The Dark Energy Wars
A long time ago when life was simpler, when wars only involved humans, and space was just a giant black vacuum that contained nothing but the dreams of men, the most intelligent minds on the planet could only account for and had barely begun to understand roughly four percent of all the matter and energy that existed in the universe. The rest of it, the things they didn't understand, were referred to as 'dark.' Dark matter got its title because it was just that, when peered at through an extremely sensitive telescope there were solid regions in space that looked blacker than the rest, heavier somehow. Dark energy, on the other hand, was called that because top scientific minds were completely in the dark about it. Dark energy couldn't actually be seen but all the mathematical equations and observations about the world and space said that there must have existed somewhere in the universe a lot more energy than what was accounted for. No one had any idea where this energy could be or what its possibilities were. And no one ever guessed that dark energy could be alive, that is until the First Dark Energy War.
The end of the twenty eighth century would also be the end of Earth. Most of mankind no longer lived on Earth, the planet was mainly home to the poor who couldn't afford to live in space or the terminally ill whose diseases were being quarantined and hopefully extracted from the human race by being perfectly contained on the blue planet. They were the unlucky that were slaughtered, and the men of space made no effort to strike up retaliation. Why get more people killed when it was just the dregs of society and an over-polluted planet that got destroyed anyway? Such was the logic of the human race.
It was a small force that had been sent by the enemy to destroy Earth, and had the human race worked together they may have been able to defeat it. Too bad nobody had figured that out even by the time the Second Dark Energy War had begun not five months later. The handful of survivors from the first war were finally able to convince their race of the wisdom in working together to defeat an indomitable enemy. Thus the beginnings of the first human alliance were formed which would, in less than a year, become the elite organization known as SAFE. When first formed, SAFE had been a special operations branch of the military. They focused on missions in outer space and the development of special fighting machines known as mobile suits. The original five suits that were developed were the most powerful and used technology stolen from the Dark Energists themselves. They had been developed by a small group of elite scientists who had been studying dark energy for their entire lives and needed only see it in action to finally understand it. They had been destroyed with the earth but their suits had lived on. No one alive understood the technology imbedded in the anthropologic giant robots, but they didn't care as long as they could find pilots for the mechanical beasts.
That was the true purpose of SAFE, to find the five pilots that could wield the incredible power of the five mobile suits, known to all as the Gundams, that the scientists had created and guaranteed could save the remainder of the human race. It was quickly discovered that not just anyone could pilot the Gundams. They had been designed to only accept their true pilots, the ones who would be able to control that awesome power. So far all attempts to find suitable pilots had resulted in death. There was a pattern though, it seemed that only those who had seen a Dark Energist could get anywhere close to the machines.
That's when it was discovered that people who had been on Earth during the attacks contained a small amount of dark energy within themselves. It was one of the unusual properties of dark energy, it seemed to transfer very easily out of the metallic bodies of the enemy but stayed well contained within the flesh of man. Some had more of the mysterious substance in them than others, though it was not understood why. These survivors were well sought after by the military, for they were humanity's last hope. The dregs of society that had been sanctioned off and left to die of starvation and disease by the colonists, were now their only saviors.
SAFE eventually evolved and took over the entire military since all humans were allied with each other, the only threat they faced was the one that SAFE had been originally created for. So a training program was set up and all those who were able-bodied were offered a salary and free schooling if they joined the military forces. Naturally the offer drew in exactly what the military was looking for, young men who had survived Earth's destruction. They were poor and needed the paycheck and they needed even more to quench their thirst for revenge. Many others came too though, young men and women from the colonies flocked to the floating barge to join the ranks of the military, but still no pilots for the Gundams had been found. So the human race was left no choice but to wait for the next unstoppable attack; the final war that would at last finish them off.
Duo Maxwell was late, this was not unusual but this time it meant life or death for the boy. He had quit his lousy job with quite the public display that involved giving his boss the finger when he had seen the military's offer for a good salary, free meals, and an education for all young men who were willing to fight. He wasn't sure how he felt about the fighting part, but his crappy job, meager earnings and empty stomach had convinced him that he could pretend to be interested in their training if for nothing else than three square meals a day. He didn't know who he was but people told him that he must have been from Earth because he was so poor. He'd believe it. It would be just his luck to be one of those cursed souls from that lost planet. At least it would prove his point that there was nowhere he truly belonged, which meant he had even less qualms about joining the military.
