Really quick author note: I have absolutely no earthly idea how I got this chapter up so quickly. That said, onto the reading.

Year: After Colony 233

July 4

10:30 pm

Location: Colony Cluster L3"What's the matter, Haruko? Seen a ghost?" Nikki tormented him, a sneer he'd never seen before across her features. He didn't want to believe what he was seeing. He couldn't believe it. Not after everything they'd been through together. There was no way she was sitting in an enemy suit staring at him with hatred, ready to blast him to death. "Did you honestly believe I'd let you get away with abandoning me? I waited for you to save me, but you never came."

"I've been trying to find you," he argued back. He hadn't cried like this before. He had never been so hurt and scared before.

"Yeah right. You're happy not to have me around anymore, aren't you; happy not to have to deal with me."


"Haru, don't listen to her," Ayman told him, still trying to figure out what to do. If he said anything about what he thought, the two Serpents would blast them all to pieces before he could anything. But if he made a move, what would his allies do in response.

Haru ignored him.

"Yes. You've always wanted to get rid of me," Nikki hissed. He could see anger, and hurt in her eyes. He caused this. He hadn't found her in time.

"I didn't. I love you."

"Love? You can't honestly expect me to believe that? Remember what you promised? Remember that you promised you wouldn't hurt me?"

"I – I never meant to."

"Haru, I said don't listen to her. She's not real," he argued.

"SHUT UP!" Bren and Nikki both screamed at once. A beam shot from Nikki's suit, sending Kizer flying backwards.

"Ayman!" Ami and Kat hissed, watching the gundam drift out of sight. "What did you do?" She asked her friends. Nikki just glared at her in return.

"Bren, why?" Trevet finally asked.

"Why?" she laughed. "You really have to ask? How could you? How could you do that, after you promised. You told me I was the only one for you."

"You are. I never betrayed you."

"I don't believe you. No, I won't believe you. You've always been nothing but a lousy, rotten, ass. You killed your own sister. How could I love you?"

"Bren!" Ami and Kat cried.

"And you two. You make us sick," Bren turned her tongue onto her two best friends. "You haven't even tried to find us. Ami, you let them take us."

"I would have stopped them if I could."

"You had a gun," Nikki told her. "But you let them take us. Do you know what they did? Do you?"

Ami and Kat were crying by this point. They were using Ami's guilt against her. Kat wanted them to stop. She couldn't take this. She wanted to let them kill her.

"They raped us," Bren told them.

"And it's your fault. You let them," Nikki told her. "You let them hurt us. You hurt us."

"But not anymore; things aren't going to go that way anymore. We've got the power now," Bren stated. "And we're going to use it to hurt you."

"Say goodbye," Nikki finished, as the screens went black. Haru, Trevet, Ami, and Kat heard the explosion; they saw the red and orange light of the missiles going off; they waited for the pain that would accompany their bodies being pulled apart by the explosion as they closed their eyes, waiting for death. But it never came. Not even after the light disappeared and smoke filled the surroundings. Slowly, they opened their eyes.

In front of them were two demolished mobile suits. Pieces of debris swirled around in the expanse of space in front of them. To the right, an intact gundam floated gently. The pilot's heavy breathing and sobbing could be heard coming through the speakers into each of the other four cockpits. Nikki and Bren were gone. No one said a word.

Year: After Colony 233

July 6

4:00 am

Location: Colony Cluster ?; Colony ????Y02

Two men walked swiftly down a corridor away from a small holding cell. The guards assigned to the hall knew an important prisoner lay behind the six inch thick metal door. They knew he was occasionally removed, but no one knew any more than that. They were forbidden from entering; forbidden from speaking to the prisoner. That right rested only in the two men who retreated from returning the prisoner to his cell after his most recent trip to the "doctors".

