I'm very sorry! A long time wasn't it? It's just that... a chapter of my life was ending, and I wanted to say goodbye to it properly. I'll try my best from now on, okay?

Cagalli felt… strange.

It was a strange combination of paranoia, suspicion and the feeling of being watched, and it just won't go away.

She was sitting on the bed in her new quarters, that besides being smaller, was pretty much the same. She rubbed her neck irately. Falling back into a lying position, she couldn't help but feel miffed that she was sent onto a deserted research center. She spent a lot of time training, training to become the best so that she would be sent to the front lines. She did have a goal to accomplish after all.

Unconsciously, she clenched her fist. Then relaxed it.

Perfectly honest, she was more confused than angry. Why? What was so important here, anyways? It seemed like nothing more than a quiet facility devoted to science. Why would they need five elites to come to protect it?

Unless, they were anticipating attack. Which would mean, that there is something important here after all. If so, what good was only five soldiers and a handful of scientists, no matter how good they were?

Releasing a frustrated sound, Cagalli abruptly stood up. The confusion was making the strange feeling come back, stronger than ever. She had to get out of here.

She quickly exited the room, pulling a map of the building with her. It seems that, at least, they were not expecting infiltrators, or like the normal military bases, would offer no directory device. She was glad – even a soldier liked to rest his guard. Happily consulting the map, she made her way to the cafeteria.

He hung up his past spare coat and straightened up. He surveyed the room carefully. Strangely, Athrun missed his old room. He never really liked it all that much, but in light of this new one…

He smiled a bit wistfully to himself. I guess distance does make the heart fonder…

This room was a bit on the small side, but he wasn't here for a vacation, he reasoned. Opening his laptop, he prepared to send an email to Kira, telling him of his sudden departure. Opening up his email provider, he quickly typed up Kira's address, and paused, not to sure what to say. "Hi, Kira? Guess what I'm now on a PLANT a billion miles away."? It sounded a bit awkward…

Finally he finished:

Hey Kira,

Strange isn't it, how we often find ourselves in a place that we never expected to be? Well, that kinda just happened to me… By the way, I am now on December 4, stationed at a research lab, with no soldiers except for my squad.

To say that it's very strange here would be an understatement. Not to mention I don't even know what we supposed to do. Well… what can I do, right? ZAFT is famous for its don't-question-what-I-am-doing attitude-unless-you-have-the-proper-ranking, which I don't think I can quite do at the moment.

I'll email you again later on – just wanted to tell you that our messages will take longer, now.

See you later,


But as he pressed "send", the strangest thing happened.

A new window popped up with a brief message: Let it be acknowledged that only certain mail is allowed out at this time. A second window announced "email is now in progress of being sent".

Athrun blinked. He had said that it would take longer for the mail to reach Kira, but he never thought that it would never reach him at all. "Only certain mail…" What did that mean? It had never happened to him before, in all his service in ZAFT. Leaving his laptop with a backwards glance, he left his room for a walk.

Walking slowly to take time to acclimatize himself, Athrun reminder himself of each room he passed. Let's see, there are six rooms here. One for each of us, and one empty one. …eh? One of the doors was ajar. He knocked lightly on the door creaked open another foot or so, as if beckoning him inside. Hesitantly, he stepped inside and looked around. No one was there. The room was still and the closet door was open. The lone object out of place at the foot of the bed was a plain brown suitcase.

Or maybe not. When he flicked on the bed-side light, a glint of light caught his eye. A blue gem the same shade of the blankets was lying on the bed. Curiosity getting better of him, he picked it up. The gem was a beautiful clear blue on an unclasped chain. There was something carved on the surface. Athrun held it up toward the dim light of the hallway and tried to focus on the image, he saw movement though the jewel.

The person had just came back from the cafeteria after a light snack. She hand on the doorknob that she accidently left ajar on her way out, map crumpled in her other hand.

Kakimidasu Jikyuu stared at her commander who knelt on the floor with her necklace dangling from his fingers.

He mind blanked out from the shock. My necklace… Her hand flew to her throat. It must have fell off when she was lying there. That was very well and all, but what was he doing with it, in her room!

He was staring at her, the shock of being caught in his snooping freezing him in place. With an irritated growl, she flew at her commander, the map dropping to the floor.

"Wha--!" Too surprised to react, Athrun was crushed to the floor at her sudden tackle. All in one move, Cagalli secured the necklace between her teeth and immediately wrapped her hands around his neck, intent on strangling him.

She applied steady pressure, and he felt his airways being cut off. She was directly above him, a knee on either side of his hips. One of his hands pinned down under his body. Survival reflexes kicked in, and he used one hand to deliver a swift hit to her stomach. In a second move, he managed to kick her off him and fling himself to the other side of the room.

The door suddenly slid shut, plunging them into semi-darkness. They were on the opposite side of the room, crouching and breathing heavily. Cagalli was the first to recover.

Removing the stone from her mouth, she glared at him. "What the hell, Zala!" She spat, forgetting all formalities. "What are you doing here!"

A took another moment for the lightheadness to disappear. "I was just passing by, and I saw your door open."

"And you decided to come snooping around?"

