When Fallen Angels Fly - Six of nine
By Jen
Warnings:The usual cursing from Duo-chan, and lots of loverly violence.
Random inane ramblings:Woo hoo! Time for some blood and guts! ::grabs the popcorn:: Okies, while I'm not very knowledgeable about explosives, I try not to do things half-way. So, I did a bit of research to lend the scenes a bit more realism, but I can guarantee it won't be overly impressive. ^^ I try not to toss around big words unless I can understand them... So, basically, what I'm rambling on here about, is there might be mistakes, and you're always welcome to point them out. I like to fix things that I mess up! And I'm bound and determined to get this all in one chapter, so this one might be a bit longer than usual.

When Fallen Angels Fly + Part Six

Duo knelt beside the stone wall, his black bag pooled at his feet. Eyes narrowed in concentration, he carefully attached the necessary amount of explosives, complete with remote detonator. If his calculations held up, and they rarely failed, the noise made by the blast would be minimal. In the event that they did alert any nearby guards, however, both he and Wufei were more than prepared to compensate.

Not far from Duo, Wufei rested on one knee, his hand curved around the cold steel of a pistol. Expression grim, he looked around, rather than at the weapon, as if he was trying to deny its existence. As a warrior of the old ways, he considered guns to be heartless and impersonal. Granted, there was nothing compassionate about taking another's life. Wufei felt that by doing so with a sword, however, one not only had to use more skill, but also had to accept responsibility for the death by looking the enemy in the eyes. This honored both you and the person you were fighting, whether they deserved the respect or not.

He had been taught that death without honor was merely a random act of violence. He was not here for that reason. The person he had been before would not even have fought at all, his beliefs were so entrenched in peace and the absence of all battling. The thought of positioning himself behind a gun and allowing it to cut down his enemies without being seen was something he had spent the last two hours coming to terms with. Because while he was no longer that person, he still found it hard to violate some of the ideals that part of himself had held.

The fact remained, however, that he was a Gundam pilot. He had shed many of his personal convictions to become this, and it would be hypocritical of him to refuse to execute this part of the mission simply because it went against those. In the midst of this war for peace, he was but one voice in many, and his words were drowned out by the cries of the masses. It was for them, for her, that he did this, not for himself. So it was, he would shed what he had once been to become what he now was, perhaps losing his true self in the process. But that was the price he paid for the ideal they reached for, and he was far from having filled the debt.

Molding the high explosive mixture to the stone was a simple task, as its structure lent to easy manipulation. Composition C explosives, widely used by the armed forces, were essentially demolition explosives, used for the express purposes of blowing things up quickly and effectively. This particular one was c4, the most widely used and easiest of them all to obtain (though naturally, for someone like Duo, who was considered a civilian, the actual obtaining of the c4 was shady). Its mixture of various parts lent to high stability for storage and transport, a fact which someone such as Duo, who was often on the move, liked.

Its explosive abilities were determined by the amount of the substance applied, and the set up was such that the detonator set off a primary charge, which then acted with a booster charge to set off the final and most dangerous bursting charge. In short, it was a chain of events that took no more than seconds, but was vital to the effectiveness of the blast. Duo merely found it fascinating that such a stable explosive was one of the few that fell into the category of such rapid decomposition. It certainly went a long way to showing you just how lethal chemistry was.

After making certain the detonator was secure, Duo backed away from the wall, motioning for Wufei to do the same until they were at a safe distance. Pursing his lips slightly, he mourned the loss of another detonator. The things didn't come cheap. It required some seriously worthwhile goods for trade to get even a few of them.

"What are you waiting for?" Wufei hissed, impatience evident.

Duo sighed, not expecting him to understand.

Without answering, he fingered the remote one last time and then pressed.

For a single moment, there was nothing. Wufei was about to ask Duo if he was certain it was set up right, when there was a sudden dull pop, like that of a cork being removed from a wine bottle. Small pieces of the wall littered the grass not far from their feet, and a fine white mist of powder hung in the air, as if reluctant to fall.

Duo looked to Wufei. "You sure you want to do it this way?"

"It is a little late now," Wufei replied, annoyed at the interruption. Did Duo think him so incapable?

"Yeah, but-"

The Nataku pilot cut him off with a sweep of his hand through the air.

"We have no time for this. We have already prepared for our respective parts.. You are no more ready to sweep the system than I am to set explosives. Now come on."

Both pilots left their current places of safety and gathered their separate objects as close to themselves as possible while they moved through the narrow gap created in the wall. Duo's calculations had been so refined, that it was all they could do to squeeze through without getting trapped. In his thin clothing, Wufei felt the scraping of the stone against his back the most, and his expression told Duo he was less than pleased with that fact.

