Author: pyrzm
see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Broken Warriors + Chapter 80
Wasabi

Wufei had vowed he'd eradicate from his mind the screw-over he and Zechs had suffered at the hands of Une and Relena. He'd never expected it to yield useful capital. But it had today. All it took was a vid call from Zechs.

When it was done, Wufei found himself not only reinstated at his previous rank, but in charge of a black ops with all the help he needed, including expedited search warrants arranged by their Tokyo counterparts. Deep cover was approved, and all files of this mission would be buried so far under security blocks that the press would never have access to them. Relena Peacecraft could not afford to have it known that she had left one of her staunches heroes, Heero Yuy, sick on the streets, or that she'd tried to ruin the reputation of another, her own bodyguard, Wufei. Une couldn't afford for her collusion to become public knowledge. Such things simply didn't fit the Preventer image.

Listening in wonder to Zechs arrange all this with the two angry women, however, Wufei had wondered if he should be concerned about how easily manipulation and blackmail came to his lover.

After the conversation had reached its tense but satisfying conclusion, he'd stared at Zechs for a moment, shaking his head. "You're very good at that, aren't you?"

Zechs had just smiled and pulled him onto his lap. "Oh yes, very good. Don't forget, I have the benefit of a Romefeller education."


Their parting in New Orleans later that day had been hard. He'd seen the pain in Zech's eyes, watching Wufei go off to do battle again, while he had to stay behind with his bodyguards.

He had to put that out of his mind as he and Sally took off for Japan.

+

Sally hadn't said since her arrival, or on the drive to the shuttle port. Once they were airborne, however, with her at the controls, she reached across and clasped his hand. "It's good to have you back, partner. I've really missed you."

"I miss you, too," he said quietly. "But don't get too used to it, OK?"

Sally shrugged and handed him a data chip. "Here's the info we pulled from the letters that were sent to Heero, the bomb site, and a background check of Raphael Conte. There's no obvious link to Conte, but he's a nasty piece of work. He's ex-OZ, naturally, and guess what his specialty was? Propaganda vids! Remember those? Smiling families welcoming soldiers? Evil colonials laughing as towns are destroyed? Real nice stuff. He goes back to the Alliance period, and it looks like he was in deep with Romefeller, too, after the Treize faction broke away."

Wufei opened the files she'd given him and scanned the info on Conte. He was an Italian national, born in Rome. He'd come from a working class family, but made powerful connections in the military. There was a rumor that he'd been involved in the blackmailing of high-ranking officers. He'd also been involved in the uncovering of the Victoria Academy sex scandal.

"Meir!" Wufei growled. According to Duo, who'd hacked Meir's private files, the tabloid journalist had kept a private collection of the scandal photos, some of which involved Zechs, though the young nobleman's own connections had kept him out of the headlines at the time.

"That Berlin journalist rat?" asked Sally. "He shows up in there, too. He and Conte worked together at the propaganda office. Meir sided with the Treize faction, though, and got out of the military before the final battles. Conte was in it to the end, and barely escaped a military tribunal. I suspect he had blackmail on his side again."

"And now he makes porn."

"Of the lowest sort. The S.K.U.M. line is his most lucrative venture."

Wufei suppressed a shudder. He'd already done some research on his own, not letting on to Zechs, who'd begged him to leave it alone. It was horrid, brutal, sickening filth, and worse in that the cast of actors playing him and his friends had been well chosen and well groomed for their roles. In some scenes, it had been hard to tell the difference. He knew he was going to have take another look into that before they landed, given what Sally had just told him, and he wasn't looking forward to it.

"I don't suppose anyone cross referenced his service record with ours?" he asked.

"File RC004/3. He was never in the same place as any of you, except New Edwards, as a correspondent. Meir was there, too, that day. Conte came to Kisarazu after Heero's raid and made it into a very nasty piece of propaganda. I've seen the vid. A lot of it is staged. It claims that children were killed and there are still a lot of people who believe it."

"Wait a minute! He did that, and now he's based there right across the bay with this whole S.K.U.M. operation?"

