Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Piloting a Gelgoog

This is the first in a series of a few articles covering the basics of piloting a Mobile Suit in the Universal Century Gundam universe. This article was originally published in Entertainment Bible #1 in 1990, but some sections were later expanded on in other works. Those will follow at a later date. The article is written from the point of view of a Zeon trainee pilot, with instructions being given to him by a flight instructor.

It's worth noting that the text does not in fact agree with the pictures on a couple of instances, such as the damage to the Gelgoog not matching the text description. This is not a mistranslation, some of the pictures do in fact contradict what's in the actual text. Sorry about the low quality pictures, I don't have access to a scanner at the moment, so I've got a digital camera rigged up. If you've got the ability to supply cleaner pictures, let me know!

So without further ado, let's jump in!

Mobile Suit Pilot Manual Volume One

Control familiarization

You are now sitting in the cockpit of the Duchy of Zeon Military Mobile Suit designation number MS-14JG, codename: Gelgoog Jaeger.  

This Mobile Suit is undeniably one of the Duchy's most advanced units.
In front of you, the many monitors and controls are standard equipment for the second generation of production mobile suits. If you are able to pilot this Gelgoog, you will also be able to operate the MS-06F Zaku II and MS-09RII Rick Dom II.
To begin, let's learn about the functions of the controls. First, the four directional monitors. Beginning with the head-mounted monoeye, 12 additional cameras mounted in various positions mounted on the body of the mobile suit provide video images. The perspective is set from the head level of the mobile suit, so the images represent a higher point of view than from the cockpit. In most combat situations, this shouldn't present a problem, but when in close combat with other mobile suits, you should raise your Mobile Suit's arms to avoid damage. Don't forget this! Your position in the cockpit is actually below the head. The cockpit is the most vital area in the mobile suit, so it is highly important that you remember this.

Below the top monitor above your head there are two smaller monitors. The right monitor is used for communication, while the left monitor is a rear alert monitor. Inside the hangar, communication should be unaffected, but in space, minovsky particles may prevent images from displaying, even at short ranges. You may have to function from sound alone. The rear monitor will notify you with an audible alarm if an enemy maneuvers behind you.
When you lose the feed from one of the external cameras, use the switches on the console on your right. In combat, if a camera is damaged, the feed can automatically be switched from this console.The next controls are the control sticks and pedals in the center of the cockpit. First, the sticks are responsible for controlling the vector of the Mobile Suit in flight. Additionally, the triggers and weapon select switches are also mounted here, which are vital in combat. The right pedal is the throttle, and the left pedal serves as the reverse thrust/brake. Since the Mobile Suit's movements are mostly controlled through the computer, basic movements are unchanged from combat. The stick and pedal controls are designed to be so simple that even a elementary school student can operate them.

2. Pre-launch sequence

Now that you have some basic familiarity with the controls, let's get you out into space. Typically, you would report to the briefing room before launch to confirm mission details, but today we will skip this.
First, sit in the seat and fasten your restraints, and begin the pre-flight check. Turn the generator switch (6) to the on position, and activate the warning monitor using the raised switch on the right of the panel (14). After this, activate the main computer and perform a function check.  Typically we would not leave this up to the machine, and perform the check manually one hour before launch. Hey! There's a red light! Switch the monitor mode (4) and do a systems check! There's a problem with the Beam Machinegun control terminal connection. Let's call the maintenance crew over to check it out. Our flight checks will be last.

OK, it looks like your machine is in good condition. Set the drive speed to 'Walk' using the speed mode selector (8), and slowly step down on the throttle (right pedal). The Mobile Suit will slowly start to move forward. If you step on the pedal strongly, the Mobile Suit will begin to run. Following the instructions of the Launch Officer, head towards the catapult. Turn using the directional control stick and release the throttle while stepping on the left brake pedal to stop.