"Do you think next time, that you can make the entrance narrower so that we may actually get stuck?" Wufei remarked in obvious sarcasm, his voice barely above a whisper.

Duo rolled his eyes.

"Hey, the whole point was to keep quiet, right? At least we got through," he pointed out.

Wufei refrained from remarking as they dropped low and hurried across the short space between the wall and the double doors that marked the entrance to the back stairwell. With no surprise, they found it to be locked. Duo, however, a thief at heart, pulled out a set of lockpicks from his pocket and went through them rapidly until the lock finally gave way, granting them access.

As they had expected, there were two guards stationed just inside. With an amazing speed even Duo had trouble following, Wufei slipped past him and chopped each neatly on the back of the neck. Catching one as he fell, Wufei lowered him silently to the floor, noting as he did, that Duo had done the same. Luckily, the soldier's weapons were still holstered. Apparently, worry over security breach was minimal at best. Which was fine with them, as it made their job all the easier.

Pulling the soldiers into the back of the darkened stairwell, both he and Wufei quickly stripped down, neither of them aware of the other as their thoughts were consumed by their respective missions. This was serious now, and when Shinigami came, Duo faded away to replaced by the grim, focused entity. Still, he couldn't help but be grateful for the fact that Wufei insisted they wear clothing that neither of them minded never seeing again. After all, they weren't going to be overly concerned with retrieving them while the building was falling down around their feet.

Grimacing, Duo bent over and rolled up the cuffs of his pants, tucking them on the inside to make them less noticeable.

"I told you," he informed Wufei, who was following suit.

The Chinese pilot merely shrugged, straightening to press a small black communicator into Duo's hand.

Eyes serious, he ordered, "Use this only when necessary so as to avoid having someone tap in. But, leave it on at all times. I mean it, Maxwell.. I don't want you dying somewhere because you forgot to turn it on and can't call for help."

Duo resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at Wufei again. "Hey, Wu, quit talking to me like I'm an idiot. I get the picture. Here, I'll turn it on right now," he added, making a big production of doing so.

Trying to ignore how restricting the uniform felt in comparison to his own clothing, Wufei ignored Duo's antics and reached to reluctantly take the pistol in his hand.

"Fifteen minutes at the most," the Chinese boy warned him. "That should be all it takes for both of us."

Duo made a face. "Wu, even Heero can't break in and sweep a system that quickly!"

Wufei's clenched his teeth at being compared to the Perfect Soldier, and answered severely, "I can do it. Can you?"

"Yeah, yeah... At least I'll give it my best shot."

Dark eyes narrowed on his face. "Not good enough. I know you can do better."

He hid his surprise well. Another compliment? Surely the world was coming to an end.

"I was joking, Wu-man. If I couldn't do this, then I wouldn't have agreed."

"This is no time for joking," Wufei berated him, expression pinched.

Duo flashed him a grin. "Lighten up. Anyway, good luck."

Wufei took to the stairs, pausing to look back at Duo, only to find that the Deathscythe pilot was already gone. For someone who talked a great deal, and went out of his way to be noticed at times, he could certainly move silently when he chose to.

Pushing any worry he might have for Duo aside, Wufei forced himself to concentrate on his part of the mission. The control room and central computer were down at the end of the hall, guarded both inside and out. He would by-pass that particular step for the moment, however, because he first needed to locate the engineers and then assassinate them. He was not looking forward to that, but it was far past the point of backing out. He had made his choice, and he would follow through to the end with it.

Keeping his hand curled around the pistol he had slipped into the holster, he was amazed, but not ungrateful, that the soldiers hardly looked at him, and the various people who made up the core of the research teams found him just as easy to overlook. Their security was beyond lax. Wufei found it reproachable and very sloppy. A true soldier should be prepared for everything, and had he been one of them, he would have noticed right away his own lack of stature and the youthfulness of his face.

On the opposite side of the hall from the central computer, the blueprints had shown there to be a laboratory. It was used mainly for experimenting, while the floor down below where Duo was setting explosives was where the actual Mobile Suits were constructed. That area was much larger and more open to allow for easier movement of the enormous parts and equipment required. Wufei expected to find the engineers in the main laboratory. According to the logs he had hacked into, the engineers usually adhered to a strict routine they were probably not even aware of forming. Falling into habits was dangerous.. But then, they were scientists, not soldiers.

At about this time, they would be eating lunch. Wufei's innate sense of cleanliness found the thought of eating in a place where chemicals sat beyond disgusting. He supposed they figured they inhaled them enough, however, what would it matter if it got on their food?

Getting in would be the tricky part. He needed an ID. The only possible way to do that, was to confiscate one from the various people wandering around in white lab coats. It was a simple matter of striking up a conversation, and then pulling the person into the broom closet so conveniently left ajar by the janitor. This all had to be done discreetly enough so that the surrounding guards would not notice, however.

