*** WARNINGS ***
*** extremely alternate universe, semi-darkfic
*** yaoi, violence, sexual content
*** bastardized Quatres & Duos
*** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME *** LIME
Here's a very rough draft of Part 3. Please pardon the typos and/or grammar mistakes. ^_^;
For people unfamiliar with these story, this is the quick and dirty plot synopses: This is an alternate reality fic where the G-boys are the bad guys and the OZ people are the good guys. Pretty simple, eh?
You can find the earlier parts of this fic at "The Obsidian Shadows":
THE OTHER SIDE
A Gundam Wing fanfic by Madamhydra
Short Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end)
Gundam Wing is copyright of its respective creators and all distributors of their work and used without permission.
During the bone-jarring jeep ride, Relena ruefully observed that Catherine drove the way she did apparently everything else in life -- full speed ahead and to hell with anything that dared to get in the way.
"Where are we going?"
"To meet my contact and pick up the truck. We're going to enter Preventer HQ as cargo drivers. Once inside, another contact's going to provide us with IDs and uniforms so we can move around a bit more freely. After that, we split up to do our own thing," Catherine replied.
Half an hour later, they reached the outskirts of an industrial park. Catherine slowed down, then came to a halt behind a large, darkened warehouse.
"Looks like no one's here."
One of the large loading doors began to roll up with surprisingly little noise.
After driving inside, the door closed and a blindingly bright light shone directly down on them. Catherine said, "Stay seated and don't move until I say so. I was supposed to be alone, so it's no wonder that Nate wants to look us over."
They waited a bit, then other lights went on, illuminating the cavernous interior of the building. Hopping out of the vehicle, Catherine called out, "Hey, Nate! Get out here!"
Relena watched as a person emerged from the shadows, carrying a pistol in one hand. The armed stranger was a young, slender, short-haired woman of Asian ancestry. As she walked into view with a decided limp, Relena was startled to see several distinct scars on the woman's bare arms, chest, and neck. With the state of modern medical technology, such obvious scarring was highly unusual. The marks hinted at the severity of the woman's injuries -- she was lucky to have survived. But it was curious that the woman chose to bear the scars instead of getting them cosmetically removed.
"Relena Peacecraft, this is my friend Nate. She's going to provide the truck we'll be driving."
"Pleased to meet you," Relena said with a small smile.
Nate stared at her with dark, wary eyes, then nodded politely in acknowledgement. Turning back to Catherine, she smiled slightly and said, "The truck's been loaded, but I need to verify that the tags and serial numbers are in order. A few more minutes and you'll be ready to go."
"Thanks a lot. I couldn't have managed this without you or your contacts."
Nate smiled coldly, "Anything to help you and OZ, Catherine."
As the two women waited for the last finishing touches to be made on the truck, Relena murmured, "That's the first time I've heard you call someone a friend."
Catherine glanced at Relena and said thoughtfully, "Well, in a weird sort of way, Nate and I are sorta like sisters. We've both had someone we loved stolen from us. I don't mean killed. I mean brainwashed, reprogrammed... remade. I told you before about my brother Trowa."
"And who did Nate lose... excuse me, that's none of my business."
"I know about your brother, Peacecraft. Your curiosity is understandable," Nate said calmly as she limped toward them. "Since you asked, I lost my beloved husband. His father and the family elders demanded my death as a test of his loyalty. My husband refused. To save face, his father used psychological coercion to ensure that his son would obediently provide the elders with whatever proof they required. Through pure luck, I survived my husband's attempt on my life." Nate gestured at her own body. "However, as you can see, I did not escape unscathed."
Relena's eyes widened. "Psychological coercion? You mean your father-in-law brainwashed his own SON into trying to kill you!?"
Nate nodded curtly.
"If you don't mind me asking, what happened to your husband? And does he know you're alive?" Relena didn't push for a name or more specifics. If Nate wanted her to know, the scarred woman would have told her.
