This short story shows us what Sayla Mass was doing during a pivotal moment in the story of the Zeta Gundam anime.
Published in "Zeta Gundam Perfect Guide 211", a furoku booklet included with the November 1985 issue of Animedia magazine.
Translated by @TheIdeon
Farewell to Yesterday
• Prologue •
• The following story is an original work, planned by the editorial department of Animedia.
Sayla, Once the Beautiful Soldier of the One Year War. It is Year 0087 of the Universal Century — Where Could She Be Now, and What Could She Be Doing? In the Light of Northern Europe's Nocturnal Sun, a Look of Unhappiness Crosses Her Face...
Text: Suzuki Yumiko
Illustrations: Kobayashi Tomoko
Sayla, Resting Her White Wings Within the Midnight Forest
The wind blew through the white cotton curtains, knocking the pile of papers on the table to the floor. Sayla extricated herself from underneath the man's arm to pick them up.
"I've got to sort through these records... I'm really behind."
It was a lie. Sayla didn't have so many patients that organization was a concern. However, the man probably understood the unspoken rejection in her body language. He didn't press the subject.
"...Well, I'll see you back at the hospital then."
"It's my fault. Sorry to bother you when you were busy."
Grabbing his jacket, he quickly made his exit from the living room. The papers still in her hand, she watched him go.
Hearing the cottage door close, she casually tossed the papers into the fireplace. They burst into flames, disappearing in an instant.
It was almost anticlimactic.
The man's name was Karlsson, another doctor at the same hospital. From their grad school residency in the Mediterranean to the posting at this hospital in the North, they had been together for about five years. She wasn't dissatisfied. Not with him, nor with her career. She started work on time and ended work on time, and there were plenty of breaks. Her patients were easy to understand, and none of them had anything life-threatening.
They called it a sanatorium for people connected with the Federation. For Sayla, it was just a polite way of saying imprisonment.
She had realized, especially recently, that the presence of all those overly helpful people at the hospital was not unrelated to Amuro and Hayato's cohort mobilizing. It irritated her. As long as her only source of warmth came from the fire, her heart wouldn't heal.
There was a splintering sound. It might have been the firewood breaking apart. Sayla didn't flinch, continuing to stare into the fire.
What on earth is it that I want? The thought bubbled up to the surface of her mind.
There was another noise. Something was moving around on the other side of the door.
"I wonder if that's him."
Talking to herself, she got to her feet. Even Sayla herself wasn't sure who she meant by 'him'.
She opened the door, its thick wooden heft groaning all the way. There was nothing outside but the shadows of trees dimly lit by the pale sky. More than anything else, the midnight sun made the view lonelier. With a slight shake of her head she reached for the knob to pull the door closed. At that moment, she noticed a dark mass out of the corner of her eye. She circled around to the other side of the door. The hairs on her nape, uncovered by her deep scoop neck sweater, instantly stood on end.
A boy had collapsed in the shadow of the door. Blood was running down his thigh. As she moved closer, he opened his eyes slightly to look at her.
"...not the hospital..."
That was all she heard. After that, he slumped over in her arms and lost consciousness.
A Young Soldier With the Eyes of Amuro Ray
Sayla wasn't sure how she did it, but she managed to get him into the house, carrying him to the sofa in the living room. It was instinctual. Luckily, the bullet had only grazed his right leg, but even so, the cottage didn't have much more than the bare essentials in the first aid kit. Sayla wasn't a surgeon, so even under the best circumstances it still would have been a serious task. Despite this, something stirred deep inside her.
It took quite a while. The white wooden table and sofa were covered in blood. The boy was asleep, but his expression was twisted in pain. Unruly blond hair framed his innocent-looking features. Examining his face, Sayla thought to herself that he looked a bit like Amuro.
She hadn't seen Amuro in the last five years. In that time, she hadn't seen anyone else that had been on the White Base either. Right now Katz, Letz and Kikka were probably around the same age as this boy.
All of a sudden it felt as if she had the weight of the full moon on top of her. Outside the window, it was the same hazy white it always was. Although it looked exactly the same as when she found the boy, there was no mistaking that time had continued to pass.
"What... time is it?"
A slightly hoarse voice called out below her. The boy's eyes were open. She crouched down to his level.
"I see you're awake."
"What time is it?"