The act itself took no more than a few moments, and Wufei did not go out of his way to be gentle as he deposited the body in the closet and heard the unmistakable click of the lock as he shut the door. It would not matter if the woman's flesh bruised. She could be one of the ones who was privy to the information on the Gundams and therefore had to perish with the facility. And Wufei found he could push away the guilt by telling himself it was part of the mission and necessary.

His mind was sluggish, but feet were quick as he made his way down the hall, ID clutched in his hand. He did not want to do this, which was why it had to be done all the quicker.

The door slid aside easily for him, and he slipped in, pistol already drawn and trained on the occupants of the room before his eyes even fell on them. Three heads turned simultaneously to stare at him in annoyance as the door shut behind him. Their expressions soon slid away to reveal mild shock when they noted who was standing there and what he had in his hands. Wufei wished that he could avoid their eyes. But they deserved that he at least acknowledge them before killing them.

"What do you want?" Professor Fujistu demanded, hands holding a sandwich still raised halfway to his lips.

He could not think of them as human. They were the enemy. They were employees of OZ, who was working even now to enslave the colonies with its deceit.

One of the others, Professor Witmann, must have thought him a rebel, who had only managed to get in here by sheer luck alone. He offered Wufei a smile and held his hands up in a form of surrender and to show him that he carried no weapon.

"Now listen son, whatever is bothering you, I'm sure we can talk it out."

Wufei wished it were really that simple. And he wished more than anything that it were Heero standing here. The Perfect Soldier would never have stalled like this, or questioned his orders.

Jaw tightening, Wufei raised his gun higher, his expression deadly and his tone icy. "No. The only way to rectify your mistake is to eliminate you."

Professor Witmann looked startled at the words, as well as the assured, purposeful way Wufei held himself. Wufei was perfectly aware that he looked and acted nothing like a 15 year old boy. He was long past that age mentally. It was only his body that needed to catch up with his mind. War, pain, death.... they aged a man's soul so that only his eyes reflected the damage within.

The last of the three, Professor Macray, who had remained silent until now, seemed to be the quickest. Observation often gave one answers that otherwise would have remained elusive. Wufei had to respect him for that. It was a tactic he himself often applied.

"You're a Gundam pilot."

The other two looked at him, startled.

Wufei felt no sense in denying it. "Yes."

"But... you're just a kid!" Professor Witmann bit out.

Wufei's eyes narrowed. "Mistakes are made when one does not look past the obvious."

Professor Macray laughed. "I'm impressed. Too bad we don't have you on our side."

"Idiot! You're going to die and you find the time to laugh?" Professor Fujitsu hissed, eyes never leaving Wufei.

Professor Macray shrugged. "I knew this could happen when I accepted the plans. Didn't you?"

The other colored, and leaned back.

His face suddenly serious, Professor Macray looked straight at Wufei, startling the Chinese pilot with the intensity in his expression. "I'm going to make it easy on you, kid. I don't know why... maybe it's because I don't want this to stain your conscience. Mighty generous of me, eh?"

Before Wufei could react to that, Professor Macray was lifting a gun. Instinct for survival kicking in, Wufei threw himself to the side just as a bullet tore through the plaster in the wall directly where his head had been. Without hesitation, he spun, pulling his gun up, and squeezing off three shots. Their progress seemed to be slowed in his mind's eye, so that he was forced to watch them tear through clothing and flesh, simple pieces of metal robbing something so large of life as easily as stepping on a bug.

For one startling second, he could hear nothing and see nothing but the three men whose lives he had just taken. And then, it exploded upon him in one great rush, as if time had frozen for a moment or as if he had been standing in a vacuum. The echo of the gun burst all around him, burning his ears, and he felt the harshness of his breath pressing against his chest, the frantic beat of his pulse straining against throat.

The impact of the bullets threw Professors Witmann and Fujitsu from their chairs, while Professor Macray slumped over, gun falling from his hands in an oddly slow fashion, as if it were clinging to the air.

The snap of it hitting the floor echoed abnormally loud in Wufei's ears, drowning out the rush of adrenaline and the beating of his heart. It slid across the tile, spinning, the light flashing from it so that he found he could not take his eyes from it. Even when it hit up against his boot and lay still, he could not look away.

Slowly, carefully, he bent over and took the gun in his hands, barrel still warm from use. Face impassive through sheer will alone, he forced himself to look upon the fallen body of Professor Macray, whose pristine white lab coat was stained crimson from the blood even now rushing across the countertop, as though racing to leap off.

"You are wrong. I have no conscience..."

+

[cont]