the_goldenpath: (Gundam Wing Fics - Heero and Duo)
[personal profile] the_goldenpath
Title: The Totality of Zero
Fandom: Gundam Wing
Pairings: to be established Heero and Duo
Genre: AU, fic deviates from canon after episode 42
Warnings: some foul language, especially from Duo.
Summary: The ZERO system became sentient on July 27, AC 196. Its effects were disastrous to the five Gundam pilots, having experienced the system themselves. ZERO operates completely self-aware and is in command of the Gundams who are now on a random rampage, sending the current war into a bitter and harsh struggle for survival. Three Gundam pilots are alive and at large, one is presumed dead, and one is comatose. Earth and the Colonies are literally at the edge of total annihilation…

Key: ----------------- = scene change




---------------------------


Tokaj region, Hungary, Eastern Europe

“Water,” Duo said.

“Sure.” Trowa’s hand went to his water bottle and he handed it to Duo. Fortunately, water wasn’t one of the supplies they were running low on. The Tokaj region used to be renowned for its wine production, and the rivers Tisza and Bodrog were a limitless source of fresh, clear water. Ironic how something mundane like a bottle of wine had become such a rare object in this world. The vineyards had been abandoned, overgrown by the unkempt vines, and the grapes had turned sour. Duo drank some and returned the bottle to Trowa.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Putting the water bottle back into the heavy backpack, Trowa wished they could find a place where they could stay for a while, instead of being on the run all the time. Sure, as a Gundam pilot he was trained to survive in the harshest circumstances, but right now he’d kill for a proper shower and a decent meal. Trekking around like this had stopped being ‘fun’ a long time ago. It was necessary to keep moving, but the restlessness was starting to get on his nerves. When he had been traveling around with the circus, he’d had his own trailer. It wasn’t about luxury or possessions, it was about calling a place ‘home’. Trowa noticed that Duo stood still.

“We need to find water,” he said.

“We’ll reach another river soon,” Trowa answered. Hungary was rich with lakes and rivers.

“Why aren’t we going to China?” Duo suddenly asked.

Wufei. “We don’t know if he’s there, Duo, remember?” Trowa said calmly. “We have a better chance of finding the others if we stay in Europe. China is too big of a country to search, and we can’t just go around and asking for him.”

“Nobody cares for us anymore,” Duo said. He moved his shoulders a little, as he was carrying a hefty backpack himself as well. “Nobody will connect him to the Gundams or to Zero.”

“We don’t know how public our names are,” Trowa reminded him. “Quatre has already been identified, and Heero… his name was known to OZ, I believe. We’re still 02, 03 and 05 to them.”

“Exactly. Nobody knows that Wufei’s 05. Many people are looking for lost loved ones. Why not us? We’re looking for a friend, and that’s the truth.”

“I’m sorry, Duo,” Trowa said. “I’m not going to China anytime soon.”

This was a discussion they had had a million times before. Usually Duo would process the discussion all over again, slowly, only to reach the conclusion to keep following Trowa. He was right - after a few minutes, Duo nodded and took a step into Trowa’s direction.

“It’s not fair,” he said.

“I know.”

“We should find the ruined city,” Duo mumbled. “Everything’s all right there. We could see each other again and be happy.”

“We’re going north,” Trowa said, sternly. “Sanq Kingdom, remember?”

“Up north, huh?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you ever think of Catherine?”

Trowa’s eyes widened. He sometimes assumed that Duo had lost too much of his sanity to even remember recent events or people. The fact that Duo still knew his sister’s name came as a total surprise to him, and he was at a loss of words.

“I… wish I could find her,” he finally said.

“Yeah,” Duo nodded. “I wish I could find her too.”

He wasn’t talking about Catherine, but about Sister Helen, a woman who had taken care of him when he was young. Trowa didn’t know much about Duo’s past, and he had no idea who the woman was. The first time Duo mentioned her, Trowa thought that he was talking about a sibling, and he had asked if he had more. Duo had just laughed and shrugged it off, saying that he was an orphan, and that Sister Helen lived at a church. A nun. How in the world a guy like Duo Maxwell would end up in a church was too much for Trowa’s imagination, but then again, lots of strange things happened during wartime.

“Do you want to rest? We’ve been walking all day.”