"No, he doesn't know I still live. You see, like Catherine's brother -- perhaps like your own brother -- my husband has now become a loyal member of the Preventers and obedient servant of the Council and its allies."
"That's... absolutely sickening!" muttered Relena, gritting her teeth angrily.
Nate's voice was cold and flat. "Quite. It is also unforgivable."
"So you joined OZ because of this...."
"Call it an alliance of convenience, Peacecraft. My father-in-law and the elders may be out of my immediate reach, but in injuring their ally the Council, I also injure my true enemy. If the Council falls, so will my enemy. I shall have justice for the wrongs done to me, my husband, and the unborn child I lost."
Nate took a deep breath and visibly shook off her dark mood. Handing her friend several data cards, the scarred woman said, "Catherine, all the documentation's been taken care of. You can depart whenever you're ready."
Catherine nodded and said, "You're sure that the cargo and the truck can't be traced back to you?"
"Great." Catherine shook hands with Nate. "Take care of yourself."
"I should be saying that to you. After all, you are the ones walking into the monsters' lair."
As Relena moved to follow Catherine to the truck, Nate put a hand on the blond's shoulder and said softly, "I wish you well, Relena Peacecraft. For your sake, I hope your brother has not suffered my husband's fate. At least death is final. But what happened to Catherine's brother and my husband... it's like a wound that bleeds forever and never heals."
Relena whispered, "Thank you."
They exchanged nods, then Nate disappeared into the depths of the warehouse. Catching up with Catherine, the two women hastily changed into their driver uniforms and started up the truck.
As they drove away into the night, Relena said pensively, "What an interesting woman."
"She definitely is."
"Her nickname doesn't seem suit her at all. There's something about her that reminds me of a steel blade. A uncompromising fierceness...."
"You got that feeling, too, huh? From what I gather, she was raised in a rather militaristic family. Way of the warrior and all that." Catherine shrugged, "As for the nickname....."
"Nate, short for Natalie?"
"Nope. Short for Nataku."
As she watched the truck disappear down the road, Nataku, once known as Chang Meiran and formerly an elite mobile suit pilot for the Dragon Clan, reached up and touched the small pouch that never left her neck. Inside the pouch was the cockpit recording from her mobile suit. Contained in the recording was the truth of that fateful day when her world shattered.
The truth... and her husband's last words to her....
She did not need the recording to remember. Those events were irrevocably etched in her memories... memories of her friends being cut to pieces or incinerated alive... memories of standing alone, staring in utter disbelief at the terrible opponent before her.
Her knuckles turned white as her grip tightened on the pouch.
She would never forget the sight of the Gundam Shenlong charging toward her, beam glaive poised to slice her and her mobile suit in two. And even now, she could hear Wufei's tormented screams echoing in her ears.
As they drove off into the night, Catherine glanced over at the pensive Relena and commented neutrally, "You seemed awfully insistent about getting into Preventer headquarters ASAP."
The Peacecraft frowned slightly, but seem to think twice about answering.
Catherine said, "I'm not asking for details. I have no intention of getting captured alive, but if things go wrong and I get interrogated...." She shrugged. "At least you'll have a chance."
"Yes. That's probably best," Relena responded quietly. "But I think I should tell you this much. I'm on a mission to retrieve something vitally important, so I may need to pull out at any moment. I won't be able to wait for you."
The brunette terrorist seemed unfazed by the warning. "That's fine. You do your job and I'll do mine. But I bloody well hope that whatever you're 'retrieving' is worth risking a Peacecraft's precious neck."
"I hope so, too," Relena said with a sigh.
The other woman suddenly reached out to grab Relena's upper arm and squeezed as hard as she could. After a few seconds, she released her grip.
"You've got a full combat upgrade, haven't you? I can tell by your muscle density, Relena."
Rubbing her arm, the blond retorted, "Look who's talking. You have some enhancements yourself."