Once in position on the catapult, set the thrusters to idle.  Set the speed mode selector/fuel control to 'Catapult launch' and release the throttle lock lever (11) and set it to the 'idle' position. At this level you should quickly check the warning monitor. If the fuel control is not set to 'idle', there may not be enough fuel to provide thrust. Next, move the throttle to the taxiing position. Thrusters are not usually used with the catapult, but in an emergency situation, they may be used together with the catapult. Now we are waiting for the catapult launch order from the Launch Officer.

Once you receive permission to launch, release the brake, and the catapult will activate and you will be launched into space. If you try saying something like 'launching!' out loud, you'll probably bite your tongue.  

Using the control stick, move into formation with your unit. Try to use your Mobile Suit's inertia, and use your thrusters as little as possible. Try to locate your wingman's position beacon light while maintaining radio silence. In a normal mission, your flight path will be pre-programmed into your computer, so you shouldn't get lost, but in the worst case scenario, you can recheck your flight path using the index console and rendezvous with friendly forces.

3. Combat sequence

A warning indicator has appeared on the small warning panel (5). Your monoeye's Infrared sensors have picked up rocket exhaust plumes. Set the sensor mode to 'scan' (2). Your monoeye will automatically begin attempting to detect and track enemy targets.

Again, your warning panel is signaling. The sensors have captured an enemy silhouette and displayed an enlarged picture on your main monitor. This is not a friendly unit; it's a Federation GM! This is an impossible situation for someone like you, with no combat experience.

Switch from 'cruising' to 'combat' and move out of range of the enemy as fast as possible. You think running away is cowardly? There's not much you can do about it. I'll support you, so keep it together!

Make sure you've set the speed selector/fuel control to 'combat maneuvering'. Set the combat mode selector to 'ranged combat'. Release the trigger lock and set the main monitor reticule to 'targeting'. You will see a symbol representing the enemy exhaust heat picked up by your sensors. Use the stick to line up the reticule with the symbol and... Lock on! Pull the trigger!

You OK? Looks like the enemy shot first, and scored a hit on you. Check your Mobile Suit's status while simultaneously trying to reacquire the enemy unit. Looks like your right below the shoulder has been shot away, but no other malfunctions. The enemy Mobile Suit is closing on you! Switch to close combat mode on the combat mode selector, and use the index console to bring up the arm selection screen, and change to Beam Sword. You should be able to use the beam sword with your left arm after you do this. Alright! Full throttle! Three seconds should do it! If you overdo it, you'll run out of propellant quickly. In close combat mode, the right trigger will be used for the beam saber. It looks like the enemy has also drawn his beam saber.

Act quickly and pull the trigger, and you might live. Good! The enemy's left arm came off! Do a barrel roll and hit the throttle, you've got to end this, attack again! WARNING! Pull up! 60mm vulcan fire! ...

You idiot! You hit the throttle too hard and blacked out for a few seconds because of the high g-forces! You're lucky you didn't get shot in the meantime! The GM has escaped. Decrease speed and return to the flight path. Return the throttle to 'cruising' mode, check your propellant reserves, and check the overall status of the Mobile Suit. You've got a lot to do.
Two apogee motors aren't responding? Try pressing the manual override switch. (13) If they're functioning normally, you should see a blue light, otherwise you'll see a red one. One looks like it's completely out of action. Okay, forget about it. The other apogee motors should suffice.  

Make the appropriate corrections to your programmed flight path, and limit your throttle to 50 percent, as you're running low on propellant. Keep your sensor mode on 'warning', as the enemy from before might still be out there somewhere. Once you've reached cruising speed, you should have sufficient inertia to keep moving, so set the throttle to 'idle'.   That enemy from before didn't have a beam gun, so it must have lost it in another dogfight somewhere. That first vulcan strike must have caught you right on the shoulder joint. The Gelgoog is pretty well armored, but there are some areas which can't really take very much damage. You should also remember to aim for joints.