The taller of the two men had bright green eyes which always seemed to be looking through whatever the man was looking at for the time. He wore his reddish brown hair cropped short. His uniform was sleeveless, revealing a serpent tattoo on the inside of his forearm. His companion was slightly shorter with chocolate brown eyes set on a sharp edged face and framed by dark brown hair. Unlike his companion, the snake tattoo on his back was hidden by his uniform. They walked in unison, the perfect soldiers.

A third officer moved slowly down the hall towards them. This man was different. His step was lighter than the typical tread of a serpent soldier. He was a lowly guard. Not important enough to receive more than the small glare the taller of the first two soldiers gave him as he approached. However, rather than walk past, the man seemed deliberately headed for them.

"Commander Writhe, Captain Sky," the man addressed them when they were in speaking range. He stopped and saluted the two superior officers. "The General has asked that you meet him in his offices to discuss the problem." He added emphasis on the last word. Both of the men glared at him once more.

"Very well, Private… um…"

"Jacobs. Duncan Jacobs, sir," the man addressed Commander Writhe. The senior officer nodded simply.

"Stand guard over the prisoner until the regulars arrive," Captain Sky added to the private, who once again saluted. He stood at attention to let the two men pass by. As soon as they'd disappeared around the corner, Duncan began to walk towards the cell, glancing down at the digital watch he wore every so often. He had just about twenty five minutes before the regular guards showed up. It was his first chance and probably his only one to confirm his suspicions about the prisoner in the cell.

As he reached the heavy door, he peered around and then slipped a silver lock pick from the cuff of his military jacket and inserted it into the lock. Several times he was forced to stop as sounds nearby constantly reminded him that he wasn't alone and that a mistake now would not only mean his life, but probably the lives of several others. He'd been thankful that he was the only officer in the report bay when an emergency transcript came in from one of the soldiers out on patrol around the Colony Cluster. All it had said was that there were five gundams and that they needed help. Duncan had burned the transcript before anyone ever noticed. They were alive, and that was good enough for him.

The soldier finally got the lock undone, and slipped inside the practically empty cell. A lone man lay on the floor, bound, blind folded, and gagged. He squirmed and whimpered, knowing someone had just entered his cage, fearful of what was going to happen to him. Duncan took a deep breath, horror filling his eyes as he took inventory of the small man.

The captive was thin and heavily bruised. He had multiple open wounds on his arms and his legs and his back was a mass of old and new scars, covered by fresh and still bleeding lacerations from his visit with Commander Writhe and Captain Sky. The cuts, Duncan was sure, were the work of Doctor Jamison and Doctor . He hated to see their handy work. Overall, the man looked like he was wasting away.

Duncan stepped closer to his body. Finally, only a few inches away, he knelt down beside him, resting a calming hand on the man's shoulder. The captive shivered in fear for a few moments more and then settled as Duncan calmly removed his blind fold. The smaller man winced in pain as the light burned his sensitive eyes, and Duncan waited calmly for him to see. "Relax. Take your time," he told him. With his words, the captive immediately froze. As his sight cleared, his eyes widened in shock and he stared at the soldier. Duncan smiled slightly, carefully removing the other man's gag. "Just keep your voice down."

"Zechs? How? What's going on? Where's Heero?"

"I don't have time to answer everything, Quatre. I need your help."

"My help? You're the one working for the Serpents," Quatre retorted, his voice dieing due to lack of moisture. Zechs handed him a flask and shook his head as the prisoner gulped down the water.

"I'm working with Duo to free you. I'm undercover," he told him, as Quatre sighed in relief and handed back the flask. "Your captor went insane, believing you had spoken to The General and that The General now liked you better; that you would replace him."

"But Heero."

"As far as I know, that wasn't Heero. They do some sort of cloning here. I'm not high enough up in the ranks to know more," Zechs told him. "Now listen. Apparently, whoever he was, he's no longer alive, so they moved you here. You aren't the only one who's been captured by The General. Barton and Chang were also captives, as was the Heero, if the information I've received from Maxwell is correct. All three managed to escape, although I'm not sure what condition they are in. For some reason, you're more important than any of them to The General."