She looked over to the clock by the fireplace, its gears turning since long ago. The fire had died out.
"4 o'clock. It's almost morning."
His eyes went wide and he sat up from the sofa. As soon as he did, he let out a low moan and grabbed his leg.
"It's too soon for you to be moving. If you need something taken care of I can—"
"It's no good if I don't go."
"What are you trying to do?"
He stopped moving and his eyes took on a guarded look.
"It's something I can't talk about."
Clearly he didn't intend to answer any questions.
"After all, I don't want to risk exposing the person that saved me to danger. As a doctor, that's obvious right?"
Sayla's response sounded like she was trying to convince herself as well.
"Please tell me. Why were you being pursued? There's... a chance I could be of use."
Sayla watched him as he started to open his mouth, and then quickly froze as if struck by lightning. There had been a knock at the front door. Sayla gave him a slow, emphatic nod and moved to answer it. Looking back as she left the living room, he had already gotten to his feet.
She opened the door. There was a man wearing a Federation uniform. He gave Sayla a small salute.
"What do you want? It's too early."
The soldier withered under her cold demeanor.
"Please forgive me. The truth is, a member of Karaba we had apprehended escaped in this area."
"...Karaba?" Sayla took a deep breath. "Karaba's even made it way out here? What is the world coming to..."
"Right! And so, we'd appreciate it if you'd cooperate in our search..."
"I've been working here the entire night. I haven't seen anyone else."
"Understood. However, we've been told to conduct a thorough inspection of every house in the area." He moved to enter the cottage.
Sayla blocked the doorway with her arm. "I just told you that I'm alone here. Do you not believe me?"
"That may be so, but—"
"I fought for the Federation aboard the White Base. You would doubt my word?"
"The White Base?" The soldier was clearly shaken.
"If that isn't enough for you, then go ahead with your search."
Saluting once more, he withdrew, flustered.
I Can't Go Back Anymore... She Said Farewell to the Boy, and to the Days of Her Youth
The White Base... as much as possible, Sayla tried not to bring that name up around other people. It's strange that I even said it, she thought. I can't just go back to how I was back then.
Sayla returned to the living room. The boy was leaving through the window, with one leg already outside. "Hold it right there!" she shouted.
He stopped. He was taller than she had thought. From the first aid kit she quickly pulled out a small vial. Drawing its contents into a syringe, she moved closer to him.
"Give me your arm. This will help with the pain."
Obediently he held his right arm out towards her.
"... the White Base..."
As she stuck the needle in, he muttered to himself. "I've heard of that before. That ship..."
"I see..." I see - Sayla couldn't come up with anything else to say.
"There's going to be a meeting in Dakar today. In order for us to broadcast it, I have to get in contact with one of my allies at the station..." He spoke hesitantly.
Even Sayla could tell that this was his way of expressing his earnest gratitude. She pulled the syringe out. "Good luck. If it's you, I'm sure things will work out."
"Thank you..." With those words, he was out the window and gone.
She watched him for as long as she could. The pale sky was brighter, if just by a little. It was dawn.
Artesia, Did Casval's Eyes Call Out to You!?
The broadcast of the Dakar assembly was on television. The act of airing it on TV was in itself not unusual, but it was extremely rare that the whole thing would be broadcast. Sayla was used to that, and nowadays she rarely tuned in. And yet, today's broadcast was different. She had the feeling that she needed to watch it. No matter how much oppression and despotism was behind the proceedings.
The assembly began its session as usual. And then...
And then, a single man appeared in the center of the screen. Pushing aside the congressman who had been making the same empty speech as always, he stood on the dais and began to speak.
"Casval..." Sayla whispered.
It was her brother. It was unmistakably the brother who had disappeared into the fires of the battlefield seven years ago. Her brother, who she didn't even know was alive or dead, had suddenly appeared in front of her like this...
He had dropped his disguise. Sayla knew very well what that meant. He introduced himself. As both Char Aznable, and as the son of Zeon Zum Deikun.
Sayla's eyes began to burn. Her brother had returned to reclaim himself, at the time when she had lost sight of who she was...
And that boy was turning into a man.
Sayla looked out the window. The sun had begun to climb up a sky that certainly couldn't be called bright. For the first time, Sayla realized that time had been moving without her notice. And right now, it was still moving. Sayla's shadow, elongated by the sun low on the horizon, rose to its feet.