Touch the World
- 21 -

Friedrich rubbed his forehead tiredly, trying to restrain himself.  His wife was on the vidphone back in Sanq, telling him about their son's disappointment.  It had been four days since the botched wedding, and the boy was still recovering.  In a way, he couldn't help but wonder if this engagement hadn't been the best thing for Karl.  Being denied something he had wanted for so long when he was so close to having it had crushed him.  Friedrich had only wanted what was best for his family and his country.  Was that too much to ask?

If they couldn't kill Heero Yuy and his little sidekick, they should have just killed Relena.  Then they could have blamed her death on them and gotten the international community truly outraged.  As things stood now, the situation was getting far too close to becoming a comedy of errors.  There was nothing to convince them that the threat was real.  It looked more like the bride had left the groom at the altar.

Damn those crafty pilots for not slaughtering half their security force, too.  Part of them at the wedding had been reliable veterans, and the other part had been more of an honor guard completely unprepared and unaccustomed to seeing any action.  He had accepted that at least a good half dozen of them wouldn't survive the encounter.

Fortunately, this was nothing that the EUW hadn't planned for.  This just called for Plan B, and Plan B was much less hit-or-miss than Plan A had been.  Security was ridiculously high at Rosegard.  The rogue pilots would go after their fifth and final comrade.  They had to.  They wouldn't be able to help themselves.  Not with the clues he and his allies had dropped.  And when they did, they would fall.  They wouldn't last past ten meters into the compound.

He stopped making the obligatory responses to his wife when a call waiting light blinked in the corner of his monitor.   Recognizing the number, he quickly cut off his wife.  "I have to go, dear."


"I'll talk to you later."  He cut her off before she could protest further and transferred the call to the other line.  "Good morning, Kellan."

The face on the monitor did not look like it was having a good morning at all.  "Jurgensen.  Come to the Senate house immediately.  We have a problem."

Just what they didn't need.  "Have they taken the bait already?"

"Worse.  Milliardo Peacecraft and Lucrezia Noin have just shown up to the Assembly."

Duo spied the expression on Heero's face and poked him in the side with his elbow.  "You're enjoying this, you bastard," he whispered.

His faint smile didn't slip.  "So are you."

He was.  Most fun he'd had in a while, actually.  The security at the manor was just enough to be an interesting challenge, and still nowhere near the highest level of security they had once faced in the halls of OZ.  These pseudo-pacifists didn't have what it took, neither experience nor ruthlessness.  He accepted Heero's proffered hand and climbed carefully down the side of the building, stretching out full length along the wall before glancing up at Heero.  Heero nodded, and with a squeeze of his hand let go.  Duo's feet landed lightly on the ledge half a meter below.

Grabbing a hold of the window trimming to steady himself, he took another careful peek inside the window to make sure the path was clear before jimmying the lock open.  Once that small obstacle had been taken care of, he swung the window open slowly, careful of the noise, and hopped inside.

Once again clearing the immediate area, he stuck a hand out the window and signaled to his partner, quickly moving out of the way to allow Heero the room to drop to the sill.  He reached out once Heero's boots were planted and helped him inside.

Their point of entry was the library.  If they were not mistaken, it was one of two libraries in the large estate.  It looked like life was treating Wufei relatively well, other than the house arrest bit.  That was, until Heero caught sight of a crest of the Khushrenada family.  Duo changed his mind after that.  He wondered if their keepers even realized what torment it would be for their old comrade to be housed in a building belonging to his old enemy.

A distant cough sounded from the first floor of the library.  With an exchanged glance, they moved off in that direction, keeping to the inside of the mezzanine as they paced its perimeter, seeking their target and any guests he may have been entertaining.  Finding no one, they moved on to the first floor, creeping through the shelves until they found their old friend sitting at a table, reading a book by the light of a desk lamp in the falling dusk.

Debating how best to attract his attention, Duo whistled lowly, a short signal pattern recognizable from the war time.  Heero slapped him softly on the shoulder, a mild glare tacked onto the frown, for using a simulated bird call while indoors.  Duo shrugged and did it again.