"I don't know why," Quatre interrupted, only to be silenced by a glare from Zechs.

"As far as I know, they're currently helping Maxwell try and find you. I haven't given them the location yet because the moment they set foot here, they'll die. The General's forces are that strong and they'll be expecting them, no matter what. But they're not the only ones fighting. Maxwell has recruited your son, as well as the sons of the other pilots."

"What? That's not possible. Most of my sons joined the General. Unless… no!"

"Afraid so. Your youngest, I believe, is out there somewhere. But that's not the important part. What matters is that a few of them and their partners have been captured by The General and are being tortured just as you are. Here's what I need from you. Once I get the word to Maxwell, I'll signal you on their arrival. You have to create a distraction. Panic, threaten to kill yourself. I don't care what you do, so long as you make it big. My guess is you're too important to kill. That'll give Maxwell and the others the time they need to get in undetected. We'll take it from there."

Quatre let all the information sink in. He was just glad he wasn't alone. Glad Heero hadn't been behind this at all. Glad that his friends were out there trying to find him. Proud that his son refused to sit by and let others do the work, despite his young age.


"I don't know. It could be days, weeks, months. I can't say. I won't visit you again. It's too risky," Zechs told him, glancing at his watch. Seven minutes remaining. "I've got to go. I have to put you back," he added.

"I understand. And thank you."

Zechs just nodded and slipped the gag back over Quatre's mouth, followed by the blind fold. He tightened it so nothing would seem suspicious, then grabbed his flask and stuck it back into his belt. He stood and slipped back out the cell door, closing it quietly behind him, jimmying the lock quickly back into place with the silver pick before taking a position directly beside the door just as the real guards turned the corner to relieve him.

Year: After Colony 233

July 7

7:00 am

Location: Colony Cluster L2; Colony 16NAK68

Kat and Ami sat at the small apartment kitchen table taking sips of the tea that Kat had forced herself to make. Neither one spoke, but both knew what the other was thinking about as they stared either out the window or into the depths of the warm mugs between their hands. Three days had passed, and they all barely spoke to one another. Instead they roamed their shared apartment in silence save the sniffles from the girls who spent most of the time sobbing. Haru had locked himself up in the room he was supposed to share with Ayman and Trevet and hadn't been seen, save coming out to eat or relieve himself, which he did extremely rarely.

"Any word?" Trevet asked, coming back into the apartment after having spent the night searching. Kat shook her head, fresh tears forming.

"None. He's just disappeared," Ami answered him, holding back her own tears. Trevet muttered an almost silent curse, as Haru's door open and the man finally joined the group in the main rooms.

"He's gone then," Haru told them. "He's not going to come back if he hasn't already."

"We can't give up hope," Kat protested.

"There is no hope," Trevet replied. He and Haru took seats beside the two girls. "Hope ended when Nikki and Bren turned on us."


"Kat, we're not blaming Ayman. They would have killed us if he hadn't acted. He did what he knew was the only thing to do. He did what none of us were strong enough to do."

'But Tarak and Yul could still be alive," Ami pleaded, more than stated to her three friends.

"Even if they are, it's more likely than not that they've probably turned as well. However, I doubt that they're alive," Haru explained, placing his aching head in his hands. One look at his face, and the others knew he'd been crying. Maybe not sobbing, but there had definitely been tears in his eyes and on his face recently.

"So you want us to give up?" Kat asked, her voice almost inaudible.

"There's nothing left for us to do," Haru replied.

"What about a rescue?"

"Wouldn't do any good, Trev. If they're alive, they aren't going to want to be rescued."

"And Quatre?"

"Probably long dead by now. Same with Commander Maxwell. Sorry Trev."

"Don't be. When we stopped hearing from him, I'd sort of started believing it myself. It's over then?"

"I guess," Kat agreed.

"What about Ayman? We can't just leave him out there? He's only a little kid," Ami protested.

