Title: Two Roads Diverged

  Part 8/?

  Author: Truth

  Archive: A whole bunch of neat places but my complete GW fic collection can be found

  at GW Addiction   www.geocities.com/fenris_wolf0/

 

  AU - The sequel to It's the Pilot - Wherein we see the Gundam Wing Universe as it might

  have been, had Duo not been forcibly sidetracked just before Noventa's death. First

  person stream of consciousness/POV.

 

  Rated R, I think.  We're going to be treading a line between violence and adult themes

  from here on out.

 

  Warning:  Take almost everything you thought you knew about GW and stuff it out the

  nearest airlock.  Hang onto your laser rifles kiddies, from here on out, it's foreign

  territory.

 

  Multiple perspective switches once again. As usual, if any of them are unclear, please

  mail me at dhaunea@yahoo.com and I'll tell you who they are.  Heck, drop me a line

  even if you _do_ know who they are.  I _looooooooove_ attention.     

 

  Please note, I do not own Gundam Wing.  Sadly....

 

  **

 

  Two Roads Diverged

  Part 8

"Awaiting further orders."

 

  **

 

  It's harder than I though, becoming a diplomatic envoy for peace.  I already had a fairly

  good command of the vocabulary that I would need. However, while I had always

  traveled in political circles, it had been as a child.  I had observed many meetings and

  presentations but never been able to participate.

 

  I needed to learn who was easily manipulated, who could be bought, who could be trusted

  and who could not.  I had to memorize not only political affiliations but family trees, lists

  of childhood friends, past and current lovers and various opponents.

 

  Heero was depending on me and so I took my work very seriously.  I studied law and

  precedent, history and geography.  I spent time looking over socio-political analyses of

  the current political situation and the long term effects of the war on our relationships

  with the colonies.

 

  It was a very long, dull exercise in self-control.  I woke up in the morning and studied.  I

  went running in the afternoon and then studied in the evenings.  I stayed out of sight as

  much as I could, keeping my hair tucked up under a cap whenever I was out running.

 

  I wanted so badly to do something right away.  I didn't want to keep watching and

  waiting but there was nothing that I could do until I satisfied my new tutors that I was

  ready for whatever they had in mind.

 

  It took three months of constant study before they agreed to let me go and I knew exactly

  where I wanted to begin.

 

  I came to a realization sometime during those three months.  I'm not the person that I

  was.  I'm not doing this for Heero anymore, or even for myself.  I'm doing this for those

  people who don't have the wealth or the power to make it safe to stand up for themselves

  against this.

 

  This is my own private war to wage, far from the explosions and death of the Gundams.  I

  know my enemy, OZ and Romafeller, and I will do my best to bring them down.

 

  Because there is no one else.

 

  **

 

  Colonel Une is a formidable adversary and I can see why she was Kushrenada's choice to

  head his intelligence service.  The woman is as professionally paranoid as I am, and that

  is a difficult trick to master.

 

  It is all up to Trowa now.  The files that I am after, if they exist at all, will be close to or

  actually on her person.  There is no more that I can do from here.

 

  I spoke too soon.  I found mention of Trowa's re-assignment just before I left the system.

  An unexpected complication and the total ruination of Trowa's plans. Quatre may still be

  able to salvage his own mission, but he may find himself forced to do so at Trowa's

  expense.  As long as Trowa is assigned to OZ's pet Gundam pilot, he will be watched like

  a hawk. Escape will prove to be difficult.

 

  Quatre is infinitely resourceful, however.  I am certain that he will find some way out for

  Trowa and I will leave him to it.

 

  Duo and Wufei have been successfully substituted for Pierre and Lian.  After the move to

  Vienna, Lian was positively identified as being who he said he was and then the

  Maguanacs promptly smuggled both boys off-planet, leaving Duo and Wufei in their

  place.  The family resemblance is enough that Wufei will be able to get by, especially

  after Lian dyed his hair to match his cousin's shortly before he left France. 

 

  Chen is going to join them, helping to give the illusion that the boys are leading a normal

  life.  Lian had shelved high school entirely and was taking courses at the University.

  Wufei seized upon that idea and has done the same. 