Well at least he had planned to join, but if missed the shuttle he wasn't going to be joining anything accept the nearest unemployment line. Fifteen years old and he already hated life, he couldn't wait to find out what his midlife crisis would be like if he was already signing up for the armed forces on a whim and a growling stomach. He saw the shuttle just twenty meters in front of him, the last person was already climbing in, but he would make it. When he wanted to he could run really fast, faster than any one else on the streets and that had come in handy. He made it to the shuttle door just as a large man in a red and black military uniform hit the button to close it.
"Wait." He screamed at the man, waving his sign-up form like a madman. "You've got one more, don't forget me!" The man eyed him like he was scum. He supposed that to a perfectly preened and buzzed military man like this guy, his disheveled appearance and long hair were a disturbing sight indeed. He chuckled about that, they were nuts if they thought he would ever let anyone come near his hair. He supposed he would tolerate the uniform if it meant food and a warm bed.
"You're late." The man glared coldly before ripping the paper out of Duo's hands and skimming over it with much distaste. "You think you might be from Earth? That's what you put for your place of origin?" Duo shuffled uncomfortably under the man's searing glare, he obviously had a fetish for perfect paperwork.
"Well I can't really remember but sometimes I dream of a place that I don't think could exist in space." The man's glare rose in intensity about ten notches and the absolute haughty distaste he had for Duo could almost be seen in the air around him. Duo swallowed and scratched his nose, uncomfortable under the man's intense scrutiny. The military official took hold of Duo's information sheet with both hands and began to rip it right in Duo's face.
"What the fu…"
"Lt. Char, I would appreciate it if you would let the boy through so we can get going. You have wasted enough time we could have lifted off by now." Duo heaved a sigh of relief and the giant of a military officer stepped back to reveal a deceptively slender gentleman dressed in the same pristine military uniform. It was obvious he was of a higher rank though and his gray eyes twinkled in amusement. His pale silver hair was short and spiked and fell in small chunks against his fair skin. Duo instantly liked this guy a thousand times better than the ugly brute at the door, well he was a thousand times better looking anyway and he didn't look at Duo like trash that needed to be taken out.
"I am Col. Zettai, welcome to SAFE." The man held out a hand of long slender fingers and Duo took it enthusiastically, he thought he might be developing a bit of a crush on the Colonel. "Go ahead and take your seat, we need to launch now." Duo nodded and hefted his shoulder bag back into place before turning to search for an empty seat. The aircraft's interior was made up of rows of paired seats that went all the way back to the end of the enormous shuttle. And there was only one seat empty and it was pretty obvious why.
The guy that sat at the window seat, which Duo had really wanted, looked like he would punch the lights out of anyone who tried to come near him, let alone sit next to him. His eyes were cold as ice and hard as steel, his body language screamed 'fuck off' and his scowl could probably kill you if you looked directly at it. Yeah if looks could kill, this man could win the whole war by himself. Fucking one-man army that one was, and damned scary. Obviously a loner and Duo didn't feel like trying to get him to break out of his shell anytime soon. He rather enjoyed having all his body parts still attached and his face in order, but he didn't have much of a choice. It was either sit next to the jerk-off with the mobile suit jammed up his ass, or stand there like an idiot and risk getting another glare from Lt. Big, Burly and Stupid. Who was practically breathing down his neck with open disgust.
He gave a quick sigh before trotting down the isle with all eyes on him, he tried to act cool under the scrutiny of his fellow trainees but it was difficult. He reached the only available seat and stopped to glance around one last time in hope that he had missed an empty chair. No such luck, everyone in the shuttle quickly averted their eyes to avoid getting caught in their morbid curiosity. Duo was surprised when the few eyes that did not turn away were not actually staring at him but at the scowling boy already sitting. They were waiting to see what he would do if Duo tried to sit down. Great, now he really felt like taking this seat was somehow going to be his death sentence. He squared his shoulders and took a deep breath then thrust out his hand for the boy to shake.
"Hi there, the name's Duo Maxwell. I may run and hide but I never tell a lie." His hand remained in the air and waited to be shook, and waited, and waited. The boy didn't even bother to look up from the window. Duo frowned, maybe the guy wasn't a rude bastard and was just lost in his thoughts? Yeah right, Duo knew how loud he was and there was no way in hell the boy just hadn't heard him.
"Hello, I'm talking to you." There was collective gasp from the rest of the occupants. Apparently you were supposed to tread softly around this guy. Well Duo didn't do that for anyone so this jerk could just take a long hike off a short cliff as far as he was concerned.
