A/N: ShadowKat: Err…Hi, I'm new to Gundam Wing…And HEY! STAY WHERE YOU ARE, GIVE ME A CHANCE!!! Pretty please??? Thank you so much! Err; I am a converted Harry Potter nutter…
Sirena: You're a nutter anyway.
ShadowKat: Quiet MUSE! As I was saying, I'm…well a newbie…whose friends have just sucked her into the wonderful world of Anime.
Things needed to be kept in mind:
1. I have nothing against Yaoi. I love the story here called Maxwell's Demon. Great piece of work, go read it.
2. I have very little to go on, having seen only a few episodes, and Endless Waltz. Do forgive me if I mess up a minor detail, and if important, let me know of this in your review.
3. This story has shifting point of views of all kinds. First person, Third, one character, then other. Hope it's not too confusing. Also, there is an original character. HEY DON'T CLICK THE BACK BUTTON! Trust me, it makes sense. And it's not me.
4. The passage of time is a little screwy. It's the only way it can work. Thank you kindly for bearing with me, and I hope you enjoy.
Sirena: *bored* Are you done?
ShadowKat: Well…not really…I still have the Disclaimer to do.
Sirena: *Collective sigh* Fine! DISCLAIMER: We don't own anything except the original character, which you wouldn't want anyway, but if you do, you can't have her, and if you steal her we'll sue you for all you've got. I'm not kidding. Really, I'm not…oh, never mind…
search myself and everyone
To see where we went wrong
'Cause there's no one left to finger
There's no one here to blame
There's no one left to talk to honey
And there ain't no one to buy our innocence
'Cause we are born innocent
Believe me Adia, we are still innocent
It's easy, we all falter
But does it matter? ~Sarah McLachlan, Adia
Home. I am going home. Earth, the place of my birth, has brought me no comfort or safety, though I was with close friends. My mother insisted, believing I needed a change of scenery, but I'd rather stay on our L4 colony Q-1215225. Safe. We were far away from the Gundams that ravage the planet. The merciless destruction around me was sickening. I do not hold favor to such ruthless means of retaliation, as many others do. I felt isolated on Earth, the chaotic life of constant battle not belonging to my ideals. The old cliché rings true to my life, "Home is Where the Heart is". My Colony. My Home.
Hours creep by, for it seems that our trip only left the ground but a moment ago. Boredom and impatience nag at my brain, as I notice minuscule problems. The passage for our vessel is slow, slower than usual. Something is wrong. I shake myself from such morose notions, yet this sense of foreboding strikes me peculiar, causing a ripple of fear through me. Strange, I hardly fear anything. Dad always says, "My little firefly would fly into the sun itself, just to prove who was brighter". I smile lightly, for he is right. I am prideful; I am his daughter after all, a Riley.
I hum to myself the quiet lullaby Mom used to sing when I was a small child, which calms the precognition that I feel. Sighing away my reservations, I find my attention drawn to golden-haired child next to me playing with her toy, her guardian beside her fast asleep. My lips form a smile, watching such innocence, the youthful enthusiasm that lights up in her sea-colored eyes. This little cherub, a tiny angel not older than six, has lost her way from Heaven. Sensing my stare, she looks up with a smile that could melt the cold steel of the wall behind me; the gaiety of her soul illuminates the room. She is such optimism and life for the future, unharmed by war. Sometimes I wish everyone was that way.
Lulled into a false sense of security, I am startled as the soothing rhythm of the moving ship halts abruptly, catching some of the passengers off balance. It even manages to wake the sleeping guardian of the little cherub. Unnerved, we all ask the same questions. "Why have we stopped?" "Is something wrong?" Yet no one can answer these. The little girl watches, confused, not understanding the situation anymore than I am, and persistently tugs of her elder's sleeve for explanations. I stand quickly, moving through the crowd of colonists eager to see their loved ones again. I reach the main window, big enough to see our simple universe spinning slowly, peacefully in space. But it is not alone.
Through the dark, vast emptiness of space, it is easy to perceive one of the tall, mechanic monsters that ruled the planet I had just vacated. A Gundam…faced against two other Mobile Suits, all too near to our destination. I am mystified; the Gundams have no reason to bother the colonies. After all they are fighting, though I may not like it, for our freedom. We owe them that, those brave souls. Yet, the uneasiness I felt before comes reeling back on me; noting how the Gundam, decorated with wings, angel wings, has its target on the sleepy world below it. I become distressed, to say the least. Most surely, a Gundam bearing the wings of an angel will do no evil, right?
