NOTE: see part 1
for notes, warnings
+ Part 16
The organization, as they'd
found out with a lot of sleuth work and some payola thrown in for good
measure, called themselves the Freedom Alliance. Comprised of a group
of former Oz supporters and White Fang members, what they wanted was simple
-- they wanted a better economy on the smaller colonies, and they
wanted it now. Completely understandable, since the universal economy
was currently in a downslide, partly due to the ending of the past wars
-- the Nations were still in the process, years later, of rebuilding
themselves and reinstating trade with one another, which promised better
times in the future -- but apparently not soon enough for this
group who thought they had their own remedy for it. To start another war.
Very few laborers would remain jobless in the time of war. Families, those
that weren't victims of it, would be fed by it, and since they now held
the only running mobile suit factory, Freedom Alliance was in perfect
position to make themselves heard. War or better aid for the populations
of the smaller, less profitable colonies. That was what they wanted.
When the Preventer shuttles, six of them, were less than four hours away
from reaching the Lunar base, Preventers headquaters sent a transmission
to the base, ready to strike a deal with whomever was in charge. Basically,
it was a plea for the offending party to relinquish the Lunar base without
resistance to the teams of officers that were on their way, and a meeting
would immediately be scheduled with the Foreign Minister and the Nations
leaders as well. The negotiations were stated that all personnel working
at the base were to be taken into custody by the Preventers officers until
they could be safely transported to Brussels and an assessment could be
made of the Lunar base and its activities. If they chose to comply, there
would be special considerations before anyone was tried for conspiring
to commit war crimes against peaceful nations, and every effort would
be made to work things out to benefit all parties involved.
As she suspected though, Sally's requests were met with total opposition.
Freedom Alliance was ready for a war and they knew it, and they also knew
that they were the only ones in possession of mobile suits now, giving
them a very strong upper hand.
"I urge you to reconsider your position and accept our invitation
to discuss these matters with the Nation Leaders," Sally offered
a last time from her video link in her office in Brussels while Une sat
by to the side, listening to everything that was said. Each of the shuttles
en route to the moon were linked and watching as well, awaiting their
final commands. When she was repeatedly met with responses of hostility
instead, she gave the final order after Freedom Alliance's video link
with Preventers headquarters was terminated.
Sighing deep and long, she opened up a universal com link with all six
shuttles. "Preventer units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, please continue as
commanded. Proceed to the Lunar Base for the execution of Operation Stealth
Brigade as planned. Good luck to you all."
As six shuttles continued on to the Lunar base, each one delivering one
unit of ten officers, a pilot and one commanding agent, Heero's insides
began to twist into knots. His was to be the third unit to arrive, the
first two acting as decoys to attract the attention of whomever was either
expecting or not expecting the arrival of Preventer shuttles. The following
four units were to arrive half an hour later, radar shields up, unseen,
so that they could storm the base by surprise. Once there, the second
four groups would round up all personnel at the base and shut down the
entire mining and manufacturing operation, then take Alliance soldiers
into custody for transport to Earth. It was a clean plan if it worked,
and though he realized that there was always an "if" involved
with raids like this, something inside him didn't sit well. Something
inside was making him anxious, and he thought it was probably the fact
that now he was responsible for a lot more than just himself. There were
ten other men and women awaiting his command, as well as five other shuttles
full of the same, and he'd have to stay alert and cautions. As Duo had
put it, he couldn't "go soldier" on these people, because if
he did, he was risking their lives.
Then, there was one other thing that bothered him, too. Duo isn't with
me. Duo wasn't with him. Duo was commanding the fourth shuttle. Wufei
the fifth. They wouldn't be working together as they had during the Eve
Wars, and sometimes during the Colony wars as well. He knew Duo was perfectly
capable of taking care of himself, perfectly able to handle any situation
the same as he, but Heero still felt uncomfortable. He still felt as though
he needed to stand between the other man and any danger that might be
present, even if he didn't know why. Before it had always been his sense
of duty -- it was, after all, his job to be the one putting himself
at risk. J had made it that way -- made it so that Heero feared
nothing at all, and simply got the job done. This was different, though,
because that sense of duty was this time replaced by genuine concern and
care. He truly cared about what happened to the other man, more so than
any other person in the entire six units. I can't let anything happen
to Duo...he's...my friend. I...care about him. Heero's thoughts processed
that statement over and over again as they flew closer to their destination.
I care about him. No...I don't care about him...I...I... Heero
could feel the feeling then, but he still couldn't bring himself to say
it in his thoughts, the idea scared him so. He's the one who gives
me that feeling, that tingling inside. It's him! I can't let anything
happen to him. I can't...I don't have time to be worried about him right
now, but I can't let anything happen to him! I can't! I can't! I can't
Thoughts running rampant through
his mind now, Heero was startled when one of his officers alerted him
that the first two units had landed at the Lunar base and were being taken
into custody by armed soldiers of the Alliance, as planned. The games
were about to begin.
Aboard the fourth shuttle, Duo sat waiting, watching, as the first two
shuttles began their descent to the Lunar base, all the while forcing
away his thoughts about his partner who was aboard a different craft.
They'd been separated because they were two of the best people to assume
unit leadership, since they had more combat knowledge than the rest of
the officers. If things got bad, and there was always a possibility that
they would, it was them that would be able to get the rest of the officers
out and home safely.
Watching as the Lunar base loomed closer on the ship's radar, Duo let
his mind wander briefly, sitting in the co-pilot's seat as one of the
officers in his command piloted. He was beginning to have a bad feeling
about the confrontation, and the only thing running through his mind was
whether he would ever see Heero again after it. He's going to do something
stupid. He's going to go soldier, and do something stupid like blow himself
up. Ah, God, please don't let him blow himself up. Please...gimme a chance
first, before you go letting him blow himself up? Let me at least tell
him how I feel, even if he does blow me off. At least he'll know the truth.
Duo didn't even realize he was pleading out loud until his pilot broke
"Sorry, what was that, agent Maxwell?"
Duo snapped back into reality. "Oh...nothing Simms. Nothing. Was
just...thinking, is all." Quieted, Duo forced himself to once more
pay attention to what was going on around him.
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