"Ami, he never landed. He doesn't want us to know where he is. Do you think we could find him otherwise?" Haru's words stung, but he was right. After the battle, they'd all kind of been stunned by what happened, but after they'd landed, Kizer and Ayman were no where to be found. They'd checked the hanger where they typically kept the suits but he wasn't there. Haru had suggested they give him time, but he still hadn't returned. It was as obvious as if the words were spoken to them out loud. Ayman Winner wasn't coming back. He'd given up, and it was about time that the four of them gave up to.

"So what now?" Ami whispered, finally admitting the truth to herself. Her best friends had tried to kill her and were now dead. Her fiancé was either dead or out to kill her as well. There was nothing left for her to fight for.

"We can either keep fighting a losing battle with the rest of the colonial army, or," Haru began.

"We can go home," Trevet finished for him. He stared at the faces of the other three war torn individuals and sighed, meeting each of their eyes squarely. "I'm going to go pack. It'll be good to see Mom and Maddian again."

"My parents weren't too happy with me running off anyway," Ami muttered, shyly as she followed Trevet away from the table. Kat and Haru just followed them into the bedrooms silently. It was over. There was nothing left for them to do except to allow the colonies to come to the inevitable rule of the General.

"I hope he's a nice dictator," Kat muttered sarcastically.

Year: After Colony 233

August 14


Location: Earth, Europe

A small boy watched as four children ran around the large community yard beyond the small living room window where he sat. He could hear their voices, raised in laughter, as they played some odd version of tag that he'd never had the chance to learn. Behind him, a woman ironed a large pile of clothing, folding each piece as she went. He'd offered to help, but she's just suggested that he go and join the others. He didn't want to. He didn't know how to play.

The boy's eyes traced the forms of one of the boys and the older of the girls. The twelve year old twins were racing each other. He wanted to join them, but he was still afraid his older brother and sister wouldn't accept him. Maybe they didn't want him around.

His eyes fell on the younger of the two girls. He let a small smile grace his features as he watched her pick herself off the ground and dust the earth off her dress. She was the most fun for him to watch. She always had a spark in her that made him long to be near her. She'd been the one to ask him to play, but he'd refused, seeking the shelter of the house instead.

His mind drifted back to a month and a half earlier. He'd made sure to disappear after he'd killed Nikki and Bren. He was sure the others would want to kill him; he wanted to kill himself. He knew there was a chance they were still alive, but there was no way the others would have believed him. Not when he didn't know exactly what had happened. It shouldn't have had to go that way, but he'd had no choice. But it was over, in his mind. He just wanted to normal.

Days after the battle, he was starving and very dehydrated from all the crying he'd done, and Kizer wasn't going to be able to fly much further. He'd finally been forced to land and decided to make his way to the home of his mother and siblings, praying they'd take him in. He'd shown up on the doorstep, only to have his mother throw her arms around him and instantly welcome him in. Yet he still felt like an outsider intruding on their small world of peace.

The boy pulled his knees up to his chest and rested his chin on top of them, closing his eyes and slipping into thought, he began to drift to sleep, listening to his mother humming softly behind him. In his mind's eye he saw Ami, Kat, Haru and Trevet. They were angry. They each had guns, and he was surrounded. He whimpered slightly as his dreams changed. This time he saw Tarak and Yul. They too wanted to kill him, but he didn't see hurt in their eyes. He saw hatred. Guns fired, and his dreams shifted a second time. He found himself standing in a deserted graveyard, carrying a large bouquet of flowers. He stood over two graves. As the boy knelt before the graves of his two friends, he heard laughing behind him. He glanced up, only to find Nikki and Bren laughing psychotically behind him before they started shoveling dirt into the whole he found himself trapped in. "No," he whimpered just loud enough for his mother to hear as he snapped his eyes open. The woman looked at him, concern written on his face.