Our pilots try, in vain, to communicate with the Gundam, telling them of our peaceful intentions. We're plain colonists wanting to get home. We are not looking for trouble. Communication, however, seems impossible. The pilot of the Gundam does not feel like speaking to us, even we all know that there is something amiss between him and the other MS. I grow more fretful, anxiously pacing in a tight circle, finding myself no longer alone by the window. I just want to be home. A dreadful force holds my heart, twisting it in its grasp. We are all tense, waiting on bated breath for any response. Indeed, we soon get one.
Light, in all its infinite variety, pierces our eyes. It is such a white, intense beam of Heaven coming from the metallic seraph. We shield our eyes in effort not to be blinded by its glory. The ship rocks with the force of an explosion, hurling us to the ground. Static fills our ears; they've managed to create a contact. Perhaps the Gundam shot down the other MS, to protect us. Now we have a chance to thank him. But we are shocked into silence, from what we hear. As the light dissipates, a maniacal laughter roars in our ears…almost a desperate cry of a child for help, of one so lost and confused. It scares us, tears at our hearts, and saddens us, echoing against the depths of our minds as we hear it. The laughter of the damned.
My curiosity gets the best of me; I get to my feet, to peer out into the icy, blackness and find out what is going on. I instantly wish I had not. My eyes search for the colony, yet they deceive me, dazzled by the twinkling starlight. Space is temporarily filled with trillions of microscopic metal fragments, propelled past our ship by the liberated energy of the destroyed, artificial planet. The light catches on each piece of metal, glittering in the new dawn, pronouncing to the cosmos that our colony flared into a brilliant oblivion, like a supernova. Gone, all of it in the blink of an eye. My mind numb, I feel my heart shatter, splintered and scattered to all of space like our colony. My Colony. My Home. Everything is Gone.
My head presses against the glass, as emotion sweeps through me like a hurricane, hoping to deny myself the truth. I close my eyes to the memories, but it is futile. I see my mother kissing my father good-bye before he leaves for work, my older sister, Theresa, her nose stuck in one of her endless books about fairy tales, and silly notions such as true love. My mind replays images of young children laughing, as they joyfully play a game of tag on a playground, in perfect clarity. Like a bolt of lightning, it switches to romantic couples walking together hand-in-hand, with the thought of spending their lives together. Even the simple, deep purple coloring of a morning glory, opening its chalice of renewed hope to the awake of a new day, flashes through my sorrow-stricken mind. Such precious life.
The haunting, haughty laughter snatches me out of my turbulent feelings. I look out at the scene of disaster, blinking back the pinpricking sensation that harbors my eyes, unaware that I have been crying. Emotion has made me dumb, and I understand what has happened as I recover my wits. It is the Gundam that has betrayed us; he has ruined our lives. And he mocks us, mocks our pain, by letting us hear his insane amusement of victory. I watch it all blankly, not seeing the reaction of the other passengers to this horrendous act, but I know that they mourn as I do. All I held dear was at that colony, and now it is gone in inferno of broken hopes and dreams, as if someone blew a candle out. I glare hatefully at the metallic murderer, the wind that snuffed out my family and friends, leaving me here an orphan. The cold, cruel breeze that swept through all of us here, leaving us with nothing at all.
The Gundam flew off without a word, save for more of his cruel, misbegotten idea of humor. For some reason, the other MS pursued, not that I care. I have no one to care about anymore. All my family and friends are dead, everything I believed in was anchored to that colony, and every principle I once held took root there. But now…now…I am empty. Along with the colony's death was the death of my identity. It is not amnesia, no, not at all. I know who I am. But I have nothing to connect me to anything…or anybody anymore. It was all eliminated with the pull of a trigger…without plausible motivation. Thoughtless slaughter, hasty actions, it is all the same. War destroys—no—consumes all. Even me. War makes no distinction between death of the body, and death of the spirit. For all who are concerned, I am as good as dead.