"That's where he got his start, but it didn't take long for him to establish an international following. The Internet is a pornographer's dream. Always has been. And of course, under Japanese law, he's within his rights to make and market it, so long as he puts in all the proper disclaimers. He's very careful about that. According to him, it's all fiction."

"Bastard!"

He ran though the forensic reports next. Whoever was behind the letters and bomb knew how to be careful. They'd left nothing traceable. The Heidiki Koudo lead Zech's private investigator friend, Masa Nakamura, had given them didn't yield any new information, other than there were one hundred and fifty six men of that name in Tokyo alone. The post office box had been located and dusted, but there were no leads there, either. The box had been empty and the rental agreement was overdue for renewal.

Wufei sighed and logged in to the Preventer site to check the status of their warrants. They would have full access to Conte's faculties and private residence, as well as both bars Nakamura had identified. The raids would begin when Wufei and Sally arrived to coordinate them. In the meantime, Nakamura had contacts watching for Heero and Duo.

With some reluctance, he reviewed the photo files Zechs had given him of Masa Nakamura. There were two pictures. The first was a screen cap from a vid phone conversation the day before. Nakamura was handsome in that pure, fine-featured Japanese way, with dark intelligent eyes and a sensuous, full-lipped mouth. At the moment the picture was captured, he'd been smiling warmly at Zechs. The sight of that expression sent a deep stab of jealousy through Wufei; Zechs had referred to Nakamura only as an friend from his days at the Academy, but that smile, and the second photo, which showed the younger, smiling pair boozing it up in OZ uniforms with an arm around each other's shoulders, told Wufei all he needed to know.

In the short time they'd been lovers, Zechs had never made any secret of the fact that there had been many others in his bed before Wufei. Wufei had accepted that. Now he realized that it was one thing to know there had been others, when they were only faceless concepts. It was quite another to meet one of them face to face. Especially one who looked like this! He went back to the screen cap and looked into those dark eyes again. This man had been Zech's sexual equal in every way, not some inexperienced, shrinking virgin like Wufei.

Wufei sat back frowning at the photo. The emotions it evoked were confusing and distracting. They made him feel quite irrational. It felt strangely like what he'd felt when he'd heard that Heero had been in contact with Treize Kushreneda. //This must be jealousy!// he realized with a guilty start. He was jealous of Masa Nakamura and whatever he'd shared with Zechs, even if it had been only friendship, which Wufei very much doubted! According to Zechs it had been more than four years since they'd seen each other, but he certainly hadn't hesitated to call on him for help . . .

// Stop it! You're acting like a lovesick schoolboy! // he berated himself.

"Who's that? He's hot!" said Sally, looking over his shoulder at the image.

"One of our outside contacts, Masa Nakamura. He's meeting us at the shuttle port," Wufei said much more sharply than he'd intended. "Zechs knew him during the war."

Sally raised a maddeningly knowing eyebrow at him. "Ah, I see."

Wufei resolved to meditate before they arrived, clearing his mind of all such foolish thoughts before he had to work with the man.

He closed the files, then, unwittingly followed Duo's lead as he pulled up Raphael Conte's website, Wasabi Productions. They had no proof that there was a connection, but Wufei's gut told him it wasn't a lead they could afford to overlook.

Zechs had kept the vids from him that day in Berlin, telling him there was nothing there he needed to see. Wufei told himself he was doing this now as a Preventer agent on a case, nothing more.

The vids were helpfully grouped by which Gundam boy was being abused. He ran through the ads for the ones about Heero, and found many rape scenes. As difficult as it might have been for both of them, he regretted not going over this information with Heero to what clues, if any, they could sift from this cesspool. As it was, there was little to be learned, beyond the fact that some of the places the scenarios took place corresponded with raids Heero had carried out, including the Kisarazu base. As far as he knew, Heero had never actually been raped during the war. There were no vids set after the war.

Sickened by the stills that accompanied the write ups, he was about to shut it down when he noticed a cross link from one of the vids to something called "The Lunar Base Prison Sluts Series." It was also linked to sites about Trowa, Duo, and himself. He clicked on the link, bringing up the site for the series.