He just gave her a small reassuring look. Yeah, the dreams bothered him, but not a single day had gone by since the battle that he hadn't dreamed like that. His sleep, when he got it was never peaceful. He was haunted by the ghosts of his friends, demons from his past, and the guilt that he'd given up. He hated himself for all of it.

"Ayman?" the woman spoke to him. "Ayman, you should really go outside. Get some fresh air."

Ayman glazed up at his mother, wanting to say something. He wanted to tell her what he'd done. He wanted to tell her that her ten eleven year old son had killed his friends and given up on rescuing his father. But all he could do was nod and leave through the front door. He could sit on the stoop just as well as he could sit in the window.

Year: After Colony 233

September 1

3:00 pm

Location: Colony Cluster L3; Colony 83GKY02

Duo walked down an empty street. They'd finally checked out their last possible lead, and hit a brick wall. They had no choice now but to wait for either more information or for the General to finally establish full control over each and every one of the colonies. Everything they had worked for when they were younger; it had all been for nothing. His son was reported dead, as were the children of his friends, and Wufei was right. It was his fault.

He pushed his hands deeper into his trench coat pockets. For early fall, it really was getting unusually cold. It didn't surprise him. When something was wrong, it was usually the weather simulators that went first. Duo kicked a pebble as he went. In his mind, he imagined the pebble was the General, the man responsible for everything Trowa, Wufei, Heero, Quatre, and he were going through at the moment. It was the General's fault that Trowa and Wufei had been imprisoned for months, weakened from malnutrition. It was the General's fault that Heero had been beaten until he was near death. It was the General's fault that Quatre had been kidnapped after attempting to stop his sons from joining the man. It was the General's fault Duo had needed to recruit mere boys to fight against him. It was, however, Duo's fault that the boys were dead.

He entered a small bar, planning on drowning away his guilt with a beer or two. It also didn't hurt that the bars were the places one was more than likely to hear gossip; gossip that could possibly place them back on the right track. Standing in the doorway, Duo glanced around, noting several very drunk Serpents in the back corner. It was becoming increasingly common to find the enemy out in the open. Civilians were scared of them.

He approached the bar and ordered a beer. The bar tendered brought it to him, and Duo leaned back against the counter, just far enough away from the Serpents that he couldn't have been recognized or accused of eavesdropping, despite the hidden earpiece he wore. Because of it, he could hear the drunks loud and clear. However, that wasn't what caught his attention. Instead it was the man with the long white hair wearing a long tan coat over what Duo assumed was a military uniform. The man's gaze beckoned him over. Duo raised an eyebrow, but downed the rest of his beer, and walked over, sliding into the booth across from the man.

"Haven't heard from you in a while. I was sure you'd been killed."

"Not yet," Zechs responded, taking a sip of his own drink. "Had a few close calls though."

"That's a shame. You used to thrive on close calls," Duo told him with a slight smile. "I'm glad to see someone's still alive."

"You heard the rumors then? That the General managed to kill the mysterious nine fighters that were out to destroy him?"

"How could I not? It's been in all the papers and on just about every news station on every colony. The General sure likes to brag."

"When there's nothing to brag about," Zechs answered simply.

"What are you talking about?" Duo asked, very curious as to what his surprise guest was referring to.

"Your sons; they're all still alive. As are their girlfriends," Zechs answered.

"You're kidding."

"I swear I'm not. There are four prisoners being held at the base: Yul Chang, Tarak Barton, Brennett Clemense, and Nikkimi Lee. They're being used in the clone testing. However, on July fourth, a force of Serpents clashed in battle with five mobile suits, three of them gundams. None of the Serpents made it out alive, and the last two alive were clones. I was lucky to have intercepted the transmission. The General has no idea the five who aren't his prisoners are alive."

"You waited this long to tell me?"

"Well, for one, I have more information for you. And for another, I couldn't exactly run off and find you. It would look a bit suspicious, don't you think."

"I'm sorry, it's just," Duo began.

"He's your son. I know," Zechs finished.

