This is my second story here, and my first attempt at the manga/ mecha genre. Well, I'm a big fan of Gundam Seed, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Vandread, so I decided to write up my own mecha story. This one's not my main story actually, my first and main one being an epic-style story by the title of Crimson so I may update Vanguard less frequently if compared to Crimson.

Well, if you happen to read this, I hope you enjoy it and best of all, review it! I return favors by the way, all C&Cs accepted, all flames no. Thanks for reading.

VANGUARD: PROLOGUE

3016

Alistair Beach—3000 kilometers off Neo-London

The waves beat slowly against the ocean shore, the slow shushing sound indubitably relaxing.

She watched the foaming waves rolling in gloomily; on several occasions rising to skip stones in the ocean. She sneaked several looks around at the tall minder who stood stoically behind her, his eagle eyes fixed solely on her.

'Why did Dad have to bring us here anyway?' she thought grumpily, tossing a stone into the surf in frustration before glancing up at the massive resort situated atop the rocky cliff that dominated the scenery. The five-star island paradise in which her father's entourage was staying.

Looking back at her minder, she said with a sweet smile, "Mort is it? Is there any chance that you could take me back to Father please?"

The clean-shaven man shook his head no and said seriously, "Sorry, Miss Kirana. I am not permitted to take you back till 6 o' clock; those were your father's orders." Then, he added, "And the name is George, young Miss."

She sighed and turning back towards the surf, she resumed her skipping of stones.

Kirana Yoshimitsu. That was her name. She was the youngest and only daughter of Senator Dai Yoshimitsu, the eminent leader of the anti-war party ForePeace whose political agenda; the complete rejection of war as a means to further the expansion of the Earth Empire's influence was immensely popular with the civilian population of the Earth Empire.

It had won him little friends though, especially amongst those in power; the ruling party of Vinci which advocated the complete subjugation of the colonies in order to enhance the Empire's prestige.

As a result, the security of his children was of the utmost importance. It was common knowledge that those within the Vinci party were willing to do whatever it took in order to eliminate their political opposition. Their philosophy was clearly based on that of Machiavelli's: they would do whatever it took to win.

Kirana bit her lip and sighed. She knew that the security around her was for her own good yet….

She flung yet another stone into the ocean, grumbling inwardly, "Why could my father not be a normal person for once?"

The minder, with the absurdly simple name of George came up to her and asked, "Miss, are you bored?"

She looked up to him and gaped before saying pompously, "What do you think I'm doing? Do you really think I'm so easily amused by tossing pebbles into the ocean?"

The minder bristled before gulping down his pride. "I am sorry, Miss Kirana. Shall I bring the car about and take you to town perhaps? Your father has given my permission to…"

"What's there to do in town?" she interrupted carelessly, tossing another pebble into the ocean.

He blinked before quickly running his mind over the daily tasks young girls enjoyed performing. Then, with a slight cough, he said, "Well, Miss Kirana; I can take you shopping perhaps? Or maybe we could catch a movie together or…."

"George, I'm ten. Do I look as if I am interested in shopping? Perhaps you had better wait another six years before asking me that question," she said disdainfully, "And besides, I wouldn't want to be a source of bad publicity for my father."

George smarted again from the put-down and asked, "Why do you say that, Miss Kirana?"

She eyed him carefully and said with a cheeky smile, "I wouldn't want my father to be known for keeping a pedophile on his staff. Though George, I have to say…. Are you really so desperate that you would wish me, a ten year old girl to go with you on a date?"

The minder backed off in alarm and flushed with embarrassment. He thought furiously, 'How on earth did she turn out this way?! What did the Senator do to deserve a daughter like this?'

"Well?" she said tauntingly, grinning broadly at him.

"It is your wish, Miss Kirana," he finally conceded. She smirked at him and he had to admit, albeit with a sigh, she was certainly a very pretty girl. Her long brown hair fanned her heart shaped face as she beamed at him, the dark color setting off her large chocolate-brown eyes well. For her age, she was considerably tall, about 4'8" and already she had developed a wisp of a bosom.