With a toss of her head, Catherine said, "Sure. I've got steroids for more muscle, drugs to boost stamina, gene-modified bacteria to speed up reflex time and improve my vision, that sort of thing. Anyone who's going up against the Preventers needs every advantage they can beg, steal, or borrow. But those enhancements are only temporary, not to mention that the degree of improvement is pretty limited. Your case is different. You've been permanently and I'm guess pretty extensively modified."
Relena shifted uncomfortably, refusing to meet Catherine's gaze. Finally, she reluctantly said, "Yes, both Milliard and myself."
"With best bio-enhancement technology and doctors in the hands of the Council and its allies, how the hell did you manage to get that done? We're not talking about a few quick injections or some back room operation here! You need a major lab setup, not to mention plenty of expertise to do it right."
"We have connections with the right people. I told you that our family has been dedicated ourselves to destroying the Council for generations. And if it means becoming a little less human to do it... well, sometimes risks have to be taken and sacrifices made," Relena said, staring down at her finely boned hand. "I had a choice. I could have refused. But just like you said.... When fighting opponents as dangerous as the Preventers and the Council, you have to grab every advantage you can, regardless of the cost."
Catherine stared out the windshield at the roadway and the surrounding darkness. Eventually she said, "You're braver than I gave you credit for, Relena."
Relena suspected that those words were about as close to an apology as she would ever get from Catherine. As they headed down the brightly lit expressway, she thought about her upcoming mission. It was perfectly true that she was going to Preventer headquarters to pick up something, but she hadn't told Catherine what was truly at stake -- the complete blueprints to the Preventers' new orbital battlestation, codenamed 'Libra', not to mention detailed information for a new, potentially devastating weapon system being developed by several of the Council's scientists.
(How ironic that the Preventers should call their new weapon of terror 'Libra', a name associated with the scales of justice.)
Their informant, known only as 'Janus', had offered the blueprints and weapon data on the sole condition that Relena personally handle the mission. Naturally everyone suspected that the whole thing was a trap, but after prolonged discussion between herself, Treize, and Dorothy, they all agreed she had to take the risk. It was a huge gamble, but one with an immensely valuable payoff. Although contact with Janus was erratic, the information provided had always proven to be highly reliable. After all, it had been Janus's last minute warning of an impeding Preventer attack which had allowed OZ to save over half of its mobile suit force and equipment.
As for Janus's identity, no one had any clue who Janus could be. There was no doubt that Janus was highly placed in the Preventers or the Council's scientific division, but that was all that could be deduced.
(Just as well. If we in OZ don't know, then there's no chance that a Preventer spy will find out Janus's identity, either.)
[ Preventer HQ, Research & Development section ]
Her glasses glinting in the bright lab lights, Lady Une smiled faintly to herself as she glanced at the monitor. Although a casual observer would have considered her expression cold and decidedly sinister, the scientist felt a distinct surge of satisfaction as she watched the Gundams, with their attending squads of Mobile Suits, preparing for their new mission. Much of what she saw was a result of her hard work. She had been instrumental in the Council's various bio-modification and gene-engineering programs, but she was best known for her work in developing pilots who were capable of exploiting a Gundam's full potential.
In a strange way, all of the existing lab-born Gundam pilots could be considered her children -- she had personally supervised the creation of each pilot -- but she took particular pleasure in one very special specimen. His exceptional abilities and talents weren't the only reasons for her pride. No, she had much more personal, secretive reasons....
Her smile warmed almost imperceptibly as she observed Duo's mischievous attempt to give Heero a quick wedgie before dashing off toward his waiting Deathscythe. As she watched the braided pilot cheerfully joking with his men, Lady Une absently began to stroke her stomach and a distant, deeply buried voice in her mind lovingly whispered a single name.
Her introspective mood was broken by the sound of loudly approaching footsteps. By the time the newcomer stepped into view, any hint of softness or sentiment had vanished from Une's demeanor.