"You said you had more?"

"Yes. A fifth prisoner was brought in several months ago after his private guard went insane and almost killed him. He's been on top priority security ever since, but I managed to finally get in and talk to him. I know where they're keeping Winner."

"You saw Quatre? You know where he is?"

"Calm down," Zechs hissed at his ally. Duo struggled to keep his cool. It was all becoming too much to take in. The lead they so desperately needed was sitting directly in front of him. "I do, but I can't tell you yet."

"Why not?"

"Because, the moment I do, you and your hot headed friends are going to charge right in there. I can't always rely on Barton to keep you from doing something stupid. He, Chang, and Yuy are with you, I take it?" Duo simply nodded understanding despite the fact that he didn't like it.

"What do we need to do?"

"You need to find your son and his friends," Zechs. "Don't come back to this bar until you have them. It's going to take all of us to even have a chance free Quatre and destroy the General. I'll be waiting for you." Zechs took one last sip of his drink, swallowing the rest of the liquid, and then left, leaving Duo sitting very much alone, with a new wealth of information, and no idea how he was going to tell the others.

Year: After Colony 233

October 2

6:00 pm

Location: Colony Cluster L3; Colony 83GKY02

"Are you coming down to dinner, dear?"

"No," was the simple reply. It was all Mr. and Mrs. Lornen had been able to get out their daughter since she'd returned almost three months ago. All she told them is that she didn't want to go back to school; that she needed time to think. Mr. Lornen had wanted to send her straight back, but Mrs. Lornen told him no. She, however, blamed the war. Ami should never have joined. And now her daughter wasn't going to tell her what had happened.

Ami lay on her bed staring up at the ceiling. It was probably the only thing she'd done since she had returned home. The patterns on the ceilings reminded her of the stars. She could see her friends in them, all of them too far away for her to reach. She picked up a small object off her bedside table and twisted it in the air, its edges catching the light from the setting sun. She held it up until it was directly above her face, and as she stared at it, she let a single tear fall. She placed it back in its new rightful place on the table. It just wasn't right to wear her engagement ring anymore. Not when that life was so far away from her now.

Ami sat up slowly and dried her eyes. She slipped her feet into her slippers and descended down the stairs to where her mother, father, and younger brother were all seated around the dinner table. They gave her questioning looks.

"I'm not allowed to change my mind?" Ami asked. Her younger brother smirked and shook his head. Her father just nodded, but her mother instantly rushed to the young woman who'd decided to eat with her family for the first time since she'd gotten home.

"Of course not dear," she cooed gently, taking Ami's hand and guiding her towards the table. "Come. Sit beside me. I've made all your favorites."

She had indeed made all of the girl's former favorites. However, now, the sight of them made her kind of sick. She hadn't eaten anything near as rich since she, Nikki, Bren, and Kat had left for the war. She sort of missed quick meals, and even some of the food they'd provided at the training base. But she still sat, giving her mom a small smile.

"Looks great, mom," she replied, reaching toward a bowl of mashed potatoes on the far end of the table. Her long sleeves slid upward, revealing the stark white scars that ran on her arms as reminders of attack on the hospital that had been the beginning of the end. Her mother gasped, seeing the scars against the cream of her daughter's skin. Ami looked at her questioning before she realized what her mother had seen. She pulled her arms back quickly.

"Oh Ami," her mother whined.

"I'm alright. Its nothing," she told her mother, holding her arms protectively to her chest. Her father gave her a disapproving look, while her brother just stared. Ami, let a few tears fall, before pushing herself back away from the table and taking off, running up the stairs.

About an hour later, someone tapped lightly on her door. She didn't answer, but the person proceeded into the room. "Ami?" her younger brother's voice called to her. She turned to look at him. He could tell she'd been crying again.

"What happened, Ami?" She just continued to stare at him. "Ami?"

She finally sat up and gave him a tiny smile, hoping to reassure him. "Nothing. Just me being stupid." She hoped to convince him.

