of Time: The Future (cont)
We found the seventh Talent
today. She is but a child, a thirteen year old girl with hazel eyes and
cropped brown hair. Finally, after three years since the war began, we
had enough power to repel the Mission. The seventh Talent assured that
much, at least. She was the key to our stalemate. I can still remember
when it was just me, barely a year after Heero's death. After I somehow
got through the fever and my utter lack of will to live, I had found that
I was Talented. Of course, that word did not exist back then, but still.
I was the first. The first with the power. When I discovered it, I told
no one, fearing their reactions, afraid of the power. But here we are,
three years later, and there are seven of us. I am the First. I am the
one who saved the planet from destruction when the Mission first came.
I remember that day. Everyone does. It was a cloudy day for me, about
noon or so. I think it was a Tuesday. The skies became dark and then there
were explosions. Massive flames and huge craters left in their wake. Hell
did come to earth. The Preventers sent out every man and woman on duty
who could pick up a gun out into space to face the horrible attack only
to find that the colonies had been blown apart already. Billions of casualties
and the war had been only a few hours old then. And within thirty minutes,
every single ship sent by the Preventers was gone, reduced to scrap metal
and cinders by the attacking force. The bombardment on the earth continued
after that, each blow taking hundreds of thousands of lives at once. I
fully believe that on that day, we lost three fourth of the human race.
And it was then that I unleashed everything I had within me and repulsed
the attacks. My Talent flowed through me, pouring outward in uncontrollable
spasms, reflecting shots that was on the other side of the earth, blasting
the ships out of the sky with barely a thought. The attacks stopped after
several hours of me fighting against them. And that was when what was
left of the earth government and the Preventers assembled together and
discovered that it was me, only me, that had stopped the complete annihilation.
That was when I was dubbed the First Talent. That was when I became the
vessel of hope for every single living creature on the face of the earth.
I was barely defending then, always overrun by the numbers. Within a month,
we found two more Talents, not as powerful, but just as needed. The three
of us fended off the attacks, put up barriers around the earth. But we
were getting tired. Then slowly, we found the others and a measure of
relief. When I found the Second, completely by accident, I was relieved
to share my burden. He was a twenty year old man, only two years younger
than me. But he seemed so young, so childish. Couple of weeks fighting
by my side changed that. His innocent face became battle hardened and
sharp within moments. I did not mourn his loss, no more than he did. Then
the Third. A young man of eighteen. Full of fear and cowardly motives.
We changed that in him, too. Now, three years later, he is one of the
most courageous people I know. Then over the three years before finding
the Seventh, there came the Fourth, a beautiful woman who had been a model.
She and the Third became lovers quickly. The Fifth, a battle hardened
former Oz soldier who had a soft spot for children. The Sixth, a brilliant
economist who lost her family and all her friends in one swift attack.
And finally, we have the Seventh. She has attached herself rather firmly
to the Fifth, looking to him like a father figure. She needs it, really.
She's only thirteen and an orphan. I know how she feels, alone in the
world, forced to fight a war. But we need her. Now, we can call a stalemate.
Never a truce, but a wary cease fire while we test each other out in our
new capacities. God, I wish it was over.
The Talents stood in a circle, an intense look of concentration and pain
on their faces. They were alone, standing atop the majestic mountain called
K2, a mountain that the human race had conquered with grit and determination
hundreds of years ago. They were surrounded by snow and an eerie quietude
that did not match the intensity of war going on in space. A few hours
ago, Duo had sent out orders for everyone on earth to go into their bombardment
shelters and take cover. Everyone, save him and the Six, were underground,
hoping against hope that when they emerged, the world would be safe. They
would try their best to make the world's dream come true. So here they
were, on top of a mountain, letting their Talents rage and merge in a
deadly dance for victory. Duo did not notice the drip of perspiration
as his Talent wiped out thousands of ships in space with one swipe. He
barely paid attention to the work of the others, too busy with his own
part in the war. He felt the comforting presence of the Fifth and the
Seventh's power merged into a barrier around the earth, repelling direct
attacks and invasions into the atmosphere. His Talent brushed lightly
against the Sixth's intense attack upon the space fortress. His mind's
eyes saw the Second and the Third systematically destroy ships within
their assigned quadrant. His body rejuvenated when the Fourth infused
him with her own power to keep him going. The battle raged and the Mission
took heavy losses. But the energy core within the fortress was still intact,
still gathering more power. In five minutes, whether or not each were
done with their quadrants, all seven would gather together their power
and send one, final massive attack into the Mission's space fortress.