 

  Duo declared that he was going to study at home, which is a very good idea, considering

  that he and Pierre have nothing in common save their height.  It would take more than a

  new hairdo to fool the OZ spies into believing him thirty pounds heavier with black hair,

  sallow skin and green eyes.

 

  I sent an inquiry to Professor G as to the Zero system and received an interesting

  response.

 

  Apparently the hardware is still sitting in the workshop where they dumped it after

  installation failed so spectacularly.  The software, however, is missing.  G theorizes that

  whoever murdered the mechanic took the opportunity to walk off with the software for

  the Zero system as well.

 

  I think that his deliberate failure to mention this and his subsequent silence on the issue of

  whether or not that was the only software that has gone missing spells trouble for Duo.

 

  Yet another thing to worry about.

 

  1.  Trowa's unmasking.

  2.  Quatre's safety.

  3.  Wufei's sanity.

 

  I will attach Wufei's own report to the end of this document.  Make of it what you will.

 

  4.  The whereabouts of Deathscythe Hell's Zero system.

  5.  The possibility that Deathscythe Hell itself has been compromised by the theft of

  other, more vital information.

  6.  Chen's involvement.

 

  There are others, but these are the most urgent.  I am done with my initial assignment and

  it is time to move on to phase two.

 

  **

  Attachment

  **

 

  Maxwell's report covers the generalities sufficiently.  I have only my own experience to

  relate to complete the tale.

 

  Maxwell and I separated at the door of the Dermail mansion.  After spending several

  hours circulating and hearing the same rumors that Maxwell has already listed, I

  determined that there was nothing more to be achieved in that fashion, and set out to

  explore the mansion.

 

  I learned nothing of value.  There is an attachment to this report concerning the plans of

  the house and what little I discovered there that might someday be of use.

 

  I found a small library and was perusing the books therein when I was interrupted by

  Treize Kushrenada.  He recognized me, and confronted me.  I challenged him to a duel

  which he won, easily.

 

  We exchanged words both before and after this duel which lead me to believe that

  Kushrenada is up to more than even Romafeller knows and that they are not holding his

  leash as tightly as they believe.  The man is very dangerous and he is playing a very deep

  game.

 

  He also evinced an interest in me both professional and personal.  Maxwell's report

  covers the rest of the incident sufficiently. 

 

  Awaiting further orders.

 

  C.

 

  End attachment

 

  **

 

  Zechs Merquise took the Tallgeese out for a trial run today and nearly tore his body apart.

  I am glad that he was in the colonies when the battles against the Alliance took place.  He

  would not have let a thing so trivial as physical injury stop him in the pursuit of his duty.

 

  Neither would I.

  There is obviously much yet to explore about this Gundam.  It is old enough to be a

  museum piece, yet holds more power than any mobile suit that I have ever worked with.

 

  Yesterday, I was allowed to view a confidential report on Gundam 04.  Thanks in great

  part to the readings that Noin managed to take from that encounter, I think that I can alter

  the Tallgeese system to more closely approximate the enemy Gundams.

 

  Zechs was more than pleased.  Were he not confined to his quarters with his injuries, I am

  certain that he would be in the hangar now.  This obsessive hunt for the Gundam pilots

  has taken hold of him and given him a fire that has been banked for a very long time.

 

  Tallgeese affects me the same way.  I look at it and I see the power to do almost anything.

  It is a strange feeling, staring at the giant white knight as it stands, ready and waiting for

  its next mission.  Strange and perhaps a little frightening.

 

  Everything that I have done, all the hopes and fears that I have poured into making this

  machine live again....  Sometimes when I look at it, I feel it looking back.  It's a strange,

  superstitious feeling but I cannot help but look up at it and wonder.

 

  What, exactly, makes a Gundam pilot?  Who are the people who fly these machines of

  mass destruction and death?  How much of who they are shapes the Gundam, and how

  much does the Gundam shape them?  I can't help feeling that not just any mobile suit

  pilot can climb into the cockpit of a Gundam and make it obey them.

