The Dark Energy Wars
When Duo stepped off the shuttle he found himself in the long gray hallway of the space fortress. There were a bunch of other kids already there, some older, none younger than him, and they were all talking and laughing as they walked down the metal corridor. When they got to the end a short man with dark hair, glasses, and a frown shouted at them to follow the blue lights. Duo looked around but couldn't understand what the man was talking about, there weren't any lights.
"Above you." Came a soft voice to his left and Duo whipped his head around to find the source. It was another boy about his age with soft light blonde hair and a smile that touched his teal blue eyes. Duo smiled crookedly at the boy before looking above his head. To his surprise the ceiling had different colored stripes painted on it that seemed to glow like lights, and there was indeed a blue strip. He huffed at himself and shook his head. He felt like an idiot.
"It tells you what they mean on the panel behind you, next to the door." Duo nodded and strolled over to the panel curiously.
"I'm going to go ahead now, I'll keep an eye out for you." The blonde was smiling at him again and Duo smiled back widely. It was very refreshing to know that there was someone like this on the barge. He had started to think that everyone who signed up for the military had to have a steel rod surgically shoved up their ass.
"Great, I'll look for you too. We can eat together." He said with a grin and the blonde nodded emphatically, then waved as he dashed off to catch up to another boy. This one was very tall and looked a year or two older but that didn't matter to Duo. He had just made a friend and that was all he needed. Hell, the tall one looked nice too. Crazy hair he had going on, it practically stuck out the front of his head, but Duo couldn't wait to count him as a friend too. He concentrated on the lit up panel and read that the blue line would take him to the training rooms for all the different years. Then for the hell of it he read where the other stripes would take him, it would probably come in handy anyway. The yellow line took him to the mess hall, he would definitely be following that one a lot. The green line took him to the barracks, he had slept on the shuttle so he could definitely hold off on a nap until they fed him. The orange line led him to the team battle zone, he supposed they would explain what that meant later. The red took him to the classrooms. Ugh, school. And the purple stripe would take him to the recreational area. That sounded promising.
He got the sudden feeling that he wasn't alone, he glanced to his right and saw his seatmate Heero Yuy also studying the panel. He looked like he was memorizing some kind of vital information. Duo almost laughed at him but contained his mirth, barely.
"Jeez Dude, I'm sure these little panels will be everywhere. It's not life or death if you can't find your way to the bathroom." Duo laughed but Heero didn't seem to think it was so funny. He grunted and turned away from the boy with nothing but arrogance in his cold eyes.
"Then don't come crying to me when you still can't find the showers and you smell even worse than you do now." Duo frowned at Heero's back and let the boy retreat down the hall a ways, putting some distance between them before he flipped him off then followed. He hoped he didn't have to see that guy too often. This place was pretty big, he could avoid the jerk couldn't he? He sighed as he followed the rest of the kids through a maze of metallic walls, glancing up at the ceiling every now and then to make sure he was going the right way. When he reached the end of a really long corridor it opened into a wide room where they were sectioning off all the incoming soldiers from the returning. First years were also being divided up according to their age. He saw the silver haired colonel from the shuttle waving a few kids over and making notes on his board. Duo started walking over to him smiling.
"Col. Zettai!" He shouted and waved at the man who was scanning his electronic clipboard again. "How do I know where to go?" Duo asked and the man looked up and smiled at him, brushing a few silver stray locks out of his stormy eyes.
"Well, how old are you?" Duo frowned thoughtfully, there was no way for him to know for sure. He had just always assumed his age based on what he looked like compared to other kids.
"Let's say fifteen, I think I look about that don't you?" The man just laughed and shook his head.
"Whatever you say, the military doesn't really care as long as you're willing to fight." Duo arched an eyebrow. Did the colonel have a problem with the way the military was run?
"Well you guessed a good age, that puts you in my group." The man smiled at him again then looked down at his clipboard and tapped a couple times with the little metal pen. A funny look crossed the man's face for an instant and Duo wondered what it meant but it passed quickly.