4. Ejection system

Let me explain about the ejection system. When the Mobile Suit takes heavy damage, the controls may become unresponsive, and you will have to rely on the ejection systems to eject your seat out of the Mobile Suit. Let me explain that sequence. First, open the box under the seat and pull the ejection handle. At this point, the computer will take over, as many things need to happen in a short amount of time, and they are all automated, but it's best not to rely completely on the computer, either. Some components may not function, making the situation increasingly dangerous.

Upon pulling the ejection handle, the chest armor over the cockpit will swing up, and all the air in the cockpit will escape almost instantly, so it's a good idea to always keep your helmet visor closed. The ejection systems will the eject the seat within .25 seconds. During this time, the maximum
acceleration will be 16G, and the rocket motors on the ejection seat will fire for no longer than 30 seconds total, so 5 seconds after ejection, you will be approximately one kilometer away from the Mobile Suit, so you won't have to worry about being caught in the explosion of your Mobile Suit.  

However, you must be careful as to not move too far outside the operational radius of friendly forces when in space combat. To this end, the seat is equipped with apogee motors that can be controlled with the flight stick. The life support systems, emergency communications, and rescue beacon are all powered by both a battery in the seat as well as solar panels.

The seat is also equipped with air tanks, food, water, a signal gun, and a grappling wire launcher. After ejecting and activating the emergency beacon, there isn't much to do except wait. While there is 5 days worth of air, food and water supplies are limited to three days, so you must be remain calm and wait for rescue by friendly forces. If there is any propellant left in your apogee motors, you should try to get closer to any rescue units.

If you do not have much air left, do not panic. Rescue forces are well aware of your situation are will be working with all haste to try and recover you as soon as possible. You should also accept the possibility of rescue from enemy forces as well. It is the duty of rescuers to save all living survivors, regardless of affiliation. The treatment of prisoners of war is well documented under the Antarctic treaty, and the number of prisoners is not small.

So far we have discussed ejection in outer space, so let's cover ejection inside colonies, on the Moon, or on Earth. Near the rotational axis of colonies the artificial gravity will be weaker, so you may find yourself engaged in air-to-air combat inside colonies. In this situation, you can use the apogee motors to land on the surface of a colony, or if not, it may be possible to maintain position on the axis of the colony for a extended period. However, due to the presence of atmosphere and air pressure, you must take extra caution not to get caught in the explosion of your Mobile Suit. On the surface of the Earth or Moon, you must immediately find cover after the seat lands, as the range of the ejection system will be reduced, so you must carefully consider your distance from your Mobile Suit after ejection.
5. Return/landing sequence

Finally, your mission is complete. You have managed to bring your scarred Mobile Suit all the way back to your base ship. You should be able to identify any malfunctions by checking to see that none of the warning lights are active.

Communication has also been established, and the Landing Officer will notify you of your landing status, and direct you to land on the base ship.  

Oh, I see, you can't do it, huh? Fine, let's just start up the campfire and wait for rescue.

Ha! I told you that you'd be able to land under your own power. So stubborn...
After landing on the deck, activate the foot magnets, and set your speed to 'walk', and reduce the throttle to idle. Once you arrive in the hangar, set the mode to 'maintenance'. This will automatically cut the thrusters and lock the speed mode selector. Finally, power down the generator and disembark your Mobile Suit. Congratulations.

You came back alive. Good job.


  1. Thank you very much for translating and uploading this wonderful article.

    I am now ready to gloriously fight (and die) for Zeon in this oddly high-spec Gelgoog!
    Why is a trainee getting one of the finest mobile suits of the One Year War? I don't know!

    I couldn't have done it without you.

  2. Very informative and well written post! Quite interesting and nice topic chosen for the post.
    in Anaheim i get Live scan is the electronic or scanned fingerprinting.... it is used for many professional applications and healthcare facilities for FBI checks in the US. Its pretty much replacing ink on paper fingerprints!