of the Past - # 6
"... important for, by a takeover through the Preventers." Une's voice was like steel. "This ship is a weapon. Earth Sphere law dictates that we have complete control or it will have to be destroyed."
Wufei definitely looked ill. "You don't understand, we have to..."
"I understand very well," her voice was icy. "We have five ex-Gundam pilots with a star ship under their control. If you don't hand over the ship, you all will be persona non grata in the Earth Sphere. The government demands it. Agent Chang, you are our representative on board and you know the rules all too well."
I tensed as I heard that, and Wufei bristled. "How do you expect me to...?"
We shared a look. This was unexpected. Well, maybe not completely. We'd had discussed the possibilities after Wufei sent his reports to Une two weeks before. But we really didn't think they were that stupid.
Wufei sighed. "Une, what exactly has the government demanded?"
"First, hand over the starship. Second, prove that this alleged threat is real and that this is not a plot to take over the United Earth Sphere."
Wufei's jaw clenched, "We have proved more than once that we...that none of us is interested in power."
She sighed. "Well, you know that and I know that. I am well aware of your record. They have your records as well. But unless you bring living proof..." Her hands folded on her desk. "They want a living alien, to prove your point. If this is not possible, you will at least allow the ship to be under the control of the Preventers."
I interrupted. "Une, this is crap. This is my ship, I found it and I'm the captain, now. If you want to bring the Preventers in to help fight the Xetoins, fine. If you bring them to attempt a takeover by force, you will be in for one hell of a surprise."
"That's what I mean Maxwell," she shook her head. "You can't take command of a squadron of Preventer agents. The government will feel threatened. As long as you cooperate, they will leave you alone. And you'll need the reinforcements. You stated so yourself."
"Well," Wufei said, "we could use them, that is true. But we should be able to fight the first scouts with the forces we have on board. If we crush them at the first, it is possible that they will decide we aren't worth the trouble and pass us by.
She shook her head. "Not likely. Overall, military rules state that at least a second attempt will be made, to look for missing scouts. These aliens will likely operate by the same rules. And we need living proof, don't forget that."
"What plan of action has the government decided on, Une?" I asked, impatiently.
"They want to send a delegation of diplomats, military observer and agents immediately. Commander Wright is to take command of the ship. After the first battle and we have had a chance to interrogate the aliens, we will decide what further action to take."
I grinned devilishly, "They want to interrogate them, huh? Well, they'll be in for a surprise." I shook my head, "Fools. Shoulda known."
There was a moment where I paused to think about my choices, and realized that I really didn't have any. "Okay. I'll hand over the ship, but only temporarily. I will not stand for it to fall into the wrong hands. Note my protest. This ship is my property, by the laws of the Earth Sphere, functional or not."
"The weapons on board that ship give me just cause to confiscate it, don't forget that," she said.
"Commander Une," Wufei cut in, "this is pointless. The ships AI will accept no one other than Maxwell as its captain. You have my word on that. Circumstances are as they are, I cannot go over this with you in detail, right now. Not on an open channel. Let me offer a compromise. Duo should remain captain, but under the supervision of Commander Wright."
She nodded slowly. "I will make that proposal to the Earth Sphere. It's a possibility."
"Besides," I cut in, "you're still very much dependent upon my good will to get your people here. That should mean something to the mighty, shouldn't it? Without my advanced shuttles, there's no way you'd get here in time. We could make a go for it and let you sit and stir. Take a shit on the demands of the government," I smirked. "Besides, who decided that Jupiter is under the laws of the Earth Sphere?" I spread my hands. "No Earth here."
"The fact that you were born here, in the Earth Sphere, Maxwell, makes you partial to the laws of the Unified Earth Sphere government," she said sharply.
"Ah," I said. "Of course."
Wufei gave me a piercing look. "Une," he said slowly, "Let's not discuss this now. Will you be here joining us?"
"Presuming there will be a commute shuttle, yes. I'll accompany Commander Wright and the delegations."
"Of course," Wufei stated stiffly, and she nodded and cut the line.
"Well," I said grimacing, "that went... well."
"Maxwell," Wufei said warningly, as he turned his full attention to me. "What have you hatched out now?"
"Me?" I said innocently, pointing to myself. "Nothing, yet. I like to act in the spur of the moment, you know." I leaned back and lazily stretched my hands over my head. "Do you think Une will have me sign immigration papers, when this is over?
I laid in my bed, slowly trailing my hands down my body. God, but I was horny. Had it really been almost two months since I had seen any action? Self gratification just isn't cutting it anymore. I was starting to wish I hadn't turned Steve down. He propositioned me twice more since that day in the cantina with Heero, all which I declined.