"Well line up soldier." He said with a smile and friendly slap on Duo's shoulder. "Go ahead, right in front of me in that pathetic excuse for a line." The colonel chuckled and Duo smiled and nodded then headed toward the mass of kids standing in something that resembled a lightning bolt much more than a line. Naturally Heero Yuy was standing perfectly still in the back of the pseudo-line. Everyone else was laughing and talking and looking around at their strange new home, but not Heero. He just stood there, glaring daggers at anything that dared to approach him. There was sort of this empty space between him and the rest of the line where the people around him had backed away from the glowering boy. If the guy wasn't such an arrogant prick Duo might have actually felt bad for him, after all everyone deserved a friend. Of course he had silently declared war on Heero Yuy so he sure as hell wasn't going to be the one to try and befriend the boy.
He searched the line for the blonde he had met earlier so he could join him but when he found the boy he was quite a few lines down with that taller kid Duo had seen him with earlier. Did this mean that the blonde was older than him? The boy certainly didn't look his age. Well, he supposed he really didn't have any other choice then. He walked to the end of the line, firmly ignoring the blue eyes glaring at him and lined up behind Heero without a single word to the taciturn boy. More people filed in and when everyone appeared to be accounted for each uniformed military man took his line into different side-rooms. Duo followed his age group into a blue training room where he was instructed to get in another line against the far wall. He ended up standing between Heero and a girl with short purple hair. Two other men and a woman, all in uniforms, came into the room and stood before the line of future soldiers. Col. Zettai stepped forward and lowered his clipboard.
"You are not yet soldiers of SAFE, this first year will determine which of you has what it takes to join our ranks. You will be split into teams of six and each team will have one of these officers as their captain and instructor. Your team will be your family, you will rely on each other to survive through the year. A soldier is worthless if he can't work as a unit." The silver haired colonel looked more serious than Duo had ever seen, even more than when Heero had tried to tell him to get lost. Guess there were a lot of different sides to this guy. 'And,' Duo thought, 'they're all pretty damn good looking.'
"Teams will now be assigned. When I point to you call out your number starting with you." Col. Zettai pointed to the first kid at the end of the line furthest from Duo. "You're number one." The kid nodded and the colonel pointed to the next kid who called out the number two. When they got to six the colonel stopped and told them they were group one and made them follow the female officer out of the room. This continued on until it hit Duo that he was probably going to be a member of Heero's team. Damn.
The counting off continued until there were only six kids and the colonel left in the room. The colonel looked each one of them over, it had to be some kind of mind game. Psyche the kids out and see how they reacted to get a gauge on the person's character. Most looked nervous under his scrutiny. Duo just smiled and he could have sworn he saw the man give him a friendly wink. Heero glared as if he was daring the officer to find a fault in him and Duo rolled his eyes. Col. Zettai looked the boy over and then spoke to the whole team without taking his eyes off of Heero.
"Guess you guys are with me. You'll all need a lot of work but it doesn't look absolutely hopeless." Heero's glare intensified and the colonel looked away to the rest of the team. "Well let's get our happy family unpacked, shall we?"
The colonel had them line up again before he led them to their barracks. Duo got the feeling that if he learned nothing else his first year he would sure as hell know how to line up. The rooms were like tiny, poorly furnished apartments. There were three bedrooms that joined together with a common room that had a couple of threadbare couches and a table. Duo just wanted to know where he was going to store his junk food.
"I'll let you guys settle in then I'll be back to take you to the mess hall. Training starts first thing tomorrow morning." The colonel's eyes paused briefly when they reached Duo before he shut the door.
"Guess we should decide rooms." The girl with purple hair spoke up.
"Shouldn't we introduce ourselves first?" A boy by the couch responded.
"Oh yes, that's a good idea. I'll go first." Duo eyed her for a minute, she seemed nice, but man that go-go-go attitude was going to get on his nerves. He liked to do things in his own time.
"My name is Hilde. I'm fifteen and I come from the Naphtol military base on Mars section five. I was fourth in my class and the leader of my squad." Yep she was definitely one of those people that just got on his nerves after too much exposure.
