see ch. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer
Warriors + Chapter 80
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
"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?"
"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."
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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,
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,
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Post war scenarios?" Wufei felt a cold chill. "You have an address for
"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
[chap. 79] [chap. 81] [back
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