"Well – not really…" A noise of skepticism. "Sorry, I realize I was wrong in this. Is that very precious to you?"

Cagalli paused, confused. Did he not see what was on it? "Zala. What is on my necklace?"

"Well, I'm not sure – really. I was just about to look. Maybe a flower of some sort?"

Could he really not have seen? Could I be that lucky? A feeling of hope grew in her. "Are you sure that you don't know what was on it?"

"Yes. Why: is there something important?"

She seemed not have heard his question. "Zala, let's make a deal. I won't tell anyone that you came here intruding my privacy without proper documentation and you forget that any of this ever happened."

Athrun blinked. "Oh, er… alright…"

"Good." She stood up and clasped the necklace back onto her neck. She stepped back and gave him a salute somewhat mockingly. "Commander." Then, she promptly removed him from her room.

Cagalli turned on the main light and sighed. She held up the blue crystal. One it was engraved the image of a lion against a flower. It was the official symbol of the current Orb Princess.

Athrun entered his own room just next door. It was then he really had confirmation. It was one thing to hide your name and personal information. But it was really quite another when he personally seen evidence. Evidence that was blue and in the shape of a tear-drop. Jikyuu most certainly had something to hide.

Through all the mystery and danger, both were suddenly aware of one thing. A bond was been forcefully pushed into them. A bond of promise to hide secrets. Little did they know that this bond would grow to be very important.

Shinn paused beside a large window on the hallway and stared out of it, unseeingly. He had just seen that new girl trying her best to strangle Athrun Zala. He didn't particularly care – he might even found it amusing – if not for the memories it dragged up.

It pulled his mind back to one dark night no more than half a year ago, one deserted street… and one beautiful girl caught between her fear and her revenge.

His hand came up and he absently touched his throat, where the girl's hands and closed around, terrified and determined…

Shinn yawned and slowed down his pace even more. He was now walking ever so slowly down the harbor street. He could see his ship there in the distance, lights sparkling. Why he had sent so long at the town…

Originally his plan had been to quickly grab some personal supplies in the evening off his day off in the middle of the sea-side city where they had stopped. But as he entered the city in the early evening… he was struck by a feeling of –of peace, of happiness and of people. He strolled the city and due to that he was no walking home in the late evening in the middle of a deserted street quite late at night.


Maybe the street wasn't so deserted after all. There was someone there. The figure was sitting on top the low wall separating the street fro the sea. As he walked past, his feet slowed and slowed into they came to a full stop.

In the faint twilight light, he could see the outline of her face. She was young, with a peaceful face. As if sensing his presence, she turned.

Time stopped then, as they stared at each other. They were only a few feet apart.

Suddenly, the still in time broke. The girl seemed to register him fully. Without warning, she leapt off her perch and landed on him, flattening him to the ground. She snaked her hands around his neck and squeezed. He choked as his airway was blocked.

His vision blurred and he could still hear her. "Why?" She breathed. "Why… do you have to kill us all?"

Shinn choked in reply.

"Stellar… she doesn't want to die. Don't kill me!" She applied hard pressure on his neck, and he knew as this rate he would surely die. He struggled and a failing fist caught her in the side.

Her grip slipped and he quickly pushed her off and got up, his bag carelessly tossed to the side.

"What are you doing?" he yelled. "What have I done to you?" He glared at her and was quite surprised to see her looking fearfully at him.

"Stellar… is afraid." She whispered, her voice carrying in the wind. "She pointed to his ship in the distance. "Won't you kill me?" He looked at her, confused. "You are from them. They killed my family and my home. Will they kill Stellar too?"

This is a fact. ZAFT killed many people and destroyed many things on Earth. But nevertheless…he took a hesitant step forward. Then another and another. She watched him with her wide magenta eyes, but did not make another move.

When he was close enough, he extended a hand. A trembling hand took it and he lifted her up. "Don't worry." He murmured to her. "I would never kill you."

Shinn had no idea who she was. She was strong, but terrified. She wanted to live.

He could understand that.

Before he realized it, "my parents were killed too" slipped out his mouth. He never said that as directly and as calmly as he did then. There was now a look of trust in her eyes.

His eyes were damp. He felt it then, a fleeting sense of something between them. He ended up spending most of that night with the girl. They rested against the wall, facing the great ocean. They didn't say much, but that only created the sense of peace.

Inwardly, he knew that this strange relationship between them would be complex. He realized that night that they were similar. Or maybe, it was more accurate to say that they were complete opposites.

They shared the same past. A destroyed family. Enlisting in desperation. But at the same time… the y were on the opposite side of war.

The blacked-haired man sighed, and walked away from the window, pushing his thoughts back to the back of his head.

He never saw what happened outside the window.

The man there breathed a sigh a relief. The moment he saw the soldier standing in front of the window, he had ducked behind a corner. He had been sure that he had been spotted, but it seems that he was lucky.

Very lucky.

It had been the director's first command. The soldiers coming here were simply to defend this plant slash lab from knowledge of the Earth Alliance. They were not to know what was transpiring here. After all, the experiments they were carrying out… were either ethical nor entirely legal.

This time, the man looked carefully around before carrying his load straight to his destination.

Thanks for reading,

August 11, 2007