Wufei heard the call, but it did not register as strange until the second time, when he realized that he was not near a window, nor was the window open.  He glanced up from his reading to look around, eyes widening when he saw the two pilots huddled at the end of an aisle of books beside him.  He blinked and pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose to make sure the focus was in the right place and he was seeing what he thought he was seeing.

With a reflexive look around, he carefully marked his page, closed his book, stood, and walked down the aisle until he was right in front of them.  "...What are you two doing here?" he asked, still somewhat doubtful.

"Just dropping by to say hello," Duo whispered cheerfully.  "Is this place secure?"

Wufei cast a glance towards the shelves, running a light hand over a few of the titles.  "Yes.  This place has proven quite the sanctuary."

They took the opportunity to uncurl from their positions.    "So, Chang, how've you been?" Duo asked lazily.

"Why are you here?  I don't want any trouble."

Duo tilted an eyebrow at him.  The words had been firm, not fearful, but still strangely out of character.  "Who said anything about trouble?"

Not all of Wufei's traits were different.  He made a mildly disdainful sound.  "It's you, Maxwell.  Trouble is a given.  Especially in combination with him."

Now why did everyone always assume the worse of him? Heero wondered.  "My reason for being here is perfectly honorable and legitimate, Chang."

"You two are in violation of your agreement with the government, and you are dragging me into it.  Already that is not honorable."

"They didn't live up to their side of the agreement first, which effectively nullifies it in my mind."

"How so?"

"For starters, they tried to have me killed."

"Why would they do that?"

"Have you been keeping track of what's been happening recently?"

"I do not have much interest in what goes on beyond these walls."

He had expected as much, but unlike Heero, Wufei did not seem remorseful about it at all.  "Relena was getting married.  Her fiancÚ's family and his political consortium thought I might interfere with their plans."

"She 'was'?"

"She left him at the altar," he answered blandly, ignoring Duo's snicker.

"So they were right," Wufei observed.  "You did ruin their plans."

"But not without just cause."

Wufei sighed and turned as if to return to his seat.   "Leave me out of your romantic squabbles, Yuy."

Duo spared enough time for another snicker before grabbing Wufei by the back of the shirt and pushing him against a nearby bookshelf.  "You haven't really turned on us, now have you?"

"I don't know what you mean."  He calmly adjusted his glasses.

"Word on the outside is that you're helping your keepers try and figure us out."

"I could never figure you out, Maxwell."

Duo looked him critically up and down.  "Yeah, probably.  How about Heero?  You know anything interesting about Heero that you've been a'sharing with the baddies?"

Wufei studied him with an inscrutable look before plucking Duo's hand off his shirt and smoothing the wrinkles out.  "They did ask me about Yuy earlier this week.  I had nothing of interest to tell them.  If that is all you wanted to know, you can leave now."

"Wow.  You're still an ass.  Everyone else has changed, but you're still an ass."

Heero moved a half-step forward to try being a little less confrontational.  "You're happy here?"

Wufei took a moment of silence to answer.  "I am content."

Hearing Duo open his mouth to say something that would no doubt be inappropriate, Heero moved quickly.  "What do you do here?  Do you simply read and meditate and shut out the outside world?"

"Do you remember our battle against each other, Yuy?  Do you remember what you said to me?  You made me think.  You made me reevaluate my life, and this is the conclusion that I have come to.  I should think that you of all people would understand and accept that."

"That you belong outside of this world?  I recall saying something about how we are all weak."  He was feeling that especially these days.  Here was yet another life he had changed, for better or for worse.

"This is why I have given up my futile struggle for strength and returned to a life of contemplation."

Duo, as usual, put things succinctly.  "You're on crack, man.  Good crack, maybe, but crack all the same.  Come on, Heero, let's get out of here.  You heard Zenmaster Chang.   There's nothing here worth our time."

It seemed like a failure of some sort to admit defeat so quickly.  Heero tried to find something that might catch Wufei's interest.  "They tried to kill Quatre as well.  They might come after you."  Not that they had reason to, with him looking so tame.

He shrugged slightly.  "Let them come.  If it is my time, then I will die."

Heero frowned.  "I thought that, too, not long ago.   Up until the time came to actually lie down and die."