 

  Perhaps I'm getting old, or the stress of trying to properly adjust this huge Gundanium

  creature is getting to me.  I know this, however.  This Gundam, this Tallgeese, is mine.  I

  put myself into the labor of making it come alive once more.  I may never be its master,

  but it is a part of me now.

 

  The adjustments are done, and we will wait for Zechs to recover sufficiently to try again.

  I want nothing more than to see Tallgeese fly, stretched to the limits of its system and

  soaring upwards again in the victory that it was made to bring.

 

  **

 

  Heero emerged from his tent and headed straight for me.

 

  Surprise, surprise.

 

  I had just come in from one of my infrequent trips into the nearby town and was watching

  my men unload the jeep when he appeared.              

 

  "Good afternoon, Heero."

 

  "I need to leave.  I am finished here."

 

  Never one for the social niceties, our Heero.  I nodded.  "What about your equipment?"

 

  He had arrived at our camp over a month ago, burdened only with his laptop and a duffel.

  Once safely ensconced with us, he had swiftly put together a computer system that

  frankly made my eyes bug out.  He spent all his time in his tent or quietly working out.

  We had spoken only once or twice.  I had the feeling that he felt it unnecessary. 

 

  But the computer system would not be easy to disassemble and pack up.

 

  "Keep it."

 

  "What?"

 

  He gave me that sly, almost smile that he uses when he's three steps ahead of everyone

  else.  "I don't need it anymore and I can always steal myself the parts for another."

 

  I shook my head, smiling in spite of myself.  "Thank you.  I'm sure that we'll find a use

  for it."

 

  "So am I."  He paused for a moment, staring at me.  It was a look that I was growing used

  to.  I had briefly glimpsed one of the other pilots, but I imagined that all five of them

  must be something like him.

 

  Able to see right through you.

 

  Heero seemed to be satisfied with what he found.  He produced a small black box and

  offered it to me.  I took it, and looked at it curiously.   "What is it?"

 

  "If you need to contact me, press the black button.  If you need help immediately, press

  the red one."

 

  It was simple enough.  There was a large black button in the center and a small red one

  recessed into one side.  "I...thank you."

 

  He nodded, once, turned and disappeared back into his tent.

 

  I knew that I wouldn't see him again before he left.  He had given us  a princely gift in

  the form of that computer system.  I had two men who had been salivating just at the

  thought of its presence in the camp.  The remote that he had given me was another

  staggering gift, but it brought danger as well.

 

  Can you imagine the sudden realization that you have just been given the power to

  summon a Gundam to your aid?  Can you imagine what would happen if anyone found

  out? 

 

  I resolved to find a way to wear it on my belt beside my pistol.   There was no way that I

  was letting that little remote out of my sight, or telling anyone what it was for.  People

  have been murdered over much, much less.

 

  I don't think that I'll lose much sleep over the prospect, however.   I doubt that Heero did

  this on a whim.  It's not obvious what the thing is, and I don't think that it operates on a

  frequency that can be picked up by OZ.

 

  The really frightening part is what this gift implies.  Heero trusts me.

 

  I hope that I'll never let him down.

 

  **

 

  My cousin has lost his mind.

 

  It was difficult enough to wrap my mind around the concept that Duo Maxwell,

  roommate of my nightmares, was actually a Gundam pilot.  More difficult to process the

  fact that he meant enough to my cousin that he would risk his life to save my roommate.

  Finally meeting Maxwell without his nasty alter-ego, he was someone that I could get

  along with.  He was even amusing.

 

  But this....

 

  Wufei met me at the airport and took me to the apartment that I would share with them in

  Vienna.  He said very little, inquiring politely after my family and Saiming's.  I told him

  about my increased training with O and warned him that the elders were still trying to get

  him married off.

 

  He paled a little, a strange effect with his new hair color.  I had wondered why Lian had

  chosen such an...interesting shade. 

 

  And that's when it all came spilling out.

 

  So.  Treize Kushrenada, OZ leader and scourge of nations, had kissed my cousin.  Who

  had apparently kissed back and enjoyed it.  As if that weren't difficult enough to fit into

  my world-view, apparently Duo Maxwell and Zechs Merquise had witnessed it.

