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




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



Hotwiring an engine was one of his basic skills, which Dr. J. had taught him. He remembered his training as if it was yesterday; Heero maneuvered with military precision through the empty streets. After midnight, it was as silent as a grave in Cottonwood, and the bike was parked in a back alley. As he strung the wires together and made contact, it didn’t cross his mind that he was stealing someone’s property. He needed the bike, so he took it. To hell with anyone who stood in his way. Heero jumped on the bike and floored the gas. It was going to take him at least thirty minutes to reach the facility, and he was riding on the only hope that a mobile suit had been left behind, something that he could work with. Zero had totally and radically shifted everyone’s priorities and allegiances; but still, it was a system. Any system could be shut down, it was just a matter of finding the right switch. As soon as he had dealt with the system, he could take back Wing Zero and fix things. Restore the world. Bring back its natural balance.

He didn’t care for the landscape, it went all past him in a blurring motion. He was too much of a Perfect Soldier to not pay attention to his surroundings, though. Heero kept an eye on everything around him, classifying it either as neutral or dangerous, there was hardly anything in-between. Zero kept silent at the moment and his thoughts were his own, for which he was grateful. He slowed down. The training facility loomed on the horizon: a huge, dark building fenced off with an electric gate. Heero snorted as he approached it. The electricity obviously wasn’t working and with a few cuts of his pliers, he entered the training grounds. OZ had been painstakingly neat, or so he thought. How long had it been since this facility had been deserted? It looked like no training had ever taken place here, the grounds carefully maintained and clean. It was hard to imagine that mobile suits had been standing here, with engines ablaze, and weapons ready for launch.

The main building was closed off with an impressive chain, held together by a heavy lock. Heero snorted once again. What kind of idiot had taken the effort to put a huge chain on the main entrance, when the building had so many windows? It was, however, a remarkable feat that the building hadn’t been trashed. Cottonwood was a rather peaceful and dull town. Zero wasn’t interested in the United States. How come? Why had every faction focused on Europe first? Heero wasn’t going to bother with politics or strategy for now. He had a mission to perform, and he was focused on that mission alone.

He used the glasscutter from his toolkit and removed a glass pane, large enough to gain entrance to the building. The eerie silence overwhelmed him; Heero turned on his flashlight as if it could give him some kind of comfort. It was silly, of course. He had broken into many facilities before, as a Gundam pilot, and the risk of getting caught or to trip an alarm had been many times greater. He barely felt an adrenaline rush; it was merely the silence that got to him. Seriously? Does the silence scare you? He almost dropped his flashlight. Fuck!

“Get out,” he growled. It was a standard reaction, which also got a standard reaction: Aren’t you a little cruel to me?

Heero ignored the voice and shone his light over countless cubicles, all furnished with a desk, a chair, a computer and a phone. Nothing personal, nothing… emotional. It felt like the equipment and furniture were waiting for people to use them again. One thing was for sure, this facility hadn’t been abandoned in a hurry. Something didn’t feel right. Heero went into a cubicle and opened the top drawer. Everyday office supplies: pens, pencils, paperclips, staples. Not even a peppermint, or a post-it note about picking up dry cleaning. The flashlight traveled over the desk itself. Heero frowned. It shouldn’t be this clean, it was spotless. His fingers ached to turn on a computer, but he knew the risk. Only his laptop was safe; any other computer would simply connect to Zero and give his position away. Besides, there was no electricity. What was he even thinking? I’d ask myself the same thing.

“Get. Out!” Heero roared, and his voice echoed through the large area. Annoyed, he left the office department. He was here for a mobile suit. He hadn’t seen any hangars surrounding the building, so the mobile suits were probably stored underground. He located the stairs and took them, descending into the abyss of the building. His intuition proved to be right. A few levels below ground, he stumbled upon row after row of Leos, neatly arranged in metal cages for quick and easy transport to above ground. Heero opened one of the cages and inspected the Leo. No, this wasn’t going to work. He could get the suit up and running, no problem - but it was a training model, which meant that it had been stripped of any real firepower. The beam rifle, standing against the back of the cage, wasn’t functional. Training and instruction only, he should’ve known better… but still, Heero had hoped to find an operational, working suit. This was a minor setback. He know more than enough about mobile suits, he could turn this Leo into a fully operational one. It was going to take some time and effort to get the materials, but it was nothing that Heero Yuy couldn’t handle… he used his flashlight to take one more look at the Leo, meanwhile making a mental list of everything he was going to need.

