"I don't like this, something ain't right," Duo muttered as the five of them crept, still unopposed, into the main chamber at the Oz research facility. "This is too easy."

"The base is supposed to be shut down for a week, while they update the security systems," Quatre murmured. "It makes sense that there'd be no one around."

"It's just too damned convenient."


"Yeah, Heero?"

"Shut up."

"He's right," Wufei growled.

"You see that? I heard him, did you hear that?" Duo exclaimed. "The Wu-man said I was right! This is a historic moment!"


"Yeah, Wu-man?"

"Shut up. He is right, though. There's no need for all five of us to come on this mission. Any one of us could have handled it by ourselves. There's something very wrong here."

That was when the device they had supposedly come to get info on flickered to life.

"Oh, shit," Duo muttered, staring at the slowly expanding ball of light originating from a metal sphere in the middle of the device. "What's it doing?"

"I think we should get out of here," Quatre muttered, backing up. They were all backing up, trying to stay out of the range of the light. Then there was a brilliant flash of light, followed by an instant of darkness and a stomach-twisting lurch.

When his eyes cleared, Duo was sitting on the floor in front of the machine, which hadn't moved. There was only one problem. When the light had gone off, they'd been standing in a small, darkened room in the back of a supposedly abandoned Oz base. Now they were in a huge, well-lit room with dozens of other machines all around. As there was a shout of alarm from somewhere nearby, he closed his eyes for a second, anticipating a headache. I knew I shouldn't have gotten out of bed this morning, I just knew it.

Then he drew his gun and, glancing at the others, prepared to figure out what the hell was going on.


Elsewhere in the base, a figure dressed entirely in black with a mask over their head cursed. A low, gravely voice emerged from the mask, and the body was definitely masculine, solving the question of the sex of intruder. "There's something going on with project 3285. According to this, something just came through it."

"That wasn't supposed to work!" said a second masked figure.

"I know that! I'm going to go check it out."

"We have to be out of here in three twenty-eight," the second figure said.

"I know. But if they've got it working, it has to be destroyed. And one of us has to get out of here with that data," the first said, nodding towards a computer where the seconds was working furiously, even as they talked.

"You have to get out of here."

"You're the only one that can break the code in time to download the data and get out of here. I can't get that job done. This other thing has to be done. If I don't make it to the rendezvous in time, you leave without me, understand?"


"We need that data. If it weren't so important, we wouldn't have risked coming here. Any of these projects could be deadly. That why, if they finally got one working, it has to be destroyed."

"Be careful."

"Get the job done. I'll see you at the rendezvous."

The first figure drew a gun and, stepping over the bodies of the lab technicians, started running down the hall towards the storage chamber where all of the non-operational experiments were kept. It took one minute, twenty-one seconds to reach the chamber. Two-oh-seven left. Shit. The intruder froze when he arrived on the scene to find that there was some sort of firefight going on between the Alliance forces and... who else? There was slight chance that the Alliance had happened to bring a group of prisoners by their top-secret base, and the intruder knew that none of the team should be down here. So who the hell were they fighting?

The intruder raised his gun and started firing. There wasn't much cover in the hallway, but it didn't matter much. By the time the small security force realized that they were being attacked from two directions, it was too late, they were already dead, most from the intruder's gun, but when they started to turn to face the new danger, someone in the storage chamber started picking them off with lethal precision, one-by-one. In a few seconds there were twelve bodies on the ground, and the intruder proceeded cautiously forward.

A voice echoed down the hall. "Shit! Heero, that guy's almost as good a shot as you!"

The intruder paused. That voice sounds very familiar. No, it can't be. He should be miles away by now.

Even more wary than before, the intruder continued forward.


"He's coming this way," Quatre reported nervously from the security monitor, occasionally glancing down guiltily at the man he'd killed to get to this position.

"You think he's on our side or not?" Duo asked, speaking to the group in general. "He did kill those... whoever they were."

"Don't make assumptions," Heero growled.

"I don't think it's going to matter much," Wufei said, pointing at another screen where they could clearly see another squad of men running down the halls, coming in this direction. "They'll probably kill him."

"Unless we get to them first," Duo replied with an evil grin, withdrawing something from his pocket. The others stared at him.

"Do you always carry around grenades?" Quatre asked.

"Yup. Never leave home without them. It's my safety blanket. But I'm pretty sure, if we wait long enough, they'll all come running right by that door..."

"Do it," Heero said shortly, and went back to searching through the computer, trying to figure out where the hell they were, why the men weren't wearing Oz uniforms, and what the hell was going on. So far, not much luck. Judging by the level of security that he was working through, someone had designed a very very good security system.

Duo grinned at Heero's words, and went back to watching the cameras, waiting for the men to come within reach, fingering the pin of the grenade.

"What about him?" Quatre asked, pointing at the masked man.

"He'll turn around and run when he sees the soldiers, if he's got any sense, and if he doesn't then he doesn't deserve to live anyway."

They watched as the intruder froze, seeing the men running at him. Almost as quickly as Heero, the gun came up and the man started firing. Three soldiers dropped immediately. "Shit, maybe he doesn't have the sense to run," Duo muttered. "Or maybe he doesn't need to."

As they watched, though, the intruder turned and started to run back down the hall, firing over his shoulder as he ran. Duo grinned. "Here they come!" He pulled the pin and threw the grenade with a practiced arc. "Three, two, one..."

They all saw the intruder throw himself forward, covering his head with his arms an instant before the grenade went off. The soldiers were all instantly killed, and the intruder was caught by the force of the blast and thrown a dozen feet down the hallway until he crashed into the wall. Suddenly the screens went blank. "What the fuck..."

"They've cut me off," Heero reported. "They must have figured out our position."

Suddenly the doors to the hallway slammed shut with an authoritative sound, and they all heard the hiss of gas being released. A few seconds later five unconscious bodies slumped to the floor.