Pairings: 1+2+1, 3x4, 5x13, 6+1, 6+2+6, ref. to past 13x6, 1+2+6
Author: Dacia
Category: humour, mystery, action
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: yaoi, lime-ish, AU, OOC-ness, more clichés than you can shake a stick at, embarrassing amounts of melodramaticism, a cloying amount of witty reparté, random and completely unnecessary Japanese words, blatant over use and misuse of established stereotypes, and, yes, everyone's gay. ^_~
Notes: This is based not only on the concept of Automan, but a particular episode entitled, you guessed it, 'Ships in the Night'. In order to help along those of you who have never seen, or possibly even heard of, Automan, I have included, almost verbatim, the introduction from the series. The small changes I have made make it relevant to what I'm doing. Don't laugh too hard. You'll hurt yourself. Oh, and I kind of veered off from the show fairly early on in this, so I guess you *can* blame me if it totally sucks...
Disclaimer: I do not own GW *or* Automan. You ask for two little things, and you don't get either of them... Where's the justice in this world?

Feedback: cries, weeps, *begs* for C/C (I think you can just about take this for a given by this point)
Beta: Suzume [ http://www.fanworkrecs.com/ ]

//thoughts//

Duoman: Ships in the Night + Part 1

[ Into -- narrated by Duoman ]

This is the story of Heero Yuy doing what he likes best -- fighting crime in the streets. You see, Heero's a Preventer. Unfortunately, the chief doesn't want Heero in the streets. So Heero must fight crime in his own way -- in the computer room. That's where he's an expert. Fortunately for me, Heero's advanced knowledge in electronics led him to experiment with what is called a hologram. That's a very fancy word for a 3-dimensional picture that, when perfected, can be made to look real, sound real -- as a matter of fact, given enough power, it can even be made to feel real. That's kind of what brought me into this world. My name... is Duoman.

Duoman: (Literally appearing out of thin air) You must be Heero Yuy.

Heero: How did you know that?

Duoman: It's on the programming you fed into my systems. I must say, Heero, you're very good. Very good indeed. I look wonderful.

Heero: If you do say so yourself...

Duoman: You programmed me to be honest. But tell me, why did you call me Duoman?

Heero: It means you're the first truly dual man [don't ask, ok? I couldn't think of anything else]. You can do anything, because you're not real.

Duoman: Oh, but I am. I'm as real as you are. I'm just different. And, thanks to you, perfect.

Heero: Nobody's perfect, Duoman.

Duoman: That's not true, Heero. You've programmed me to observe other people and do what they can do as well as they can do it -- Jimmy Connors playing Tennis, John Travolta dancing... In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10, consider me an 11.

Heero: (groaning slightly) I've created a monster.

No. What Heero really created was a wonderful force... for good. Duoman. That's me.

[fancy intro music] ^_~

+

The trouble with being a recognized computer genius was that your finesse with them tended to overshadow just about everything else you might be good at. And Heero Yuy was good at quite a fair number of things. His tally at the shooting range was near unrivaled (a feat marred only by the fact that he tended to take on live targets. In his defense, it was only when they were exceedingly obnoxious). His tracking abilities were second to none (no matter what Vice Minister Relena Darlien might say. Truth was, when Heero Yuy ever failed to locate her, he knew damn well where she was). And there wasn't anyone alive who could say he didn't play a mean game of scrabble (no comment necessary). But what was all that against the undeniable fact that if you put Heero Yuy in front of a computer, you would swear there must be a god or two somewhere up in heaven because that boy could work miracles. He had been told by far too many people for it to be merely coincidence that when he truly got into the flow, it was as if he were making love to the keyboard.

Which was why he was now stuck in his darkened office, his nimble fingers fairly flying over the keys of said keyboard as he created an unbreakable cover for Preventer Extraordinaire Chang Wufei who, in the company of his partner Quatre Raberba Winner, was presently headed for the luxurious resort of San Rommell in order to investigate the disappearance of...

Heero paused. // Where was I? // He really had to work on his train of thought. As quiet as he was in real life, he was prone to get very long-winded in his head [1].

The door opened to his office. Heero noticed this without ceasing, or even looking up from, his work.

"What is it, Barton?"

"The chief wants to know if you're done with that cover."

Heero couldn't help but snort in disdain. Peons... What mattered it to him if some overly rich bigwig had gone missing? Still, he held a great respect for Chang, even if he didn't always care to admit it. If keeping him safe was his job, he would do it as everything else he did -- to the best of his abilities. He also knew that if anything happened to Quatre, Barton here would have his head on a stake.

