Souls + Chapter 14
Birth of Zero
Quatre felt his father die.
He felt Iryea die. The shock and pain of that had completely eclipsed
the pain of his own injuries. He took it with him into unconsciousness
as the colony continued to fire at his small ship and the remains of the
resource satellite that had become his father's grave in space. It was
there waiting for him when he woke up in the hospital a day later.
His body was already healing thanks to medicines and machines, devices
his family's corporation had perfected for the good of mankind. Nothing
could block the pain in his mind and heart. It consumed him. He couldn't
speak or even think coherently for several days after that, only scream
in agony, and there were more needles to send him back to sleep again.
He came out of it clearer this time, but still had no desire to speak.
He recognized his sisters and aunts and uncles. He was able to get dressed
and sit quietly through the memorial service. The bodies were already
gone, his father's obliterated, Iryea's cremated quickly in accordance
with religious law. At the service, there were only two photographs on
a table, and Quatre stared at them, trying to feel what those two people
His father had died angry and disappointed with him. They'd argued, but
reached no peace. Now they never would. And Iryea? She'd left home while
he was so young that he'd hardly recognized her when they met again. But
she'd known him, and loved him without reservation. How could it be? How
could he have come all this way back home, only to lose them like this?
Sitting in the back of the limousine, pressed between his two eldest sisters
on the long drive home afterwards, he gazed mutely out at the broad, tree-lined
streets and graceful buildings. His family had built this colony. He saw
crowds of mourners lining the way, holding up pictures of the father and
"You killed him!" Quatre screamed at them, finding his voice at last.
"He tried to protect you and you killed him, you bastards. You hypocritical
fucks! You don't deserve to live, any of you. Murderers!"
His sisters and the aunt riding with them were aghast. They wept and tried
to calm him. They begged him not to say such words. He was such a gentle,
good boy. Where had he learned such horrid language? What had war done
to him? Didn't he see now why Father had forbidden him to go? He was not
made for such things.
"You murdering fucks!" he raged on, uncaring. "He gave you everything
and you repay him like this. I hate you all! You're going to pay, all
of you! You think OZ is your friend? You deserve what's coming to you!
I hope you all burn!"
It took five of his uncles to get him into the house, and they held him
down until the doctors came with more needles and pills.
When he came up again several more days had been lost and his sisters
were mortified at the headlines he'd made. No Winner had ever caused such
a scandal! There were photographs of him being carried from the car. He
didn't remember any of it until they told him, and they didn't understand
why he laughed at the one that showed him kicking Uncle Omar in the face.
"What's happened to you, Quatre? This isn't who you are, little one?"
they told him.
But he knew better. Lying in bed, waiting for the new drugs to wear off,
he pretended to be contrite and calm as he counted off the days on his
fingers and saw his vengeance take shape before him.
In less than a week, in that underground facility none of his family even
suspected existed, Gundam Zero would soon be complete.
That calmed him, calmed the pain still raging in his heart and mind. It
did not leave him, but was refined into something cruel and bright and
This isn't who you are, Quatre, they'd said.
They had no idea who he was. He wasn't Quatre anymore. He was pilot 04.
He was Duo's Shinigami. He was vengeance.
And he desperately wished he had some weed to dull the pain while he waited.
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