Introduction to the Universal Century Ⅲ Part 4
Lino Fernandez

U.C. 0074...
Along with roughly 200 classmates, a certain student enrolled in the Space Defense Military Academy at Side 3, the Autonomous Republic of Zeon. He was Lino Fernandez, from the Republic of Loum. As might be surmised from his name, he was a young man with a distinctly Latino appearance, and a person whose name would be remembered by history.

On the day of his academy entrance ceremony, there was a late-arriving student named Char Aznable. This young man from Texas Colony entered the auditorium in the middle of an address by Gihren Zabi. His face was familiar to Lino, who was his friend when they were in high school at Loum.

When they were in high school, Lino and the amiable Char quickly formed an easygoing friendship. They both gathered information in order to enter Zeon's military academy, took the entrance exams together, and successfully passed. At the time, Char had an innocent charm, which was apparent in situations like his late arrival to the entrance ceremony. However, the youth now sitting next to Lino had much more dignity amid the tense and solemn atmosphere.

"Looks like we're gonna be roomies. Seriously, there's no getting rid of you."

Attempting to joke with Char, Lino had the impression of coldness in the eyes looking back at him.

"There's something different about you."

"You think so? I'm becoming a soldier. I have to change a little."

"I... guess so."

Lino's sense of discomfort was a flimsy basis for his feeling about the young man who appears to be Char. However, his hunch was correct. This was not the Char Aznable who Lino once knew. He had been replaced by a different person.

Lino felt this sense of discomfort acutely throughout their lessons, training, and daily life as roommates. Compared to before, Char clearly had better motor reflexes, strength, and stamina. In high school, Char virtually never got higher grades than Lino. But now, he saw Char earning straight As in every subject.

And what's more, Char's eyes had changed color. They were previously brown, but now they were blue. Char explained this as, "Cosmic ray damage. They tell me I'll go blind if I don't wear a visor." Such a condition was unheard of, but since it had been recognized by the school, Lino had to accept it.

If this were a different person, however, that would explain his sense of discomfort.

Under the cover of a hectic mock battle exercise, Lino attempted to trick Char into giving himself away.

"Char, doesn't this take you back? That lunaball final back in high school. You led the charge back then, too."

"Oh. Yes, you're right."

Char gave a casual reply. But his response confirmed Lino's suspicions. This was not the Char he knew in high school, because there was no such match.

But then, who was he? Who had taken Char's place?

Lino had already ceased to be Char's roommate before this mock battle. Garma, the scion of the Zabi family, took a liking to Char and arranged to become his roommate. So who was Char, really? Lino now had fewer opportunities to observe him up close. But he had not given up.

Who was the Char in front of him? The answer, he thought, must lie at the Texas Colony from which he came.

Lino discovered that there had been a youth named Édouard Mass, who looked just like Char, at Texas Colony. He also learned that Édouard, a son of the wealthy Mass family, had emigrated from Earth with his family. And along with his sister, who was four years younger, he had been adopted by the Mass family.

There was truly no definite information from the time when they were living on Earth. But Lino discovered that their foster father Teabolo Mass, while he was living in Andalusia, was associated with Jimba Ral, who once served under the famous thinker Zeon Zum Deikun. At that point, he realized that he had been given the opportunity to uncover a fragment of a glorious history.

It was only hours after Deikun's death that Jimba Ral's name was expunged from the former Autonomous Republic of Munzo. Three other people vanished from the political stage at the same time; his so-called wife Astraia, his son Casval, and his daughter Artesia. Examining the news footage, Lino found images of the mother and her children attending Deikun's funeral. And he noticed that the boy named Casval had blue eyes.

Somehow, the features of this blue-eyed boy resembled those of Char. From his school days, there were photographs of the young Char and his family in front of his home at Texas Colony, and the young Char indeed resembled the blue-eyed boy.

Lino made his deductions from this. He speculated that the young Casval, along with his sister, had fled to Earth to escape the evil machinations of the Zabi family. While examining news footage from that time, he saw over and over again the conflict between the Zabi and Ral families. Probably Jimba Ral had taken the two children and gone to Teabolo Mass for help. It appeared that Jimba Ral had then died in Andalusia. News from the time claimed that his estate had been invaded by robbers of some kind, but perhaps this was actually the doing of the Zabi family.

Then, shortly before the entrance ceremony, Édouard had been killed in a passenger ship accident. But it wasn't Édouard who died in this accident. The one who had died was Char.

Even as he mourned the death of his friend, Lino could not deny a sense of mild excitement. Deikun's son had hidden his identity and entered Zeon, and now he had secured a place as Garma Zabi's friend. If the person before him was Char/ Édouard/Casval, wouldn't his aim be revenge? The prince of a fallen country had infiltrated his homeland in order to realize Deikun's ideals. And Lino was the only person who knew this.

Lino idolized Deikun and his ideology. This was because he appreciated the righteousness of confronting the Earthnoids for the sake of the Spacenoids. He had set out to become a soldier of Zeon, the vanguard of Spacenoid resistance to the Federation, in order to achieve this as quickly as possible. But he could not accept the dark rumors surrounding the Zabi family, rumors though they may be. If Deikun's son was right in front of him, Lino was privately determined to share his secret and support him. Only he, Char's friend, could become his true comrade.

With this determination, Lino revealed to Char that he knew his secret.

"I think the Zabis have to pay for poisoning Deikun! Let me help you!"

U.C. 0077...
After the "Dawn Rebellion" carried out by roughly 200 students, the remains of Lino Fernandez were discovered near the wreckage of a Federation Forces Type 61 tank. His remains were identified as a result of DNA matching.

Char had disposed of Lino, who knew his true identity. Was this because he anticipated that, if Lino kept his secret and remained alive, Kycilia's agency would eventually arrive at the realization that Char was Casval? Was he worried that, if his own existence were discovered, then his sister Sayla (Artesia) would also be in danger? The truth is uncertain. But the name of Lino Fernandez would be inscribed among those of the students who gave their lives in the Dawn Rebellion.