Newly Introduced CharactersEdit
First Lieutenant Margaret Lindman awakens to a disturbing weather forecast, on August 23, 2045. The weatherman declared the temperatures would top the hundreds, and advised all people to stay indoors. Despite that, Margaret led her troops on a synchronized run in the blistering heat. She's next seen sparring with one of her trainees, getting behind her and nailing her hard in the back with her tonfa, which sent her sprawling onto the floor. She advised her trainee not to focus on offense so much, for if she didn't get good at dodging, she'd die quickly on the battlefield. The younger Pandora thanked her for her advice, and accepted her hand up.
Later, in the shower, the Pandora praised Margaret, being a first generation Pandora with a "super high" compatibility, which was around fifty percent at the time. However, the person in question didn't feel as amazing as her comrades believed.
Margaret then reports to her superior, Lieutenant Colonel Ackerman. The older man relayed that the top brass was very pleased with her work, since cadet performance had improved tremendously under her supervision. She was then asked if she was interested in becoming a Chevalier instructor after her tour of duty ended, which started the lieutenant noticeably. Ackerman also praised her for her hard work, and suggested that her remaining in service would benefit both herself as well as mankind. Margaret thanked him for the offer, saying it was more than she deserved. She only asked if she could wait until the end of the year to make her decision, and the lieutenant colonel agreed. He watched her leave his office from the window, fearing that the trauma from the last battle was still haunting her, which was no surprise since she knew better than anyone how terrifying the Nova were.
Later that night, Margaret had a frightening dream of said battle, watching as many of her comrades were killed by a Type-F Nova. As she screams in horror, she's awakened by Second Lieutenant Lendy Ryan, who'd come when she heard her crying in her sleep. After getting her superior a glass of water, Lendy asked if she was injured. When Margaret said it wasn't the case, the younger Pandora was relieved, unsure what she'd do if Margaret was lost. When the First Lieutenant said she wasn't as great as Lendy and the others believed, her subordinate countered that even if that was the case, it wouldn't change their opinions of her. Margaret than asked Lendy why she became a Pandora, and wasn't impressed by the answer. When she learned Lendy's compatibility rate was thirty-seven percent, which earned her two Stigmata, the veteran claimed Lendy could gain a third if she trained hard enough. She could also resign at that rate, if she chose, for Maragret warned her she'd be forced to resign if she didn't grow as a Pandora. Margaret went on to say everyone had a reason to become a Pandora, but they could still be sent to battle and die at any day, and asked if that wasn't a good reason to resign. Lendy thought about it for a moment, and declared Margaret was trying to teach her she had to be strong-willed, so she vowed to work even harder for her sake, so she'd be acknowledged as a true Pandora. Margaret looked sideways, believing her subordinate had missed her point entirely.
Later, all the Pandora on base are gathered together in the auditorium, for the demonstration of the recently-developed Pandora Mode. The woman on stage declared it was created to counter the Omni-Directional Freezing used by the Nova in the Fifth Nova Clash, and that it would boost a Pandoras' abilities by around forty-five percent. She asked First Lieutenant Sara Bryant to demonstrate Pandora Mode, and everyone watched as her uniform was replaced by a new Volt Texture, which the scientist declared enabled Pandoras to move in Freezing fields, as well as breathe underwater or in areas without oxygen. Margaret watched in awe, finally learning how Chevalier planned to counter the Type-F Nova's Freezing.
Later, the woman from the stage, Jenny Moral of the Pandora Mode Project, briefly met with the three Pandoras: Margaret, Lendy, and First Lieutenant Huley Snycher. Moral thanked them for volunteering for the project, as they were the ones selected from the Chevalier base.
Outside, Lendy was ecstatic about being chosen, declaring she'd train her butt off to make it work for her. Margaret advised against training too hard, since they were warned it puts a strain on their stigmata, and there was no telling what effects it would have on their vitals. As two jets took off, Margaret felt it was the perfect way to end her career as a Pandora.
The Sixth Nova ClashEdit
Later that night, a control room operator detected a dimensional disturbance in the area. It was confirmed moments later as a Code N1, somewhere upstream the Colorado River. The alarm was quickly sounded, awakening Margaret along with all other Pandoras on base. Margaret quickly spotted Lendy, and ordered her to Research Block Three. The First Lieutenant cursed her fate, wondering why a Nova had to appear in her last year of service.
