Genre: Action, Drama, Humour (some)
Pairings: 1x5x1, others tba
Warnings: Violence, language, sex, adult situations
Spoilers: Yes, quite a lot for end of series (no EW though)
Feedback: Please! Particularly what you like/don't like about the fic.
Disclaimer:Gundam Wing belongs to its owners (Bandai, Sunset, and a whole
host of others, none of which are me) and I'm not making any money off
of them. Not a single peanut.
AN: I have set up twin altars by my computer (one on each side!), for
my beta, Dawna, and for Sol who, despite a very busy schedule, agreed
to be my Trowa-expert and straightened this out in places *glomps* She
also gave me my proverb. And Pre-vermin-ters a few chapters ago Thanks
to them both!
This was originally a side-story to The Arrangement since it's Trowa's
POV, and recaps some events that occurred in the previous chapter. However,
there are some very important revelations about the current The Arrangement
plotlines, so it shouldn't be missed. It also needs to be read in sequence
right after chapter 26. In view of that, I decided to make it, in fact,
the next two chapters.
Arrangement + Chapter 27
Masks, Part I
cat may stare at the king."
European proverb (Dutch/German origin)
Nash was a bastard.
It was Nash's style to grin in mocking victory as he finally found the
flaw in Yuy's defenses. He'd been all over his targets' home like a spider
for two nights now, clinging to walls and examining windows, climbing
the roof several times, poking at the ventilation, the rooftop access,
Nash was a bastard, and proud of his abilities.
Trowa was normally proud of his abilities as well. But not when they were
used against two of his best friends.
Not the slightest tremor of doubt shown in Nash's hands as he disabled
the security on the roof access. It had been touch and go, touch and go,
Yuy was good...But now he was in.
Not the slightest tremor of doubt flickered in Trowa's mind as Nash let
himself slip down into the attic space. This was his mission, even if
he didn't like it.
Trowa was buried deep in Nash, and had been for months now. He was the
ghost behind Nash's thoughts, nudging the Syndicate mercenary in one direction
or the other, gently, by persuasion rather than by force, as if Nash were
one of his lions, his own creature grudgingly jumping through Trowa's
hoops only when absolutely required to do so, and on sufferance.
Nash smiled cruelly as he disabled the lesser security on the attic's
trapdoor. There was no one here to watch the act, but since it wasn't,
in fact, entirely an act, that didn't matter. Nash had his own life, his
own habits - ugly ones for the most part - his own thoughts, behavioral
patterns, and motivations that Trowa had painstakingly built into him.
Trowa had worked well: Nash had an internal logic that could carry him
through and keep him acting naturally even in the most stressful situation,
running on in the foreground almost on automatic while Trowa lurked in
the back and watched, dispassionately; he was very good at that.
He carefully let himself down into the hallway of the Preventers' home,
casually and unhesitatingly violating their territory. They weren't Nash's
friends. Nash didn't have any, actually. He was a bastard after all.
Ghosting down the hallway, Nash went first into Heero's room - not that
Nash would know it was Heero's. It was Trowa who guessed at the identity
of the occupant. Nash was momentarily surprised at the extremely bare
and crude furnishings in the big room, stranding the military bunk bed
and utilitarian metal desk at either end of the large space without much
to join them together. Trowa, hidden behind the mask, merely smiled with
melancholy fondness. Heero...
Nash went about his business. He examined the wall around the desk carefully.
Crude plaster covering bricks: good. The small drill hummed as Nash thoughtfully
pulled it out and pressed the trigger a few times, measuring the space
with his eyes, judging. He drilled tiny holes into plaster and brick,
and inserted his cameras. They were about the size and shape of thick
sewing needles: encased fiberoptic receptors, a micro power pack and a
broadcasting chip the size of a gnat. Because of their tiny size, they
were nearly invisible to the human eye once planted into the wall - and
their image feed was so distorted by their tiny aperture as to be unusable,
which was why most people never thought to look for something so small.
