Last revised: 04/13/00
******* WARNING *******
*** NC-17, mature content
*** ALT-REALITY, yaoi, darkfic,
<holds up poster reading, "CAUTION: ZERO-SYSTEM-ish QUATRE ahead">
In the process of plotting and writing "Wicked Game", the first teaser for "Brilliant Disguise" has been become obsolete. So here's a new quickie teaser for you guys! ^_^
It's really more for flavor than content, so it implies a lot, but says little. <evil smirk> The actual fic will go into things more thoroughly.
Oh yeah... and I'm working on a teaser for "Dragon's Fire" and/or "Wicked Game" <snigger> It should be done in a day or two....
If anyone wants to take a look at the earlier parts of the fic, they're available at:
MECHANICS OF CONTROL: BRILLIANT DISGUISE
A Gundam Wing ALTERNATE-REALITY fic by Madamhydra
Short Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Gundam Wing copyrighted by their respective creators and all distributors of their work. Used without permission.
* * *
I saw you last night
Out on the edge of town
I wanna read your mind
To know just what I've got in
This new thing I've found
So tell me what I see
When I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
Or just a brilliant disguise?
-- "Brilliant Disguise"
-- Bruce Springsteen
[two weeks prior to Relena's shooting]
"Quatre, guess what!?"
On the monitor screen, the blond Gundam pilot saw the happiness glowing in his sister Martine Katerina's eyes and had a pretty good idea what was going on. However, not wanting to spoil the moment, he only smiled back and said, "What?"
"I'm getting married!" squealed his sister.
Quatre chuckled and said, "And who's the lucky man?"
"Nicholas Longilus, of course, you silly boy! I've only been dating him for the last four years!"
The blond teenager laughed again. Martine and Nicholas has fallen in love practically at first sight during college. Everyone knew they were going end up married. The only mystery was why it was taking so long for the couple to actually take the plunge. It has become a bit of a running joke between the Winner and Longilus families, with Nicholas' father, Antoine Longilus, wryly commenting that he lived in constant expectation of seeing Iria and some of the older Winner sisters at his door, looking for Nicholas with shotguns in hand.
"That's wonderful, Martine!"
She gave him a beautiful smile, then said with a slightly wistful air, "Quatre, I know how busy you are, but... I hope you'll be able to attend the wedding. I know Nicholas would be SO glad to see you again."
Some of the joy left Quatre's eyes as he said softly, "I would love to come, but I'm afraid that I can't make any promises...."
Martine shook her head briskly, "I'm not sure what sort of project is taking so much of your time, but it must be very important. And I understand if you want to keep a low profile. I'm not asking you to stand up in front of all the guests to give me away. But if you can... I just want you to BE there."
Quatre smiled back. With her cheerful, gregarious nature, Martine reminded him so much of Duo.
(Except she's lucky not to have Duo's burdens -- dark memories of growing up on the streets, the unrelenting demands and responsibilities of being a Gundam pilot.... That's part of the reason why I fight... so people like my sister don't have to suffer under such burdens....)
"I'll do my very best, Martine. When are you planning on holding the wedding?"
"Two weeks from now."
He blinked in surprise. "So soon!? I thought you always wanted a huge wedding, with all the bells and whistles. Have you changed your mind? Or are you afraid that Nicholas will change his mind?"
She gave him a sly grin. "Oh, no! I'm not worried about Nicholas, but you know me -- once I've made a decision, I hate waiting! Besides, it's definitely going to be a huge bash. Hundreds of guests, fancy reception... the works!"
"And you're planning to get this all done in two WEEKS? But the cake... the wedding dress... the catering... all the arrangements! Iria must be throwing an absolute fit!"
Martine gave him a sheepish grin. "Believe me, my ears are still ringing from all the shouting. But don't worry, Quatre. All you guys have to do is show up at the church on time. Let the women handle everything else!"
He burst out into merry laughter. "All right! All right! If you put it that way...."
"Terrific! People are going to be talking about this wedding for years to come!"
[ 2 days prior to Relena's shooting]
As Trowa prepared to leave on his new mission, he stopped in the kitchen to see Quatre who was reading through some papers with a frown.