It would either win the war or lose it. Five minutes until the end of
the world as they knew it. Five minutes could run so slowly.
Today is the anniversary of the Mission attack. It is the nineteenth
anniversary of the day when everything changed for the worst. But I'm
still here, as are the others, living, breathing, surviving. The cease
fire is at its fifteenth year, each side only attacking every other week
or so without heavy damage to either side. My power is still growing and
I know I have not reached the limits of what my Talent can do. Not by
far. I will win this war one day soon, for humanity, for me. And in a
way, for Heero. Heero would not have wanted to see the world he fought
so hard for come to this. He could not have stood by idle while I cast
myself into the front lines every day. At least, he is at peace. I must
believe that. Quatre looks a bit more somber today than usual. He's probably
recalling how Trowa died ten years ago in an attack that I could not fully
repel. That was my mistake, my fault. That was the day that Quatre knew
how I felt when I lost Heero. I never wanted him to know. True, we had
lost Wufei, Sally, Noin, Zechs and Lady Une during the first assault by
the Preventers on the first day of the war, but they had died fighting
for the earth. Their deaths, though sad and pointless, had been for what
they believed in. Trowa's death had been due to my inattention, my lack
of enough power. Even with the Six by my side and my enormous Talent,
I could not save Trowa that day. I feel the guilt and the weight of his
death every day. I only have Quatre and Relena left to me. Dorothy is
long gone, too, killed by rioters three years ago in the European vector.
She was courageous, that crazy blond. I miss her too. I miss them all,
but most especially, I miss my Heero. I will visit his grave later, first
of many graves I will visit today. I will tell him about me, how I'm defending
the earth, how I'm fulfilling his destiny as a hero. And I will listen
for him in the wind, telling me that he is proud of me.
In silent accord, the seven Talents began to expand into their Talent.
Duo stretched his as far as he could, defying the physical and mental
strain it caused. His vision blurred, his violet eyes no longer dilating
with the change of the light. He could vaguely make out the others. The
Seventh was on her knees, barely supported by the shaky Fifth. Third and
Fourth clung to each other fiercely, as if anticipating death and wanting
to face it together. The Second stood stoically, but Duo could feel the
exhaustion coming from him in waves. The Sixth fared no better than the
rest of them, her shoulders slumped and her usually cold face slack with
the exertion. But it was time for them to go after the space fortress,
the Mission's heart. They were ready to attack it full out. As soon as
they were all filled to capacity with the Talent, the Fifth and the Seventh
would drop the barrier and in the split second they had, they would send
all their Talent power into the space fortress. They had meticulously
calculated the amount of power they needed to release in order to bring
the fortress down, but even then, there was the margin of error. All it
came down to was the one moment when they would unleash their greatest
power upon one giant evil. If they failed, the earth was doomed for after
the attack, none would have any strength left to fight back. But if they
won.. if they won. There would be peace. Safety. With that in mind, Duo
expanded as far as he could, farther than he ever had until every molecule
in his body seemed to burst out of their confinement. His last thought
to the Six was a command, a decisive word.
Seven streams of Talent power soared into the atmosphere and into the
space fortress. Soon, it would all be over.
The strangest thing is, I can't understand why there are only seven
of us. Why only seven in a population of a billion or more? Even with
a large chunk of humanity dead and missing, we had a billion people on
earth. And out of that billion or so, only seven had the Talent. I figured
that was the question that the scientists wanted answered. They did all
types of tests on us, none of them painful or anything, but uncomfortable
anyway. For the last week, I and the Six have been through genetic screens,
psychological and physiological tests, emotional readings, aura reflections.
I guess they need to know if there could be more of us, if they could
actually produce a Talent out of science or genetic breeding or something.