Normally, it was no big deal. An evening of fun, a fast release of tension, pounding into a warm, willing body. But, somehow, it didn't feel right anymore, and that confused me. I closed my hand around my stiff cock and slowly began caressing it.
More and more I had found myself thinking about Heero, more so since I had seen Quatre and Trowa a little over a week ago, pressed against a wall in a remote hallway. They were kissing passionately, their hands roaming and bodies grinding into each other. I stopped short in my tracks and stared, wide eyed. They hadn't seen me...at least I hoped they hadn't. Trowa's back was pressed against the wall, head thrown back, eyes closed tightly. Quatre was pressed against him, his lips trailing down Trowa's neck.
I was paralyzed. Okay... Quatre had told me that they were together. But I hadn't really stopped to think about it. At that moment, it hit me what exactly he meant by 'together'. They were lovers. Quite passionately, as it looked like.
I left them undisturbed and I quietly retreated to my cabin, only to have troubled dreams. I always thought that I had been the only one of us who was interested in the same gender. I'd always been the unconventional, weird one out of us five.
I explored my sexuality while staying with Hilde. To my discovery, working on the scrap yard in the heat, with half clothed men, skin shining with sweat, muscles shifting, turned me on. I had been confused, at first. But after that, I quickly came to terms with it. And, I never lacked opportunities to keep on exploring. On both genders.
Now, as one of my hands roamed over my body, tugged on my nipple, while the other one stroked my stiff cock, I tried to picture one of my past lovers. However, the only picture that came to mind was Heero. His eyes shining, his sweat-slicked body writhing, hair tousled... I came with a hoarse groan, shuddering and breathing in short gasps.
God. Where the hell had that come from? I lay there, panting, my heart racing. All I had to do was think of Heero this way, and I was gone. Whew. My hand searched absently for the tissues on the nightstand, wiping up the mess on my belly and chest, feeling a little bit ashamed.
How could I? Heero was straight, wasn't he? Heero was a fantasy. Plain and simple. I could be honest and mature enough with myself to admit that. I'm a big enough boy to know the difference between fantasy and reality.
I could be with him, absolutely and truly being his friend, and have moments of intense lust. I was human, I was male, I was bi. And yes, it was okay if I wanted him. But it wouldn't be okay to let him know that. And it sure as hell wouldn't be okay to act on it. Heero wanted someone else. Some girl, he told me. He was straight. So I wouldn't. Period. The end.
I thought of the times I had watched and participated in Heero's training these past few weeks. He was merciless, working out became an obsession. The results were remarkable. He was a sight to behold. His newly built up muscles rippling under the skin, wet hair clinging on his face. I was startled to realize I had begun to notice him as more than just a friend. I noticed him as a man. A potential lover.
Heero had made it so easy for me to notice him, too. If I didn't know better, I could fool myself into thinking he was actually flirting with me, however shyly. During the meals, the meetings, the training sessions, the sparring sessions. The evenings we spent together. Playing chess, or a game of pool in the bar we had programmed in one of the holo suites. We actually spent time really talking, about mundane things.
The time he came in to the gym showers while I was in it, towel riding low on his hips. He had acted nonchalant, but his gaze had been so hot, intense. His eyes had been so deep blue. And, I had stood there like a deer caught in headlights. Staring. At his sweat covered body. Trying not to let him know how his presence stirred my body.
Wufei had refused to spar with me any longer. It injured his pride that I could beat him quit soundly, in a matter of seconds. It was about then that they all had decided to take the serum. There had been a few unpleasant effects, at first. I worried, but after a couple of days, they were back on their feet again.
The serum started to show an effect, after just a couple of weeks. Now, we were all pretty well matched, just like old times. Heero had slowly caught up with us, too. Now he was almost superior in strength, once again.
We began to train in the holo suites, MS suit combat, like the Maganacs and as well as few sweeper pilots. But we five trained in simulated cockpits of our improved Gundams.
Howard, with a few special techs, had begun to reconstruct them, with improvements, which Bethor contributed. For now, we could start training with the MS suits already on board. The ships main drive was now almost online. With just a few more minor repairs, we would start to roam the solar system, shielding Earth, and waiting for the Xetoins.
I tugged at the sheets to get a more comfortable position, trying to get some sleep. But my thoughts strayed to Heero again. I sighed and rubbed my face. It had to stop. I came to a decision and glanced at the clock. Just short of ten.
"Bethor, locate Steven McKarmedy."
"Steven McKarmedy is in holo suite four."
I got up, donned a pair of jeans and a shirt and went to the 'bar'. Jazz Music played as the door opened. It was well occupied. I spotted him, standing at the corner of the bar, a beer clutched in his hand, talking with a few of his comrades. Walking up to them I grabbed the beer from his hand, took a deep swing from it.