"Done."

Barton's smile lit up his one visible green eye. The effect was somewhat impressive, even in this dim light. "Thanks, Heero."

Heero raised the corners of his mouth in his best approximation of a grin. "No problem."

"And about that other matter...."

"I have the computer working on it."

With a curt nod, Barton was gone.

"The computer?" came a laughing voice. "The computer?? Is that your pet name for me now?" The voice attempted what was supposedly an impression of Scotty. "Hello, computer," came the voice in a thrilling Scottish trill. [2]

"Duo..."

The laughing voice, a moment ago bodiless, suddenly found a home in a violet-eyed boy sitting to Heero's right, his chin cupped in his hands as he studied Heero's computer-type handiwork.

"Not bad, not bad. For a human." His laugh filled the office. "God, I'm funny."

"Extremely," agreed Heero with a completely straight face. "Hilarious. Now is there a reason you're here?"

"Do I need a reason, Hee-chan?"

Duo stretched out a hand and ran his fingers along the length of Heero's exposed arm. Heero kept himself from squirming at the light touch only by a supreme act of will. // Damn it. Why does he have to feel so real. //

"We've gone over this, sweetness. I feel real because I am real. Just different."

Heero's voice chimed in with the last two words, although he sounded much less sure.

Duo raised his hands in supplication, supposedly to the computer gods. "Why me?"

"Duo..."

"You were right," said Duo without further ado, surprisingly getting to the very nub of the matter. "Not only has Mr. X disappeared while vacationing at San Rommell, but also 5 other monetarily advantaged men. All within the space of two months."

"Two months?"

Now that didn't make any sense at all. Even the backward hicks of San Rommell who had the audacity to call themselves a security service should have picked up on this. Suddenly, it seemed that Chang and Quatre were in a lot more peril than had been foreseen.

"Get through to Chang. Use his private line."

Duo grinned, happy as ever to be useful to his spiky-haired creator, before his eyes glazed over in that connecting-to-one-of-various-communication-satellites kind of way.

"Slight problem there."

"What?"

"I can't get through."

Heero literally sat up and took notice. The word 'can't' simply wasn't in Duo's vocabulary unless it was in reference to Vice Minister Relena Darlien ('I can't stand her!'), reality TV shows ('I can't believe anyone watches this junk!'), and early morning sunshine ('I can't get over how good this feels...'), in that order. As far as Heero knew, there was nothing that Duoman couldn't do.

"There's only one thing that could be blocking me, Heero."

The greenish glow of the monitors surrounding them cast Heero's somber expression in a bewitchingly dramatic light. "The Wing Zero System." He paused a moment in thought before continuing. "There's nothing for it. We'll have to go ourselves."

"Really? We're going to San Rommell? Home of the terminally tan?" As always, Duo saved the best for last. "Together?"

Heero couldn't help but feel a small tremor run through his body at this final word. Whether it was from excitement or apprehension, he couldn't dare to guess.

"Yes, Duo."

"Sugoi!!" His form shimmered, solidifying to reveal light purple tights and accompanying Batman accessories. "Let's race there fast!" [3]

+

Duoman's existence was hardly common knowledge at the distinguished Preventer headquarters. In fact, Quatre was the only other person to know exactly what Duoman was. So it was that Heero Yuy exited his office alone and quickly made his way outside where Duo would, as always, be waiting. He stepped through the outer doors, his eyes squinting slightly in the harsh light of the winter sun before stopping short at the sight of what was undoubtedly Duoman's answer to the word 'how' in the question 'but how are we going to get there'.

"You like?" came Duo's voice from a startlingly near proximity over his shoulder. "I call him Deathscythe."

Heero felt warm breath caress his cheek. Damn it. It felt so... No. He was not going there again.

In the next second, Duoman ran off for the Gundam, his long braid swinging behind him in a way that would best be termed 'seductive' if Heero hadn't been aware that the violet-eyed wonder wasn't, after all, anything more that a pleasingly organized jumble of light waves. He stopped only when he realized his creator was not following.

"Come on, come on, come on. No time to be sitting around twiddling our thumbs. Don't we have villains to catch, or something?"

Heero sighed. "Yes, Duo." He gestured vaguely towards the awesome machine towering before them. "But couldn't you have chosen a more... unobtrusive mode of transportation?"

Duo clutched a hand to his chest in mock agony. "Unobtrusive? Unobtrusive?! My god, man, what are you trying to do?! Kill me?!"

