Title: Two Roads Diverged Part 6/? Author: Truth AU - The sequel to It's the Pilot - Wherein we see the Gundam Wing Universe as it might have been, had Duo not been sidetracked just before Noventa's death. First person stream of consciousness/POV. Rated PG-13 at least. Warning: We are going to go very AU here, although I do want to stick as close to the original time line as possible. From here on out, massive liberties will be taken with the various characters as I try to decide how they will react to these new situations. Think of it as an exercise in psychology. Fer instance, the Wufei in this fic has already lost his complete faith in justice and fairness.... Which will change the direction of the plot significantly.... Just think about the major events in the episode or two following the Noventa assassination.... Multiple perspective switches once again. As usual, if any of them are unclear, please mail me at email@example.com and I'll tell you who they are. ***** Once, I thought my calling was to help train young people so that they could attain their dream of flying in space. That was my vocation, my dream. It was a beautiful dream, even a noble one. And it is now nothing but ashes. A series of explosions brought the end of my vision. It died with those same young people, murdered in their sleep by the pilot of a Gundam, a boy himself little more than a child. This violence, this escalation of terror is all the fault of those same Gundam pilots. I hate them. I hate their tactics. I hate their purpose. They are a threat to everything that OZ stands for. Most of all, I hate them for what they've done to my dreams. I'm not the naive girl that I was just a few months ago. I've become someone else. Someone driven. I want this violence to end. I want for there to be peace. I want to protect the dreams of the students who died in my care. Space should be a place where anyone can go to realize their future. Zechs was there to witness my humiliating defeat. He forced me to realize that someone has to stop this stupidity before it escalates any further. Treize is trying to be that person and he, Zechs, will support him to the last. There is just one problem with that. Zechs is going to work himself to death in a futile attempt to keep Treize from doing the same. I can't do anything to help either of them, save stay out from underfoot. I feel so helpless and it's not a feeling that I'm used to.Treize has some sort of grand scheme that so far, I've only been allowed to glimpse the edges of. I'm not sure what's going on, but he would die to see it through and Zechs will support him to that very end. They're both so blinded by their past and their ideals that they can't remember that they are just men. Men who need to learn to take care of themselves and to take care of those who follow them. That's not fair, really. Treize is very conscious of his responsibilities to us. The Romafeller Foundation, on the other hand.... I never want to be in a position where my life depends on a command decision from them. Ugh. I wish I knew more about what's going on. It's so frustrating to be nothing more than a cog in a large machine, unable to see what is going on around you, even as you go about the work of making that unseen thing move forward. To make matters worse, Otto has resurrected a Gundanium monster, and he wants Zechs to pilot it. I have never seen a more certain recipe for disaster. Zechs is obsessed with this war and his revenge. All right, so the obsession part is pretty obvious. What sane man would run around with a silver mask over his face all the time? And that pseudonym.... Brrrr. If only he'd open up a little, I know I could do something to help. But back to the Gundam. It's called Tallgeese, and a sillier name couldn't possibly have been found if they'd gone looking for one. It looks a little like gigantic knight, all white metal with a crested helmet. It gives me the creeps. Otto thinks that it's the answer to every prayer. Zechs.... Zechs dreams of it. He is obsessed by Pilot 02. I feel so silly calling him that, but Treize has decided that everything about the Gundams is on a need to know basis. And I guess that I don't need to know. I _do_ know that Zechs wants to catch that particular pilot very badly indeed. And now Otto has given him an opportunity.I wish there were a way to show Zechs what he is doing to himself, what he is doing to me. He needs to stop this habit he has of obsessing over the past. He needs to give up this mad crusade. He just has to accept who he is, and everything will be all right. Some how. Before it kills us both. ****** How could they possibly have gotten away? My plan was perfect! Zechs had that boy. I gave him that Gundam pilot practically _gift-wrapped_! What happened!? I can't even begin to explain how upset I was when I looked up to see Treize leaving...alone. I _still_ haven't figured out what happened to Zechs and Duo Maxwell. As for Chang Wufei.... He should have been easy meat for Kushrenada. ARGH! All right. The best laid plans of mice and men and all that. I'll just have to think of something else. At