REVISED Title: It's the Pilot - Prologue (0/18) Author: Truth AU - Wherein the Gundam pilots have known each other for a little while, but the war is still stalled back before the pilots return to space. Meanwhile, someone seems to have it in for the pilots. First person stream of consciousness/POV. Rating: This series rated PG-13 overall. Warning: Strong language. Disclaimer: Gundam Wing belongs to somebody else, sadly. Feedback, comments and criticisms cheerfully accepted at email@example.com Additional warning: There will be a perspective switch, and no, I'm not going to identify the second speaker outright. He mentions all the others by name, so you should be able to figure it out. ********** This has been the absolute worst two months of my entire life. I've never kept a diary before, but it's either that or begin talking to myself and I'm damned if I'll do that. When I finally got really desperate, I asked one of the girls here how one went about keeping a 'proper' diary. Of course, being a guy, I called it a journal. She told me that you start out by saying who you are and why you decided to keep a journal. Riiiiiight. This is slit your throat before reading stuff, kiddies. If Heero ever finds out about this, I'm in deep shit. Not that things could get much worse than they are right now. Remember Damocles? Let me just put it this way, I've been invited to dinner at his place, and I'm not liking it much. But as I said, it's either this or wander around mumbling under my breath and I can't afford to draw any attention to myself, or Heero won't have to worry about hunting me down. I'll be dead before he ever realizes that I'm not coming back. So here goes. My name is Duo Maxwell. I am fifteen years old, give or take. I think I'm sixteen, actually, but I have no way to prove it. I'm an orphan, at least I hope so. I'd hate to think that my parents just tossed me out of their lives as an infant. I have no idea who they really were or even where I was born. My first memories are of the back alleys of the colony where I grew up. I've been a beggar, a thief and a murderer - among other things. I've seen good friends and people I loved die horribly. I was born in one of the space colonies, and I've walked on all the seven continents of the Earth. A pretty impressive list for a teenager of no particular parentage. That's not all, though. I'm the pilot of Gundam 02 - Gundam Deathscythe. I am Shinigami, the God of Death. And this time, I'm in over my head. It's stupid, really. There are five Gundam pilots - Me, Heero, Quatre, Trowa and the Wu-guy. We're all very, very different and yet very much the same. We're fighting to end the tyranny of the Earth Alliance. We're fighting to free our colonies from the unjust rule of our Earth overlords. We're fighting to bring down the Alliance and destroy OZ. That sounds so good when you first hear it. Rhetoric usually does. After you've killed several hundred people and blown numerous military installations to shit without seeing much - if any - difference, you begin to have second thoughts. I mean, what kind of idiot sends a teenage boy in a gigantic mobile suit to deal death across the face of the Earth? The odds against my making any difference for the future of my colony are astronomical! But I can't help but try.... Or rather, I _couldn't_ help but try. I'm not a Gundam pilot anymore. They've taken Deathscythe away and imprisoned me. And my time is running out. How did I get into this mess you ask? Sheer stupidity. I forgot the cardinal rule. Trust no one. ****** Perspective Switch****** It was late afternoon when Duo Maxwell left the safe house for the last time. If he'd known that it was going to be the last time, they wouldn't have been able to pry him out of the place with a pitchfork. But he was happily oblivious to the nasty plans that fate had in store for him, and he was even humming under his breath as he disappeared into the trees. It all sounds like a bad horror movie, doesn't it? I stood by an upstairs window and watched him go, and I've been cursing myself ever since. I knew he was up to something. Had known, in fact, since before lunch. Maxwell can be remarkably transparent at times. It's amazing how well I know him after such a short time. We'd met before, of course, but I'd never been forced to spend much time with him, thankfully. The five of us have little in common, but Maxwell and I have less in common than the others. We each pilot a Gundam, a massive machine that can deal death and destruction quickly, efficiently and with complete ruthlessness. Our Gundams allow us to do things individually that would be impossible even for a small army. But it's not the Gundams that are truly special. It's the pilot. It's _always_ the pilot. We'd been working as individuals, only recently realizing that we weren't alone, that there were other Gundams, other pilots. We'd never all been together at one place, but orders had been received to gather here and wait for a mission that would require all five of us. So that's what we did, despite our separate misgivings. Wufei's displeasure was particularly vocal. He did not appreciate being cut off from his various sources of information, and he particularly did not enjoy being forced to share a roof with the rest of us. Maxwell looked on it as an opportunity to party. Maxwell's idea of social chatter could drive a teetotaler to the bottle. The five of us had known each other for several weeks, and we were still almost total strangers. It was unsurprising, really. What were we supposed to do? Talk terrorist shop? But Maxwell had wanted to get to know us all, to get us all to loosen up. Think party games. And when that didn't work, he went in for practical jokes. His efforts didn't go over very well. After the third day, Chang and I weren't speaking to him and even Quatre had begun to look slightly irritated. So when I saw him sneaking away, I just stood by the window and watched him go. I assumed it was another practical joke, or just a chance to get away from Chang's righteous wrath. I never thought it would come to this. He never came back. Not that night, or the next. Not that week, or even the following one. Not that month.... I could have stopped him. I could at least have said something. But I had been content to watch him disappear into the trees -relieved, even. It was a mistake that I will never make again. However much Maxwell drove me mad, he was one of us. It was an expensive lesson to learn, and a painful one. We are unique. Individuals. We cannot be replaced. Maxwell had wormed his way into all of our hearts, even Trowa's - even Chang's. His absence created a gaping wound which there was no way to heal. And all this after only a few weeks.... What would we five had become if he hadn't been taken away? What would have happened to us and to the Earth if we had simply taken that next mission and then gone our separate ways? I guess we'll never know. ****** Truth: And thus, our story begins. Duo: I don't like this already.... Heero: It could be worse. Duo: How, exactly? Wufei: They could have taken one of us. Quatre and Truth: WuFEI!