April 04, 197 AC


(Sidefic series for the Death and the Dragon Arc)

By: Mel and Christy
Warnings: Angst


Heero cast another worried glance at his braided partner, who was currently sitting on the window seat staring out at the night sky. Duo had been extremely moody since they found out about the 'mobile dolls,' and his mood grew visibly darker with each mission, as they encountered more dolls. It was getting so bad that he was barely even sleeping, anymore. They had tried to cheer Duo up, but the only thing they'd accomplished was to end up tense and stressed themselves.

Of course, Wufei's comment that 'Maxwell was acting like a hormonal woman' didn't help things.

Heero sighed and decided to give it one more try.

"Duo", he murmured, sitting on the seat next to the braided teen, "we know how you feel, but brooding about it won't accomplish anything. Talk to us. Maybe we can help you work it though."

Duo turned and looked at his partner, eyes dull. "Heero... why? Why would they do this? Why would Treize do this? You've seen the emails... I thought maybe he wasn't so bad. I mean, he had a sense of humour... he seemed honourable, in a kind of twisted way. I didn't think he'd go this far. Duo no baka, eh Heero?"

"No, not a baka. You just look for the best in people; you give them the benefit of the doubt. I think you may be right, though, even if I don't like or trust him. The mobile dolls just don't fit the pattern; they don't fit his profile. Something's not adding up, and you know how conflicting the reports we're getting from the doctors are."


"So, why don't you ask him yourself? Email him," Heero said, standing and retrieving Duo's laptop. "See what he has to say for himself."


FROM: Disappointed@Disillusioned.net
SENT: 20:26 April 04, 197AC

---message begins---

Treize-man, what is the fuckin' deal? Automated suits? No human pilots? I really thought better of you. You may be the enemy general, but I kind of liked you, in a 'he's a cool badguy' sort of way, once we got past the whole New Edwards fiasco thing. Now you go and pull this crap? These 'mobile dolls' of yours can never bring peace. Without the human factor, there's no risk! No reason to stop fighting! And the only ones endangered are the innocent civilians caught in the middle.

You know, I thought you had some sort of honour. I had started thinking of you as an opponent, rather than the evil anti-christ. But I guess I was wrong. You're really nothing more than a coward; more a terrorist than we are. At least we fight in person. At least we lay our lives on the line for what we believe in. I may not live to see the end of the war, but at least while I'm roasting in hell, I'll know I did everything *humanly* possible to try and stop the war and protect the innocent.

What will you be able to say for yourself at the final reckoning?

Duo Maxwell

---message ends---

* * * * *

*I let my birds fly free,* Trieze remembered, gazing out the window at the sky, *and they returned to my hand... returned to their cage, knowing no better. Now that I have recognised my cage for what it is, I like to think that I would avoid that mistake; but nobody has yet been foolish enough to open the door for me.*

A quiet chime from his computer broke into his reverie, and he blinked in surprise. *An email? If Romafeller's security allowed it through, I doubt it's anything of particular importance. A request for toilet paper to be delivered to a base in Greenland, perhaps,* he continued wryly, twisting his chair to tap at the keyboard and open the message. *Winter underwear for Okinawa--*


*I see. Not allowed through security at all. It appears I have reason to be grateful for my young opponent's hacking talents... and, judging by the contents of this message, his moral indignation as well.*


FROM: Kushrenada.T@OZ.org
TO: Disappointed@Disillusioned.net
SENT: 08:09 April 05, 197AC
SUBJECT: My apologies

---message begins---


Please believe me when I say that the last thing I have ever wanted was to disillusion you. The world needs people-- warriors-- with your brand of dauntless optimism, now more than ever.

Regrettably, I must confess that I am no longer in control of OZ, and have not been for some weeks now. Although orders are still being issued in my name (I flatter myself that a reasonable percentage of my former subordinates would refuse to cooperate if it were known that I have been removed from command), I am in fact under house arrest. The incident that precipitated my... shall we say, sudden demotion? was my rather forceful objections to the development and deployment of the mobile dolls. I am proud to be able to say that I expressed myself in similar terms to those used in your missive.

Before you ask, I would prefer it if you would *not* attempt to 'break me out'. While this is an admirable habit of yours, it might impact on my ability to retake control of OZ from the Romafeller Foundation-- an organisation I strongly urge you to investigate if you are not already doing so-- and end this war.

As to your final question: I hope, in the end, to be able to say that I have always done what I believed to be right.


P.S. Some time ago, as I'm sure you remember, I told you that I could not in good conscience give you any sort of military information. However, I do not regard mobile dolls as legitimate military hardware, and feel no reservations about sending you the attached files. I have no access to classified databases at present, and therefore had to reconstruct the data from memory, but I believe the factory locations are reasonably accurate.

P.P.S. I *do* hope your 'custom' email program gets replies to you *out* of security systems as unobtrusively as it slips them in.

< < 1 attached file: targets.doc > >

---message ends---





















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