Actors portraying the four of them were featured on a vid cover. "Trowa" was in the correct OZ flight officer uniform, and stood with a number of larger, very sadistic looking guards. The boys playing Heero, Duo and Wufei were cowering at his booted feet in scraps of their old combat clothing. The actor playing Wufei was dressed only in the tatters of his old white trousers. The cast in these things was almost always the same actors. He wondered if it bothered them to do this over and over again, if it was against their will, or if they enjoyed it.

The rendering was lurid, it was true, but the basic facts were correct. He wondered if Conte had gotten access to military records through some source, or if he'd talked to witnesses. Reluctantly he began clicking through the clip links for the vids in the series. The ones about Trowa and the others weren't much help. None of them had ever spoken to him about what had happened to them while they were POWs at the lunar base. Trowa had played his role as OZ turncoat so well that at first Wufei had taken it at face value; Trowa had even been forced to interrogate Wufei when he first arrived, and had been brutal enough about it to convince both the OZ officers and Wufei himself.

The vids were a sadist's masturbatory fantasy, of course, but he paused with a soft gasp as he came across one about that same interrogation. The clip showed the 05 character tied to a chair, being slapped and punched by the 03 character, just as Wufei remembered. In this version, however, the session ended up with a gang rape, with 03 first in line.

Wufei swallowed hard and closed that link. So Conte had done some research. He checked other titles associated with his character and found what he'd expected. Three were devoted to him and supposed encounters with Treize Kushreneda. Two were pure fabrication, but the third was based on their duel aboard Kushreneda's yacht. It ended in predictable fashion, with him buying his freedom with sexual favors that apparently spanned a number of days aboard the yacht.

Wufei shuddered at the sight of the boy who looked so much like his younger self, crouched half naked and bloody at the feet of the tall, auburn haired actor playing Treize. It was too close to the truth, too accurate, to be a coincidence. Looking at it, Wufei found himself remembering how Kushreneda had actually looked, smiling down at him that day after he'd bested him. Wufei had been prepared to die. He hadn't been prepared for mercy. It still stung his pride. On the heels of that thought, however, came the memory of the strange thrill he'd felt in that moment. He shook his head; even then, perhaps he'd been on the path that led him to Zech's bed?

He went back to the moon base series and found half a dozen vids revolving around Duo, all of them horrendous. He knew Duo had only been seriously abused once. Was that event here, too, among all these disgusting scenarios? He soon had his answer. Only one showed Duo being whipped with the sort of leather strap it would have taken to leave the marks Wufei had seen on him that day in the prison shower. He put in earphones and turned the screen away so Sally couldn't see, then ran through the clips of that vid. Sure enough, in the scene where the soldiers came for Duo, led by Trowa in this version, one of the men turned to the Wufei character and told him, "You're next!" He even called him a "slant" as the man had that night. In this version Duo was gang raped, and then Wufei was dragged out for the same treatment. That much was clear from the selection of clips, though the scenes were edited so as not to give away too much to perspective customers. He closed the file and rubbed at his forehead, trying to banish the sickening images and the bad old memories they dredged up.*

"Oh, Maxwell," he murmured, closing his eyes. Something very bad had happened to Duo that night. He prayed it hadn't been this bad.

"Don't you think you've looked at enough of those?" Sally said, jarring him from his thoughts.

"Have you watched any?"

Sally nodded, scowling. "Just bits and pieces on the flight down, after I read the rundown on Conte. It's horrible stuff isn't it? A few years back Conte tried to do a series about Zechs, but Relena got wind of it and that was the end of that. But do a search on 'Alex Lightning'."

Wufei did and was not surprised to find a series of vids featuring a handsome young OZ warrior with a red uniform and long blonde hair. This Alex fellow managed to have sex with all of the Gundam boys, including a three-way with Heero and Trowa at some base in the Arctic. Disgusted as he was, Wufei allowed himself a smirk. The hairstyle was close, but Alex Lightning wasn't nearly as well endowed as Zechs. He kept this observation to himself.