A tall, thin man with buzz-cut dark hair stalked into the room. He scowled thunderously as he noticed the Mobile Suits and Gundams being prepped for battle.
"Having a bad day, Ferrar?" Une inquired, her lips curling upward in an icy little smile. "Still having problems with the target acquisition system for your Mobile Dolls?"
He transferred his glare to his main competitor and snapped, "It's nothing serious, Une. A minor bug in the software code. Easily remedied."
"What was it last week? A problem with sensor integration? That was also a 'minor' software problem, I believe."
Ferrar bared his teeth in a poor imitation of a smile. "I'm astonished that you take such an interest in my work."
She pushed her glasses up her nose with a slender finger. "Of course I'm interested in your Mobile Doll project. After all, you've been boasting far and wide that your wholly computerized Dolls will eliminate any need for human pilots and render the current generation of Mobile Suits and Gundams completely obsolete."
"That's no boast, but simple fact!" Ferrar bellowed, pounding his fist on a nearby tabletop.
"Do forgive me," Une purred politely. "But it certainly appears that while the theory is certainly plausible, you're having significant problems with implementation."
"It's only a matter of time before I succeed! Imperfect humans will give way to perfect machines, no matter how many obstacles you or my other rivals throw in my way!"
She looked mildly astonished. "You think that *I'm* responsible for all your problems? 'It's all a conspiracy!' A remarkably convenient excuse for your noticeable lack of progress."
"It's no excuse! People like you are constantly working against me!"
Une sniffed contemptuously. "Now you're sounding decidedly paranoid. You blame all your problems on others, but have you ever considered that *you* could be part of the problem?
His dark eyes narrowed. "What the hell do you mean by that?"
Lady Une shrugged eloquently and replied, "Perhaps you're simply looking for an excuse to fail."
"Is it? I wonder. Perhaps deep inside, you're a little afraid of success, of making humans obsolete. If you can replace humans in the battlefield, what next? After all, you're a human being, too." She eyed him thoughtfully. "Well, at least you're human in a biological sense."
"Are you saying that I'm afraid of my *own* creations!?" Ferrar looked both infuriated and oddly shaken.
She smirked slightly and made an airy, dismissive gesture. "It's just a pet theory of mine. Feel free to ignore it."
Her tone turned decidedly dangerous. "But don't blame me for all your problems, Ferrar. I've got much more important things to do than think up ways to make your life difficult. Besides, you seem to be doing an excellent job of doing that all by yourself. If you suspect sabotage, then I suggest you look within your own research team for the culprit."
[ western coast of South America, Andes Mountain range ]
As Deathscythe stalked through the shattered remains of a grubby shanty town that had once been packed full of indigents and refugees, Captain Duo Maxwell was not happy. Someone had majorly fucked up and that person was going to pay.
"Shit, these scum breed like mice!" an irritated female pilot complained as she kicked apart a small rickety hovel. Over twenty people, over half of them children, scattered in all directions screaming wildly in terror in an effort to escape the falling wreckage.
Other Mobile Suits were doing much the same thing as they rummaged through the area, casually ripping apart hastily slapped together buildings, as the poor outcasts and refugees who called the shanty town home ran back and forth in mindless panic.
Duo snarled, "Report!" as Deathscythe half-crushed a scrawny teenager who had the presumption to attack the Gundam with a scrap metal bar.
"No sign of resistance equipment or activity, sir. Just lots of scared street rats," a senior pilot reported. "Should we keep looking?"
The braided pilot bared his teeth in frustration. "Rip this place apart and confirm that finding."
A half hour later, there wasn't a single structure standing in the entire camp. Dead bodies and injured people littered the area, mostly the result of debris carelessly tossed aside by the searching Mobile Suits. In various spots, fires had broken out from overturned cooking stoves or heaters.
One of the Mobile Suit pilots sniffed in contempt and muttered, "Well, that was a fucking waste of time. Respectfully speaking, Sir."
