura Mizrahi’s memories during the Encephalon dive. So…I just try to enjoy life a bit more, that’s all…especially with friends and those close to me.”

She chuckled and asked, “chaos, do…do you have anyone like that?”

He merely gave her one of his mysterious smiles and replied, “Friends are always close to the ones that have them, right? It’s the same with me.”

“I know what you mean,” she replied with a sigh. After she ate some more curry, she said, “I heard that MOMO and Dr. Mizrahi are actually starting to communicate. I’m relieved. It was starting to look as though Juli Mizrahi hated her…and it’s not right.”

“You’re right, there. We’re not the only ones that learned or re-learned something from what happened to MOMO. So did the doctor and Jr.” Her commuicator beeped at her and she activated it, thinking it was maybe representative Helmer, or Gaignun Kukai. The actual caller startled her, and with good reason.

The person on the other line was a very familiar man with white hair in a short yet unique style, claret eyes and a calm, soothing voice. chaos saw him and barely held back a hiss, thankful that the man on the other end could not see him and that Shion was focused on the caller, for sharp anger sparked in his eyes.

Wilhelm. Just what does he want with Shion?

“CEO Wilhelm,” Shion greeted at almost the same time, “To what do I have the honor of speaking with you?” “Shion, it’s been some time,” Wilhelm replied, “Good to see that you’re still perspective and alive.” He took a breath before he continued, “As you know by now, the Federation is under attack by the Immigrant Fleet, and their destination. I have issued a general recall of all Vector staff to their work locations, galaxy-wide. In your case, I want you and KOS-MOS to return to the Dammerung as soon as humanly possible.

Shion blinked as she heard this. She had been expecting this, had said so quietly, yet somehow, she really didn’t believe it in her heart. She kept her voice smooth as she replied, “I will need only a little time to get things together. I will be there soon, sir.”

“Excellent. I look forward to seeing you,” was the reply before Wilhelm signed off. When she looked up, she saw that chaos’ expression was distant, angry…and at the same time, in pain, moreso than usual. “What’s wrong?”

“Hm? Oh….it’s nothing. After we finish lunch, you had best see to getting packed,” he replied quietly.

“Yeah…” her voice trailed off. As they ate, chaos would at times look at her rather softly and smile…and at times, his translucent blue eyes would shine with warmth.

Save your tears
for the day
when our pain is far behind
on your feet
come with me
we are soldiers stand or die

In sector one, Shion walked with chaos, having gotten packed and ready to go to the spaceport. She had gotten a message from Allen saying that he would take KOS-MOS and meet her there, so she didn’t need to go to the Second Division headquarters. A short distance away, Celia was sitting on a bench, talking to her neighbor when she suddenly burst into tears and ran. In her grief, she smacked into the Vector employee, and the neighbor was hurrying to them. The little girl threw her arms around the woman while the neighbor, Sandae, said, “I’m really sorry…it’s just that…Celia’s parents were both in the Galaxy Federation. We just found out that they were stationed on the Garude, and had died when the ship was destroyed.”

The Vector chief winced as she heard this. She definitely knew what the little girl was going through, having lost both her parents during the Miltian Conflict. She crouched and gave the little girl a big hug. “Does she have any family left?” she asked Sandae.

“She’s got an uncle and aunt on Fifth Jerusalem…she’ll likely be going to live there as soon as it’s safe to travel,” was the quiet reply.

chaos nodded, murmured apologies, and ruffled the girl’s hair a bit playfully as he whispered something. Celia nodded but still wept, letting Sandae lead her off.

“What’d you tell her?” Shion asked, curious.

“Just to be strong…and that her parents are always watching over her, and she won’t be alone, even in a place like Fifth Jerusalem.”

She nodded, “I hope so…she’s gone through a lot, too…in some ways, less and more than I did.” She then looked to her friend upon hearing a soft, shivering gasp and peered, concerned suddenly.

The expression on chaos’ face was pained, and his eyes actually glistened as he watched the duo leave.