 

  That's almost more difficult to imagine.  Maxwell and Zechs in the same space without

  blood being spilled.   According to Wufei, they had been rushing to keep Kushrenada and

  he from killing each other.

 

  I knew he wasn't telling me everything, although the revelations he _had_ made were

  shocking enough.  Wufei should have been able to extricate himself from the situation in

  the library.  He is one of the finest martial artists and swordsmen that I know.  There is

  more to this than meets the eye.

 

  It has been almost four months since the 'Noventa Incident'.  The Gundam pilots are

  regarded as terrorists and murderers.  I know that Wufei took the incident very hard, but

  surely it is not preying on him to the extent that he would let an enemy get the better of

  him.

 

  Then again, this is my cousin, Chang Wufei.  It has been very difficult for him these past

  few years.  He was raised in a sort of gilded sanctuary, not really a cage as he had no

  desire to leave it.  He was kept sheltered from the outside world, left alone to explore the

  world through his books and studies.

 

  Little wonder that he had no friends and few acquaintances.

 

  He is the hope and heir of our family, a child with a shining future.  It was a shock to the

  elders when he resisted his marriage, a further shock when he took Shen-long away to

  join the others in their mad mission.

 

  It is to my shame that I admit I had hoped that his latest act of defiance would cause at

  least one of the elders to expire of apoplexy.  His rejection of the ceremonial clothing that

  they had chosen for him, replacing the red with white....

 

  He could not possibly have hurt them more if he had driven knives into them.  He

  declared himself dead before his family, rejecting his place within our clan and

  destroying every dream that they had cherished for him.  In a way, the clan and the elders

  have always seen him as _their_ child, and nothing can be more hurtful to a parent than a

  child's rejection.

 

  It is not Wufei's fault that he was raised to fulfill hopes and prophesies.  No one could

  have guessed the things that would happen to him; the anger and pain that would shape

  him into someone so alien to everything they had raised him to be.  The elders hoped that

  he would bring glory and honor to our family through his scholarship, but it was not to

  be.

 

  Wufei holds a fire within that I can never hope to emulate, no matter how hard the elders

  try to force me into his mold.  I will not be their 'shining child' nor will I pilot a Gundam.

  Wufei would rather chew off his own arm than let me take his Gundam from him.

 

  And if I tried, Maxwell would shoot me.  Not to protect the Gundam or the mission, but

  to prevent Wufei from getting blood on his own hands.  To keep my cousin from having

  to shoulder the guilt of yet another death.

 

  When we arrived at the apartment, Wufei sort of faded away into his room, leaving me

  with Maxwell.  I could see a large number of things in his eyes.  Wariness, primarily.

 

  Whatever Wufei is keeping from me happened between these two, I can see it in the set

  of Maxwell's shoulders.  He is not only afraid, he is in pain. 

 

  A small part of me rejoices in this.  Maxwell caused me enough anguish during the three

  days that we lived together that I feel his current predicament is no more than his just

  deserts.  

 

  A larger part of me is ashamed of this feeling, but I cannot help it.

 

  Wufei will obviously not tell me what is wrong.  He has lost weight, more than he can

  easily afford, and is obviously not sleeping well.  If I wish to know what is going on, I

  will have to ask Maxwell.  It is a reasonable enough request on my part.  I am risking my

  life for them and their mission.  This is something that I will need to know about, if only

  to protect myself.

 

  Somehow I doubt that this line of reasoning will endear me to Maxwell.

 

  Good.

 

  **

 

  Duo: I can't believe you're doing this to me!

  Quatre: I can't believe you're doing this to _either_ of us!

  *chorus* How _could_ you?!

  Truth *wincing*: Quit carrying on.  There will be resolution by Chapter 12 at the latest.

  Duo *suspiciously*: For who?

  Truth: Er, Quatre, actually.

  Quatre: Hooray!  I was beginning to be afraid that we'd never hear from me again!

  Truth: Calm down.  I promise that you'll get to do something unutterably heroic soon

  enough.

  Quatre: On second thought, that sounds nastily like what you said to Duo just before all

  hell broke loose.

  Truth: Eh-heh.  Would you look at the time? *flees*