It's a hope that the scientists have that the Third and the Fourth would
produce a kid. They have high hopes that such a progeny would be a Talent
as well. But I'm digressing. I guess I just don't want to open the test
results in front of me. What if it told me that I was some kind of a genetic
freak? Or even worse, not even human? I must not fear the results. Let's
face it, without me defending the earth, without the Six, the Mission
would kill everyone and blow up the planet. Even if I was some alien bioandroid
or something, the people would still need us. No need to feel like I won't
get accepted or anything. As the First Talent, the only friends I have
left are Quatre and Relena and even they look at me funny sometimes. So
I tear open the packet and read the contents carefully. The results aren't
just mine, but for all of us. The scientists tried to find what we had
in common, what made us unique enough to bear the Talent. Too bad they
couldn't find anything. Genetically, I'm normal as are the others. I have
the rare recessive gene for my violet colored eyes, but that's not a common
factor since the Seventh's hazel eyes are fairly common. We all had traumatizing
events in our lives, but in the times of war, who didn't? I fought in
the wars before the Mission in my gundam and saw more than I should have.
I found my lover in our house, torn and.. well, let me go on. We all lost
people precious to us. But so did Quatre and Relena. And countless others.
None of them had the Talent. So it wasn't the genetics, it wasn't the
psychological factor. Emotionally, the seven of us are so damned different
that it'd be a joke to think that was the linking factor. It is the same
with our aura readings. So basically, the report is telling me that despite
all the testing, they had no freaking idea what makes us Talents. Whoop-dee
fucking doo. So no one can tell us how we came to be Talents, or if others
can become like us. Life is funny like that, I guess. I wonder what Heero
would say about me. I know for certain he'd still love me. Hell, he'd
love me even if I was covered in leprous sores from head to toe and I
came from a distant planet. But what would he think? It still matters
to me, after all these years, what he would think of me. Why? Because
when I see him again, I want him to be proud of me. I want to look him
in the eyes and say 'hey, lover, I made a difference.'
As soon as Duo opened his eyes and saw the relieved faces of Quatre and
Relena, he knew that they had won. He was in his room, hooked up to an
IV and a heart monitor. The sun was out. Everyone was still alive. They
had won. But he had to make sure.
"Quat.. Relena.. We won, right?"
His voice croaked like a rusty hinge, but it made his friends smile. Not
the small, sad smiles he was used to from them. The smiles bestowed upon
him were bright, joyous, practically beaming with ecstasy and freedom.
He had not seen anyone smile like that in a long time.
"We won, Duo. No, you and the Six won. The space fortress is gone. Completely
obliterated! Nothing left! The left over ships exploded when the shockwave
from the Mission's fortress hit them. The Third assured us that nothing
was left anywhere. It's finally over."
Over. That one word rang in Duo's brain over and over again like a mantra,
each repetition bringing more peace to his heart. After all those years
of fighting, after losing friends, it was over. The Mission was gone.
He felt his face stretch into a smile.
"No more fighting. No more fear. Shit, I don't know what to do now."
"There is nothing for you to do now." Relena said quietly. "Just rest,
Duo. You deserve it."
Once again, the world faded as sleep overcame Duo. However, this time,
he slept peacefully without the fear and the burden which had lain upon
his soul for twenty years.
The night is too quiet, too silent. The lack of noise makes my mind
wander, the blinking lights of my small clock beating in time with every
thought. I'm lonely, laying here all by myself. Sure, I've been sleeping
alone for nearly ten years now, but that doesn't make me any less lonely
when the night falls so silent. I envy Quatre and Trowa, the two love
birds who have managed to survive so far and still manage to find time
to love each other. They are beautiful to see, but they make my heart
ache more and more. Heero is always on my mind, but when they come within
my visual range, I feel the loss more. Like now, I wonder, is the world
really worth defending? Just the other day, a massive riot broke out over
in the southeastern region of Africa and more than four thousand died.
With the food shortage, everyone is killing. These riots happen more often
than they should, each causing more and more casualties and unneeded rifts
between people. We have a death threat literally looming over us, and
we are too busy killing each other over food to band together. So I have
to wonder, am I really defending something worthwhile? I know Heero would
say yes, but he hasn't seen this world. He hasn't seen the damage we're
doing to each other while I and the Six risk our sanity and our lives
to defend them. I'm just getting so tired again. And quiet nights like
this make me tired more than ever. I have no one to fight for personally.