Before he closed the cage again, he noticed a black disk, mounted on the right side. Curious, he touched it. Smooth surface. What was it? What purpose did it serve? Sucker. At the same moment, a red light flashed and the countdown started. The next second, a whole lot of red lights flashed, and similar countdowns started - Heero could see them from the corner of his eyes, and he hissed. The apparent calmness and eerie silence had deceived him - this facility was booby trapped from top to bottom! He saw the bombs responding to each other, red lights flashing and blinking as if in morse code, and he knew he had to get out of here before it was too late. Heero ran for his life, taking three steps at the same time on the stairs, his stride large and powerful as he ran past the offices. He could hear and feel the first explosion, rocking the entire building, before he reached the window pane. Heero took a nosedive and curled his body up into a ball as soon as he hit the ground. He rolled a few meters away from the facility and uncurled his legs again. “Get up, Heero,” he said out loud. In a matter of seconds the explosives would reach the surface, if the entire building had been rigged- and even if it hadn’t, it was going to collapse on top of the destroyed lower levels. Breathing erratically, Heero forced himself to get up and he resumed running to get out of the blast radius. The perfectly clean training grounds crumbled under his feet. He forced his body to go faster, his mind focused on survival; ignoring the destruction around him, he ran and ran… until the last of the explosives detonated with such force that it annihilated the entire facility, and he was unable to outrun it. As if a mighty fist punched him in the back, he was thrown forward and smacked right into the gate, knocking the wind out of him. Instinctively, he closed his eyes as the entire world shook and rumbled.

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


Guangxi region, China

The roaring fire place didn’t bring much warmth to Wufei’s body. Sipping his tea, he stared into the blazing flames; his thoughts wandering off and returning to the decision he’d made. He was aware that someone entered the room, but he didn’t reach for his katana, lying next to him on the table.

“So you are leaving us, Master Chang?”

“Yes, I am.” He swallowed his tea -hot, hot!- and put the mug aside. “I cannot thank you enough for your hospitality.”

“You are more than welcome.” The head of the monastery gathered his robes before sitting down, next to Wufei. “Why have you decided to leave us now?”

“I am wasting my time.” Wufei knew the man wouldn’t take it personally. “I have been studying news papers for months now, but I have not been able to find any kind of hidden message, a code, a sign of life from the other pilots.”

“They need to gather their bearings. We do not know the circumstances they live in, at the moment. Maybe they need more time to get back to their feet.”

Wufei was well aware of how lucky he had been. Rural China was of little interest to Zero, even though its name and reputation had reached even this sheltered region and causing the same panic. He had been safe here, despite everything, and the monks had protected him with their lives. It felt like dealing them a slap in the face by leaving now, just like this - but Wufei’s mind was made up.

“I cannot let them wait any longer. I have to find them. It is impossible to beat Zero on my own.”

“You are an excellent warrior. The Zero System is only as powerful as you make it out to be.”
Wufei didn’t bother to correct the man. He had spent his entire life between the walls of the monastery, he hadn’t been behind the levers and control panels of a Gundam cockpit. Altron… his beloved Nataku, under the influence of a system that corrupted your entire being. He stared at his hands. Ever since he had made his decision, the tremors had decreased significantly. Perhaps it was a sign… but he didn’t know how to interpret it. “Remaining here will not help me find them. I have to leave.”

“I understand. We are not holding you back, Master Chang.”

“I know. Forgive me, it was rude of me to imply…”

“Do not worry, young Master. You have to prepare for your travels.”

Wufei nodded. He caught the man stealing a glance at the katana, knowing that he despised violence. “Perhaps you should find something of less… cruelty?”

“I am sorry.” He didn’t feel as apologetic as he sounded. This world was at war - he couldn’t leave the safety of these monastery’s walls without anything to defend himself with. The elder man knew it, he was sure of it, but he chose not to commend.

“Is there anything else we can help you with, Master Chang?”

“No, thank you. I will be traveling as light as possible.”

After the man had left, Wufei finished his tea and scooted closer to the fire. His katana was on top of a map of the world, crudely drawn but effectively showing the continents on Earth. He didn’t want to think of the space colonies; Zero had cut off any communication and travel between them and Earth. He didn’t figure that any of the pilots were on a colony. Or in Russia or the United States, for that matter. No, Zero was focusing on Europe, with North and Eastern Europe in particular. A ghost of a smile tugged at his lips. He had always held Trowa for a Czech, or at least some kind of Slavic descent. Duo… well, not exactly European, and for some reason he figured the God of Death on a Spanish beach rather than in cultural Budapest or Zagreb. And Heero…? Only the devil himself would know where Heero was holding himself up. But from all the pilots, Chang Wufei was the least worried about 01. Yes, he had wasted enough time by now. It was time for action.

The sky was overcast and the chilly wind pulled at the large flaps of his gi. His traditional garb probably wasn’t the best choice to wear on this cold day, but Wufei didn’t have the luxury of an extensive wardrobe. The farewell ceremonial took quite some time; a few hours later, Wufei finally climbed on the wooden cart. A farmer would take him along to the first village, where he could hitch his next ride. It was going to take at least a week before he would reach the border, in the most optimistic scenario. If only he had Nataku… but the Gundam was out of his reach, as painful as it was. He settled onto the hard floor, squeezing himself between the large bags of rice. Zero didn’t control this area, but you never knew…

,”, he told the farmer to go. The cart moved, the wheels turning over the rough path. A week until the border. Did he have that long?

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





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