"Dear god, Martine wasn't joking when she said that this would be a high profile wedding!" the Sandrock pilot muttered. "Trowa, just take a look at the guest list!", Quatre added, waving the papers in his direction.
Trowa's eyebrow rose as he quickly skimmed through the long list of names which included numerous business and labor leaders, high-ranking diplomats, government officials, and even several prominent members of the OZ military.
"Are you still planning on going?" the Heavyarms pilot inquired in his usual distant voice.
Quatre hesitated, then said, "Yes. Both Martine and Nicholas asked me to come, so I could share some of her happiness. But she said it was all right if I didn't participate in the actual wedding ceremony and remained in the background. One of my uncle's will be giving her away."
As he put the list back on the table, Trowa said quietly, "A loving sister is a treasure to be cherished."
As the brown-haired pilot picked up his duffle bag and turned to leave, Quatre called out, "Trowa, take care of yourself."
The other pilot nodded a silent acknowledgement before walking out the door.
[ the day before Relena's shooting]
Quatre's heart sank as he noticed the email message waiting for him. He hoped that it wasn't an urgent mission. Martine's wedding was taking place in only two days. He frowned slightly at the rather cryptic message.
(Damn, it IS urgent. But why on earth would a software upgrade be so critical that it needs to be install right NOW?)
With a sigh, Quatre dutifully downloaded the massive file onto several disks and headed for the hanger.
In the hanger, Rashid and some of the other Maganacs were busy with various maintenance chores, but they all looked up as he walked by.
"Master Quatre, do you need anything?" Abdul called out.
He smiled and shook his head. "No, I just need to do some work on Sandrock computers." Glancing at his watch, he said, "It may take me a while so don't worry if I'm late for dinner."
"Of course, Master Quatre. I'll notify the cook."
Quatre closed the hatch and settled into the familiar confines of Sandrock's cockpit.
"Now let's see what in this file...."
The Gundam's computers sprang to life. The blond pilot started to feel somewhat concerned as more and more of Sandrock's processing capacity was utilized in decoding and unpacking the file.
(I authenticated the file so I doubt it's some type of virus, but what could possibly require so much computing power?)
Suddenly, on the screen, a long list of computer files started to scroll.
As the list continued to grow, Quatre wondered, (What are all those new system files? I've never heard of ZEROSYS....)
The Sandrock pilot tried searching for any sort of documentation file, but the Gundam's computers were evidently too busy to respond. Quatre sat back with a resigned sigh and settled down to wait.
A half hour later, the list of files abruptly halted, although computer activity continued for two or three more minutes. Finally, the single line appeared on the main monitor.
ZEROSYS INSTALL COMPLETE
ZEROSYS ACTIVATION BEGIN
(Switchover commencing? Switch over to what?)
Suddenly, the cockpit was flooded with a series of apparently meaningless tones, almost like the chime of crystal being struck. Although not particularly loud, the sounds were extremely penetrating. Quatre felt a sudden wave of dizziness as he struggled to turn the noise off, but nothing he tried worked. His irritation transformed into alarm when the cockpit hatch refused to open.
Quatre found himself involuntarily curling up into a ball in a futile attempt to block out the sound. Plugging his ears with his fingers was just as ineffective as the tones seem to vibrate in his very bones.
"D-Damn it! Where the hell's... going ON!?"
The blond teenager gritted his teeth, then started to rock back and forth as the maddening noise seem to dig its way into his skull.
"S-Stop it! STOP IT!"
Far from being painful, the sound had the opposite effect. His thoughts remained crystal clear, but with every breath, Quatre could feel a vital part of himself steadily going numb, as if becoming encased or smothered by an inexorable advancing mass of ice....
(No... stop... can't feel... can't... feel....)
Then Quatre Raberba Winner felt nothing at all.
Quatre abruptly opened his eyes. With no expression on his face, he reached out and simply placed his hand on the Gundam console. Although Quatre said and did nothing physically, the computer instantly responded to his mental commands, running through a rapid sequence of test programs.
On the main monitor, an image of Instructor H appeared. Quatre said flatly, "Diagnostics complete. I am fully operational."
