12-2-2001

Title: Mirrors of Shadows
Author: Ellyr
Pairings: 2+5, will become 2+1
Spoilers: None, really. AU.
Archive: Nowhere at the moment. If you want it, e-mail me.
Feedback: I'll love you forever.

Thanks to all my betas!

* * *

 

Romefeller Headquarters was bathed in the harsh white glow of the floodlights situated along its perimeter, giving one the impression that it was somehow removed from the dark world around it and floating on its own level. It was clearly meant to evoke the majestic beauty of ancient Greek temples, but only succeeded in looking forbidding and ominous. Leskya stared at it from the end of the avenue that swept up to it from the ocean, feeling forcefully reminded of the prison where she'd spent ten years in confinement. It had been a thoroughly miserable place, hidden out in the middle of the Arctic Circle with absolutely no contact with the rest of the world, cold and dark and depressing... Almost all of the members of Eva had been sent there after the collapse of Project Devian, twelve years ago now. Most of them were still there.

It had just been her good fortune that Treize Kushrenada had risen to prominence and had been able to negotiate her release.For a price, of course, but one that she was perfectly willing to pay.

With a tiny smile, she lifted her head and walked slowly down the avenue lined with the hulking forms of mobile suits, right up to the impressive entrance doors.

The interior of the Headquaters was clearly meant to enforce the Foundation's considerable power. Every little piece of furniture, every wall hanging, every painting had obviously been selected to convey a sense of wealth and importance, meant to put the outsider ill at ease. She couldn't help but feel amused that Romefeller felt the need to resort to such tactics. The Eva Organization had never done so... Then again, they had been based in outer space where everything was much more sparse. Maybe, if they had been on Earth, they would have followed Romefeller's path...

...then again, maybe not.

"How nice of you to come."

Leskya turned to see Treize hovering solicitously at her elbow, looking as aristocratic as ever in his blue military uniform, his face calm and composed. The only outward sign of uneasiness was his eyes, flickering restlessly in his otherwise impassive countenance.

"It was gracious of you to invite me."

He offered her his arm and she took it with a faint smile, letting herself be steered slowly in the direction of the muffled noises coming from the ballroom.

Treize was speaking again. "It's important that you're accepted within Romefeller. Duke Dermail still has his doubts about you. He thinks I made a mistake in having you released -"

"Because I was a member of Eva?"

"Yes. And because he's afraid that you might try to revive Devian."

Leskya laughed softly. "No, not Devian." She gave him a quick glance out of the corner of her eye. "How far along are you?"

Treize smiled, then, a real smile. "He's incredible. Amazing. The perfect weapon."

"Oh?"

"Yes. It's extraordinary - the techniques that your people developed are simply astonishing. The things you can do with them -"

Leskya raised her hand to stop him, her eyes darkening as if in warning. "Be careful, Treize Kushrenada. Remember that you are not creating mobile suits with no minds of their own. You're creating a human being, one who will have its own thoughts and feelings and ideals. Don't forget what happened to the original project."

Treize's eyes narrowed and stepped in closer to her. "What -"

But at that moment someone came toward them from the crush of people swirling around in the brightly lit room and they were forced to drop their conversation.

* * *

Neither of them noticed the slender blonde lurking in the shadows behind them, so unobtrusive as to be almost a part of the background. He listened intently to every word that was said, then watched as they were swallowed up in the crowd of brightly colored courtiers, his teal blue eyes narrowing thoughtfully.

* * *

Two hours later that same blonde was curled up on his bed in the school that the pilots were boarding at at the moment, staring quietly up at the ceiling.

"So, the leader of OZ is in league with a member of Eva? That's interesting," commented Duo, his eyes becoming unfocused as he thought while his fingers reached up to toy with the end of his braid.

Quatre nodded. "Apparently, she's given him knowledge on how to use the illegal bioengineering techniques that they used in Project Devian. Evan Romefeller Romefeller doesn't approve of them," he added, almost as an afterthought. Duo leaned forward, a small crease appearing on his forehead.

Duo leaned forward, a small crease appearing on his forehead. "That means that Treize must be acting without his superiors' knowledge, branching out on his own."

There was a beat of silence as the pilots absorbed that. Then Wufei spoke up. "Do you think this has anything to do with that disk?"

Duo rubbed at his hair, bemused. "Could be. The encryption code on it isn't one of Romefeller's. It's one that appears to be unique to OZ." He arched back in a stretch, managing a tired grin for the other three pilots. "We'll know more in a few days, when I finally crack the damn thing."

"And in the meantime-"

"We keep doing what we always have," said Trowa in his quiet, commanding voice, his eyes straying to the window, as if trying to pierce through the intervening buildings to see his Gundam, safely hidden. "We keep attacking OZ. That's our mission."

* * *

Our mission... Our mission is failing.

Duo stared moodily at the computer screen, the lines of encrypted data flowing steadily across its smooth surface in an uninterrupted pattern. He was good at code breaking, tapping into other people's secrets and using that knowledge against them, hoping to destroy them. An instrument of death, that's what he'd become. They'd all become instruments of death and nothing more. And now the colonies had decided that they wanted nothing to do with them, declaring the same soldiers who had fought for them as nothing more than renegade, out of control terrorists.

He sighed and shifted his attention back to the computer. It didn't matter. It didn't matter that the colonies had fallen under OZ dictatorship and had subsequently turned on them, or that they were alone except for each other. They'd just keep on fighting because they knew that OZ was a threat.

On the other hand, things could have been different. If it had been Eva... That would probably have been worse. While Romefeller had been very blunt and direct in its methods of seizing power - mobile suits weren't exactly subtle - Eva's bid for control in outer space had gone largely unnoticed until things had gone so devastatingly out of control. They'd initially set themselves up as an organization devoted to beneficial research aimed at eliminating genetic defects, a problem everyone was eager to eliminate, when in reality they'd been something else entirely. They had in fact had an entirely different agenda, one that ran more along the lines of...killing. They'd wanted to create perfect assassins, who would infiltrate society to enforce Eva's will.

Then things had gone wrong. Project Devian, their most ambitious bioengineering attempt, had somehow backfired, ending in a bloody massacre on their experimental station and the exposure of the organization's actual nature. After that, the leaders had been imprisoned, their genetic engineering techniques had been banned unless under strict supervision, and all of their `experiments' had been executed. It had been the end of Eva, much to everyone's relief.

Except that now it seemed to be making a resurrection under OZ.

The computer blipped softly, and Duo leaned forward, quickly reading over the data. A small grin ran across his features at what he saw. It had worked. Decoding: successful.

He flipped his braid over his shoulder and settled back to find out just what OZ was up to. Two hours later he was still struggling to comprehend the implications of what was before him, feeling a surge of unfamiliar panic racing through his veins.

This was serious. Very, very serious.