Only the real pros knew that if you placed numbers of them at judiciously
spaced intervals, you could use image enhancement and analysis software
to collate their individual, distorted images into a whole, congruent
and very detailed picture. So detailed, you could read words on paper
or on a screen, if the cameras were close enough and the angle was about
Of course, these Gundam pilots were pros...but hopefully they weren't
so paranoid as to check for these on a regular basis.
Trowa was rather hoping Heero, for one, would be paranoid enough. It would
cause a huge fuss if these were found, and their discovery would send
Heero and Wufei off in an uncontrolled search for the culprit that would
make Une's sting operation horribly complicated and might compromise Trowa's
cover, with terminal results...but the infiltrator was worried about what
these tiny spies might pick up, what missions and plans their uncaring
eyes might capture. They could put Heero and Wufei into mortal danger...
Nash naturally applied every ounce of his skill into setting up his cameras;
this was an important mission for him, the chance of finally getting some
real recognition by the Syndicate, and of course obtaining a whole shitload
of money. Trowa watched himself bug his friend's room with all the care
he could muster, knowing Nash's efforts could cost Heero his life, but
unable to do anything about it within the difficult parameters of his
mission. Heero and Wufei were tough...much tougher than the Syndicate
or a bastard like Nash could ever realize...they'd be okay...they would
The Syndicate's hired man continued his work; Nash was even more careful
in hiding the audio bug, which was bulkier - the size and shape of a tiny
cracker. He needed it near the computer, in case his target got a phone
call while working. Hopefully the room's occupant wasn't a pacer; this
mike was quite small and its range wasn't all that good. He finally placed
it in the hollow of the corner beneath the desk.
Next, the pickup unit. After some thought, he lay down on his stomach
beneath the desk and attacked the plaster there. He dug into the brickwork,
inserted the unit, then stuck a piece of gauze over it, and brought out
the small pot of spackle he carried with him for just this purpose. The
unit was the receptor that would pick up the feeds from the cameras and
the mike - they were so small they could only broadcast their stolen sounds
and pictures a few feet; they didn't have the power to do more. The pickup
unit, the size of a big matchbox, received their input and broadcast it
out to the bigger box that he'd already attached to the telephone wires
on the hub nearby; it would relay everything back to the Syndicate's dedicated
server on the other side of this shit-hole of a city. God, he hated this
place, Nash grumbled as he carefully vacuumed up the dust and brick remnants
with the tiny suction device he always carried with him during these kinds
of missions. Europe in winter was the arse-hole of the planet. The only
way this could be worse would be if he was still in Minsk.
Nash went artistic with the spackle, making sure he reproduced every whorl
and grain of the original plaster. He'd let it dry, and, when he'd finished
all the rest of the work and the spackle had dried, he'd come back and
sponge it with dirty water until it matched the rest of the off-white
He sat down carefully in the chair - automatically noting its precise
position relative to the desk, to put it back exactly as it was. He picked
up his comm and flicked it on.
"Stop jerking yourself off and pick up the laptop, Bruckheim," he snapped.
There was a startled noise, followed by a disgusted sigh, and the comm
//Is that you, Nash?//
"No, it's the ghost of General Khushrenada. You were warned it made you
deaf, right, Bruckheim?"
There was the two seconds of silence that signaled Bruckheim mouthing
obscenities at the comm. He was the Syndicate man in Nash's taskforce,
a sort of lieutenant to him, and Nash never lost a single occasion to
make his life miserable. It kept Bruckheim on a leash, and it insured
the Syndicate knew that Nash was tough and only respected those who deserved
it. Besides, to someone like Nash, Bruckheim's mixture of overblown toughness,
petty arrogance and obvious vulnerabilities was like a red flag to a bull,
and he just attacked him out of habit.
Nash was, after all, a bastard.
"Get your thumb out of your ass and pick up the laptop," Nash repeated,
heavily. "It's set up to play the files as they are produced on the server.
I need to test audio. I'm muting my comm. If you cannot pick up audio
on the laptop's speakers, then tell me, okay?"
A grumble. Nash muted his comms.
