Another challenge story featuring the Gundam 00 universe. Unlike my previous two, this has less to do with protagonist Setsuna joining a different faction, than clearing up what I believe was a significant plot hole while also making him more in the know of what's going on. You'll get what I mean as you read along. Here's some guidelines and a disclaimer before we start.
No unnecessary bashing: seeing characters grow up and show hidden strengths is all good until it looks like the writer is purposefully making the character in question look like an unlikable nuisance at best and a complete villain at worst. Trust me, it's best to show both the positives and negatives of those in a story. I know it might not be easy, but giving them the benefit of the doubt would be a fair sign.
No slash: I try not to judge people who have different "bonding" preferences compared to mine, but I really don't think that characters that weren't listed as canonically yaoi in nature should be depicted as such. Not that I like gender bending much either.
Keep the content at a controlled level: meaning that it's probably best to be mindful of which direction the story/stories will go. I like straight lemons as much as the next fellow, but given how things all are iffy on certain websites like FFN, it would probably be wise to just walk first before jumping.
Don't shy away from asking me for advice or beta reading: however, I won't dictate your execution as it should ultimately be your decision. I'm doing fine with it so far with digemsmack over his Fairy Tail story which I gave my patronage for, Ascension of the Second Apocalypse.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Gundam franchise or it's related concepts and characters, but Sunrise does.
Soran Ibrahim of Celestial Being
2301 Anno Domini, Undisclosed Location
Soran Ibrahim's return to consciousness wasn't as supremely painful as he thought it would be. Waking up in some kind of cell-like room, he remembered that in the KPSA's last fight in their homeland, when he was the last child soldier to be slain, a resourceful Mobile Suit, which was unlike anything Soran had ever heard about or seen before, appeared to wipe out the Azadistan forces. It then landed not too far away from his position, and when he went to take a closer look at it, he felt a chop on his back which knocked him out. With his awakening, Soran decided that he would beat himself for his earlier lack of focus later, so that he could escape.
As he thought over what his escape options were, Soran didn't had to wait long before his cell door opened to reveal a taller person in a pilot suit entering who gestured for calm when Soran appeared ready to fight. The person then removed his helmet to reveal a green haired young man with purple eyes that held a certain charm to them.
"Relax, my young friend." The man said to Soran with an apparently gentle smile before gesturing to himself. "My name is Ribbons Almark, and I am the pilot of the 0 Gundam you witnessed back in Krugis. What shall I call you?"
Soran uneasily stared at his captor for a moment before mentally pointing out that if Almark wanted him dead, he wouldn't have been left alive by then. Sighing heavily, he replied. "Soran Ibrahim, sir."
"Are you one of the KPSA's little soldiers?" Ribbons asked, although Soran figured he already knew the answer.
"I came along to fight in the name of God and country, but in the end, the others and everyone we killed, family and otherwise, died for nothing." Soran answered bitterly.
Ribbons nodded knowingly. "It gets worse when you consider your leader's true background of being a psychotic mercenary into play, but you need not fret. I have no intention of ending your life. After all, you can still be of use to my organization."
Soran couldn't resist frowning at the statement. "You're another mercenary, then?"
Ribbons chuckled at the question. "No, my boy. In fact, the organization I represent, Celestial Being, was founded in secret long ago to oppose warfare at any level. Surely that concept and everything it could bring sounds favorable to you than terrorism."
"It might, but how do I know you can be trusted? How do I know you won't use me as my previous leader did?"
Ribbons stood down on one knee to face Soran at eye level. "Those are good concerns, Soran, and I do admit that I'll keep some secrets from you when they are important enough to be kept secret, but believe me when I say that my goal to unite Humanity and propel the species through the stars is sincere."
Soran began to mentally waver. "How would I work in Celestial Being?"
"Very efficiently. For now, I will train you until you are old enough to be a part of our armed interventions in world conflicts. Perhaps a good amount of that will form some trust between?"
Soran sighed heavily once more before turning resolutely to Ribbons. "If it means that I can make up for my blind years, then I'll train to pilot my own Gundam for Celestial Being, Mr. Almark."
Ribbons seemed to smile more genuinely at Soran's words. "Good, but please, call me Ribbons. Want to meet your fellow trainees?"
Leading Soran out of the cell, Ribbons showed him a shooting ranger where three people were testing their fire arms.
"Johann, Michael, Nena, can you all come here please for a moment?" Ribbons called out to them from what Soran figured was oldest to youngest.
The three stopped shooting to approach Ribbons and Soran before the former introduced the latter.
"Team Trinity, this is Soran Ibrahim. For now, he'll be training with you. Please treat him with the same respect you treat each other with. You don't have to see him as your younger brother, but you can start to try forming a friendship at least."
The oldest, Johann, stared at Soran intently holding out his hand with a smile. "Nice to meet you, Soran. I am Johann Trinity." After Soran reluctantly yet surely shook hands with him, he then said. "Don't worry about my brother and sister. They're too rowdy for their own good, but maybe the four of us interacting will do you some good."
The second oldest, Michael, couldn't help but laugh at that. "Don't worry about that, big brother. I think Soran here and I will get along just fine, right, kid?"
"We'll see." Soran tentatively replied as he shook hands with Michael. He then turned to Nena, who had been staring intently at him since Ribbons introduced him to the three siblings. "Are you okay?" He asked in concern.
Nena smiled bashfully. "I'm okay. I was just admiring at how cute you look up close and personal."
Soran looked shocked at the compliment before shyly replying. "Um, you look good, too, I think."
As Nena smiled broader at the compliment, Michael said unsurely. "Now I'm conflicted."
Johann then laughed as he held Michael close to him while Nena eventually brought Soran to hold her hand. In spite himself, Soran actually showed a small smile at the moment.
'Maybe this will work out for me, after all.' He dared to hope, unaware that Ribbons was looking at the group with a cunning smile.
As I'm sure you've all seen by now, this challenge story presents the thought of Ribbons recruiting Soran/Setsuna when their paths first crossed. You got to admit, it makes more sense like that than simply letting him be on his own for some time and only input his name in Celestial Being's supercomputer. Of course, I don't really expect Ribbons would want to keep messing with Setsuna when the World Armed Intervention Campaign meets its end, especially since I don't really expect Setsuna to be a fan of his schemes, but I would like for the Trinity Siblings to have a better relationship with Setsuna and his crew, which I suppose can happen either at the start of canon, or something later down. It's your decision, of course.
I recently came up with two additional Gundam challenge stories for my FFN profile. Being Ulterior for the Earth Sphere presents Kira of Gundam SEED being influenced by the less hostile at least and more sympathetic at best members of the Earth Alliance and thus, sticking with it against Blue Cosmos and all threats like it while Miharu Zabi features an original idea for the original show about another Zabi daughter mixed with her final version. It sounds like a lot I know, but I think both have some good ideals behind them. I'll work when I get around to it, though.
Anyway, I know Setsuna wasn't really presented in a romantic light in 00, but if you want to give him a pairing, my thoughts are centered towards Feldt (my favorite if you must know), Nena (which could work giving the situation), Wang Liu Mei (I would love for her to be redeemed), and maybe Marina, if you want. Your decision, I'm just giving out pointers. Just give me a personal message, if you're interested. Thanks for reading.