"My name is Rio. I come from the number three moon colony. I have no previous military background but my whole family was in the military so it's my destiny to join." The boy from the couch spoke and Duo couldn't decide if he was going to like this guy or not, oh well he supposed he better.
"My name is Kayra. I come from one of the space stations. Number four actually. I went to a military school but we didn't train or anything it was just a school." She blushed a little. Duo thought she was nice, he couldn't understand what she was doing here but then again he barely understood why he was here.
"My name's Kabe. I also come from the moon, number seven colony. I came from the Augusta base there." Duo had no idea that so many people had previous military experience. He had forgotten that SAFE had many influences including small bases all over space and academies to draw in even younger soldiers. He looked over at Heero who didn't appear to be looking at anything neither did he seem to have any intention of speaking up any time soon. Duo sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Guess it's my turn. The name's Duo, I don't know where I'm from but I've been living on Mars section 2. I have no military background but my life wasn't going anywhere so I figured I'd enlist." The group eyed him like he was growing another head. Man, was it just because he wasn't as military-crazed as everyone else seemed to be? He shrugged and waited for Heero to say his piece. He had heard it all from the colonel on the shuttle but it would be interesting to hear Heero's take on his life. There was a very long pause during which Heero was given many strange looks. Finally the boy spoke.
Duo waited politely for the boy to continue, to brag about being top of his class and all his other achievements. He was waiting for the arrogant jerk to rub all their noses in his inherent greatness. And he kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting. It never came. That was it? That was all he was going to say? His name? The others looked at him oddly then gave each other serious looks.
"Well I think we should chose rooms now, the colonel will be back soon to take us to dinner." Hilde smiled and Duo thought a little better of her. She seemed to be as concerned about eating as he was. She could make a good meal buddy if he couldn't find the blonde boy from earlier.
"I definitely think that the girls should room together so we'll just go pick out our room and let you boys sort out everything else." For some reason Duo had a really bad feeling about this. The other two boys were eyeing Heero with fear and glancing at each other in something like silent communication. Damn, his fate was sealed. Well, he better make it look like choice then. If they were supposed to be a family they certainly couldn't be fighting on the first day. He felt a little sorry for Heero too, nobody wanted to be the boy's roommate. Heero, however, seemed like he couldn't care less if they liked him or not. With a quick shrug Duo walked over to stand next to Heero, who looked mildly surprised by this action but soon the look vanished.
"I think I'll be rooming with my pal here." He said cheerfully then flung an arm around Heero's shoulders with a grin. His arm was immediately shrugged off. He just rolled his eyes and continued smiling. The other two boys looked extremely shocked and yet relieved. Damn, this was going to be a long year.
Somebody had delivered their bags rather quickly, pretty efficient little system, and Duo found his on the floor. He stepped away from Heero and walked over to it hoisting it over his shoulder. He noticed Heero picked up his own black bag and started walking off to a room. Duo eyed him for minute with awe. He didn't ask which room the other two boys wanted, he didn't ask Duo which room he wanted, he just walked to the farthest room and went in. Duo looked over to the other two who had just watched him leave without a word.
"Hope you guys didn't want that room." He said with a smile and they chuckled a little. He felt a tiny bit bad about making a joke at Heero's expense but then again the boy really did bring it on himself with the way he acted. Duo readjusted his bag and reluctantly followed Heero into their room. An entire year living with this guy, he didn't know how he was going to survive it.
"Hey Heero buddy could'ya wait for me." He hollered as he stepped into his new room. He found Heero's bag sitting on the bottom bunk already open and the boy starting to unpack. Duo frowned.