"I'm assuming that you're actually smart enough to turn on the laptop
and open up the appropriate program," Nash said to the air above the desk
after two minutes. "And that you remember where the volume control is,
//I can hear you.// The tone was sulky. Bruckheim was such a petty wanker.
Nash couldn't for the life of him figure out how the man was a Syndicate
regular. Most of Nash's men, the squad of mercs hired for the Brussels'
job, were better than this waste of skin.
"Good. Now can you see me?"
//Yes. The image is really clear.// Bruckheim sounded reluctantly impressed.
"Testing. Which finger am I holding up?"
//...very funny...// grumble.
"Hopefully he writes with his monitor pushed to one side. I'll put some
more spies in the ceiling above the desk, give us another camera angle.
Stand by to test them when I'm done."
The next room to be treated was the study. Wufei's study, Trowa deduced.
Nash leaned over and stared at the spines of books in their shelves, a
faint sneer on his face. Then he made sure that the movements of anyone
sitting at the desk would not be missed, and every sound recorded.
Next was the second bedroom. Nash turned on himself several times, around
and around, trying to figure out the best place to stick his spies, since
there was no obvious spot in the soberly furnished room where the second
rat might sit or stand while working or talking on the phone.
Maybe he doesn't work in here at all; Trowa considered that thought, tentatively.
Maybe Nash didn't need to bug this room. Trowa would rather avoid it if
possible; Heero wouldn't know what invasion of privacy was if it came
up and kicked him in the stones, but Wufei would quite easily compensate
for this lack in his partner by being overly sensitive about it. The Asian
warrior hated to be watched while he was meditating or sparring with Heero,
Trowa remembered; he was an intensely private man.
The Preventer probably didn't do much work in here, not with a study next
door, but Nash was not going to let that argument sway him. Better safe
than sorry, was what Nash would think; Trowa had constructed him to be
a careful and thorough man. Nash wouldn't want to be caught short if ever
the two targets came in here to discuss something important, or left some
documents lying around at a good angle. After some thought, Nash planted
his spies around the bed and in the ceiling above it, and two audio bugs
on either side of the room. Maybe the bed's owner curled up under the
covers with some late-night paperwork. Maybe the pig talked in his sleep.
Maybe he had hookers over and he told them all about his job to impress
the shit out of them while he fucked them. Yeah, if only it would be that
Nash went down the stairs and whistled at the expanse of the large main
room. Fuck, where to put the monitors. Well, he could probably ignore
the toolshop section. He looked it over anyway, reluctantly impressed.
Downright jealous actually. Man...these pigs lived like...well, they lived
like mercs, almost. No wonder. They were fucking Gs; everybody knew the
five pilots had been mercenaries for the colonies. Stood to reason. And
now they were Une's pet rats. Little shits...Like a lot of ex-OZ personnel,
Nash had a deep and thoroughly justified grudge against the Gundam pilots
who'd ruined his career and forced him into criminality. He repeated his
hateful litany against the five pilots so many times it fell off his tongue
perfectly naturally...and Trowa, in his more depressed moments, almost
hated himself as a result; the downside of living so deep within the mask
that was a bastard like Nash.
After some thought and a bit of swearing, Nash put the cameras around
the kitchen area, making sure they had a picture of the counter, then
above the couch, though they were so high up on the ceiling he wasn't
sure they could catch much. The audio pickup, buried in the couch's carefully
re-sown seams, would be more useful. Nash put away his sewing kit and
his climber's tackle attentively, made sure none of his fiddling was visible,
tested the lot with a grumbling Bruckheim, and left with an ugly satisfied
smile. It wasn't entirely about the money and the place in the Syndicate
he'd earn. He enjoyed this. Not just the use of his abilities, gathered
as one of OZ's surveillance specialists during the war. He enjoyed the
feel of violating his targets, invading their home territory, wielding
unseen power over them while they were at their most vulnerable. Watching
them lay themselves bare.
"I'll be seeing you, guys," he murmured at the empty main room, the deserted
couch. His voice was sadistically gleeful. Nash was, as has already been
stated, a bastard.
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