least I can rest easy knowing that OZ managed to capture that replacement pilot. I should be able to use that for something. Several somethings, in fact. But it rankles that they got away. I liked having those two where I could get my hands on them. Even when I find out where they've gotten to, I can hardly follow them there. I'm no Relena Dorlan to go chasing random Gundam pilots across the face of the planet. Speaking of whom, where has that blasted girl gotten to? I've lost my ability to track Pilot 01, I've lost Pilots 04 and 03 completely, and Relena has been missing for almost three months. I'm going to have to send someone to look for her if she doesn't show up soon. There are several things that I will be needing her for fairly soon. And then there's Maxwell. He knows that I set him up and that knowledge makes him dangerous. Thankfully, my agents are a bit better at this sort of thing than Lady Une's. I'll just have to have him taken care of. Just as soon as I figure out where he's gotten to.... ****** Working within the OZ organization has always been easy for me. Kushrenada may be an unpredictable genius when it comes to strategy, but every military machine needs structure and once you are within that structure, you can drive the machine in any direction that you wish. First, however, you need to acquire a total familiarity with the machine in question. The transfer to OZ headquarters went smoothly. I have an exceptional record within the organization. Heero is quite the master of inventive fiction. There's nothing heroic, nothing terribly obvious within those pages. But the scores for all my various aptitude tests are off the chart. No, we didn't falsify them. We didn't have to. I am a Gundam pilot. The difference between that and someone who merely operates an MS is measurable in degrees of magnitude. Being quiet and well-behaved, always obeying instantly and achieving the optimum results brought me to Lady Une's attention almost instantly. I was at headquarters for only a little over a a month when she informed my immediate superior to run all the proper background checks for a transfer to her department. I survived the check. Heero's incredible aptitude with the software of others ensured that easily. He has been reading too many spy novels, I think. I got a look at the results of their probe into my past history and found them rather good reading. I am almost too good to be true and quite modest with it, it seems. Quatre would be amused. It was only a few weeks later that I found myself one of Lady Une's personal aides. Don't be impressed. I was nothing more than a glorified secretary with a side arm. Actual military standing aside, I found myself in the perfect position to discover what was actually going on. Or I would have been, had Lady Une been just a little less paranoid. The lengths that she takes with the security of her various files and programs verges on obsessive. Then again, if I had been the one to watch my network of informants dissolve around me in a bloody tangle I suppose that I would have reacted similarly. Maxwell and Chang certainly know how to hold a grudge. The lengths that she has gone to in order to protect the information that we need would seem extreme, save that it is not just the Gundam pilots and the colonies that she is hiding it from. She is hiding it from the Romafeller foundation and from the OZ organization itself. The only people who know what is actually going on in Kushrenada's head at this point are Lady Une, Zechs and the commander himself. Zechs has taken himself off to look at a top secret project of some sort. I don't yet know what it is, as Lady Une has declared herself totally uninterested in Zechs' personal projects. I think that this may be a mistake on her part, perhaps prompted by jealousy of his close friendship with Kushrenada. The woman is...off somehow. Unbalanced. I met the young woman who gave Quatre such trouble in Madagascar. It turns out that she is the same young woman who almost caught Wufei when he destroyed the Taurus suits and that dormitory of cadets. She hates us. Unsurprising, really. Despite my position and the number of high level meetings that I attend, I have yet to come across the eventual goal of Treize Kushrenada. I handle and process top secret documents, but nothing has been committed to paper. Again, unsurprising. I am supposed to receive a special assignment later today. The way things have been going lately it could be either a bullet between the eyes or some sort of promotion. I doubt that it will be either, but a sinking feeling tells me that, whatever it is, it won't be good. ***** The way he melted out of the forest shadows scared a year off my life. All I could do was stare down at him as he dropped his pack at my feet and gave our camp the once over. "Your sentries need more training," was his greeting. I was too shocked to do more than gape at him. He raised one eyebrow."You can't have forgotten me already?" "He, Heero," I managed. "What are you doing here?" He gave me the sort of look normally reserved for someone who talks to woodland creatures and