"Maxwell, take your damn seat." Lt. Asshole yelled at him from the front of the shuttle and Duo couldn't help the startled little yelp that escaped. He frowned again and opened the overhead compartment to shove his stuff in. Apparently the little jerk in his window seat hadn't planned on sitting next to anyone because his stuff took up the entire storage. Duo got a little bit too much joy out of shoving the boy's things roughly aside to squeeze his own bag in. That earned him a glare from Mr. Cool and Arrogant that could have frozen hell over, but Duo proudly ignored it and continued harshly shoving his bag into the tiny compartment. It didn't take long for the inevitable, one of his pouches popped open and junk food and his hairbrush came tumbling down on top of his head. Everyone in the shuttle burst into laughter, except the boy he was supposed to sit next to that is, and Lt. Stick up the Ass.
"Maxwell sit down!" The man hollered and the entire shuttle shut up instantly. Duo grumbled as he threw his loose belongings into compartment and slammed it shut, it popped back open and there were a few stifled giggles from the other passengers. Duo growled and closed the compartment door, swore at it once, and took his seat with petulance. He slouched down into his chair with a frown on his face and continued grumbling about gorillas in military uniforms as he crossed his arms defiantly over his chest. He felt something cold wash over his body, like he had suddenly been drenched in ice, and turned to look at his seatmate for the trip to SAFE headquarters. The glare on that boy was like a laser beam being shot right through him, and he could have sworn he saw the boy's hands clench as though they wished to choke something.
"What." Duo managed to grind out. The boy's blue eyes were so dark they were almost black and his scowl was fierce, but Duo would not back down. Wild chocolate brown hair framed a young but chiseled face. The word untamable popped into Duo's mind before he could stop it. It was true though, the boy reminded him of a wild animal that refused to be caged. He was also very handsome, if you went for that whole stuck-up, arrogant ass with a giant chip on his shoulder the size of a planet thing. Which Duo did not, but that didn't stop him from admitting that the boy was pleasant to look at. He had a gray cotton tank top on and a pair of dark denim jeans. A rather nice black leather jacket was lying in his lap and Duo felt a little embarrassed about the worn out state of his own clothing. The way the muscles flexed in the guy's arms when they tightened in annoyance told Duo that there was quite a bit of strength hidden by the boy's slim size. The boy huffed indignantly then turned back to his window.
"Moron." He muttered still scowling. Though he now refused to look at Duo, instead his eyes were once again resolutely trained on the midday scene outside the shuttle window. Duo sputtered for a moment and had just decided that this boy needed to be decked, badly, when the shuttle chose that moment to begin its take off. Duo muffled his surprised cry as the shuttle began to rumble to life and not a few moments later he felt his head being pushed back into the cushiony seat by the invisible inertial forces. His violet eyes were wide and unblinking as they left the ion atmosphere of the enormous colony on Mars and entered into the blackness of outer space. Duo snuck a glance at his seatmate, wondering if the boy was as in awe of the new experience as he was. But the guy just looked bored as he looked out the window, like he had done this a thousand times. This kid wasn't natural.
"Hey." Duo managed to speak once the force on his body lifted when they finally exited the planet's gravitational pull. "If you've done this before, flew in space I mean, you think I could look out the window a bit?" The boy didn't even blink, didn't look at him, and took his sweet time to respond.
"I've never flown before." Was his clipped response and in Duo's mind it confirmed that the boy wasn't natural. How could he be so calm, so indifferent, when this was the first time he had ever done this? And how the hell was he not affected by the damn G-force?
"Well could I get a peek? I just really want to see outer space." This was met with an annoyed grunt but much to Duo's surprise the boy leaned back so Duo could see through the tiny shuttle window. Duo smiled and leaned forward stare out at the enormous expanse. He had thought he would see a thousand stars, but he didn't see anything, just black. Like they were floating in nothing, he couldn't even tell that they were moving. It was the oddest feeling and it made him shiver. That cold unforgiving nothingness, it seemed so familiar to him and yet he couldn't remember looking at anything so black before.
"It's beautiful isn't it?" At first Duo had thought his seatmate had asked the question but that seemed highly unlikely. Then he felt someone behind him, looking at him. He glanced back over his shoulder and was pleasantly surprised to find Col. Zettai standing behind him looking down at him with that same bemused twinkle. Duo smiled and gave one last look out the window before turning to meet his superior.
"I think it looks cold and lonely." Duo said and could have slammed his head into the seat in front of him for opening his big mouth like that. Now the colonel was going to think he was some kind of weakling who was scared of outer space. He wasn't scared at all, in fact he was pretty sure that he and the great black abyss out there would probably get along just fine. Despite the way he acted Duo actually favored being on his own most of the time, it was easier to survive when you only had to think about your own life. Caring for people was too hard, Duo had learned that lesson the hard way. Cold and alone, yes he and outer space were a perfect match.