Feeling the tears coming back, I sit down leaning my face against the cold glass, watching as the scraps of shrapnel pass harmlessly past our craft. I lower my head, and my shoulders tremble, now that I fully comprehend the situation. The hot, salty tears of life run from my eyes like the Nile River, and I am afraid that I shall never stop crying. Part of me doesn't want to. The air is thick with sorrow, dull as my senses are, I can tell I am not to only one weeping. Physically, I feel so incredibly drained, depleted of all feeling, yet sleep will bring me no comfort. Mentally, I am screaming inside with fury, but I can't be heard. My grief, and a warped sense of disillusionment have boiled over, like an untended pot. Home? What's that? Some false sense of contentment that blinds you to how spiteful, and pitiless the outside world is? Is it a place that shields your impressionable young mind to the horrors that could wipe out that safety? Is it where you can trick yourself into thinking the world in a loving place, and that war can never touch you? Home? Home? I have no home. I am lost.
"Miss! Miss, are you all right? Do you need anything?"
I lift my head from the tear-streaked glass, feeling nothing more than a shell of humane existence. I find irony in the attendant's choice of words. Am I all right? No. I will never be "all right", nothing will ever be "right" again. But I must not let others be concerned about my doom, so I slowly shake my head to the troubled assistant, indicating I am fine. Perceptive women. She gives a sad, understanding nod before going to console the other travelers; she knows I want to be alone. That is how I will live, for whom do I have to go to? No one.
I examine the other survivors, there are about a hundred or so in number. How does that compare to the thousands that died in a mere moment? Each death must seem inconsequential to a Gundam pilot. Is killing such a minor thing that is does not bother them when it was their hand which slew so many, or are they so dense and ignorant they do not realize what they have done? It does not matter to me. After all, hardly anything does anymore. The rockets fire up; our ship is moving again apparently towards one of the L3 colonies, since the murderous Gundam might still be in the L4 area. We are more vigilant now, no longer naïve of such imaginings of the Gundams our being friends. We shall always be on guard. As I scan each sad face, my eyes fall once more upon the little child I was observing no more than an hour ago. Was it only an hour ago? It feels like an eternity.
She looks at me with bewildered look; no doubt she can tell from my red-rimmed eyes that something is terribly wrong, yet she cannot pinpoint the source. Children are observant; adults always give them less credit than they have earned. Trapped in the arms of her mourning guardian, she has no idea what folly has befallen us, but nevertheless she has been affected by it. No longer is she an angel, she is just another corrupted soul; her being has been ruined by warfare. Angels don't…Angels don't blow up colonies, they don't cause hurt…they bring joy. Don't they? Humph, I have yet to see that during this time of hatred, retribution, and bloodshed. Come to think of it, they're probably only found in one of Theresa's many fantasy books. Fiction. Pure Fiction. Angels…they don't exist anymore.
It is night, hours since the incident, and I hear the rockets slowing down, as we prepare to enter the colony. To place trust in the same feeble metal that failed to shelter my own colony. Once we land, I step off our ship into a brand-new world—loneliness. The climate of this L3 colony is always stable, yet the air feels chilling. Death hangs above us. All of us walk mutely down the ramp, down towards the thongs of sympathetic crowds. I could drown in their condolences; all of their "I'm so sorry" could fill up all of space. They know naught of being sorry; they weren't there; they haven't seen the terror I have. Their pity disgusts me. I break away from most of the survivors; the only thing I clutch is my knapsack, containing all that I own. Is this what they call independence? Is this that so called "peace of mind" where all you have to agonize over is yourself? Being by yourself has its advantages, doesn't it? I see the world in faultless simplicity now; every aspect of fighting makes sense to me, now that I am on my own. In this world you must kill or be killed. Yet, I would rather be trapped in my single-mindedness with my kin, then to be free to know all without them. I shall never forget them; no one will. I shall make sure of that.
Walking down an unfamiliar street, I feel untroubled. Perhaps deserving of one who has no one to fret over anymore, but I am hesitant of how I can be so composed when my future is in doubt. I will not rely on Disaster Relief that is for certain. Dad raised me to have pride in my family name; I will not accept assistance. I will work for my meals and shelter. But how will a fifteen-year old girl manage to find and secure a job? The prospect for me is bleak, and that is not saying much. Dwelling on this, I spy from across the street a small public park, and my brain starts to work. It seems like a good place to sleep for a while, or at the very least, get some rest tonight so I may try my luck at with a job tomorrow. I must keep my mind off my loss. I have cried my eyes dry, I can move on. Walking to a secluded corner of the park, I roll my eyes in distain at the older group of guys; using cans of spray-paint to defile the sidewalk. Idiots.
"Hey you. Yeah, I'm talking to you. Clear out, or you'll have to answer to Hellfire."