'She'll be a beauty when she grows up,' George thought wearily, 'Though, with that attitude….'

Then, Kirana then murmured, "Then again…." Turning to him, she asked him sweetly, "I think I've changed my mind, George. Could you take me into town?"

The minder merely blinked and nodded in response. He turned his back for a moment and was about to call out to a nearby attendant when he heard the sound of rustling feet. Turning back around in alarm, he caught a glimpse of the little girl running across the beach quickly.

"Miss Kirana!" he cried out in alarm and set out in pursuit. She turned her head around and stuck out her tongue at him defiantly before whirling back around and picked up the pace. 'Damned girl, she really needs a good spanking!' George thought angrily, pursuing her intently.

They ran over large sand dunes, George still getting nowhere near her. 'How on earth does she run so fast? She's only a ten year old girl for crying out loud!' the bodyguard thought furiously.

She occasionally turned around to look at him before laughing daintily, adding the rare taunt on several occasions, "Come on George, aren't you trained for this kind of thing?"

"Miss Kirana, I'll tell your father about this!" he roared.

She whirled around to glance at him again and said mockingly, "Ooh, I'm so terrified! You're going to tell my father about all my misdeeds! Oh, I surrender!" She stuck her tongue out at him again but at that very moment, she tripped over a large metal stick protruding from the sands, falling face-first into the sandy beach.

"Ugh!" she cried, taking in a mouthful of sand. Her minder caught up with her, panting deeply and muttered, "How is it that you, a ten year old girl could possibly outrun me?"

She paid him no attention, coughing loudly before focusing instead on brushing the sand grains of her clothes and spitting out whatever foreign particles that may have entered her delicate mouth.

George sighed and murmured, "I hope that you would deign to do anything so rash after this, Miss Kirana."

She spat out another mouthful of sand disdainfully before muttering, "If not for that stick…." Turning around, she glared at it….before realizing something was amiss.

"George," she whispered in shock as she recognized the supposed metal stick she had toppled over.

The minder answered in as calm a voice as he could muster, "Yes, Miss Kirana?"

"That is no stick, surely?"

The minder looked around and like Kirana before him, he gaped. The 'stick' that Kirana had tripped over stuck out of the ground prominently and he could see clearly where the little girl was getting at. It was cylindrical in shape, approximately four feet in diameter. The feature that distinguished it most however was the 'hole' that cut through the long cylinder.

"A gun nozzle," George gasped, pulling Kirana to him instinctively.

"That's not just any gun nozzle," Kirana whispered, "That's…."

"A Vanguard weapon, judging by its size," George whispered, glancing around.

Kirana's blood ran cold. She knew all too well what the Vanguard were; massive seventy-foot humanoid machines, piloted by humans, to kill other humans. Her father had long demanded the abolishment of such weapons, stating that they were a great threat to all of humanity but the Vinci refused. This was undoubtedly due to the power the Vanguard possessed, thus giving the faction with the most Vanguard the ability to dominate all others; a fact which naturally endeared it to the Vinci.

"A Vanguard? Here?"

Kirana looked over towards the shore and gaped. She then brushed George's hand off her shoulders and began to run.

"Miss Kirana!"

She ignored his cries and soon reached the place she saw, gasping in awe at the sight before her.

A giant silver-colored though sand-covered Vanguard laid stranded upon the beach. The light sand dusting over it had certainly seemed to disguise it well; to one watching from the far road it would certainly have appeared to be a rather large sand dune. From such close range, on the other hand, the distinctive humanoid build of the Vanguard was unmistakable. Kirana rushed over to it and began running her hands over its armor, cold now; admiring the intricate design of the massive beast.

George came running over, his face red now. "Miss Kirana, get away from there! This must be reported to the authorities, no, don't touch it, please!"

Kirana looked at him and stuck out her tongue at him again, saying, "There's nothing preventing me from exploring this machine, is there?!" In defiance, she even hauled herself atop the Vanguard and made a face at the unfortunate George.

"Miss Kirana!" he exclaimed in exasperation.

