& Christy (and their muses)
WARNINGS: Language? Violence! 'They Might Be Giants' songs! Collateral Damage!
CHRISTY: We just LOVE collateral damage! DRAGON SLAAAAAAVE!
DUO: WRONG anime, C-chan...
PAIRINGS: 1x2, 3x4, 5x?
DISCLAIMER: They still aren't ours. We tried theft, but the security systems were too good. Wufei was slightly injured during the making of this fic, and Duo got a concussion, but they got better. (And Trowa just brushed his bangs back into order.) No money is being made from this fic, and if there was we'd just spend it on more tapes, so that's OK.
Wufei raised his head groggily. All around him, Nataku's internal screens hissed static and amber status lights flashed from every panel. He blinked, confused, trying to think past the pounding headache.
* * * * *
"WAAAHAHAHAHAHA! It's time to meet your maker!"
Duo's wild laughter blasted out of the com and Wufei grimaced, tuning it out. The L2 pilot might sound like he was enjoying himself immensely, but there was an edge to his voice that told Wufei otherwise. They were in trouble, and the braided baka knew it.
OZ was slowly but surely losing the war, and in a last-ditch effort to turn the tide Lady Une had laid a trap for all five Gundams -- using what had to be all OZ's remaining resources. For every mobile suit they destroyed, there seemed to be fifteen more appearing; out of hidden bunkers, out of the overturned train that had been their original target, flying in from over the horizon. And only four of the Gundams could fight them; Wing was fully occupied with Tallgeese, fighting high overhead.
Cutting down the two Leos directly in front of him, Wufei spared half a second to glance quickly around the battlefield. Heavyarms had space around it, blasted clear by a hail of bullets, but as he watched, the huge Gatling gun dropped to the ground. Rockets continued to streak from the chest launchers, but there couldn't be many left if Trowa was already out of bullets.
Sandrock and Deathscythe were fighting back to back, slashing enemies to bits with scythe and blades. They seemed to be holding their own for now, but were so tightly encircled that there was no way they could break off and retreat. Wufei scowled, turning back to his own opponents. He and Trowa had enough space to engage their boosters and escape, but -- obviously! -- neither of them intended to. Wufei because he refused to leave fellow warriors in a deathtrap like this; Trowa because it would have meant leaving Quatre. Quatre had reported earlier that the Manganacs were on their way, but it didn't look like they would arrive in time to help.
Slashing at an Aries with Nataku's dragon-arm, Wufei began moving towards Duo and Quatre, intending to go to their assistance, when his com crackled to life again.
"Trowa, Wufei, there's some sort of energy weapon on that southern hill," Quatre said urgently. "It looks like they're aiming at Wing--"
"On it," came Trowa's flat voice.
"No, I've got it," said Wufei. "You've got a clearer path to help 2 and 4."
"Ah, yeah, Tro-man, not that we need a hand really -- but I'm sure you'd hate it if we trashed them all by our*OOF!*" Duo's voice cut off briefly, then returned in a stream of curses as an Aries and a Taurus slammed into Deathscythe and grappled, latching onto his right arm and leg. Seeing that he was hampered, others began to move in; Quatre had problems of his own.
"Right. Coming," said Trowa.
Wufei could see the weapon now, moving out of a bunker in the hill; he could see why Quatre was worried. It didn't match any type of weapon he'd ever encountered, but it was HUGE; a red glow was already flickering around some kind of emitter rod as it moved into view, swiveling upwards to point at Wing. Whatever it was, he doubted it was anything good.
He slapped a button and Nataku's thrusters kicked in, punching him into the air and bowling over the nearest mobile suits as he arrowed towards the new weapon. It's definitely something experimental, he thought as he swung his staff around and activated it; it doesn't even look finished -- there's no armour around the base--
And then it was whipping down with surprising speed to point at him, and he thought he heard Duo screaming "LOOK OUT, WU-MAN!" as his staff hit it--
--just as it fired, directly at him, at point-blank range.