"You were weak when the time came."

"You know I do not fear death, Chang."

"Then what changed your mind?"

"It was not my time.  Not then, not there, not by that hand.  What do you do here, Chang?"

Wufei pulled a volume off the shelf and paged through it slowly.  "There are many books in this library yet.  Treize was a fine collector."

"This was his library?"

"It belongs to Mariemaia now.  She resides here as well."

Duo broke in with a snide murmur.  "All shacked up with a chick, too?  You sure got it good here."

Wufei gave him a withering glance.  "Must you be so crude, Maxwell?"

"As crudity goes, that barely even registered on the meter, man.  If I really wanted to be crude, I'd--"

He stopped when Heero elbowed him in the side.  "And how is she faring in this prison?"

"She has had to adjust," Wufei answered stiffly.  "She is just entering her teenage years.  It is difficult for her at times."

"She knows it for what it really is.  You're the one hiding from the truth.  Are you really going to stay here and read books for the rest of your life?"

"What else would you have me do?"

He stumbled to a halt, his brief flame flickering uncertainly.  He didn't even know what it was he was trying to do with his own life.  How could he counsel anyone else, or even expect more from anyone else?

One of the double doors to the library opened and a voice called out in impatient inquiry.  "Chang?"

Wufei walked out into the open while the others shrank back and started making plans.  "Yes?"

"I heard voices."

With barely a blink, Wufei held up the book he was still holding open in his hands.  "Poetry.  Some of it was intended to be enjoyed aloud."

They heard the door squeak hesitantly before the guard grunted and shut the door.  Duo gave him an arch look.  "What was that all about?  That little white lie sure came easy to you."

Wufei's expression turned puzzled after a few seconds of calm.  "I... Hm."

Duo had an answer for him, if nothing else.  "Shit, the shrinks really screwed you over, too, didn't they?"

He appeared offended by the suggestion.  "I have required no professional aid.  Yuy's words alone have been sufficient for me to reach my own conclusions."

"Oh, good job, Yuy."

"Shut up," Heero retorted immediately.  They were getting good at developing a rhythm between them.  "I think there's been a misunderstanding, Chang.  I probably meant something like, we shouldn't beat ourselves up for failing to achieve the impossible.  Not that we shouldn't step up and take responsibility for anything in this world.  Why did you cover for us?"

He thought carefully before answering.  "You are not here to do any harm.  I would not turn you in."

"You're sure of that?" Duo smiled humorlessly.  "Maybe we're here to kill you."

He admitted the possibility with a nod of his head.  "If it is my time."

Duo grit his teeth at him.  "Maybe we're here to kill Mariemaia."

As expected, the threat to someone else stirred some protective instinct in him, especially when it came to to this girl he felt had been used by her grandfather.  He was not so wiling to gamble with her life, but the moment of wavering passed.  "You have no reason to do that.  He, at least," he tilted his head at Yuy, "is an honorable man, and would not attack without provocation."

The implied slight did not bother Duo in the least.  "What if we're provoked?"

Heero led them off in another direction.  "More to the point, that means that we -- I -- wouldn't be here without cause or simply to stir up trouble.  I tried keeping my head down for a long time, too, and succeeded at it until the world reached out and touched me again.  No matter how much I tried to ignore the world, it was still out there.  Life goes on, with or without you."

"It is only natural that the world reach out to you, Yuy.   You are an important thread in destiny's loom."

"Don't say things like that."  If people kept saying it, it had the terrible chance of becoming true.  Maybe it already was.  "I was targeted preemptively for the threat I represented, for the potential within me, and we all have that potential within us.  It may strike us at any time, regardless of how we try to ignore it."

"Are you trying to say that we have a moral responsibility to wield that potential?"

In light of his recent mood and activities?  "No.  I only mean to say that keeping your head down and letting the government oppress us to their satisfaction is not unnecessarily the route you need to take to get what you want.  Which, I suppose, depends on what you want.  What is it you want out of life, Wufei?"

"I am content to stay here and study."

It sounded like an answer he had given many times before.   "Why?  What do you hope to accomplish?"

"It is not about 'accomplishing' something."

