Extraterrestrial Living-metal Shape-shifters (aka ELS, pronounced "elses") are a group of lifeforms not native to Earth's solar system featured in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie -A wakening of the Trailblazer-.
The ELS are a race of techno-organic sentient aliens that have the unique ability to assimilate nearly all life and technology. They appear as a silver metallic organisms that can take solid or liquid-like forms. While not an aggressive race, their ways of learning and understanding their environment is based on assimilation of all things; being one with what they don't know allows them to understand. The ELS has no true form as they are capable of taking any shape or size relative to their mass. They can combine or separate from one another to increase or decrease its mass as needed. When faced with an opponent or something unknown, the ELS can assimilate and convert the target of interest into an ELS. It is shown in the movie that the ELS tend to target beings that emit Quantum Brainwaves, such as Super Soldiers, Innovades, Innovators, or humans that show potential of evolving into Innovators.
When confronted with unknown organic lifeforms or technologies, the ELS assimilates the target like an aggressive virus. Its rapid adaptability and versatility allows it to take hold of technology in a matter of seconds and organic matter in a manner of minutes. However, for organics, it can have detrimental effects to those not completely assimilated, such as causing brain damage (Setsuna F. Seiei) and various biological instabilities due to their invasive nature to their condition. While their complete nature is not understood, it is understood that they can utilize quantum brainwave frequencies, make copies of what they have assimilated, and utilize their own GN technology. GN Particle emitted by the ELS are colored purple. However, it isn't clear if this is due to their own development and evolution or from copying pre-existing technology. The ELS can also develop countermeasures against enemy forces, as shown when the massive ELS superstructure utilized a beam refraction barrier to counter the CB Mothership's 80m GN Laser, and even the Quantum Sword of the GNT-0000 00 Qan[T].
The ELS assimilation process can come in two different ways. One is where an ELS attaches itself to a mobile suit or a living organism and stays attached, appearing as large metal shards covering the infected target. The second way is an actual merger with the target, appearing as a mercury-like substance covering the target. Sometimes, the fusion of an ELS to a target can results in the innovation of humans, as seen with Gundam Meister Leonard Fiennes, Graham Aker and civilian Amia Lee. A person fused with ELS has a paler skin tone and their hair is more silver in color, though the skin tone may vary depending the amount of melanin a person has in their body. During his 50 years with the ELS, Setsuna F. Seiei was most likely completely assimilated by the ELS, resulting in the same effects as described, but also giving his body a metallic shine. Setsuna is so far the only person to have undergone complete assimilation by the ELS.
The ELS also have the same effects on mobile suits. The ELS can fuse with a mobile suit and modify them. Examples are seen when the ELS merge with the damaged GRM Gundam, and give the suit a more curved design. Interestingly, the GRM is still able to use Trans-Am, indicating that its GN Drive Tau was not assimilated. This is in contrast to the ELS GN-XIV, where the ELS were unable to use Trans-Am due to their physiology despite the original GN-XIV's being able to do so. The 00 Qan[T] was also upgraded by the ELS, sporting new armor (which was discarded via the Quantum Burst) and wings that may be its modified GN Sword Bits.
Classes of ELS
These are the most common types of ELS, typically smaller than a mobile suit, coming in blade, conical, and prism shapes. They commonly target mobile suits.
Less common than small ELS, the medium ELS are roughly the same size as space battle cruisers, and target battle cruisers or large MAs such as Gadelaza. However, any mobile suits caught within the path of medium ELSs will be instantly assimilated, as opposed to being slowly assimilated by the smaller ELS. They take on similar structures as jellyfish.
Only one large ELS was present in the movie, and that was the one that was spherically shaped, roughly the size of the moon. It served as a base of sorts to the ELS, and was capable of assimilating planets, and even deflecting the 80m grade GN Laser Cannon from the Celestial Being on the second shot.