"It must be weird, looking at things like that," she said.

"It's most disturbing. Some of the scenes are based on places or situations that happened."

Sally gave him a look of shocked concern. "Oh Wufei! Don't tell me--?"

"No, I don't know for certain that any of us were actually raped, although Maxwell was physically abused on a number of occasions. He did have a talent for getting caught. And just so you know, I never was."

"I'm very glad to hear that."

She looked so shaken that he added, "You were my first. And you were very kind."

She gave him a guilty look. "I shouldn't have been your first, should I? I didn't know how young you really were, but I was too old for you anyway. But I did care for you, and I still do, as a friend. I always will."

Wufei nodded, at a loss for words.

Sally rubbed nervously at the controls. "I guess I should tell you, I'm seeing someone. One of the psychologists attached to the violent crimes unit. We're working a case together. Misha Rabideau."

"Congratulations. I'm happy for you," Wufei said, and meant it. He wondered if he should have felt some twinge of jealousy, but he didn't. It made him sad; he had mistaken what he and Sally had shared for love for a time, but now he knew better. He felt sad for her, too, having put up with him all that time.

+

A small entourage was waiting for them at Tokyo International early that evening. A female Preventer major of the Tokyo branch was there, in charge of the search team that had been assigned to the case.

Off to one side, near the arrival lounge door, Wufei recognized Masa Nakamura. He was dressed in a sharp black suit and shirt under a long black leather overcoat. His long black hair was pulled back in much the same fashion as his own, Wufei noted with another pang of unease. This guy was even more handsome and imposing in person.

Meditation hadn't helped as much as Wufei had hoped.

A handsome young brunette Caucasian stood with Nakamura, dressed street tough in worn black racer leathers. His hair hung in a braid like Maxwell's over one shoulder, though not nearly as long. His tight fitting leather jacket was unzipped halfway, exposing a bare chest and the OZ insignia dangling from the studded leather dog collar around his neck.

If Wufei had encountered them on the street, he'd have taken them for a yakuza lieutenant and one of his minions. He sincerely hoped their look was only cover.
Nakamura stayed where he was as the Preventer officer greeted Wufei and Sally.

"Major Po? Captain Chang? I'm Major Kaori Tzuki. Welcome to Tokyo." She bowed slightly and handed Wufei the search warrant. "My orders are to assist you in any way you require, but to stay out of your way. Is that your understanding?"

Sally bowed and smiled. "I wouldn't have put it so bluntly, but yes, that's about the size of it. This is a very delicate mission. Very political."

"I understand. This man Nakamura?" She jerked a thumb at the pair by the door with evident distaste. "He claims you're expecting him."

"Yes, he's one of our outside contacts."

Tzuki shrugged. "He's good, but slippery. His boyfriend there, too. Just be sure you know who's helping who, if you know what I mean?"

"Thanks. We will. Anything to report yet?" asked Sally.

"A rented Lear jet with a New Orleans point of origin has been located and impounded."

"Searched?" Wufei asked.

"No, it's been sealed, per Commander Une's orders. I guess she wants you two to handle that. Otherwise, there's been no sign of anyone matching the descriptions you gave us. The jet was rented by someone using the name Johnny Smith. There's no record of anyone from the plane passing through customs, but bio scans show no one aboard.

"That's not surprising. Don't worry. The men we're looking for have full immunity and license to investigate." Wufei handed over the bogus papers Zechs had leveraged out of Une. "We're concerned that their cover may have been compromised. We're here to provide backup and carry out an extraction, if necessary."

Tzuki nodded. "With all due respect to you and Commander Une, I don't like being kept in the dark on my own turf. Wouldn't I be of more use to you if I knew details?"

"I'm sorry, but that's classified," Sally replied. "As of right now, I'm only at liberty to include you in the investigation of Raphael Conte and the possible illegality of his business."

Wufei left the two majors to sort things out and approached Nakamura, who'd been lounging with his friend by the door all this time.