"Why?  What will you do with the knowledge that you gain?"

"No knowledge by itself is ever wasted."

"But you intend to stay here and do nothing."

"Perhaps the more pertinent question to ask here would be, what do you hope to accomplish here, Yuy?" he asked with an annoyed frown.  "Why are you questioning my prerogative?"

"I'm not questioning you, Chang.  I only want to find out whether this is what you really want.  When we're so sheltered from the world, it's easy to see and believe only what is in our own little bubbles.  Did you know that the government program set in charge of watching us was taken over a few years ago by a political consortium interested not in helping us at all, but simply in allowing us to stagnate?"

"Aw, come on, Heero," Duo cut in, pushing off from the bookshelf on which he had been leaning.  As interesting as it was listening to Heero be assertive all of a sudden, almost as if he couldn't help himself, it was obviously a lost cause.  "Like he would notice.  He's fallen for their spiel hook, line, and sinker.  Or maybe it's just always been his goal to stagnate from the beginning.   Damn, Chang.  How did you ever end up as a pilot to begin with?"

Wufei stiffened.  "That is not your concern.  Though if it matters, I was never crazy to begin with like you."

"There's a difference," Heero mentioned.  "A difference between being what you are by your own choice or by the choice of another.  We were promised choices after the war ended, and we haven't been given choices, so like I said, a breach of contract on their side."

"It's simply a matter of principle, then."

"I have very little of anything else in this world to cling to.  Principles will have to do."

"Then you have your principles and I have mine."

"It was never in your principles to roll over and do as you are told.  If you actually enjoy this existence of yours, then we'll leave here and not bother you again.  But if you're just in denial, well, I figure I should try and let you know.  It'd be the honorable thing to do."

"Your concern is unwarranted.  I can look after my own interests."

Duo made an exasperated sound.  "Dude, you are so missing the point."  He might have continued, but there was another knock on the library door.

"What?" Wufei called out irritably, stalking back out to the central area.

"Wufei?" a young voice said as the door swung open.  "They said I could find you here."

Duo made a face at Wufei's back before turning to complain silently at Heero, speaking without sound.  Please tell me it's time for his medication.

Wufei's voice lost its grumpiness.  "Mariemaia.  What can I do for you?"

"I wanted to talk to you.  I know you don't like being bothered when you're studying, but..."

"I always have time for you."

Duo made another face, this time at Heero, this time a face of comic disgust.  Eww.  And he accused me of being crude?

Stop that, Heero answered clearly.  Chang had not sounded besotted, only respectful, perhaps like a teacher with a student.

Their little byplay distracted them enough that a young redhead had the opportunity to stick her head around the corner and spy them.  "Aha!  I knew you weren't reading poetry."

Wufei followed her not long after.  "Mariemaia."

She ignored the warning.  "I remember you."  She pointed at Heero.  "You shot me."

Heero blinked at her.  "No.  Technically, I didn't."

"And you."  Her clear eyes zoomed in on his companion.  "You're Zero Two.  Maxwell."

"And I know you," Duo answered.  "You're the crazy little lady that tried to take over the world."

"Maxwell," Wufei's voice rang out in soft reprimand.

He rolled his eyes.  "Has he been like this for the last five years?  Man, that'd be enough to drive anyone crazy."

She echoed his gesture.  "Tell me about it."

"See, you don't like being locked up here in this stuffy old house, now do you?"

"As if.  How long do they expect to keep me here?"

"Wufei's just been working his way through the library.   What have you been doing all this time?"

She shrugged.  "Working my way through the library.  I have tutors coming in every weekday for lessons, but Wufei's much more interesting than the lot of them.  Interesting, if completely frustrating."

"Yeah?  Glad I'm not the only one who sees that."

Wufei snorted.  "You take pride in sympathizing with a teenage girl?"

"I take pride in sympathizing with someone that sees how far your head is stuck up your ass."

"Watch your language," he snapped, made even more sharp when he heard Mariemaia giggle.

"Okay, she's going to be even more dysfunctional coming out of this place than she was going in."

"I think it's time for you to leave, Maxwell."