"You bastard. What if I had wanted the bottom?" 'Inconsiderate prick,' Duo thought as he huffed and threw his bag on one of the metal desks in the room and began pulling things out. He really didn't have many belongings. He glanced over at his callous new roommate and frowned. The boy hadn't even paused in his unpacking. He hadn't even looked up when Duo had entered. Was the guy going to spend the entire year pretending Duo didn't exist? Duo shrugged, it was probably for the better. He resumed unpacking, throwing his clothes on the floor beside him while he searched for the things that would go into his desk like his own electronic clipboards where he could download his text books and take his notes. He pulled out an eyepiece that slipped over his ear and the finger attachments that went with it. He was fairly proud of this, it was a pretty new computer model that simply had a bad wire but had been thrown out. He had salvaged it and repaired the delicate machine with parts and tools "borrowed" from the electronic-junk store he had been working for. Now if he could just find his e-mod. The hearing aid looking device had dozens of his favorite songs stored on it, he would have thousands but it cost too much. There was a small noise from the other side of the room like someone clearing their throat. He turned around to find Heero looking rather angry with him.
"What?" Duo asked with malice.
"Could you please try to be clean. From looking at you I can tell you aren't used to it, but I don't want my room to turn into pigsty." He pointed at Duo's pile of clothes on the floor and his lips curled in disgust.
"It's not like I wasn't going to pick them up. You don't have to be such a jerk." Duo roughly grabbed his clothes off the floor and shoved them into the empty metal dresser.
"Happy?" He said to the blue-eyed boy with biting sarcasm.
"At least I don't have to smell them, when was the last time they were washed?" The smug look on Heero's face was enough to earn him the punch he received from Duo. He looked shocked that the boy had done such a thing, but only for a second before he socked Duo in the gut. It felt like a sledge hammer had just swung into his abdomen and Duo fell forward coughing. He growled and cursed himself. He would not be beat by Heero. His leg shot out and clipped the arrogant boy's shin, sending him sprawling to the ground where Duo jumped on him and prepared to punch his lights out but Heero was fast and pushed him back. He shot up and wrestled Duo to the ground, pinning his limbs with a triumphant smirk. Duo felt trapped, he couldn't explain the sudden cold that washed over his body. His world narrowed and he felt something inside him burn with an white-hot fire, it flared through his muscles and slowly he was able to push back against the boy's hold on him. Heero stared in absolute shock as Duo's left fist was able to push back against him and lift off the floor. He put all his strength into holding that arm down and for a while it looked like he had overpowered the boy but then he felt that arm once again struggling against him. To his shock the boy's knuckles were actually able to rise off the ground. He glanced quickly back to Duo's oddly blue colored eyes and found them much darker than he remembered. He recognized that look. Was Duo…?
"Yuy, get off of him." The angry voice of Col. Zettai broke through the air like lightening in a thunderstorm. Duo's eyes instantly lost that dark gleam and his hand fell back hard against the metal floor. Heero snorted and stood up off the boy, glaring at the colonel before turning to leave the room.
"This is your warning Yuy, anything like this happens again and you'll be packing those bags. Got it?" The colonel ground out but Heero barely acknowledged him and continued walking nonchalantly out of the room. Duo peeled himself off the cold metal floor and rubbed his aching wrists. Heero had a hell of a grip.
"You all right Duo?" The colonel took hold of his hands and turned them over a couple times, inspecting his wrists for injury. Duo felt butterflies take flight in his stomach at the colonel's unexpected touch. His hands were released but Duo could feel a touch lingering, he wasn't sure if it was the colonel's or Heero's.
"It's not his fault sir, I threw the first punch." The man nodded in understanding.
"Well then I have to give you the same warning Duo. I can't have my team fighting with each other when we have an enemy to face. It could mean death." Duo nodded at the man's serious tone. He felt so humiliated, the whole day had just been from hell and now he was in trouble. And it had been his first day no less. He just wished he could go back in time or crawl into a hole and never come back out. The colonel smiled down at him and placed a friendly arm on his shoulder.
"Come on lets feed you." Now if there was any sentence in the world that could have lifted Duo's spirits at that moment then that had been the exact one.