Mobile Suits used by ELS
- Note: This list also contains MS that were infused with ELS technology
- These imitations of the mainstay Earth Sphere Federation Forces mobile suits are replicated by the ELS through assimilation. They resemble the original GN-XIV, but with an elongated, sharp cone at the back, while the four eye sensors in the head are replaced by a single glowing violet eye. Units with imitation of the NGN Bazookas have the weapons directly integrated into the arms, while those with imitation of the GN Short Rifle and GN Long Rifle have the rifles at the end of the forearm. They can also generate a beam saber from their palms.
- An extremely grotesque ELS version of the Arios Gundam Ascalon, it has an elongated neck, and various other changes, such as a single glowing violet eye replacing the eye sensors in the head.
- Seen only in the alternate manga version of the movie (which depicted events very differently, thus separate from the main continuity), it is a replica of the 00 Raiser Condenser Type. The only visible changes from the original MS are the GN Sword III appears to "grow" out directly from the right arm and eye sensors in the head are replaced by a single glowing violet eye.
- An ELS infused version of the 00 Qan[T] appearing in the epilogue of the film. It is unknown when the Qan[T] got assimilated after Setsuna went to the ELS' home planet. The unit sports an entirely different design before it was assimilated. The GN Shield and the GN Sword Bits apparently fused into a peacock tail-like structure, now acting as angel-like wings (whilst containing the 2nd GN Drive).
- Seen in the manga version of the movie and in Mobile Suit Gundam 00I 2314, it is an assimilated replica of the original GNMA-Y0002V Gadelaza. The ELS version differs from the original in that its surface is smoother and has a different color scheme.
- One version of the Sakibure is used solely by the ELS. Most of the versions of the Sakibure have ELS components within their heads.
- When the original GNZ-001 GRM Gundam was about to be assimilated by a group of ELS GN-XIV's, Setsuna F. Seiei traveled to the ELS home world and made peace with the ELS. Instead of being assimilated, the GRM Gundam, as well as its Meister Leonard Fiennes were both infused with ELS technology. The GRM Gundam E has a much smoother and curved design appearance than its predecessor. Also, the face vents on the MS are gone, and the GN Mega Launcher is more curved in design. Despite being infused with the ELS who themselves cannot use Trans-Am, the GRM Gundam E is able to do so.
Searching For a New Home
The ELS is a peaceful species living in the far side of the galaxy in their old home world. After billions of years of evolution and developing their planet, as seen from the beginning of being formed in water, their planet was on the brink of destruction as their sun went supernova and engulfed their home world. To survive, the ELS had no choice but to send out an expedition force in a giant sphere about 3000 kilometers in diameter in search of a new place that is similar to their destroyed planet, so that they can assimilate and make it into their home world. Along their expedition, they assimilated and reformed several planets and planetary systems. In the year A.D. 2314, the ELS discovered Jupiter which fits what they were looking for and an advance force was sent to check the planet out.
The ELS advance force later discovered the derelict Jupiter exploration vessel Europa and assimilated it and all the dead bodies aboard. Curious of the life that the Solar System contained, the ELS set the Europa on a course for the ship's home planet: Earth. The Earth Sphere Federation attempted to destroy the ship, but no matter how many missiles or particle beams were fired at it, the Europa simply absorbed them all along with the beams fired by the Federation's Mobile Suit forces. Therefore, the ESF dispatched Captain Descartes Shaman in the GNMA-Y0002V Gadelaza to destroy it. Shaman was successful and the Europa was destroyed. However, the ELS fell to Earth disguised as debris and once on the surface, began assimilating any technology they could find, as well as humans with the potential to become Innovators. The ELS desired alien species with quantum brainwaves as they thought that it is an essential characteristic of intelligent lifeforms. Although the ESF and the paramilitary group Celestial Being were unaware of this reasoning, they managed to figure out that these people are in danger; the latter's actions then saved the lives of Saji Crossroad and Louise Halevy and their returning comrades, Allelujah Haptism and Marie Parfacy.
In space, the ELS reformed the Europa in front of CBS-74 Ptolemaios 2 Kai, attracted to three quantum brainwave users aboard, Gundam Meisters Allelujah Haptism, Marie Parfacy, and Setsuna F. Seiei. The Gundams fought against the ELS, but they outnumbered the three mobile suits, eventually beginning to assimilate Setsuna's 00 Raiser. Soon, CB-002 Raphael Gundam arrived and destroyed the Europa a second time, before the Gundams eliminated any debris.