"Not that they expect her to ever come out of this place.   You're in here for life, you know that, right?  Maybe you don't care, but come on.  She's, what, like thirteen?  Fourteen?  Something?  That's a hell of a long time.  She's never gonna get out and see the world.  Never gonna have a best girlfriend.  Never gonna have a boyfriend.  Unless you're volunteering, man, and really, if I were her, I'd turn that offer down.  Kissing you'd be like, well, probably like getting a punch in the gut, since that's probably what you'd do."

"Don't be disgusting, Maxwell.  Not all of us are concerned with matters of the flesh."

"Yeah, says you, Zenmaster.  You aren't a young lady trying to break out of her shell.  And you don't know what you're missing.  You ever kiss a girl, Chang?"

"That is none of your concern."  If the first time he said that had been cold, this time was downright frostbitey.

"Ever kiss a boy?"

"Maxwell!" he hissed.  Once again, it didn't help when Mariemaia giggled again.  This was far more fun than she'd had in years.

Duo turned to her with a conspiratorial wink.  "He doesn't know what he's missing.  Then again, I doubt he'd be very good at it anyway."

"Are you very good at it, Maxwell?" she asked archly.

He nodded solemnly.  "Very.  Allow me to demonstrate."

Wufei stepped forward threateningly, and Heero reached out to slap him on his arm, but Duo was quite prepared.  He snagged Heero's hand mid-air and used it to reel him in for a kiss, going so far as to add a bit of a dip to the action.  He didn't press his luck, however, and released his victim after three seconds.  Once Heero regained his balance, he leveled a scowl in Duo's direction.

"Maxwell!"  The angry man had moved in front of Mariemaia, trying to shield her from the horror before her eyes, but she had leaned out around him to watch the show, covering her mouth to smother her laugh.  "Leave.  Now."

He shrugged exaggeratedly.  "Bet you wish you could leave whenever you wanted.  Bet she does, too.  But I guess the only chance you have of getting out of here, unless you break out, is if the government rolls over.  And I guess you're lucky, little lady, since you were right about history repeating itself.  But yeah, it may be rolling over right now, but I'm pretty damn sure the new gov ain't interested in letting you walk out of here.  They've been trying to kill us, after all."

"You broke out?" Mariemaia asked eagerly.


"Take me with you."

Wufei turned around to look at her.  "So they can try to kill you, too?"

Duo shook his head.  "You haven't been listening, man.  They tried to kill us before we broke out.  Breaking out just means they haven't succeeded."

"I will not die in here."  Her voice took on that stubborn, decisive edge it had held during her attempted coup.  "You may consider this your just penance or something, Wufei, but we are prisoners of war.  They came out of the last confrontation victorious over us.  Maybe we allowed it.  And this has been the right of the victors, to do away with their enemies as they see fit.  But all we did is lose the war.  Defeat is, as you have told me, a state of mind.  A loss of dignity and a loss of hope.   Be defeated if you wish, hiding your weaknesses behind your books and bowing your head to their yoke.  I intend to fight on."

Duo whistled lowly in appreciation, a slight amusement kicking in at Wufei's poleaxed expression.  "Cool.  Scary, but cool."

"Will you take me with you?" she pressed.

He glanced over Heero, who shrugged slightly.  "Take you with us... where?"

"Where are you going?"

He looked to Duo, who also shrugged.  "We don't really have any plans yet.  So I guess that would be up to you, where you want to go and what you want to do.  Wait.  Are you going to try and overthrow the government again?"

There was a gleam in her eye.  "Are they incompetent?"

"Well, sort of, yeah, but you might want to wait until the current revolution is over and done with.  You know, just as a courtesy or something."

"Maxwell."  This time it was Heero with the faintly chiding tone.

"Aw, come on, Heero.  We'd be helping a young girl fulfill her dreams.  How much more of a noble task can there be?  Or are you afraid of what your little sweetheart Relena would think?"

He sighed.  "I'm not interested in overthrowing the government."

"Hm?  Why not?  Oh, wait, that's right.  You just wanted to, you know, get away from it for a while, didn't you?   Well, how about after the vacation?  We could go visit a nice, mellow beach town somewhere, give her an opportunity to net some cute guy for a summer fling, and then come back all recharged and ready to kick some bureaucratic butt."