I turn around towards the fuming group, who has finally become aware of me, my hands on my hips in defiance. So the dullards can speak? I could laugh at them, this simple group of penniless brats, thinking they can order me around.
"Hellfire? Sounds like a pathetic band name to me". I watch with amusement, as the main speaker appears livid.
"Look girl; no one insults us, especially some chick. You need a lesson in respect."
His companions rush forward to attack me, but I am ready. Dad taught me in self-defense since I was a young girl, and this fight is with nothing more than a bunch of street punks. The first boy rushes at me with anger; Oh, stupid boy to allow you emotions to rule over your intellect in a fight. He is down on the ground, clutching the spot on his stomach where my foot connected, before he can lay a hand on me. The other was slightly smarter; he tried to get me from behind, but he didn't have such a good hold on me when I stepped directly on his foot. You'd be surprised at how many little bones are in there; it hurts a great deal. And he certainly was feeling pain when I twisted his arm behind his back, and with a kick in the back sent him to join his friend in the dirt. The third, the one doing the talking, in their little party did nothing; he merely watched the whole scene, judging me.
"That's enough". He said, motioning for the other two to stop, apparently he was the ringleader in this little cluster of youth. "She's a worthy opponent."
His friends scowled at me, but obeyed. The leader stared hard at me still, a smirk of recognition appearing. "You're from that blown up colony aren't you? You can't be from around here; we would have seen you before. How come you aren't with the boo-hooing crowds?"
"I don't accept charity. I'm on my own, I'll work". I scoff, gathering my things.
He laughs, and I feel my temper rising. "Not around here you won't, jobs are scarce. This is war, babe. Then how will you live?" He pauses, clearing setting up something. "But…war also brings opportunities. You could join us. Hellfire is always taking in children of the streets, giving them good food and a home. Don't worry, you get plenty enough work to clear your conscience."
"Like what?" I ask, his lure of food and shelter seeming a fine idea to my sleep deprived mind.
He says with a straight face. "You'd start out small, of course. Like us, you'd be an information hacker or steal money for the group effort, little stuff. If we're lucky, or maybe just good at what we do, we'll get missions to complete. See, Hellfire punishes those who escape their crimes. We are the final judge and jury in life".
"Don't you mean you're assassins and terrorists?" I hiss, demanding answers.
"You could say that." He says carefully with the hint of satisfaction in his voice. "But listen, your colony was just annihilated. Don't you feel a sense of vengeance coursing through your system? Don't you want to make that pilot pay? You've lost everyone; you've got nothing more to lose. Hellfire will seek out that criminal and put him on trial, it's up to you whether or not you'll be condemning him. In fact, I think that there are plenty of brokenhearted colonists that'll join our cause. They'll get to relish in the fact that the souls of the departed, who cry out for justice, will be silenced now that their killer is punished. It's your call, babe".
Do I want revenge? Didn't I hate combat and retribution, or was that another person entirely? I search myself for answers yet find none; I am vacant of uniqueness, I have no opinions any longer. They are in pieces, along with my colony. Can I kill this person? Why not, he was certainly fine with killing thousands of innocent people. It's kill or be killed, I know that plainly now. This is war. On a personal level, yes, I am angry and heartbroken, such a mixture of emotions I don't know what to think. Would Dad, Mom, and Theresa want me to avenge them by bringing forth a reckoning, or is there another path? I…did say that I would never fail to remember them; that no one would forget. Shall I put my words to the test? I have nothing to loose………
I look at him full in the face; emerald eyes into slate gray ones. "Tell Hell it's got itself a new demon".
All of them applaud my initiation and embrace me like family, as if we weren't fighting only minutes ago. They grin and motion for me to follow them. "Come, we'll take you to our hideout. You'll start tomorrow, but I'm sure you'll learn fast enough. Got to know the tricks of the trade, am I right, babe?"
With the note of unruffled, infuriation I ask. "Do me a favor".
Shifting the weight of my backpack, I speak in a manner that indicates no playing of games. "Don't call me 'babe', unless you want a bruised rib like your friends here, which I'd be most happy to fulfill. My name is Moira. Moira Riley."
To Be Continued…
Another A/N: Many special regards to my friends who got me hooked on Gundam Wing. To Wil: You're the best beta-reader in the world, thank you for putting up my mistakes. Moira is pronounced More-Ah Brownie points to anyone who can decode the hidden meaning in the destroyed colony's name, and can find all of my theme beginnings! Hey…Did I mention review? No one seem to do that anymore…