The mess hall was like every other one that had ever been built in a military base anywhere throughout all of time. The food was barely edible, the metal tables were cold and uncomfortable, the noise level was just a notch above legally deafening, and the kitchen workers hated your guts. Duo loved it. It was heaven. He slid into line and chatted it up with the men and women dishing out the multicolored foodstuffs. A few of them growled at him but more often they smiled at his friendly gestures and it even got him an extra desert. It looked like some sort of pudding, he would eat it as long as it wasn't tapioca. He spotted the top of a light blonde head at a table on his left near the back and headed in that direction. He hoped the boy hadn't forgotten him already. He approached the table and noticed the tall brunette was with the blonde earlier but there was also a gruff looking dark haired youth of Asian descent. He smiled warmly as strutted over to the friendly blonde's table.
"Hey there, remember me!" He yelled out his friendly greeting and the blonde's head shot up as well as everybody else's within a five-foot radius. He chuckled and blushed a little then walked hurriedly the rest of the way to the blonde's table while everyone else returned to their questionable meals.
"Hi there again, I'm glad you've gotten the hang of this place." Duo laughed and sat down next to his new friend. This had been one of his biggest worries, he was afraid he wouldn't be able to find someone to eat with, but it looked like he not only found a friend but a whole group.
"My name is Quatre Winner. This is Trowa Barton." He said pointing to the tall brunette sitting next to him. "And that's Chang Wufei." The dark haired, serious looking teen nodded briefly to him then turned back to Trowa to discuss what sounded like strategy for something that sounded like a video game.
"Name's Duo Maxwell, it's my first year." He was kind of embarrassed now that he knew Quatre was actually older than him but the blonde just smiled at him.
"Wufei's a year below Trowa and I. So he's one year your senior. He and Trowa met during Wufei's first year and soon became rivals at the training simulator. Because of their rivalry driving them, they've actually become the best at it in all years. I don't recommend taking on either of them soon but I'd be glad to show you the ropes of it after dinner." Duo wasn't sure what the training simulator was but if it was anything like a video game it wouldn't hard for him to get the hang of. There wasn't an arcade within twenty miles of where he lived that didn't have him as the top scorer on all their machines.
"That sounds great but if we're training all the time why would we want to play with a training simulator on our time off?" Duo asked.
"Oh it's actually pretty fun. It's a great way to relieve a little stress and it's fun to compete with your friends and not have to worry about an instructor breathing down your neck. Plus you get points for every game you win that will get you stuff. Like an extra hour of free time or some teachers will let you skip quizzes if you have enough points. Just little quizzes though not like tests and probably only one." Duo frowned. He had forgotten that he would have to go to school here too. He wasn't that fond of sitting in stuffy classrooms learning about boring subjects. He didn't even get to pick his schedule, all first years had the same classes, next year he would get to choose what he took but right now he was stuck.
"Well I suppose we don't have to play if you don't want to." Quatre sounded a little worried and Duo realized that he had been frowning while thinking about school.
"No I really want to play, sorry about that I was just thinking about taking classes. I hate school." Duo stuck out his tongue then started eating his second pudding. He always ate dessert first. Quatre chuckled and gave him a questioning look at his first-course choice.
"In case I die first. II always do what I want before I do what I have to. That way I have no regrets." Quatre frowned thoughtfully, but decided not to comment and instead they focused back on Duo's hatred of school. They finished their meal with friendly banter about which teachers were the best and what boring topics first years had to take. Duo perked up a little when the boys started talking about the cool classes he could take when he moved up in rank. They laughed as they made their way over to the trashcans and stacked their lunch trays. Quatre invited Duo to the game room so he could start teaching Duo the basics. Duo nodded and grinned at the blonde, but his smile slipped when he saw a lone figure eating silently and sitting far away from the rest of the happy chattering students. He gasped slightly when deep icy-blue eyes met his own from across the crowded noisy room. The sound in the cafeteria drowned out around him and something deep inside of him pinched as those stormy orbs locked with his. There was something in them, something that sparkled just beneath the surface and Duo wasn't sure if he wanted to find out what it was.
'He really does have pretty eyes.' Was the only coherent thought that made it through the braided boy's head before the frozen depths turned away from him and he heard Quatre calling his name. He shook his head at that rebellious thought and walked quickly to catch up with his new friends.
Sorry nothing very interesting yet but pretty soon here things will start to pick up. I've got some twists planned that will melt our little Heero's heart. So...to be continued.