“chaos?” Shion asked when she saw the look.

“In some ways,” he murmured, “Children are lucky. When they hurt, they can cry. But soldiers…they can’t. Not until the battle is over and far behind them. I wonder…when I stopped being a person and became a soldier…?”

Shion shook her head and said, “I was thinking the same thing…just when did I become a soldier…?” She shook her head and added, “I think soldiers do too. I’ve seen a few weep over lost loved ones. Just…that they do it when others aren’t looking.”

The younger man released a shuddering sigh and said, “Perhaps…” He blinked quickly and said, “I…I have to let the others know what’s going on. I’m sorry.” He wasn’t about to admit it to Shion just yet, but ever since shortly after they met on the Else, he had been slowly yet surely falling in love. He had no idea if she felt the same way or not, but ever since he realized his own feelings, he made a silent vow that he would protect both Shion and KOS-MOS from harm…no matter what. Parting from her hurt now, as he had wanted to see her off at the spaceport.

“You’re right. I’ll try to keep in touch, so you do the same, ok?” she asked, which he nodded to emphatically. She then turned and started to go when she heard his sharp exclamation.


She turned back and was about to ask what he wanted when she was rather surprised by a rather sudden action: chaos wrapped his arms around her, hugging the Vector woman warmly and tightly. She smiled a little smile and hugged him back.

“Be careful, okay Shion?” he whispered quietly after a moment.

“You too,” she murmured, broke the embrace, then took off.

As she became small in the distance, chaos stared after her. The glistening in his eyes changed as a pair of silver tears trickled down his face. “Perhaps soldiers do…”

Save your fears
take your place
save them for the judgement day
fast and free
follow me
time to make the sacrifice
we rise or fall

Across the galaxy, the news made hundreds of people confused, angry, alarmed…even afraid. Some began to cower, remembering the Miltian Confict that happened fourteen years ago, feared a repeat at the least, or the end of everything at the most. As the civilians began to far, more soldiers swallowed the fear and pain and took their places at the forefront of battle against the Immigrant Fleet, trying to prevent the enemy from reaching Miltia. There were very few heroes that rose from that, but more that came as a result were soldiers fallen in battle as ships exploded…and the enemy fleet advanced closer to the planet.

I'm a soldier, born to stand
in this waking hell I am
witnessing more than I can compute

pray myself we don't forget
lies, betrayed and the oppressed
please give me the strength to be the truth

Representative Helmer listened quietly as he listened to not only a representative from the Parliament, but also to the CEO of vector, Wilhelm. The situation was becoming more and more like a living hell just awakening, and more overwhelming by the second. Officially, Vector Industries would be taking a neutral position. Unoffically, though, was another story. The CEO had established a hotline between Second Miltia and himself, and there was something else in the works…something very covert.  

people facing the fire together
if we don't,we'll lose all we have found

“As you know, if this doesn’t work,” Wilhelm added to Helmer, “there will be many more casualties, and the Miltian Conflict will be a child’s toy in comparison. We have been at odds, the Federation and the Foundation, but if any of us are to survive…”

The black man nodded, his face rather grim. “We’re going to have to work together. This is no time for petty arguments. Alright, we’ll do it.”

“Excellent. Now this is what the Foundation will be doing in the meantime…”

Save your tears
for the day
when our pain is far behind
on your feet
come with me
we are soldiers stand or die

Save your fears
take your place
save them for the judgement day
fast and free
follow me
time to make the sacrifice
we rise or fall

Gaignun Kukai frowned as he listened to the two people that were on his screen: Representative Helmer and another. There would be a very covert mission, one supported by Vector and the Contact Subcommittee, and to be carried out by the Kukai Foundation. It would certainly call for the Durandal or the Elsa and its now-popular crew. Ziggurat 8 and the 100-series Realian, MOMO, would be going along, as would two people that Helmer knew from the Miltian conflict…well, one was a person, anyway, Jin Uzuki. The other was a special Realian named Canaan. The mission itself was extremely risky. The ship chosen would make its way to Old Miltia and secure the Original Zohar. The Federation could not make any moves, as it was very possible that the Immigrant Fleet had taken control of the ancient relic. No matter what happened, there was the strong likelihood of sacrifices that would be made.