"Maybe it just prefers to be left undisturbed." Yeah that was definitely his seatmate's response this time. The boy had balls, Duo would give him that, he was glaring with all his worth at the smiling colonel and wasn't backing down. Colonel Zettai glanced down at the electronic clipboard he was carrying and pushed a few buttons with the sleek metallic laser-pen.
"Hmm, let's see, you must be Heero Yuy. Only surviving member of the famous Yuy military resource satellite. You were living on mars when the attack on the satellite happened. You're transferring to SAFE from one of the local training camps…hmm, top of the class and you follow all orders without question. A perfect record." Duo just snorted, this explained all the arrogance. "Seems you have trouble working in a group, I'll tell you right now that if that continues you wont be a soldier for SAFE." The colonel was still smiling but it looked dangerous, Heero just continued to glare like he wanted to burn a hole through the man then finally managed to bite out a very reluctant response.
"Yes sir." The colonel did not miss the sarcastic tone and his gray eyes took on a sharp gleam. He let it slip for now, however, and turned his attentions back to Duo his look instantly softening.
"I hope you have a good flight Duo." He smiled and went along his way back towards the front of the shuttle where he met up with the ogre of a lieutenant.
"You shouldn't make enemies with the instructors." Duo warned but Heero just grunted and turned back to his window. It didn't look like he was going to say anything for the rest of their trip. Duo heaved a loud sigh, which slowly developed into a yawn, he really wasn't used to waking up early on the weekend. He felt a dull burn behind the back of his eyes and decided that a little nap couldn't hurt. After all there was no way he was going to be able to snag the window away from his grouchy seatmate again. Damn he really wished he had gotten there earlier. One, so he could have a window seat. Two, so he didn't have to sit next to such an arrogant jackass. His eyes drifted closed and with one last happy thought that at least the colonel liked him, Duo drifted off to sleep.
He found himself lost in his most frequent dream. There was blue above him and it in was something bright and warm, its warmth permeated his tanned skin. There was a tree and a swing and a woman with a kind smile. He never could see her face, but he could smell her. She smelled like flowers, like roses and baby's breath, and she held him close as she sat him down on the rickety wooden swing. She would always sing, a haunting tune that would echo in his mind even after he woke up. She pushed him once, twice, he laughed and so did she. Her laughter like the sweet tinkling of wind chimes, or was it actual wind chimes that he heard? The dream often became fuzzy at this point. She would push him once more then there would be that sound, that horrible sickening crackling and his world would be drenched in shadows. Shadows that blocked out all the warmth he had been feeling. She would scream and it would make him want to scream and cry even though he didn't know who this woman was. Then it would feel as though he were being lifted and swallowed by nothing. He couldn't see anything, hear anything, smell anything, or feel anything. He wasn't afraid, he wasn't angry, there was just nothing. He wondered if the woman was all right. He wondered if this was what it felt like to die. Something strong grabbed his shoulders and he felt himself tumbling out of the nothingness. Strange, that had never happened in the dream before. Duo woke up to being pushed by Heero Yuy until he nearly fell out of his seat.
"What the hell is the matter with you?" Duo growled as he tried to regain his seating. Heero just glared at him then huffed and turned away.
"You fell asleep on me moron, stay in your own space." Duo flustered at the insult and the thought of sleeping on the handsome scowling teen. That was the last straw, this time Heero Yuy was getting it right between the eyes. Heero seemed to sense the approaching battle and turned to look at Duo with a smug arrogance that said exactly what he thought of Duo's threat. Pathetic, it whispered to Duo and it made him ten times more pissed off. He was just about to sock Heero in the jaw when there was an announcement over the shuttles intercom.
"We will be experiencing turbulence, please buckle in." Duo's head instantly snapped up and stared at the talking device. What could cause turbulence in space? There was nothing out there. Actually, he wasn't sure he wanted to know. Forgetting all about his battle with Heero, Duo straightened up in his seat and pulled the buckle across his lap. Heero reluctantly did the same but he glared at the device before he finally snapped himself in. What did the guy think he was, too good even for a safety device? What a jerk.
That's when it hit, the lights in the shuttled flickered briefly and Duo's seat seemed to come to life beneath him, trying to buck him off. He glanced to his left and saw what looked like small clods of dirt smashing into the magnetic field around the shuttle, the one that allowed the to leave the colony's ion atmosphere and fly so quickly through space. The dirt balls instantly disintegrated once they hit the field but Duo couldn't help the slight panic that rose in him. He gripped his armrests a little tighter and the muscles in his back were almost painfully stiff. He snuck a quick glance at the boy sitting next to him. Nothing! The guy was a damn statue. He had the nerve to actually look bored as he leaned back in his chair and watched the dirt clods explode into nothing.