Duo shook his head. “No, I’m not tired. We have to go north. We can’t tardy much longer if we want to find the ruined city.”

“All right. Up north it is.”

The thrumming sound resonating through the air kicked their survival instincts into overdrive. Without saying a word, Duo and Trowa split up, running for cover in the forest. The mobile doll flew low, its motion camera panning from left to right. It was an old model, used for reconnaissance only, not even carrying a weapon. Trowa hid under a thick layer of scrubs, ignoring the small thorns digging in his clothes. A bit of discomfort was better tolerable than being discovered. The mobile doll hovered in mid-air, scanning, and then it moved forward, still at a leisurely pace. Apparently, Zero was still hell-bent on flushing the original Gundam pilots out. Trowa knew what Duo was thinking. Even though he couldn’t see him, the master of stealth was itching to take the mobile suit out. They both carried their valuable laptops, and Trowa was convinced that with their combine efforts, they could hack the mobile doll’s system and retrieve information on Zero. The downside was that Zero immediately knew when or where a mobile suit had gone down, even if it was an older model. Trying to discover Zero’s location would irrevocably reveal their position and then all hell would break loose. Besides, neither one of them disposed over a long-range weapon. Duo carried a gun, but Trowa had no idea how many bullets - which wouldn’t scratch the alloy of a mobile doll - and he had his knives, also futile against a mobile doll. He could almost hear Duo’s frustration/ Patiently, they waited until the mobile doll left, and then waited some more, to make sure the suit was out of sight.

Trowa emerged from the shrubs, brushing the thorns off of him. As always, Duo appeared out of nothing. Run and hide, that was for sure.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Just peachy,” Duo answered. He looked angry. “If only we had…”

“I know,” Trowa interrupted him. Quite rude, but he wasn’t up for another one of those same, same old discussions again. “Let’s move on.” They had to cover much ground, if they wanted to reach the Czech Republic. A moving vehicle would be inconspicuous, a blip on Zero’s radar, but the system would pick up on bigger modes of transportation, like a train or a plane. However, they hadn’t been able to find a - working - car in this abandoned land, in this forsaken world. Their feet would have to carry them, and Trowa prepared himself mentally for another long walk. He shot a look at Duo, only to be met with angry, blazing eyes - the next second, they were blank again.

---------------------------------


Undisclosed medical facility, Northern Europe

She had learned how to harness most of her emotions, but it still broke her heart every time she saw him lying in the bed. Lifeless, supported by machines, attached to at least a dozen of tubes and IV’s. His eyes were wide open but they didn’t register any movement. She opened the bottle of eye drops. It felt like she was tainting him, by touching his cheek as she leaned into him to administer the medicine, and it felt even more heart wrenching to see nothing in those eyes, absolutely nothing. Quatre Raberba Winner, with his great empathy and compassion, had turned into a lifeless, soulless shell of nothing, thanks to the Zero system.

Sally Po carefully put the medicine away, as to let nothing go to waste. An irritated sigh escaped her. So far, her investigation had yielded little to nothing. She had to gain the people’s trust at the medical facility first, and she couldn’t enforce that process. Growing impatient and going too fast would throw her off her meticulously plotted course. Doctor Akerson had been easy, he was genuinely glad to have a reliable, devoted assistant. As far as she could see, the man was honest and he cared for his patients from a human point of view, not from an experimental, studying point. Quatre Raberba Winner was the only Gundam pilot, but not the only soldier. Sally had seen other soldiers, veritable test subjects, and everything was kept under a close lid. One assistant per patient, and no one was allowed to exchange information. The many cameras reminded every member of the staff that they were under severe scrutiny. It made her feel sick to her stomach, but her main goal was Quatre and to get him out of here. If there was a way to take the others with her, she would find it - but as difficult as it was, they were not on her priority list. Not now.

“Suzanne?”

She turned around. “Yes, doctor Akerson?”

“Not much change, is there?”

“No, doctor Akerson. I haven’t even noticed one blink.”

The man shook his head. “He’s so young. This shouldn’t be.”

“You’re doing everything you can, doctor. If he wasn’t in your care…”

“That’s kind of you to say, Suzanne, I appreciate it. Your shift finished?”

“In another hour, doctor.”

“Good, good. See you tomorrow, then.”