A nearby colleague switched to a private channel and whispered to his squadmate, "Uh oh, Shinigami wants blood. And he's going to get it, one way or another."
The other pilot chuckled and whispered back, "This will be fun to watch."
The ground troops waited nervously as Deathscythe and Wing stalked over toward them, followed by the rest of their respective mobile suit squads. For a nervewracking moment, it looked as if the two Gundams was about to walk right over the troops, just as Deathscythe had effortlessly trampled a good percentage of the shanty town into the dirt. But finally they stopped a few meters away from the command tent. The cockpit of the ominous dark Gundam opened and a slim figure dressed in a black and red skintight flight suit dropped silently to the ground.
Wiser and more experienced officers did their best to fade into the background as their commanding officer waited for the Gundam pilot with poorly concealed arrogance, mixed with a touch of anxiety.
"Captain... Dumfrey," Duo said in an ominous purr, his braid twitching from side to side like the tail of an angry leopard. "You described the target as 'a confirmed staging area for terrorist activity' and a 'Category 2 threat'. Care to explain the discrepancy between your description and that camp of miserable, half-starved squatters?"
In a smug voice, the captain started on his explanation, citing evidence of supposedly suspicious crates and heavy machinery inside the camp.
After about a minute, Duo said very simply, "Bullshit."
As Dumfrey blustered in nervous outrage, the Deathscythe pilot said in a dangerously even voice, "You were ordered to move the squatters into one of the internment camps, but you botched it, didn't you? How many of your men did you lose?"
"I don't know what you're...."
"Judging from appearences, I'd say that your losses were pretty heavy. After that first incident, you were probably too scared to try again. But since you didn't want to admit to HQ that you were incapable of handling the job, you deliberately misidentified the target as a high-threat terrorist camp...."
"A group of irate, panicked squatters armed with clubs, rocks and knives does not qualify as a Category 2 threat!"
"The number of people involved...."
"Poorly armed and even more poorly organized! It would have been easy to handle this situation with basic riot gear, stun batons and a few cattle prods, much less the firepower I know you have. A herd of cattle probably would have been more dangerous!"
Duo cut him short with a violet-eyed glare and continued, "But falsifying a report wasn't your only mistake. Didn't you realize that your lack of decisive action gave those refugees a chance to contact the underground media, who naturally jumped at the chance to gather evidence of another Council 'atrocity'?" He turned his head slightly and snapped, "Lieutenant Macarn!"
A Mobile Suit stepped forward, carrying a mangled jeep, and dumped the vehicle remains on the ground right in front of the command tent. Inside the twisted wreckage, three mangled corpses could clearly be seen.
"Is that all?" Duo growled.
"Yes, sir. We swept the area twice. No other unauthorized persons or transmissions were detected."
The Deathscythe pilot nodded curtly, then turned his attention back to the unfortunate Captain Dumfrey, who was now beginning to realize just how much trouble he was in.
Duo stalked forward until he was only inches away from Dumfrey and hissed malevolently, "One, you screwed up a simple removal operation. Two, you lied and grossly exaggerated the potential threat of this camp. Three, you lolled around waiting for someone else to clean up your mess, giving the resistance an excellent chance for gather more ammunition for their propaganda mill. What were you hoping for, Dumfrey? That HQ would order an convenient airstrike that would completely obliterate any evidence of your stupidity and incompetence?"
The Captain stuttered, "I... I may have made a mistake in assessment... but that's all! You're got no proof of these wild accusations...!"
Duo smiled viciously as he grabbed a hold of Dumfrey's uniform and easily hoisted the grown man off the ground.
"I don't *need* proof," the braided pilot purred, his dark violet eyes gleaming with excitement and anticipation.