This went on for ten minutes and Heero barely blinked. Duo had to practically force his fingers to release the edges of his armrests and then he had to sit there for ten minutes trying to get each of his muscles to relax. And Heero hadn't even flinched. This guy really was top of the class, wasn't he? Well Duo would show him, he was going to beat this guy if it killed him. It was his personal mission now.
About a half hour later the noise of kids talking once again filled the shuttle and Duo couldn't believe that he was actually one of the quiet kids. It just didn't feel right. Of course if he had a better seat partner he would easily be the loudest person in this shuttle, but no, he got to sit next to the great Heero Yuy. The boy who thinks he's too good to lower himself and speak to someone like Duo. Ok so Duo was just making wild guesses at this point but since the guy didn't talk he figured he could assume whatever he wanted. He also figured that he would have to find other things to do since his neighbor was so dull.
He stood up and opened the overhead compartment, reaching out for the lose junk food that he knew was in there. He received a heated glare from Heero but pretended not to notice and grabbed a couple of bags of sugarcoated dried fruits. They were pretty unhealthy but basically natural and tasted good. The chewy apricot things were his favorite. Since real fruit was hard to come by in the space colonies, these were a great alternative. He wrestled with the foil bag for a few minutes, he always did have trouble opening the dang things. They were vacuum-sealed to keep fresh.
"Knock it off moron, that noise is annoying." Heero grumbled at him. Duo just sneered at the boy and continued noisily battling with his snack. A few more minutes of the crinkling noise and Duo found the bag being snatched out of his hands.
"Hey!" He tried to snatch the bag back but Heero kept it out of reach and in a second had ripped the thing wide open.
"How?" Duo looked surprised for a second but anger was quickly in its place. "What, do you have to do everything better than everyone else?" He spat out angrily to his seat partner. Heero just shrugged smugly.
"It's not like it was hard, I can't help it if you're incompetent." Duo growled and snatched his bag back, but not before Heero pilfered one of the treats inside.
"What the hell?" Duo was pretty sure he was going to hit the guy this time. He watched Heero pop the fruit into his mouth, it had been one of the apricots! He looked down into his bag, the only apricot! The bastard was as good as dead.
"Payment." Heero commented smugly after he swallowed Duo's snack. Never come between a boy and his food. Heero needed to learn that lesson and Duo was all but too happy to oblige. He curled one hand into a fist, prepared to give Heero a piece of his mind and a black eye when once again the speakers buzzed to life and the pilots made an announcement. What were they psychic?
"We will be docking in five minutes." Duo's eyes snapped wide and he jumped over Heero's lap to look out the window at the approaching barge. He completely forgot that just ten seconds ago he had been looking to clobber the boy. The SAFE barge was huge and it just hung there in the middle of space like it was nothing. Duo sucked in a deep breath, his heart constricted with excitement as his stomach tied itself into knots. He could hardly tear his eyes away from the massive floating gray structure, but he supposed Heero was probably ready to kill him and even though the guy was an ass this was too incredible to not let him see. Speaking of his asshole seatmate, Duo hadn't realized that when he had leaned forward and grabbed Heero's armrest for support that Heero's hand had been currently occupying it. He looked at the pale skin that stood out against his own slightly tan hand and knew his lifespan had just been shortened greatly. He took a breath and turned to face the inevitable.
"Sor…" He was cut short by a pair shocked blue eyes just millimeters away from his own. Duo could see all the different shades blue that made up Heero's icy glare and the occasional fleck of gold. The boy's eyes were wide with shock and Duo realized that he could feel the boy's breath on his upper lip. In fact if Duo were to move at all he would probably end up kissing those lips set in that thin deadly frown. Heero had been leaning over him to see the barge and when Duo had turned around he had nearly locked lips with angry youth. So why the hell was Duo still thinking about kissing him? And why weren't those lips pressed into that angry frown like they had been a moment ago? He pulled back quickly, shocked by his own train of thought, and almost laughed at the dazed look on Heero's face. But it was gone pretty fast and Heero was glaring like he could behead Duo with just his eyes. Then he snorted indignantly and turned so that his back was facing Duo and did not look anywhere else but out that window.
Duo couldn't think of anything to say so he slouched back down in his chair with a deep frown on his face to match Heero's. He pulled the tip of his braid over his shoulder and started fiddling with the end of it until he felt the small turbulence and it was announced that they were docked. Duo jumped up and quickly grabbed his things out of the overhead. He left the rest of the junk food though, he just wanted to get out of the shuttle as fast as possible, and then he made his way quickly into the enormous floating barge.