Back in the control room, the operator identified the Nova as a Type F, headed towards a civilian area. When Ackerman asked how long they had before it reached its destination, the operator reported it was only two and a half hours. Ackerman immediately ordered a missile strike, hoping to slow it down until the Pandora arrived. The Lieutenant Colonel cursed the Nova, wondering why it had come to America.
The air squadron soon got their order, and unleashed a volley of missiles upon the massive Nova. However the otherworldly monster was completely unfazed, and counter-attacked with a slew of flying shards, which decimated all the fighter jets in a single strike.
Ackerman cursed the development, realizing regular weapons were completely ineffective against the Novas. However, once a control room operator reported that the Pandoras had arrived on the scene, the Lieutenant Colonel became more optimistic.
Out on the field, one of the platoon leaders ordered the decoys to draw out the Novas' Freezing, while the Strikers supported them from the rear. Their goal, attack the Novas' base until it toppled over enough to expose its core. As the assault continued, their enemy unleashed a Freezing field, reducing their movement by fifty percent. Margaret soon leaped into action, and called for the Strikers to keep fighting. But a the battle progressed, the Nova released another Freezing field, coupled with a storm of deadly shards that killed many on the frontline.
Margaret called out to Lendy, ordering her platoon to stay close, since the plan was to attack the core in unison. However, the Type F then released a wide-range Freezing, catching everyone in the general vicinity. Margaret immediately ordered the deployment of Pandora Mode, and her team complied without question. She then ordered the charge to expose the Novas' core and end the battle.
Back at the base, an operator reported that Pandora Mode had been activated, and Ackerman silently pleaded for Margaret to show them the light of hope. Though things took a turn for the worse, as Lendy was knocked into the side of the cliff. Margaret looked forth, and saw she'd been struck by a tentacle, an ability the Novas didn't posses in the last clash. The Pandoras were taken off-guard, and that lapse was all the Nova needed to rend many of them asunder with its deadly tendrils. Margaret covered for a fallen Chevalier who'd lost her hand, ordering her to pull herself together and get back in formation. But the decoy succumbed to panic, turned and tried to flee, only to be cut down seconds later by the Nova. Many more began to flee, as the Pandoras' will to fight seemed to crumble before Margaret's horrified eyes.
The First Lieutenant then remembered what her pastor relayed, that the Nova Clashes were God's way of punishing mankind for its arrogance. He asked if mankind could resist such a decree with its limited power. She then watched as her comrades turned and fled, wondering if God had indeed abandoned them, unaware of the deadly tendril headed her way. But before the fatal blow struck, Lendy moved in and intercepted the attack, losing her arm in the process. Sara and Huley parried the Novas' blows, as Lendy proclaimed it was their chance to attack the core. When asked if she wanted to run away, the Second Lieutenant rebuked the notion, and swore to fight to the very end. But Margaret deemed it hopeless, and ordered everyone to retreat, lest they all die needlessly. However Lendy remained firm, proclaiming if they helped their comrades defeat the Nova in the next battle then their deaths wouldn't have been in vain.
As Huley and Sara hammered away at the damaged base, the Pandoras saw the Nova was starting to tip, and assaulted the armour around its core. But as the Nova was about to fall, it released another Freezing field. Even worse, Pandora Mode was starting to break down. But Margaret refused to falter, leaping over her stricken comrades and charging towards the Nova. "I won't be scared anymore!" she silently declared, her own Pandora Mode passing its limits. "I'll never back down! I... am... A PANDORA!" she screamed, crushing the Novas' core with one single blow.
Back at the Chevalier base sickbay, Dr. Moral gave the bad news to Ackerman: Margaret Lindman had suffered stigma necrosis due to pushing Pandora Mode past its limits. The Lieutenant Colonel was saddened at the thought of losing her, whom he deemed a true hero. In her dreams, Margaret apologized to Meg and Eriko for letting them die, but the pair waved her apology off, and told her to become stronger from their deaths, so mankind could have a future.
Later, Jenny was moving a wheelchair-bound Margaret, telling her how upset Ackerman was at losing her. The retired Pandora proclaimed she was no hero, that one more deserving than her would appear one day. To that end, she planned to train Pandoras in her way of fighting, so many of them could survive the upcoming battles. The doctor was elated to hear her plan, saying she expected big things from her and the Pandoras she'd train.
- The origins of Pandora Mode are revealed in this arc.
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