The Japanese man looked him up and down with lazy, almost sensual appraisal as Wufei approached. It reminded him of the way Zechs had looked, back in that LeFleur sex club. "Chang Wufei. Pilot 05. So we meet at last. In person, at least. You and I crossed paths a few times in battle."

"Nakamura Masa," Wufei replied, keeping his bow to a quick nod. He glanced at the younger man. "And this would be?"

"My partner." Nakamura kept it vague, though Zechs had already informed Wufei of the relationship.

"Keno Shiner," the young man drawled, his accent southern North American. He was striking, Wufei couldn't help but note, with very fair skin, high cheekbones, and eyes almost the same dark blue as Heero's. He looked a little like Duo.

When he looked back at Nakamura, he found the man smirking at him. "Zechs always had a fondness for rice balls. You and I? We like the white meat, eh?"

Wufei stared at him, unable to believe he'd heard the man correctly, even when Shiner grinned at him and wrapped an arm around his Asian lover's waist.

"Make no mistake, Chang," Nakamura went on, eyes narrowing. "I'm just doing this as a favor for a friend. That friend isn't you, and it's sure as hell is not Yuy. Are we clear?"

"I'll be sure to keep that in mind."

"Good." Nakamura shrugged Shiner off, then leaned back against the wall, took a pack of expensive black cigarettes from the inside breast pocket of his coat and stuck one between his lips. Shiner snapped a lighter out of thin air and lit it for him. Nakamura didn't even glance at the kid, just took a drag and blew smoke in Wufei's face. "So, your friends touched down about six hours ago. The Preventers got the plane under wraps fast, but not fast enough. I found a small arsenal under a bulkhead. Explosives. Automatic weapons. Serious shit. I left it all where I found it."

Wufei let out a small sigh of relief. At least they weren't walking the streets with that kind of contraband on them, although he knew damn well they were armed.

"No one saw anyone matching their description leave the airport, but Zechs figured they'd be pretty good at disguise. I've got my feelers out across the whole harbor district, and around the old base. I'll let you know ASAP if anything shakes loose." He reached into a pocket of his long leather coat and handed Wufei a sleek new cell phone. "My contact number is programmed in. I'll call you on this if I come up with anything." He glanced down at the expensive gold Rolex on his wrist. "It's 8:59 local time. I wouldn't expect much to happen before midnight. Good luck shaking Conte down. The guy may be ex-OZ, but he's still scum. You boys aren't the only one's he's screwed over, believe me."

Giving Wufei a last, "undressing-you-with-my-eyes look", Nakamura strode away with his boyfriend and disappeared into the crowd milling along the concourse beyond.

+

Conte's Wasabi Productions studio facilities took up the top three floors of a nondescript office block in the Ginza, and it appeared that business was excellent. The reception lounge was huge, modern and tastefully decorated with muted colors and bright art. There was no sign of the real products. It could have been the entrance to any important corporation. The place was open twenty-four hours a day. A stylish young receptionist accepted their search warrant with a polite bow and pressed an intercom button.

"Conte-sama, you have visitors in the lounge."

"Mr. Conte is in at this hour?" asked Wufei.

"He lives in the building," the girl replied.

A few moments later a thick set Italian man strolled in, wearing an expensive silk smoking jacket over his designer slacks and shirt. "Ah, Major Tzuki," he said, bowing to the Japanese Preventer agent. "And to what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit?"

Tzuki served him with papers. "Major Po and Captain Chang are investigating you under Article 47A of the ESUN Communications Act. We have reason to believe you are unlawfully producing biographical material without the consent of the subjects."

Conte's dark eyes widened a bit, then he looked at Wufei much the same way that Nakamura had and burst out laughing. "Well, well. What an honor. Let me guess. You're here about my line of erotic art vids?"

Wufei let out an outraged sputter. "Art vids? Is that what you call those pieces of--"

Sally put a hand on his arm. "You can call them what you like, but if you present unauthorized biographical material in the context of pornographic or erotic material, then you are culpable. But you know that already, don't you? Alex Lightning? Very clever."