Sitting in Wing's cockpit, Heero had no problem hearing the entire conversation between Dumfrey and Duo. He was perfectly indifferent to Dumfrey's fate. It didn't matter to him if Duo chose to drag the man back to face courtmartial or kill the fool on the spot. The most Duo would get is a mild verbal reprimand and a short lecture of proper military protocol. But considering Dumfrey's gross incompetence, the Deathscythe pilot probably wouldn't receive any disciplinary action at all.
Duo Maxwell was an valuable resource for the Preventers. If the occasional killing of a non-essential soldier or officer made him happy, his superiors simply shrugged their shoulders. The deaths of a few expendable personnel was a fairly cheap price for keeping the pilot in a good mood.
While the other mobile suit pilots chatted and made bets among themselves about how long Dumfrey would last, Heero tuned out the unfortunate officer's screams and decided to get a jump on writing his report. Duo had a definite tendency to become hyper and extremely horny after indulging in mayhem and carnage.
[ temporary OZ headquarters ]
Dorothy soared effortlessly through cyberspace like a raptor on the wing, continuously searching for anomalies or items of interest to pounce upon. Her colleagues in OZ thought she simply had a talent for computers, but they were wrong.
(I wonder what their reaction would be if they knew I was lab-bred. Or if they knew that my original name was Quatrain Ravenna Winner....)
She suspected that Treize knew, but she didn't worry about him. Treize knew how to keep secrets very well.
(Yes, born in the Winner family labs, from the rare 'QR' gene template, just like the infamous Commander Quatre Raberba Winner. I suppose that would make us siblings of sorts. But I'm a slightly older model, while he could be considered 'state of the art'....)
The 'QR' gene line had been specifically bred for intelligence and the ability to quickly process large amounts of information. It made both herself and Commander Quatre perfectly suited to the intelligence role in their respective organizations.
Something caught her attention -- a file in one of an electronic dropbox. She eyed it suspiciously. Instinct and natural caution told her that there was something strange about this file. She tested it, using little sub-programs to spring any hidden traps or detect any tracers. Finally satisfied, she quickly snatched the file and transferred it a secure location before examining it.
The data turned out to be nothing more than a simple video file... but the content was potentially devastating, especially to Treize. No message was attached. There was no need. The images themselves were more than enough.
She grimaced as she watched Milliard Peacecraft being fucked in the ass by an unidentified Preventer officer as the tall platinum blond diligently sucked the penis of another Preventer. And from all appearances, Milliard was perfectly content -- even eager -- to obey the Preventers' every command. As she watched the male Peacecraft spreading his legs wider and pulling his buttock apart to allow deeper penetration, she wondered how on earth she was going to show the video to Treize.
(Damn it! And what about Relena?)
She checked and rechecked the authenticity of the video file. Except for some obvious editing to conceal the identity of the Preventer officers, the video was free from tampering or manipulation. So much for an easy way out.
Treize probably had strong suspicions as to Milliard's fate. The precision of the Preventers' recent raids, combined with the arrest of numerous OZ informants and sympathizers, pointed toward the distinct possibility that the Preventers had extracted a great deal of information from Milliard. Furthermore, her analysis of the battle that resulted in the Peacecraft's capture indicated that he had been the Preventers' primary target all along.
Suspicion was one thing. But having their suspicions confirmed in such a blatant manner... to see the proud, stubborn Milliard transformed into an obedient sex slave completely under the Preventers' and Council's control was hard enough for her to handle and she only knew Milliard on a detached, professional level. It would be infinitely more difficult for Treize.
But hiding the video from Treize was not an option. The leader of OZ *had* to know. Treize Khushrenada had to know that he had lost his best friend to the Council, just as he had lost his fiancee Anne nearly a decade ago. Dorothy shook her head as she downloaded the video file onto a disk, then headed for Treize's quarters to break the bad news.
Keeper of Duo's Dark Side ~~~ Duo no Seishi
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings (w/ Death)
Co-Keeper of Little Grim Reaper Duo (w/ Kitsune)
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.