Upon being informed by the ELS advance force that there is life on Earth, the large ELS teleports to Jupiter, creating a gravitation field that pulled in and destroyed Io and Ganymede. The large ELS and its accompanying armada then emerged from the gas giant's red spot, fully revealing themselves to the Earth. As a result, the ELS' attraction to quantum brainwaves caused the people on Earth with quantum brainwave to have painful headaches or have their quantum brainwave activate involuntarily. At relative speed, they were calculated to reach Earth within 95 days. The ESF dispatched Shaman along with an ESF fleet to intercept the ELS at Mars, in an attempt to understand their intentions and at best, use Shaman's quantum brainwave to lure the ELS away from Earth But Shaman/Gadelaza was overwhelmed and assimilated, as well as the ESF fleet assisting him. The Celestial Being arrived too late to help.
Believing that they were experiencing the dialogues with other life Aeolia Schenberg had prepared humanity for, Setsuna F. Seiei attempted to use the Raiser System installed on GN-0000RE+GNR-010 00 Raiser Condenser Type to communicate with the ELS. But instead, the ELS overloaded his brain with an intense amount of information, putting him in a coma and nearly assimilating 00 Raiser. The other Gundam Meisters were forced to extract him before withdrawing, with Meister Tieria Erde sacrificing both of his Gundams to save the Innovator. The ELS gave pursuit, only to be fended by the Solbraves.
The ELS soon arrived at Earth within the predicted 3 months, facing the combined might of the ESF fleet. The ESF fleet had created a Absolute Defense Line which consisted of all available mobile suits and battleships of any type: conventional and GN types to defend the Earth. The ESF fired a barrage of GN missiles at the ELS. It destroyed a portion of their armada, the rest of the ELS emerged from the explosion unharmed, having developed countermeasures against GN technology. The ESF utilized the colony ship Celestial Being's rail gun against the ELS, cutting a clean hole through their mothership. The ESF forces then charged into the fray. But the ELS soon began to demonstrate their ability to copy what they assimilate; smaller ELS joined together to form GNX-803T GN-XIV and large carrier-class ELS transformed into Baikal-class cruisers. This escalates the situation as the ELS have now equal terms of firepower and retaliated, destroying multiple mobile suits and battlecruisers in their line of fire, inflicting massive losses on the ESF defense forces. Celestial Being fired another shot at the ELS mothership, but the latter erects an energy shield that deflected the shot.
Peace Through Setsuna
The ELS seemed poise to win and managed to break the defensive line. However, ESF soldier Andrei Smirnov stopped the ELS' first attempt to reach the Earth, though it meant sacrificing his own life. CB cuts through their lines with the GN-010 Gundam Zabanya and GN-011 Gundam Harute, allowing a reawakened Setsuna and the GNT-0000 00 Qan[T] to make it to the center of their mothership, where, with the help of Tieria and Veda, he uses the Quantum System to properly initiate the dialogue. With a miniature Veda terminal installed on his Gundam, he was able to withstand the exchange. Once he learned of the ELS history, he decides to quantize to their home world to seek mutual understanding. As soon as Setsuna quantizes, the ELS begin returning to their mothership, now reconfigured into the shape of a desert flower, signifying the end of hostilities.
Fifty years after first contact, the desert flower remained in orbit of Earth, indicating that the ELS maintain a form of co-existence with humanity.
Notes & Trivia
- The ELS are the first alien intelligence to have directly appeared in the Gundam franchise. The other alien lifeform to appear in the franchise has been Evidence 01 from the Cosmic Era timeline, both being linked in some way to Jupiter - the ELS teleporting to and emerging from Jupiter's red spot, while Evidence 01 was found near one of Jupiter's moons, Europa. A third alien lifeform, and in the form of a microbe to appear is the Angel Call but unlike the first two, it was first discovered near Saturn. The next appearance of alien lifeform is the inhabitants of the planet Eldora from Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE.
- From a Great Mechanics DX interview, it was mentioned that there were over 1000 ELS massed against the ESF army and Celestial Being.