"Hey," he said, "get your own."
I smiled at him and shrugged. "Why bother?"
He smiled back and laid his arm around my shoulder. "I had almost given up hope, thought you'd gone all eunuch on me."
"There's been a lot on my mind lately, sorry." I took another swing from the bottle.
He squeezed my arm. "Never mind. I know what's been going on. You ready to hand over the ship to the big boys, tomorrow?"
"Mhmm." I nodded my head as I took another drink of his beer. Une and the Preventers were due tomorrow. I put the now empty bottle on the bar and leered at him. "You free this evening?"
"I thought you'd never ask."
I smirked, turned and pushed him back against the wall, hands spread wide on his chest. "Y'know, I wouldn't mind a little action, right now." I pressed my body against him and kissed him. Hard. A mouth locked tight, teeth clicking, tongues going for tonsils kind of kiss. One that promised hot, deep penetration, a rocking bed, sweat-slicked bodies kind of kiss. I watched his eyes close slowly; felt him clutching at my shoulders, his body pressing against mine. He was instantly hard. I wasn't. It felt wrong, somehow. I heard a glass shattering somewhere behind me.
I broke the kiss and leaned back, looking at him, and he opened his eyes, panting. His dreamy expression changed to alarmed as he looked over my shoulder. I whirled around and saw Heero standing in the middle of the bar, hands clenched and face expressionless. But, his eyes... burning into me, they looked... distressed. A deep shining blue. I could see their color across the room. Trowa sat beside him at the table, a hand raised to his arm as if trying to hold him back. I hadn't seen them as I came into the bar. I stared at Heero, baffled. What had him so... worked up?
All of a sudden, my libido dropped to zero. I was still staring at Heero when he took a deep breath and looked away. He said something to Trowa and left the bar. That was odd. Was he mad that I hadn't noticed them as I came to the bar? I guess I was a bit ...distracted.
"Duo?" Steve tugged at my arm.
"I'm... sorry, Steve," I shook my head as I turned back to him, struggling to smile. "I'm... it's not you. Okay?" I patted him on the shoulder, taking a deep breath. "I can't do that, anymore. Sorry I lead you on."
He looked confused, disappointed. "What's the matter with you? It's that... guy, isn't it?" He made a motion with his head to the door.
"Whatta'ya mean?" I was in full denial. "He's just a former comrade, a brother in arms."
"Yeah." He turned back to the bar and ordered a new bottle of beer. "If you say so."
"I do." Snatching the bottle from out of his fingers I made my way over to Trowa. "Hey, Tro, didn't see you first." I gestured to the door, "What was that about with Heero?"
He looked funny at me. "He... dropped his glass. He went to go change."
"Ah," I nodded. "So, where's Ouat?"
His expression softened. "Going over tactics with Wufei. Do you know everyone who's arriving tomorrow?"
I took a swing from the bottle. "Nah. Some dickheads from governments, a bunch of Preventer agents, this Commander Wright and Une."
"You okay with that?"
I shrugged. "It's not like we can avoid it. Let them think they're in charge. If it comes to action, they'll just have to see." I smirked at him.
"Hn." He said.
"No way!" I shouted in Une's face. Wright was beside her, looking smug.
Everything was in an uproar. This Commander Wright was a real asshole. An arrogant bastard. I disliked him on first sight. He demanded insight into everything, he was worse than all the political dickheads, including Relena.
You heard me right, Relena Darlian-Peacecraft, was one of the better politicians. She, too, had grown up. Thank God her wardrobe wasn't dominated with pink anymore. Of course I knew that already. I'd seen her more than once on the news.
We had a hell of a time trying to hide the finished Gundam parts from them all. But when this Wright asshole demanded to be quartered in the Captain's cabin, I lost it.
"What's the matter with you? You yourself don't use it and it's fitting." Une demanded.
Shit. I avoided direct eye contact. "I'm still the captain and I say no," I sputtered. "He can bunk with his men...that's fitting. He may have command over the Preventers, and their operation, but I will not," I emphasized 'not' with a wild shake of my head, "give him access to that cabin. No one goes in there but me. End of story."
"Remember Une, our plan of action is to stay as a separate unit, apart of the Preventers," Quatre cut in, changing the topic to a more heated one. "We have always worked this way, and intend to do so now, as well. This includes Wufei."
Asshole Commander Wright sputtered, "That's not po...
"You can interrogate prisoners all by yourself later on." I said, still trying not to look directly at anyone. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down. "You can arrest us later, if we break one of your precious inter-stellar laws. Like... say, plot a revolution."
He took the bait.
"Accepted. Commander Une warned me you five were a bunch of undisciplined fighters, no sense in the rules." He said arrogantly, looking at her.