"Duo," he started, but catching Duo's bright expression, he just shook his head.  He was fairly certain Duo was just talking, anyway.  Fairly certain.

Wufei finally shook off his stupor.  "Maxwell, you will take her nowhere."

Duo snorted.  "Yeah, says you.  You and what army?"

There was another loud, demanding knock on the library door, with the people on the other side not waiting before throwing the door open.  "Wufei!" a man's voice barked out.  It was followed by the thumps of more boots filing into the room.

Wufei was already in an unpleasant mood.  This distraction did not help.  "What do you want, Hawkins?"  As he was walking back into the common area, he was met with the barrel of a gun.

"Shit," Duo muttered, pulling a weapon from within his jacket.  He pointed the gun at the newcomer, but more footsteps came from the other end of the aisle and Heero followed his lead, whipping his own gun out and standing back to back with him.

Unlike the pacifist forces they had mostly encountered up until now, these men were professional and stood their ground, holding their guns like they not only knew how to use them, but were quite ready to use them as well.  The lot of them stood staring at each other in tense, armed silence until Wufei broke it with a testy tone directed toward the man in charge of the estate's security.  "What is the meaning of this, Hawkins?"

"Gee, Chang," Duo answered edgily.  He was a little put out by the fact that, not only had they been distracted enough to have been caught, they had also let their enemy's trap succeed.  "What do you think?"

A set of clacks entered the room and paused to survey the situation.  There was a light, exasperated sound as their owner approached.  "No, no, no, Hawkins.  This is not what I asked for at all."

"Begging your pardon, miss," Hawkins responded, his gun unwavering.  "But these men are dangerous, no matter what you say."

"They're much more dangerous when you point a gun at them."

"Duo," Heero tossed over his shoulder, not taking his eyes off the men in front of him.  "Is that Dorothy Catalonia?"

"Weird chick from the wedding?  Yeah."

The tall blonde laughed airily.  "I'm flattered you remember me, Heero Yuy.  Now please, gentlemen, will you all lower your weapons?  We're here to have a chat, not take them prisoner."

"Miss Catalonia--"

"Mr. Hawkins, please.  My uncle would be horrified if you got blood all over these lovely books."  The man frowned, but lowered his weapon, nodding at his men to do the same.  Dorothy waited three seconds before asking the same of the pilots.  "Mr. Yuy, Mr. Maxwell, please.  We aren't here to apprehend you."

Their guns did not drop.  "So what are you here for?" Duo asked her.

"I just came to tell you what's been going on in the capital."

"What's been...," Heero started.  He exhaled in annoyance.  "Relena snuck out, didn't she?"

"Well, of course.  You didn't expect her to stay grounded at a time like this, now did you?"

"I expected her to be smart.  What part of 'laying low' does she not understand?  I told Pierre to keep an eye on her."

"Pierre works for me, Heero, not you.  When he told me who had landed at our front door, naturally I took steps.  So as I'm sure you can imagine, some interesting things have been happening lately.  I'd love to tell you all about them.  Won't you please put down your weapons so we can have a little chat?"

He waited three more seconds out of principle before reholstering his gun and turning around and nudging Duo to do the same.  "What has she done?"

"Honestly, she didn't do as much as you might think.  But only because she arrived after Milliardo and Noin did."

Duo snorted.  "Oooh, someone's in trouble now."

"Indeed."  Her smile was a bit smug as she gestured toward the table behind her.  "Shall we?"

She dismissed the small detachment of guards as they all settled down at the table.  "I apologize for their rude greeting.   Military men, you understand.  You tell them a couple of Gundam pilots have probably already infiltrated an estate under their control, and they just go nuts, no matter what else you tell them about the change in power."

Duo buffed his fingernails on the cloth at his shoulder.   "Hn, good.  I was getting a little worried about them."

"Peace," she agreed.  "It can do terrible things to a man."

"Hey, you and this little lady should hang out with each other some time.  I think you'd get along great, and you're family, too."

She eyed her cousin speculatively, finding herself measured equally in return.  "Yes, we should.  We haven't had the opportunity to get to know each other as we ought to."