Duo swore as he finally got his scythe into his -- Deathscythe's -- left hand and chopped the mobile suits off himself. Free of the restriction, he whipped around in a quick half-circle, slashing through the front rank of mobile suits.
"Hah! Take that! Think you can take Shinigami down that easily? Not a chance, you--"
He glanced up just in time to see the glowing rod whip down to point at Shenlong.
"Oh shit -- LOOK OUT, WU-MAN!"
And then his view of the battlefield whited out as a massive explosion sent Deathscythe sprawling.
Quatre curled into a ball in Sandrock's cockpit as the Gundam tumbled, clutching at his chest as a sickeningly hollow feeling blossomed in his heart.
I can't feel him -- he's gone--
Trowa found himself flat on his back, with three mobile suits on top of Heavyarms.
"...what the hell was that?"
Heero managed to bring Wing out of its dive just above the ground. Fighting the controls -- the systems didn't seem to be answering properly -- he pulled up, gaining altitude.
The scene that greeted him was one of total devastation. Shattered mobile suits lay everywhere, smouldering, obscuring his view... he could see Tallgeese, crashed into a hillside to the north and not moving, but couldn't make out the other Gundams... and to the south was a huge crater. Quickly, he slapped at the com, bringing up a static-streaked video screen.
"Duo! Trowa! Quatre! Wufei! Check in!"
Duo's image was the first to come up, wincing and rubbing his head. "Ow... Heero, man, stop scrolling... I love you, but you're making my headache worse. Oi, is Wu-man okay? That thingy changed targets to him..."
"I don't know," Heero said flatly, not showing his relief. "I was concentrating on things up here. Where was he?"
"To the south; he was going after an energy weapon on that hill over -- oh. Oh, shit. Um. Uh, Heero... there was a hill there. Can you see Shenlong?"
"Not yet. My instruments don't seem to be--" Heero broke of as another image came up.
"What happened?" Amazingly, Trowa's hair was mussed.
Gee, thought Duo dazedly, not even Quatre manages that... whoa, focus. Important stuff happening here. No time to be concussed, Maxwell. "It looks like the thing Wufei went to hit has gone 'boom' big time. The hill's not there any more."
"..." Trowa didn't respond audibly, but Heero could see Heavyarms standing up and moving unsteadily southwards.
"Q-man? You there?" asked Duo. "Oi! Answer me, dude..." ow ow shit this hurts... ow... okay, outta the harness... annnnnd... that button, yeah... mm-hm, I'd say I'm concussed. He clambered laboriously to his feet, ready to climb out of the cockpit and go over to Sandrock, but was forestalled as a third image flickered to life on his com screen. "All right! Q-man, don't scare me like that -- uh... Quatre? You okay?"
Quatre's eyes were hidden behind his bangs, head down. He didn't look up as he whispered, "He's gone. Wufei... I... I didn't feel him die, but he's gone..."
* * * * *
Wufei scowled, more frightened than angry but he _definitely_ wasn't going to admit it. He had managed to restart Nataku's computers, but something was definitely wrong; although all the diagnostics he'd run on the remaining external sensors came back 'functional', as far as they were concerned there was nothing out there. Not even space; nothing. Zip. Nada. Void. And why hadn't the others contacted him yet?
He sighed as his com's status light finally blinked green. Now he'd get some answers...
"Maxwell? Winner? Barton? Come in, over." I won't call Yui just now -- if he's still fighting Tallgeese, I can't afford to distract him... "Hello? Come in!"
Wufei swore softly and began unsnapping his safety harness. He hadn't felt any shocks or movement since he'd woken, so the battle was almost certainly over; it should be safe enough to leave the cockpit. And he had to find out just what the hell was going on!
He pushed the control to open the cockpit and stood, moving forwards as the armoured hatch slid down--
--and stopped, frozen, staring in wide-eyed shock at what was revealed outside.
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