"But you must be mistaken," Conte replied smoothly. "I'm just a purveyor of naughty, harmless fantasy for a discerning and very specialized audience. My vids all carry disclaimers and there are age filters on my advertising site. As for biographical material, I can't be blamed if my scriptwriters inadvertently come up some story that comes close to the truth. I'm not liable for coincidence. I'd be happy to ring up my lawyer, if you like?"

"You're free to do so. In fact, I encourage you to," Tzuki told him. "In the meantime, we will be taking a thorough look around your facilities here."

"Be my guest," Conte replied. "All our files are there in the office beyond the reception area. Tax forms, actors contracts *and* proof of age. We have hard copy and digital. Knock yourselves out."

"Actually, I've come all this way to see you, Mr. Conte," Wufei told him. "Is there somewhere private where we can speak?"

"Certainly, though you won't object if I keep a few witnesses handy, until my lawyer arrives? Very well, come this way."

He led Wufei through a door and down a carpeted corridor. Again, it could have been any sort of a high profile office building. Smiling, Conte opened a door and ushered him through. Wufei had expected an office or conference room. Instead, he found himself in a soundstage and a production was in progress. The set built against one wall was designed to look like a bedroom in some Sanque mansion. A huge, lavish four-poster bed dominated the middle of the room. The actors who played Treize, Wufei and "Alex Lightning" were currently actively engaged in the middle of it.

The two OZ officers were in uniform, though their coats, shirts and the fronts of their pants were open. "Wufei" was naked on his hands and knees, being brutally fucked up the ass by "Treize" and sodomized in the mouth by "Alex". The two men were grunting, swearing, and laughing, calling the boy all sorts of foul names. Tears ran down their victim's face and he was whimpering and struggling. Alex took a better grip on "Wufei's" long hair, ramming his cock into his mouth. When "Wufei" tried to pull away "Treize" smacked him on the ass, leaving red marks on his golden bronze flanks and fucked him harder on that end.

Wufei reached for his gun, half convinced a crime was in progress, despite the bored looking film crew watching them. Real or not, it looked like the young Chinese actor could get hurt.

"A moment, if you please," Conte whispered. "I forgot they were shooting in here tonight."

It was perfectly obvious that the man was lying. He'd known exactly what he was doing, rubbing this in Wufei's face. There had never been such a three-some; it was a fictional scene and therefore legal under Japanese media law. Wufei fought hard to keep his expression distant and disdainful as the trio on the bed grunted and moaned their way to a noisy climax, one which involved "Wufei" sobbing brokenly as the others pulled out and ejaculated all over him. His face and ass were dripping by the time they were done. Oddly enough, the young actor was now sporting a sizable erection.

"And cut," the director called. "Great job, boys. You got that in one take!"

"It's only about the hundredth time we've played that scenario," the fake Wufei groused as several young male assistants wiped his face and body down with damp towels. He sprawled back on the bed and jerked a thumb at Alex. "C'mon, Jazz. Get back your skinny ass back here and suck me off. You owe me, after you practically tore out my fucking tonsils again! I told you to watch that."

There was scattered applause and encouraging shouts around the room as the blond grinned and started back for the bed, shedding the robe an assistant had just draped over him.

Everyone quieted when Conte cleared his throat. "Ladies and gentlemen, forgive me for interrupting. It looks like things are going very well!"

Everyone bowed respectfully, even the Europeans and "Wufei," who sounded decidedly American. The way he talked reminded Wufei of Duo. Damn it, why was everything reminding him of Maxwell?

He didn't get much further with that thought when he realized that every eye in the room was now fixed on him.

"We have a special visitor tonight," Conte announced, sounding as if Wufei had been flown in as a special honor. "Michael, come say hello to the real Chang Wufei. Perhaps he'd be willing to give you some pointers. What do you say, Captain Chang?"

Wufei stood there, appalled, as the naked young man who looked so much like him sauntered over, his hard on still bobbing up against his belly front of him. He looked about fifteen, but his eyes were old with experience as he smirked at Wufei.