Heero was never one for small talk.  "What did she do, Dorothy?"

"Well, Milliardo and Noin told their stories first, which I expect you're already familiar with.  Then the EUW got amusingly self-righteous and denied or rationalized everything until the two of them produced evidence of their activities."

"Evidence?" Duo asked.  "Where would they have gotten evidence?  They didn't have any when we got them out of there."

"Trowa," Heero surmised.  "He had plenty of opportunity."

"Trowa Barton indeed," Dorothy confirmed.  "He remained an 'unnamed source' for a while until they gave in, after which all sorts of interesting things started happening.  It is a matter of public record just who it was that employed him, after all, so he was quite a believably reliable source."

"Is he still around?"

"He was never seen in the Senate house, and I doubt anyone will really see him again any time soon.  The evidence is condemning enough without him, and the situation only got worse for the EUW when Relena showed up with her story, in which I believe you two are also central players.  To make a long and fascinating story short and to the point, it came out that the EUW is a pseudo-pacifist faction that does not believe in complete disarmament.  They believe that the ruling party must be able to enforce their peace by representing a credible threat to their detractors.  Of course, they can't go around killing just anyone, or else they wouldn't be pacifists, so naturally they want to develop weaponry that is very specific in its damage radius.  That way they can neatly take out the subversive elements of society without bothering the rest of the peace-loving people.  It's really a rather interesting take on things.  If you have the opportunity, you should try and see if there's a transcript of the session."

When Mariemaia seemed excited by the prospect, Heero leaned over to whisper into Duo's ear.  "Are you sure they should be hanging out with each other?"

He whispered back.  "I'm not so sure anymore."

Dorothy smiled wickedly.  "I am.  In any case, after hours of finger-pointing, denials, and debate, the central members of the EUW fled with their tails between their legs."

Heero supposed it was too much to wish for from a pacifist government that the treasonous villains be executed.  "Where have they gone?"

"Back to their respective strongholds, I imagine, trying to set their affairs in order before the world government settles on formal charges against them."

"Their weapon wasn't entirely theoretical, you know."

"Of course.  Milliardo and Noin told us all about it.  The government has sent people out to clear out their plants, but if these pseudo-pacifists are smart at all, most of their operations will have been cleared out by the time the forces arrive."

"You're unconcerned."

"There's nothing to be done about it.  This is a pacifist bureaucracy, after all.  We do what we can.  Now, from all accounts that I hear, you're surprisingly concerned about the matter."

He scowled.  To whom had she been talking?  "...I am not."

"Really."  Genteel ladies ought not to have been able to convey such drollness with their tone.

"I have a certain personal interest in this, you know.   What happens now?  Are you going to just let us walk out of here?"

Her expression shifted gear somehow.  She wanted to.   Caged pilots were no fun at all.  "I'm afraid I really don't have the authority to say.  I wouldn't be surprised if Hawkins is outside right now getting ready to arrest you."

He looked at Duo.  "Perhaps we should be going, then."

"Oh, don't go, Heero.  I know Miss Relena would love to talk to you."

"I don't think there's much more to say."

"Let her at least apologize for sneaking out."

He pushed his chair back and stood.  "Tell her I accept her apology."

"Heero.  Now that the EUW has been exposed, there will be someone else put in charge of your supervision."

"Gilded cages, Dorothy."

"We know you'll hold up your end of the bargain.  We can make sure that the government does the same this time."

"You know as well as I do how likely that is."

She smiled.  "I know.  I need to be able to tell the others that I gave it a decent try, though.  You should probably leave.  Miss Relena will understand."

"Yippee," Duo said, also getting out of his chair.  "We have Miss Relena's approval."

Unfortunately, they didn't have the approval of the men with guns.  The door opened again, and Hawkins stopped them.  "You aren't going anywhere."

This piece of fiction is the intellectual property of the little turnip that could. The basis for this fic, i.e. Gundam Wing, Kyuuketsuki Miyu, et al., is the property of someone else. The author can be con tacted at jchew at This has been an entirely automated message.

last modified : 1/19/2006 00:27:14 PST