The Durandal is too well-known, especially lately. The Elsa, on the other hand, is just a freighter, as far as anyone knows, not to mention a small ship.

“Actually,” Gaignun said, “I know just the ship to use.”

Za myechtoyu nakray propasti
Lish' tol'ko tak mozhno mir spasti

chaos had listened as Gaignun Kukai spoke to Captain Matthews on the Elsa, explaining the mission to Old Miltia. There would be extra crew, both old comrades from the Miltian Conflict, Jin and Canaan. Now, several parasecs away, as he thought back on it, he felt himself shudder. The only way they would be able to save this universe, this world they all lived in, they would have to skirt by the Abyss, the name given to a pair of black holes. And if they failed, the true Abyss awaited.

Ty nye plach',
Slyozy spryach',
Ved' nastanyet novyy den'
Tvoy ogon'
Budyet tysyachi syerdets

He thought back to when, on Second Miltia…

Shion entered the space port and immediately went towards the back. On the way over, she had received another call, although it was a secretary with a message from Wilhelm, saying that passage to the Dammerung had been taken care of. As she walked, her thoughts turned to the events, starting with the Woglinde, all the way up to this very moment. The thought spoken was more true than she realized. Somehow, at some time, they had stopped being regular people and became soldiers, fighting in a war that they could barely grasp. She thought of what had happened in KOS-MOS’s Encephalon, and what Nephilim had revealed, as well as what she had said about it to chaos just a short time ago.

“My thoughts are turning to chaos a lot these days…I wonder, could he feel the…?” She shook her head, “Stop being a hopeless romantic, Shion. War is no time for things like that. Besides—”

“On the contrary…maybe during wartime, it’s something important, Shion, giving soldiers something to live for and return home,” she heard a very familiar voice reply behind her.

Shion turned around and was very surprised by what she saw.

chaos stood in front of her, his usual shy, little smile in place, which clashed with his normal expression of sorrow. She turned beet red and stammered a little, which made him chuckle. She was pretty sure he had heard her.

“I thought you had to go somewhere in a hurry,” she managed to say.

“I changed my mind,” he tried to say nonchalantly, but it failed, as there was underlying softness to his tone as well, “They can wait for a few minutes.”

She simply smiled and nodded, understanding, then blinked as she felt the soft embrace from before.

If chaos’ tone had been soft before, it was truly so now as he said, “Shion, promise me something…that you and KOS-MOS will survive this until we meet again. Don’t get yourselves killed, all right? For me, stay alive.”

She nodded, “Same to you, chaos,” and chuckled.

The young-seeming crewman peered into her eyes and the next thing she knew, she felt something send a warm shock through her that wasn’t unpleasant, one that made her respond as chaos kissed her softly on the lips. After couple of moments, she faintly heard the voice of KOS-MOS, as well as Allen’s as they arrived at the spaceport. It seemed that chaos did too as they moved back slowly and he whispered, “I promise.”

Shion nodded and said, “I’ll definitely see you later, then,” smiled softly and left to join the other two that were going to the Dammerung.

chaos remembered that tears had flowed from his eyes as Shion left. When he realized what was going on, he had hastily wiped his eyes long enough to go somewhere isolated so that he could calm enough to go about his business. After a few minutes, he was able to do just that. He remembered something that Shion did not know: just before he had kissed her in the spaceport, he had used only a small portion of his ability to encourage the people within that nothing noteworthy was going on, and had it last until he had left, headed for other parts of the city to calm himself and let the others know that Shion, Allen and KOS-MOS had gone to the Dammerung. Now, he looked out of one of the windows of the Elsa, where Vector’s main ship that housed the First Division would be at, then lay down on his bed for some sleep.