"I'm sure it was brave too though," he told her, coming further into the room and sitting down on her bed beside her. "Could you tell me?"

"I wouldn't know where to begin," she answered.

"It doesn't matter."

Year: After Colony 233

October 14

7:00 am

Location: Colony Cluster L2; Colony 14JDW62

He swung his bag higher up onto his shoulder as he stood outside the white picket fence, gazing at the old country style house. Leave it to his father to choose to live in the middle of a country colony. He remembered being younger and his father telling them that the only thing missing was the golden retriever running around. His mother had hit him. No dog was going to ruin her perfect house.

Somehow the picture in front of him seemed too perfect to be disturbed. The young man gazed into the distance. He could see the dreaded, forbidden, taboo hanger in the distance. He got a chill up his spine as he looked at it. For a moment he was tempted to head towards it; to turn his back on the house in front of him. He took two steps away from the gate. He would have gone farther if he hadn't heard the cry of joy from behind him. He should have known she'd be awake.

The young man swept a hand through his blonde hair, rolling his violet eyes with an exasperated sigh, as he turned back around and caught the young woman who dove into his waiting arms, sobbing. He knew it was tears of joy to see him home as he held her, trying to quiet her.

"You'll wake the whole neighborhood," he told her with a bit of laugh, even though it was empty. The girl looked up at him, a huge grin on her face. It faltered for a moment when she saw the light gone from his eyes. They were much duller than their normal shine, despite recent washings of tears.

It had taken him three months to come home. He hadn't known exactly where he was going to go after they'd reached their decision, so he'd wandered. He'd wanted to see as much of the colonies and the earth as he could before the General took control.

"There, that's better now. Come on, lets go tell mom I'm home," Trevet Maxwell told his younger sister. Maddian just nodded, and let him lead the way into their home. She knew there was something different about him. And Trevet knew she knew. Maddy always knew. He just sighed slightly in response. Nothing could ever be kept secrete from his sister, so it would be better to tell her and his mother at the same time, rather than have Maddy tell everyone later.

"Mom?" Trevet called, stepping foot cautiously into his home for the first time since his father had "recruited" him almost two years before. It smelled just like he remembered it did. However, it made him shiver worse than the sight of the hanger in the distance.

Katrina Maxwell didn't hesitate to come running at the sound of her son's voice. Trevet smiled as he caught his mother, nearly the mirror image of his sister, with nearly the identical reaction. Trevet was glad he hadn't worn a good shirt as he was now drenched with tears. However, he just held her until she'd calmed down enough for him to release her and be confident that she would remain standing. He placed his bag on the floor.

"There are some things I need to tell you," he told them, simply. "A good many things," he thought to himself as he led the way into their kitchen. His mother might as well brew some coffee.

Year: After Colony 233

October 23

5:45 pm

Location: Earth; England

"That man called the General is out there where Sir and Madam are; shouldn't we be worried?"


"What do you mean 'perhaps'? Sir and Madam could be in danger."

"It is highly unlikely. Sir would never place Madam in harms way."

"But do you think it was wise to take a holiday to colonies at such a tumultuous time. The rebels are going to be crushed. What if Sir were to be mistaken for one of them?"

"I don't think anyone could mistake Sir for one of those pieces of filth. The colonists have always been worthless, troublesome, upstarts."

In another room, able to hear the conversation loud and clear, a glass shattered in the grip of a young woman. Most of the vessel and the water it contained ended up on the floor, but there were several shards lodged in her hand, adding droplets of blood to the mix.

The two servants having the discussion seemed to have heard the accident and had paused in their conversation. They resumed, but their voices were filled with concern.

"If you have fears about Sir and Madam, you shouldn't voice them where Miss can hear. Not after she's just returned from traveling abroad, only to find her parents aren't home to welcome her."