The scientist nodded and said, "Excellent. As you know, General Bernard Lundquist is Treize Khushrenada's chief rival in OZ. Lundquist is the foremost advocate of replacing human-piloted Mobile Suits with the completely robotic Mobile Dolls, while Khushrenada opposes such action.
"Khushrenada is our enemy, but at least he's rational and competent. Lundquist is sloppy and unpredictable -- he makes mistakes, then commits atrocities to cover up those mistakes. It's only by sheer luck that he's gotten away with it so far. However, despite his flaws, he's a persuasive and charismatic individual. Lundquist's managed to gather a surprising amount of support for himself and his views both inside and outside of OZ."
Quatre silently assimilated the information.
"Our ultimate goal is to destroy OZ. However, it currently serve our interests for Treize Khushrenada to remain in his current position. Furthermore, we want to delay the mobilization of the Dolls for as long as possible. Your mission is to stage an incident that will place Lundquist and the Mobile Dolls in the worst possible light.
"To this end, you will arrange for some Mobile Dolls to attack civilians, preferably ones who are known to oppose Lundquist. You will also insure that the attack can somehow be blamed on both the Mobile Doll system and Lundquist himself. However, it cannot be an overly blatant frameup."
"You will locate a suitable target...."
Quatre interrupted the scientist in a cold, emotionless voice. "I know of an event taking place within the next 48 hours which will fulfill all stated mission parameters."
Instructor H raised an eyebrow, then shrugged. "Very well. Remember that it is critical that no one connect this incident with anyone except Lundquist, especially not us. You will take any measure necessary to insure our involvement remains secret."
Even before Instructor H's image faded from the main monitor, Quatre sent a series of mental commands to the computer. His first objective was to locate an accessible group of Mobile Dolls. A few minutes of careful scanning and file manipulation told him that although the Mobile Dolls were supposed to be strictly experimental, Lundquist had secretly acquired several fully operational squads of Dolls. A brief examination of the computer command node that controlled the Dolls indicated that while access would be difficult, there was no question that he would be able to penetrate and take over the node.
Quatre then turned to his second objection -- the target. Slipping through a personal computer's firewalls as if they didn't exist, Quatre pulled up a list of names. Most of the people on the list were either neutral or favored Treize Khushrenada. And Antoine Longilus, noted industrialist, was very outspoken in his opposition to the Mobile Dolls.
Yes, the Winner-Longilus wedding would be the perfect target for a marauding horde of Mobile Dolls.
All he had to do was insure that at least one Mobile Doll was destroyed in the attack. Any competent investigation would eventual bring up the appropriate inventory records linking the Mobile Dolls to Lundquist, but Quatre was prepared to give the investigators all the help they needed. At best, it would appear that the Mobile Dolls' programming was substantially flawed. At worst, the attack would appear like a botched coup attempt by Lundquist or one of his subordinates.
Quatre's calculations indicated that a 25-30% fatality rate at the wedding would bring the optimum amount of moral outrage without excessive disruption of normal activities. If he killed everyone, industrial or governments could remain paralyzed for weeks or even months.
The fact that virtually every single one of Quatre's 29 sisters would be present at the wedding was totally irrelevent to the Sandrock pilot.
(end of teaser 2)
"Mechanics of Control" is the title for the overall alternative-reality storyline, with sub-stories for each pilot. ^_^ The sub-stories are titled as follows:
"Wicked Game" - Heero and Duo
"Brilliant Disguise" - Trowa and Quatre
"Dragon's Fire" - Wufei
Keeper of Duo's Dark Side ~~~ Duo no Seishi
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings
Co-Keeper of Little Grim Reaper Duo
Keeper of Saitoh's Sex Life ~~~ Saitoh no Koibito
The Full Disclaimer
All rights and privileges to Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing are trademarks and property of Sunrise, Bandai, Sotsu Agency, and associated parties. The characters of these works are used WITHOUT permission for the purpose of entertainment only. This work of fiction is not meant for sale or profit.
Original portion of the fiction included here is considered to be the sole property and copyrighted to the author.