Wufei bristled. "I wouldn't say that. We are very disciplined, and work very well together. We have proved that more than once, by defying entire armies." He leaned back and crossed his hands over his chest, chin in the air.
I looked covertly up to Trowa, and he nodded slightly. Good, my eyes were back to normal. I am the only one whose eyes change this dramatically, to violet when highly emotionally charged. The other pilot's eyes changed as well, but the color only got a little more intense, brighter than normal. Of course, I wasn't completely sure they might not change like mine do, I had yet to see any of them if a full fit of rage.
"We agree then. Only the Gundam pilots will be fighting in the first battle. Any backup will be provided by the Managacs." Quatre said firmly. "This means we use our own plan. You will be noticed, but we don't operate under your command. The Preventers still have to train with the unfamiliar mobile suits. The others on board have already done so and have an advantage on the Preventers."
Une nodded. "That is reasonable. Commander Wright, for this first battle we'll take that plan of action. The Preventers will sit this one out, except for Agent Chang."
Asshole Commander Wright was not happy to hear that, but he took his loss with grace. He straightened and got up. "Fine. So be it. Will someone show me to my quarters, then?"
Wufei also got up. "I'll show you the way."
Une sighed, as they had left the room. "You couldn't be any less diplomatic, could you?" She addressed us all, I noticed.
"What would you have us do?" Quatre asked her, "fight or play politicians? That reminds me, I have..."
I tuned them out as Heero touched my arm and asked, "Can I speak to you, in private?"
"Okay," I nodded and got a fluttering feeling in my belly at his intense look. I got up to leave, he followed at my heels. As we came into the hallway, I turned. "So, uhm, what did you want to talk to me about?"
He looked uncomfortable. We hadn't talked since that odd scene in the bar. "I...," he cleared his throat and took a deep breath. "I wanted to..."
"Heero!" A female voice interrupted him.
We both turned to the voice and I saw Relena coming in our direction, beaming.
"Relena," he said flatly, "What can I do for you?"
I sat in a suit and cackled. "Boom, you are dead."
It had been my turn to go out and train for real, in space. We each in turn took a group of pilots and simulated combat situations against the other group. The suits reaction was great. Smooth on the yokes and reaction time was excellent. Still, they weren't quite Gundams. I couldn't wait for Howard to finish them so I could sit in one for real, again.
"Take this," I shouted out, as I disabled another Maganac. I felt good, alive. They were good fighters, the Maganacs, but they lacked that special... well, I don't know what it was what made us so special, but they lacked it.
The next opponent coming my way was not so easily to defeat. Trowa. I gritted my teeth and spun my suit up and around to avoid being hit. That was close. I finished my maneuver, aimed and fired, missing by a mile. Trowa had dived under my shot and came up at me again. I engaged the thrusters, intending to get behind him, but there was a small explosion, and smoke filled the suit's cockpit. Shit. I coughed as I inhaled smoke and couldn't see a thing.
"Fuck, Tro, I've got problems," I coughed, while I closed the helm of my spacesuit.
"Duo?" He sounded curious. "What's the matter? Disengage your thrusters. You're speeding away."
"Would if I could," I coughed some more. I had tried the buttons to no avail. The thrusters worked on full power, and if I couldn't stop them, I'd be halfway across the solar system before the fuel ran out. Or out of breathable air. Which was more likely, with all the smoke in here. The seals of my flight suit apparently weren't tight, and I was getting smoke mixed in with my oxygen supply. "Fuck. There's been... an explosion... under the board. Can't see... a thing." I coughed between every word, getting very lightheaded.
"Close your suit." Trowa offered pointlessly.
"Thanks.. for the... tip. Suit's... scrap. Leaky. Shit, shit, shit." I ripped the helmet off, again, gasping for air. My eyes burned and were tearing up. I was running out of time. "Something's... not right, Tro. Shouldn't... be this much... smoke."
Frustrated, I began punching at the controls, but there was no reaction at all. "Too... much... smoke..." I ground out between clenched teeth. "Controls... dead..."
"Okay," he said. "Is there anything that's not dead?"
I shook my head, even though he couldn't see it, but I had to finish a coughing fit, first. "Negative." I ground out. I felt that I was on the verge of passing out.
"Can you kill the board?"
"Which... one?" I asked. If I hadn't been coughing so hard, I would have laughed. "Can't... even... see my... hands."
"Duo!" I heard Hero call out, as if through thick wool. I realized I was hearing his voice through the com. Tro must have initiated a conference.
"Huh 'Ro?" I managed just so. My airways were burning and little white flecks danced in my eyesight.
He sounded frantic. Heero, frantic? "We've to get..."
I heard nothing more, because my world went black.
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