So her parents had told the staff their beloved daughter had quit University in order to go gallivanting across the world. At least it was a better lie than they had told when she'd chosen to attend school in the colonies. Sure it had been alright for her secondary school, but for University. She wouldn't have gotten a proper education being taught by uncivilized colonists. They contented themselves by telling others she was off helping the less privileged. At least they hadn't said she'd had another accident like the time she'd taken sleeping pills to kill herself. Katylina Rochet shook her head and glanced down at her palm as the voices of the head maid and butler drew closer.

"The poor dear. She's been so quiet since she got home," the maid answered the butler. The old woman entered the dining room, her eyes falling first on Kat and then on the mess at her feet, and lastly on her bloody hand. "Miss! Good heavens," she screamed. Kat resisted the urge to slap her. It wasn't their fault they didn't know she'd had much, much worse than a few glass cuts. "Your parents are fine, sweet. Come, let's get you cleaned up." She attempted to lead Kat away from the broken glass. The girl just pulled herself out of the woman's grasp, angered by the conversation.

"I'm fine," she spat, although she winced in pain as she closed her hand on several shards still lodged in her skin. She began to storm off.

"Poor dear; what horrible manners she's developed. She must have picked them up from those horrible colonists," the woman tried to whisper to the butler. Too bad for her, Kat heard every word. The younger woman whirled around, her eyes burning in anger, tears threatening their way to the surface.

"Listen to me. And listen to me carefully," she hissed, trying her best to keep her voice level in the large estate. "I didn't have an accident when I was nine, I tried to kill myself. I didn't choose to go to University in the colonies to help less fortunate, I went because the school looked great and my friends where there. And I wasn't traveling abroad for the past year. I joined the colonist army and I've been fighting the General alongside my friends and the colonists in Mobile Suits with lasers and bombs and bullets. And I was in a coma for several months because my suit got blasted apart. Oh yeah, and I saw my best friends killed right in front of me three and a half months ago. Please! Please, don't call me poor dear again, because you have absolutely no idea."

With that, she turned on her heel and sped away, leaving two very stunned servants behind her.

Year: After Colony 233

October 31

9:55 pm

Location: Colony Cluster L5; Colony 46FJX89

The apartment was just as he'd left it. He was slightly glad he'd bought the apartment and hadn't rented it, or it wouldn't have been there any longer. He'd tried going home, but every since he'd moved out, it had been deserted. Haruko Yuy figured his father must have gone off in search of Renyu, to try and persuade him not to join the General. It didn't matter to him. He knew his father was alive. If he decided Haru needed to know about is location, he'd send him word, somehow. He'd spent a few months at the desolate house where he'd been born, where he'd first met Nikki, but he couldn't stay there. There were too many painful reminders of his past there.

Haru sighed and gazed around the desolate apartment. His eyes lingered on the spot where Duo had shot Nikki nearly two years before as he dropped his bag onto the bed they were supposed to share that night. He whipped his hand across his eyes, forcing back tears of misery as he crossed the room to the window. He remembered her standing there clad only in a towel, her hair brushing her shoulders. It was raining outside just as had been that night. A flash of lightning lit the room and he thought he saw her standing there beside him for a moment, but it was only his imagination. He shook his head and pulled the heavy curtains closed before stripping off his clothes and entering the bathroom to take a shower.

When he walked back into the room wearing only his boxers, he collapsed onto the bed, his eyes once again focusing on the slightly bloody spot on the carpet. He reached down to his jeans which lay on the floor beside it and pulled something out as he sat up. He placed the object in his lap, contemplating what had happened in the past few years. There had been some ups, like proposing to the woman he loved, but the downs vastly outweighed them.

"It started here," he muttered to no one but himself. "And this is where it will end," he added as he raised the gun he held

So, I can't not end with a cliff hanger, can I? Even if I am getting very, very close to the end of this thing. Somewhere between 2 – 4 chapters remain, and that's including epilogue (at least that's how it is in my mind).

I love my charries (or rather the people they're based off of) hint hint: REVIEW

Fateless Wanderer