The blue-eyed Preventer fought hard to halt the smile rising to his all but definitively stoic features. Unbeknownst to him, he could not keep it from shining through his eyes and at their cobalt sparkle Duoman grinned all the more. As Heero approached him, shaking his head now in addition to his heavily laden sighs, he could almost have sworn the holographic boy was... purring? // When did I ever program him to purr? // Putting the question aside for pondering at a later time when he wasn't, say, on active duty, he followed Duoman as he scrambled up the Gundam, watching him pose in his favourite superhero stance a moment before slipping inside the cramped cockpit. When he reached the cockpit himself, he was both exhilarated and dismayed to discover that the amount of room set aside for the actual passengers in this particular Gundam was very little indeed. He soon found his entire right side pressed tightly against the length of Duo's body.

"Kind of... close in here, isn't it?" He sincerely hoped his voice hadn't just come out in the squeak he thought it had.

"Ne, Hee-chan. I though we could use a little togetherness."

Resorting to his quite purposeful monotone persona, Heero could only intone his magical 'hn' as he directed every fiber of his being into not under any circumstance allowing himself to be aroused by this situation.

San Rommell was, in all actuality, a space colony that had been public property but subsequently sold after several small and unpublicized disasters had made it apparent that the funds earmarked for renovations and repair had been paying for more sex romps than bulkheads. A mysterious man by the name of Zechs Merquise had acquired the run-down station for a song and then proceeded to turn it into the most exclusive resort to ever to have seen the light of day.

As Duo piloted the almost absurdly imposing Gundam up through the steel grey December skies, Heero's thought were quite gratefully taken over by impulsive and impromptu prayers to any deities still existing in an age of hand-held nuclear projectile weapons that he would arrive at San Rommell with everything, including his light lunch, exactly where it had started. Duo's maneuvering was as breathtaking as his maniacal laughter.

"Ano... Duo..."

"Yes, Heero?"

"You do realize that all you have to do is fly in a straight line."

He valiantly ignored Duoman's answering chuckle.

"And that there really is no need to travel quite this fast..."

"Are you kidding, sweet cheeks? I'm going this slow for you. If it were just me, I'd have been there last Tuesday, but I'm not at all sure you would survive the trip."

At this enlightening and yet not at all comforting revelation, Heero did the only thing he could think of -- he closed his eyes and held on for dear life.

After what seemed like endless hours of flight, but was in reality only about ten minutes, Heero realized they had slowed to a non-sickening velocity.

"Are we there yet?"

Duo's laughter was like wine -- intoxicating and addictive. Heero could not make himself regret the fact that the violet-eyed hologram was all but laughter personified.

"Right on target. Any ideas on where we should set down? I have the strangest feeling that we won't exactly be welcomed with open arms."

Heero couldn't help but agree. "Try one of the loading docks," he suggested. "It's not the least obvious way to get in, but I think it's our best shot."

"I'm all over it."

Heero was accustomed to the voices in his head. Usually, they were quite helpful. They told him useful things like his exact heart rate, the best routes to avoid traffic, that he really should rethink the spandex once in a while... There was one particular voice, however, that had been gaining in strength ever since the arrival of Duoman in his life that he did his best to ignore. So when this voice now said // But I wish you were all over me //, he didn't so much as blink.

Duo had by this time successfully landed his virtual Gundam at the docking bay which showed the fewest signs of recent activity. This was the good news. The bad news was that, six unsolved and unreported disappearances aside, San Rommell's security force appeared to be very much on the ball seeing as how at present several black clad astronauts were clambering up Deathscythe.

"This does not bode well."

"No. No, it doesn't."

"Mayhap this could lead to our imminent incarceration."

"Yes. That is a distinct possibility."

Silence.

"Go, Duo."

"But..."

"You've got to. Chang and Quatre need us now, not whenever we can talk ourselves out of this. I'll be OK."

Duo continued to look uncertain, but could not deny the logic of Heero's argument. He nodded curtly. "I'll be back for you as soon as I can."

With this, he leaned close, kissed Heero's slightly parted lips soundly, and disappeared leaving one greatly flustered and slightly breathless unofficially undercover Preventer to explain the impossibility of his arrival on San Rommell to what turned out to be a total of six distinctly unfriendly security agents.

+

[1] This actually applies a lot more to me than to Heero, but since my "monumental sentence structure", as I affectionately term it, seems to have reared its massive head for this particular adventure, I figured it'd be a lot simpler to blame it on him. Heh, heh.
[2] This would be from Star Trek IV
[3] A real quote from the Batman TV show which was, let's face it, a truly brilliant piece of television.

[part 2] [back to Dacia's fic]