“KOS-MOS, Shion…stay alive—“ He gasped involuntarily as he felt something rather strong enter him, a kind of sense. The first time he had felt it, it had awakened him from a rather peaceful sleep. When he followed the sense to the source, the bridge, was when he had met both women for the first time.

Now, he quickly sat up and hurried to the bridge. The sense this time felt rather…urgent.

A syeychas podnimis'
Spryach' podal'shye bol' i strakh
Pobyedit tot, kto prav
Znay, chto vsyo v tvoikh rukakh

As soon as he had arrived at the bridge (he had run the entire distance), Hammer turned and smirked, and Matthews looked as well before commenting, “You’re up, and don’t tell me we were making racket again.”

“There’s—there’s someone nearby, and in the thick of battle,” he managed to say.

“Yeah, I know. There’s an E.S. all by itself, against the enemy,” one of the others, Canaan, replied.

There was a second gasp, this one coming from MOMO, who then exclaimed, “That’s KOS-MOS out there, I know it!”

“And if she’s out there, so is Shion,” chaos added with a nod.

“Ya sure? Ahh, why am I askin’ a Realian that? Tony! Change course, we’re going after Ms. Vector and the robot!”

“Aye, sir!” came the shout from the helm as within moments, the ship streaked towards its destination.

If they’re alive, we’ll have a rather decent chance at this. KOS-MOS, Shion…please be all right!

Save your tears
for the day
when our pain is far behind
on your feet
come with me
we are soldiers stand or die

“Heeey, Ms. Vector. Nice show you put on out there, ” Matthews said the moment that communications was possible.

For a few moments, there was nothing but silence.

“MOMO, do you still sense her?” Ziggy asked, turning towards the child-like Realian.

“Uh-huh. She seems to be okay, but I don’t know about Shion.”

That bit of news did nothing to suppress a wave of nervousness inside the engineer. Shion could well be dead, and if that happened, their chances of succeeding, as well as the future itself, would be in jeopardy. Not to mention chaos’ own feelings…

“Hey! If you’re alive out there, say something!”

A second after Matthews concerned bark, everyone let out a breath of relief to hear a very familiar, feminine voice reply, “Captain…!”

Save your fears
take your place
save them
for the judgement day
fast and free
follow me
time to make the sacrifice
we rise or fall  

chaos smiled as KOS-MOS, Allen and Shion disembarked from the E.S. hangar and came onto the bridge. There were quite a few things he had wanted to say to both of them, including catching them up on what was going on, emotions …and other things. It seemed that KOS-MOS and the Vector woman were also going to Miltia, but for different reasons. It didn’t matter to him why everyone was going in the same direction, he was still glad to see everyone in the same place again. He truly did miss them. When Shion finally came up to him, he smiled quietly and gripped her hands in his, saying, “Welcome back. I don’t know what you’re doing here, but I’m glad that you’re safe.”

“It’s good to be back,” she replied with a smile, “Let’s go and fight to protect the Zohar.”

Chaos was about to shiver as he thought again about what lay ahead, but he kept them down this time. They would take their place at the battleground, and…

“Yes, and save everything,” he said quietly, then added in a low whisper, “How about you make some curry later tonight…?”

She nodded with a chuckle, then was called to another section of the bridge. She quickly kissed his cheek and went to talk to Jr. That kiss had some of the crew, like Tony, asking what was going on and if he had gone and caught a Shion. Thankfully, Allen was too busy with a conversation, perhaps on purpose.

The platinum-haired engineer blushed slightly and smiled a bit shyly, lightly touching the cheek she had kissed. Rise or fall, we will stand together, he thought.

This is a Xenosaga songfiction, using the song “Rise” from Ghost in the Shell’s 2nd season Opening theme. You’re waiting for a disclaimer, right? Ok, ok. The song I used for this songfiction belongs to Origa, the characters belong to Monolith Soft, but the story itself is mine. This is my first work in some time as well as my first Xenosaga fic, so please R&R and leave comments. With critique, this can and will be revised. Thanks!