Sally showed a professional smile and watched the doctor leave. She wasn’t afraid of anything… intimate developing between them, as the man was not only devoted to his patients, but also to his wife and three kids… all benefiting from the mysterious flow of money that enveloped this facility. Akerson lived on-site, in a house fit for a king, and no threat of the Zero system at all. Was the system aware of Quatre being here? Could it be so cruel to have one of its victims receive the best medical treatment, knowing that it was all in vain? No. It couldn’t be. She suppressed her tears. She was going to find them all. Heero. Duo. Trowa. Wufei. Une, Zechs, Relena, anyone else. She was going to find them all, and then she was going to tear that fucking system apart.

-----------------------------------


Cottonwood, Arizona, United States

Little Daisy Motel. Who the fuck named his motel ‘Little Daisy’? He only picked this crappy place because of its facilities: kitchenette, air conditioning, a room with a decent bed. The gun was clean. He checked the clip; it was full. He didn’t have to worry about weapons and ammunition for a while. After Zero System had become self-aware, he had fled to the United States and to this little dinky town in particular, knowing the location of a secret stash. Little Daisy Motel. Fuck it all. Dr. J. had been a strange guy, but he had a good foresight. He had made him memorize an extensive list of these secret stashes, just in case. A stash contained weapons, ammunition, clothing, even money, food and a few bottles of water. The five scientists, the five Gundam pilots, they had all scattered around the world like the cowards they were. Instead of standing up and fighting, they had all run for their lives.

He knew better, of course. Even the Perfect Soldier knew when he was outnumbered. Without his mobile suit, he was close to nothing. Damn that Zero System! And now he didn’t know where the others were.. not that he needed them. As far as he was concerned, this was Operation Meteor all over again. Alone, operating on his own, no meddling, no intervention, no Duo. That idiot who shot him; heh, he sure as fuck could live his life without him. But the mere thought of Wing Zero stomping through the world’s continents and even the colonies, that was intolerable. Wing Zero was his, and he would use it to destroy the system. He didn’t believe in fate; he was just going to destroy it. His laptop was on the desk in the small room, gathering information and algorithms pertaining to Zero. It was hard to pinpoint the exact location of the system; it liked to move around and without a solid core, it was extremely mobile. Heero Yuy wasn’t without options, though. Cottonwood, Arizona, might look like a sleepy little town, overlooked by Zero, but a training facility of OZ was close by. With a little bit of luck, a mobile suit or two had been left behind in the chaos. It didn’t matter if it was damaged or not; he had more than enough knowledge to repair it.

The laptop was running several search programs at the same time, in the hopes of tracking the other pilots down. As there was no sign of them on the usual grid, Heero assumed that they weren’t in the position to connect. He didn’t believe for a second that anyone of the group was dead. You couldn’t kill a God of Death. He snorted. Oh yeah, that guy. Come back to me, Heero. He almost dropped his weapon. That voice… that inhuman voice! He gritted his teeth.

“Get out of my head,” he said out loud, snapping every word. “Get out!”

“Aren’t you a little cruel to me?”

His fingers curled around the trigger of the gun.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the voice sing-songed. “Poor, lonely sweetheart. Why don’t you come back to me?”

“Get out!” He refused to budge. The first time he had heard that voice inside his head, he had dropped to his knees and shaken in fear. Not now. Not ever again. His breathing was slightly erratic nonetheless, and he remained standing, chest heaving, until there was no more response. His entire body shook from anger. If he ever found the engineers responsible for the system, he was going to fucking kill them all. Zero had left an imprint on his mind, ‘talking’ to him, there was no other way Heero could describe it. The voice wasn’t human, and it interfered with his thoughts, making it difficult for him to discern which thought was his or Zero’s… assuming it was Zero. It felt like a big, bad joke and he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

“Fucker,” he muttered impatiently as he walked over to the desk and slammed the laptop close. He’d seen a motorbike a few blocks away, he could use that to get to the training facility. For whatever reason, Zero left the majority of the United States alone; it was sending out massive scouting and patrolling units to Eastern Europe on a regular basis. The only conclusion was that one of the Gundam pilots had to be there. It didn’t matter. He was on his own now, and he was going to fix this. Even if he had to kill himself.

--------------------------------





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