The Third and the Fourth fight for each other and their child. Sure, their
child has exhibited no signs of the Talent, but it makes no difference
to them. The kid is their life. Same for the Fifth and the Seventh. I
swear, they are like father and daughter. The Second fights for his family
who are safely stowed away in a high security complex and the Sixth is
finally getting married to that silly general who courted her for a solid
year. Everyone has someone to fight for except me. Quatre and Relena,
yes I love them, but they have others whom they love more. Not me. It
was always Heero for me and it always will be. So I think of giving up
the fight. I'm weak. I have moments when I just want to give in and slip
into death. But I won't. Why? Why indeed.
"Man, too good to be true, I knew it. I fucking knew it."
Duo paced in his office while the Six, Quatre and Relena looked at him
awkwardly. It had been only a week since the great victory over the Mission
and the celebrations were still going on outside. But in this office,
there was great tension. Again.
"I'm sorry, First Talent, but we couldn't have ever stopped this. It was
Duo snarled at the Second's coldly analytical voice. He knew that the
Second was right, but it did not make him feel any better.
"So, what can we do?"
The Sixth was focused on the solution, not the problem. Her mind was already
processing the information and picking through possibilities. She would
find a solution if no one else could.
"As far as we know, the dimensional anomaly was on earth. So someone from
the Mission got through the barrier in that half second you dropped it.
It was just one, though, from the size of the hole in the subspace. The
best thing would be-"
Quatre was cut off suddenly by the Seventh who started speaking in a trance.
Her Talent was strong with looking into the time stream, seeing the past,
glimpsing the future. And it always manifested in a trance.
"One sent back in time to fix a wrong. One in time to set it right."
Duo had had enough with the riddles. In frustration, he stalked up to
the Seventh and shook her by her shoulders, incoherently yelling for an
explanation. He was pulled off her roughly by the Fifth.
"I don't care if you are the First. You do that again, I'll kill you."
Duo dusted himself off and apologized to the Seventh and begged understanding
with his pleading eyes. The Seventh shrugged and explained her vision.
"Well, First Talent, it seems that someone or something from the Mission
managed to go into the past. For what purpose, I do not know, but it most
likely isn't for our own good. We must send someone to follow."
"How the hell are we supposed to travel back in time? None of us has that
"Calm down Duo. We may be able to.. the machinery was left behind."
Stunned yet calm, Duo turned to face Relena. A way back in time. Something
he had dreamed of for a long time.
"How long back in time."
"The scientists say twenty years ago."
Duo did not even hesitate.
I'm not much of a singer, but I can't stop myself. Right now, I'm singing
Heero's favorite song in my off-tune voice, scaring off the birds in the
willow tree. Well, I'm not really singing. I'm actually belting out words
that I don't really know the meaning to. Damn Japanese lyrics. But I'm
singing it because Heero sang it after every battle we won. And today,
we achieved the greatest victory ever. We won. The Mission is gone. And
no more use for me, the First Talent. I'm free to go to him any time I
want. But Heero would not be glad to see me if I left too quickly. He'd
want me to stick around and make sure everyone was okay and dandy before
I said my final farewells. So I'll live a little while longer, or a lot
while longer. I will live as long as it takes to fulfill his dreams.
Duo clicked on the small machine strapped to his wrist much like a watch
and tapped in the coordinates. The scientists stood behind a thick glass
wall surrounded by equipment and eyed him owlishly. Duo smiled his biggest
one and then pushed the 'go' button. He was going back in time. Twenty
years. Before Heero died. Before the Mission came. In the past, he would
fix everything. When the gauge on the watch filled to the top and blinked
red, Duo unleashed his Talent and sent an intense energy wave into it.
The machine fired up and he felt dizzy. He knew soon, he would pass out
and wake up somewhere in the past if this thing worked right. If not,
well, whatever. He was going to find that Mission bastard in the past,
take care of him, save Heero and the world.
"I'm coming to save you Heero. Wait for me."
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