// His cock is bigger than mine // Wufei thought, wanting out of this room and away from these crazy people.

"Wow, I never thought I'd get to meet you!" Michael said, sticking out a damp-looking hand to shake. "It's a pleasure."

Wufei ignored it coldly. "I assure you, it's not."

Michael just grinned and ran his palm loosely up and down his own erection. "You and me oughta do a scene. Damn, that'd be hot! Like you fuckin' yourself! Hey Raph, it could be like a dream sequence or somethin'."

Several people snickered and Wufei prayed they wouldn't see him blush. He was glad Sally was not there to see this.

"That's enough. You've had your little joke," Wufei growled, taking Conte by the arm and escorting him from the room. Conte chuckled and led him across the corridor to an empty sound stage. Wufei tried to ignore the clapping and catcalls that followed him.

"You really are slime, aren't you?"

"I was only trying to make a point," Conte assured him. The man was unflappable. "That was fiction, pure and simple. It's not actionable."

"You made a vid about my duel with Treize aboard his yacht! How is that fiction?"

"Ah yes, one of our best sellers. Don't tell me you really dueled with him?" Conte's smile was positively oily. "There is no official record of that, you know. The report made by Treize's crew states only that Pilot 05 attacked Kushrenda's private yacht, without provocation, I might add, and that he was repulsed and driven off. There is no mention of a duel. Who would imagine such a thing? Don't tell me we have another coincidence here? How amazing!"

"That's bullshit and you know it! It was obviously witnessed by some of Kushreneda's men, no matter what the report said! You must have interviewed them."

"Really?" Conte shrugged. "Where's your proof? Your word against mine? And Kushreneda not here to defend himself? Not much of a case, Captain. Besides, there are several disclaimers interspersed between the scenes, clearly stating that what the viewer is watching is fiction. You are covered, the same as me. Are you going to step forward and give credence to the storyline? If you tell people the duel really happened--and that's your story, not mine--then who will blame them for wondering about the rest of it, eh?"

"I don't care about your dirty movies!" Wufei growled, clenching his fists to keep from attacking the man. "That's not why I'm here. Another Gundam pilot, Heero Yuy, has been receiving threats by someone with materials very similar to what appears in your films. Yesterday someone tried to assassinate him and nearly killed two former pilots. We believe that these events are connected and that you are either involved, or may have information regarding this investigation. If you don't cooperate and I'm right, then you'll be facing an accessory to attempted murder charge, and obstruction. You will be liable under ESUN law for that. The fact that it took place across international borders may even open you up for terrorism charges."

"Attempted murder? Terrorism? Why on earth would I want to murder Heero Yuy?"

"Why not? You've already carried out character assassination. The propaganda vid you made about the Kisarazu raid accused him of crimes against humanity, things he didn't do. But misinformation like that has incited someone to a personal vendetta." Wufei paused and took a deep breath. He couldn't let this get personal, not now. "Tell me, does the name Heidiki Koudo mean anything to you?"

Conte laughed. "Is that all you wanted to know? You haven't done your homework very well, Captain. Heidiki Koudo is the pen name of one of my best scriptwriters. The 01 vids are his specialty."

"A pen name? What's his real name?"

"Hato. Heidiki Hato."

"Is he here now?"

"Oh no. The writers all work from home or their own offices. I hardly ever see them. As long as they deliver a decent script on time, I don't care what they do. And Hato is one of the best. He produces more scripts than I can use, in fact." Conte paused, frowning slightly. "We have had a few creative differences lately. His material has been getting a bit extreme, a bit edgy for my market. And he's been wanting to do death scenes, and post war scenarios but our customers don't want that and the legal situation would be too dicey. He's even talked about starting his own production company."

"Post war scenarios?" Wufei felt a cold chill. "You have an address for him?"

"Of course. Mara will get it for you. I think it's over in Kisarazu, near the old base. He says the atmosphere inspires him creatively."

Wufei grabbed the man by the arm and propelled him back to the reception area. "I want that address. NOW! Sally! Major Tzuki! I think we just caught a break!"

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