Kirana ignored him again, looking down upon the Vanguard she stood on. She got to her knees and brushing the sand of it, she then admired the way it gleamed in the descending sun's rays.

Several meters away, George had whipped out his cell phone and was barking out imperious orders. "I don't care what's going on, you tell the Senator that there's a massive Vanguard stranded here; not a kilometer away from his staying place. And tell him his daughter is currently playing on the damned thing! That should urge him to speed up his business!"

Kirana continued to examine the machine carefully, her curiosity stirred. She continued to crawl on the machine, sweeping the sand off to inspect the Vanguard. Then, she spotted it.

A tiny hatch, imbedded directly in the middle of the Vanguard's chest. She had been to many military parades in her short lifespan and had as a result, become familiar with the inner workings of many of the military's weapons. She knew all too well what was contained underneath the hatch. 'The cockpit…though, will it be empty? Or will someone be there?' she thought with some concern.

Kirana crawled towards the hatch and swept the sand off it. She then grasped the clutch which opened it and strained to open it, grunting loudly. "Come on, open already!" she cried, pulling at the clutch with all her might.

CLANG!

The hatch swung open abruptly, knocking her off balance for a moment. George asked frantically, "Miss Kirana! Are you all right?"

She coughed again and nodded her agreement. Waving the cloud of dust that had risen as the hatch opened, she made her way towards the now-open cockpit. And gasped in horror.

The cockpit was not empty. A young boy, around her age was strapped to the large pilot seat. He had a shock of silver hair which was blood-stained now. Blood trickled down his forehead and his side and he foamed at the mouth, his eyes almost rolled back completely.

To her relief, she could see his chest rise up and down weakly; indicating that he was still breathing at the very least. "George!" she cried and the minder came to her immediately. Following her gaze, he too gasped in horror. She then leapt into the cockpit and looking up, she called to him, "Call them immediately! Tell them….."

George nodded and whipping out his cell phone again, he waited for a moment before barking urgently, "There is a casualty here! I repeat…."

The rest of his words were but a drone to Kirana who was trying to free the strange boy of his restraints.

Unsure of whether he could hear her, she said consolingly, "It will be all right; they will come and save you." She kept repeating those words, sneaking occasional glances at him while trying her best to free the straps that bound him to the seat.

He said nothing, the only sound emanating from him being the occasional gurgle. "You'll be all right," Kirana whispered, tears filling her eyes. She remembered painfully the last time a person died in front of her.

Her mother.

He gurgled again and blood trickled from his mouth. "You won't die! Trust me!" she cried.

George leapt into the tiny cockpit as well and he too set about the task of freeing the boy. "The seatbelt is jammed," he grunted, a tinge of annoyance permeating his voice. He pulled out a small switchblade and began sawing on the straps tying the boy down.

Kirana smiled at him again, unsure of whether he was actually conscious and she whispered again, "You will live!"

Then, in a sudden flurry of motion, the boy came to life. He suddenly jerked forward, roaring in rage as the restraints pulled him back. Then, his gaze flashed over wildly towards Kirana as he began to gurgle out more blood. His left hand then abruptly snatched at her, causing Kirana to draw back in surprise. She gasped as his hand grabbed the ribbon tying her hair before ripping it off and grasping it.

She watched as he continued to stare at her, his eyes bloodshot. Then, they began to narrow and shut completely, his head slumping back.

"Miss Kirana!" George cried in alarm.

"I'm all right," she answered immediately to reassure him. "Is he still alive?"

George looked at the unconscious boy and nodded his affirmation.

"George?"

"Yes, Miss Kirana?"

"I don't want him to die."

"I will do my best."

--

The wails of a siren some five minutes later indicated the arrival of help. She watched as the paramedics cut the boy out of his seat, lifting him gently out of the cramped cockpit before hurrying him into the waiting ambulance that sped off immediately.

"Kirana!"

The young girl whirled around only to see her father, a distinguished gentleman in his fifties rushing up to her. The next moment, he had caught her up in a bearhug before bursting into tears, loud sniffing ones which soon drew sweat drops upon all of those present. Some, greatly impressed by his initial image began to snort with laughter, but not that he cared.