calls themselves 'Angelica, Queen of the Faeries'. "You said that if there was any way that you could help me, you would." That was Heero Yuy. Always straight to the point. "Of course!" I told him. "I just, well...." "You expected me to fly in, guns blazing?" His lips twisted into a smirk. How can someone so young manage to look so cynical? "Well, yes." I admitted, hating to be caught out in such a manner. I think that there's a little part of me that insists on thinking of the Gundam pilots as heroes on white horses. I should have known better by now. "Major...." I winced and hastily interrupted him. "Please. I'm not a major anymore. You can call me Sally." He nodded. "Sally, then. I need a place where I can concentrate on some projects. Someplace that I won't be disturbed, but won't have to worry about guarding my back." "You can stay with us for as long as you need to," I assured him. "This may take several months," he warned me. I smiled, I couldn't help it. "What's several months out here?" I waved at the forest surrounding us. "We'll give you somewhere to stay, Heero." "Thank you." It was the least I could do. All of our hopes for a peaceful future rested on the young men who controlled the Gundams. Whatever project he was working on must be important. Heero Yuy does not strike me as the type to ask someone else to watch his back. Not ever. **** I knew that Wufei was going to be all right when I caught him gently banging his head against one of the walls of our new apartment and accusing himself (loudly) of behaving like a stupid over-emotional female. He thought I had gone out, and I had. I'd forgotten something and had to double back. I'm not stupid, though. I grabbed my wallet and slithered out again before he could see me. I was very quiet and very fast. Hell, I waited until I was at least a block away before letting my huge grin dissolve into hysterical laughter. Poor Wu. It's cruel to laugh at him, but he HAD been acting a bit like a girl in one of those cheap romance novels. You know, the ones with the cookie-cutter characters and written with a copious use of heaving bosoms? Hey, when you're bored out of your mind you'll read anything! Anyway, it DID take him almost two weeks to get to this point. He had been more than a little shell-shocked and I can't blame him. Talk about having someone turn your perception of the world upside down.... And no, I'm not talking about the kiss. Sure, that threw poor Wu for a loop. (And he probably enjoyed it too, judging by the look on his face when Kushrenada finally let go of him). But it was the conversation before the fight that really shook him. Yeah, I pried the whole story out of him as fast as possible. All that terrorist training, don'tchaknow. Get the story down fast before the details start to fuzz. Luckily, Wu's own training held up even through the shock. I got the whole conversation practically verbatim. And that opens up a whooooole new can o'worms. It's easy to hate a faceless enemy. You look at the heartless dictator, the man who cares not for human life, and you despise him. You see his actions at one remove, the results, not the motivations. And those actions are what you judge him by. The end does not justify the means. (God, I love rhetoric) Kushrenada managed to humanize himself for Wu, and through the Wu guy he hooked me. It could all have been just a very clever act, designed specifically for this result, to make us unsure of his motivations. To make us hesitate. But Wu doesn't think so. Truthfully, neither do I. Granted, Kushrenada is a tricky bastard, but.... None of this adds up, damn it! What the HELL is he up to? What did he hope to accomplish by his destruction of the Alliance? So far, things have remained the same since that day. OZ is being very quiet and trumpeting it's claims of wanting only peace. Romafeller has been content to remain silent. I have a nasty feeling that this will not last for very much longer. I sent our report to Heero. He has slithered off somewhere to work with his computers, I have no idea where. Hopefully he'll have some sort of answer for us soon. The idea of an enemy who feels pain is BAD for the terrorist soul. It's so much easier to hate that which you don't know. .... For Zechs I'll make an exception. ***** Truth *wiping her brow*: Whew! Quatre: It TOOK you long enough. I'm on pins and needles here! When do we get back to me? Truth: Not for quite some time, Quatre. I'm sorry. Quatre: I want to renegotiate my contract! Truth: Sorry, no deal. Duo: And just what else have you been writing while our collective back was turned? Truth: I plead the fifth. Heero *holding up a printout*: Slayers. Voltron. Weiss Kreutz. Various CLAMP series. Anita Blake. Sailor Moon.... *growls* Truth: And other GW stuff! Trowa: Which you haven't finished. Truth *moans pathetically*: I'm going, I'm going. ***** I'm not really back. I have to either use my house mate's computer or my computer at work to access the internet, so I don't have a lot of time to sift through the huge volume of messages on this list anymore. *sobs briefly* Someday I WILL manage to return.