"Kirana, Kirana, Kirana! How dare you find a Vanguard like that?" he began to chastise her, his eyes still generally weepy. He then turned to George, the minder; his face suddenly pulled back into a ferocious expression, "You! Why didn't you take my daughter to town or something or pretend to take her out on a date? How could you allow my precious daughter to be entangled in this? What do I pay you $10000 a week for, for goodness' sake?"

"Senator, I….I," the minder began to stammer but Kirana laughed before pulling her father aside, and she then berated him, "How many times do I have to tell you, don't get so affectionate on me in public! You'll make a fool out of yourself, and what will your voters think then?"

"Let them think what they want!" the esteemed Senator said with a huff, "If I'm not allowed to be childish with my daughter, then let someone else take my place!"

"Oh? Is that true, Senator Yoshimitsu?" a cold voice then cut in, a distasteful voice Kirana recognized immediately.

Her father turned around and faced the speaker; a tall, well-built man in his late thirties. He was clean-shaven, with a broken nose and cool steely eyes that set his very blonde hair perfectly. "Senator Einbrock, what a most unpleasant surprise," her father said, also extremely cool now.

Senator Einbrock—the prominent deputy president of the Vinci party. He was very powerful, a fact which concerned some in the ForePeace party due to the rumors buzzing around Capitol that he had, in fact left-wing tendencies. A general once, he was one of the firmest advocates of subjugating the 'rebel' colonialists and because of that, he was Kirana's father's worst enemy.

The blonde man smiled before walking up to him and stuck out his hand at Kirana before saying, "I do not believe that I have had the opportunity to have the acquaintance to meet your lovely daughter yet, Dai."

Her father growled something she could not hear but she decided to take charge of the matter, taking his hand and shaking it firmly. "Senator Einbrock, I've heard many things about you before. Pleasure to meet you," she said politely with a small, yet aloof smile.

"Charmed, I'm sure," the Senator said graciously before nodding towards the Vanguard, "I heard that you found it. Is that true?"

She nodded before asking earnestly, "That boy…is he going to be all right?"

Einbrock nodded amicably before saying, "He'll be well taken off….in a Vinci hospital."

Her father abruptly cut in, his distinguished face beet red now, "You would exploit a little boy? How very monstrous of you!"

"Dai, Dai, Dai….you ought to remember who exactly is in power here… The Vanguard is ours, indeed we have been looking it for some time; having detected it coming in approximately….3 days ago?" Einbrock said sinisterly.

"3 days ago?" her father sputtered.

Einbrock nodded slowly and answered, "An intruder from space, you see. The heat pattern was abnormally different from that of normal Vanguards, so the Bureau of Military Technologies has requested for it being brought to them."

Kirana watched, transfixed by the battle going on between the two men. Her father heaved a heavy sigh before shaking his head and muttering, "Your tactics are despicable. Yet, you are right; I have no authority over the Bureau of Military Technologies."

"Excellent, Dai. So you do remember! Well then, I will have to ask you to leave now. We have to excavate the behemoth, you see."

Her father nodded glumly before saying to Kirana, "Come now Kirana. Let us head home."

Kirana obeyed and together with her father and George hovering in close attendance, she walked by the massive Vanguard, still gleaming brightly in the sun.

'It is…..so beautiful……'

Well, finally done up this chapter and managed to post it as well.

I've nothing much to say, just that writing a manga story is much harder if compared to a fantasy in my opinion. Guess I'm not too good with light-hearted scenes and my personal choice of anime and manga too is pretty serious I would say: D.Gray-man, Death Note, neon Genesis Evangelion and the like though I do enjoy One Piece as well.

Tips on writing a good manga story will be appreciated, and well, as stated earlier, reviews are always welcome.

Next Chapter preview: Ironically…

It's been eight years, and Kirana's all grown up. Yet, strangely enough, she seems to be in the military; and even worse, is part of the Special Enigma Program for Extra Talented Pilots! So much for being the daughter of an anti-war Senator….